Australia japan pact concern china

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison with Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga in Tokyo

China warns Australia and Japan over ‘confrontational’ new defence pact

Australian ministers urge dialogue to resolve dispute as Beijing says countries may pay ‘corresponding price’Daniel Hurst @danielhurstbneWed 18 Nov 2020 08.28 GMT

Australia and Japan will “pay a corresponding price” if their new defence pact threatens China’s security, Chinese state media has warned, as Scott Morrison insisted the deal should not cause any concerns to Beijing.

The state-run Global Times newspaper declared the new agreement “accelerates the confrontational atmosphere in the Asia-Pacific region” and was aimed against China.

Australian ministers issued fresh calls on Wednesday for dialogue with their Chinese counterparts to resolve a simmering diplomatic dispute, which has resulted in Beijing taking a series of trade actions against Australian export sectors throughout the course of the year.

The outreach comes after Morrison and his Japanese counterpart, Yoshihide Suga, announced in Tokyo on Tuesday evening that they had reached broad agreement on arrangements for troops to train on each other’s territory.Australia and Japan agree in principle to defence pact that will increase military ties

Morrison sought to head off potential reaction from China, saying the in-principle agreement showed “a significant evolution” of the relationship between Canberra and Tokyo “but there’s no reason for that to cause any concern elsewhere in the region”.

“If anything, I think it adds to the stability of the region, which is a good thing,” he said.

Morrison said both sides believed “that the economic success of China is a good thing for Australia and Japan”. He added that Australia and Japan did not see China as a strategic competitor – an outlook that differs from that of their key security ally, the United States.

The defence pact, expected to be finalised when Suga visits Australia next year, simply indicated “Australia and Japan, as liberal, market-based democracies, have a lot in common and we have strategic interests in common”.

The Global Times, however, argued the deal “provides a new lever for the US to divide Asia” and that Japan and Australia “are recklessly taking the first step to conduct deep defence cooperation that targets a third party”.

The paper said Beijing was “unlikely to remain indifferent to US moves aimed at inciting countries to gang up against China in the long run” and would inevitably take countermeasures of some form.

“We suggest Japan and Australia exercise restraint on the way to form a quasi military alliance against China,” the Global Times said.

“They should better not create confrontations with China under the instigation of the US, or follow the US step to rope India in to contain China. They will surely pay a corresponding price if China’s national interests are infringed upon and its security is threatened.”

The reciprocal access agreement (RAA) is expected to pave the way for increased defence cooperation and joint exercises between Japan and Australia – including, potentially, in the South China Sea.

Once the RAA is finalised and then approved by Japan’s parliament, it will mark the first time in six decades that Tokyo has approved a deal permitting foreign troops to operate on its soil.

The yet-to-be-released document will clarify the legal status of the visiting force of one party in the territory of the other party. It will cover issues such as entry and departure arrangements, customs duties and taxes, and criminal jurisdiction.

But it remained unclear on Wednesday precisely how Australia and Japan had resolved a key sticking point during six years of negotiations: whether Australian troops would potentially face the death penalty if convicted of serious crimes while in Japan.

Japan’s justice system retains capital punishment for cases of multiple murder or aggravated single murder but Australia opposes the death penalty.

Australia and Japan have agreed to a mechanism to resolve the issue on a case-by-case basis, the ABC reported.

Guardian Australia understands the mechanism ensures the international legal obligations of both sides are respected, but the details will be only released after the legal text is finalised.

The president of the Law Council of Australia, Pauline Wright, said she was “concerned about the idea that it would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis”.

“What the Australian people would expect is that all of our troops are protected no matter what from the death penalty as a potential punishment,” she said.

“Australia has long opposed the death penalty, and in most of our agreements with international governments we’ve ensured that the death penalty can’t be imposed on Australians overseas in whatever capacity and we want to see that same measure apply to our troops serving overseas.”Simon Birmingham urges China to respect ‘spirit’ of new Asian trade pact

The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, issued a call on Wednesday for the Chinese government to agree to “respectful, mutually beneficial dialogue”.

Frydenberg said Australia was committed to maintaining a strong and productive relationship but it was natural that their “different political systems and different values means we will not always agree”.

Both countries stood to lose from a deteriorating trade relationship, he said.

The trade minister, Simon Birmingham, said Frydenberg was “reinforcing the same points that I, the prime minister and others have made time and again” about the desire for constructive dialogue.

He told Sky News “the ball is very much in China’s court” in terms of responding to the request for talks.

China’s foreign ministry rejected that view on Tuesday, saying the responsibility for the rift in relations “doesn’t lie with China at all” and it was up to Australia to take steps to increase mutual trust.

Zhao Lijian, the foreign ministry spokesperson, said some people in Australia with “Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice” had taken “a series of wrong moves related to China”.

He cited the Australian government’s comments on Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan, its early moves to ban Chinese telco Huawei from the 5G network, its accusations against China of foreign interference in Australia, and its forthright public call for a global inquiry into the Covid-19 origins.

The Morrison government has repeatedly said it will “stand firm” in protecting Australia’s national interests and speaking up for its values.

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The second 9wave: New more lethal Covid-19 strain not showing up in tests, lasts longer

Tariq ButtNovember 16, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Leading pulmonologist Dr Shazli Manzoor says a new COVID-19 strain does not show up in tests, is very severe and lasts longer than in the previous wave. “The virus has mutated and…ShareNext Story >>>

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ISLAMABAD: Leading pulmonologist Dr Shazli Manzoor says a new COVID-19 strain does not show up in tests, is very severe and lasts longer than in the previous wave. “The virus has mutated and its lethality has increased in Pakistan,” the federal capital’s most sought after ICU and COVID-19 specialist disclosed during a chat with The News.

“Self lockdowns and minimal interactions must be observed and standard operating procedures [SOPs] must be followed without the loss of even a moment.”

Another expert, Dr Kaleem, agreed with the opinion of Dr Shazli Manzoor and said that his views should be taken very seriously because of his standing. He said that the disastrous impact of the second wave can only be alleviated to some extent by taking precautions.

Dr Shazli Manzoor, who attends to more than 100 patients every day apart from those admitted in hospital, said over the past three days, he he has seen an unprecedented spike in the number of coronavirus patients. Beds are filling up fast and ventilators are in short supply in the capital, he said. He added that there was no age limit for the new patients as children as young as one year, the old and young, men and women were now falling victim to the pandemic.

The specialist said that it was currently the flu season, and a COVID-19 attack along with the flu becomes a very deadly combination. He said that the next eight to ten weeks were very critical and it would be a great challenge for the health system to bear the brunt of new coronavirus patients. During this time, preventive SOPs have to be enforced to the maximum possible extent, he said.

Dr Shazli Manzoor was of the view that mere smart lockdowns in different areas was no solution. Not only would social but physical distancing of three-four meters would have to be maintained to avert the spread of Covid-19. This has to be enforced quickly considering the pace of the spread of the virus.

He did not approve of the idea of allowing wedding ceremonies in open spaces because people could easily get pneumonia due to the cold weather. “I have received patients who attended such weddings and fell ill.”

The specialist said that working from home, virtual meetings and online activities must be encouraged during this crucial period. He said that the opening of schools, colleges and universities have also helped spread COVID-19.

“Almost one-third of the patients have been found to be young,” he said, adding that very small classes may be introduced only when physical distancing could be ensured and other precautions strictly observed.

Dr Shazli Manzoor said that businesses like shopping malls, restaurants etc., have to be discouraged to a considerable degree in view of the fast spreading scourge. The specialist said that the only way to save oneself from COVID-19 was to avoid attending weddings and other parties, avoid going to shopping malls and restaurants and not engaging in activities where a lot of people get together. What is most essential is that masks must be worn and hands should be frequently washed. People who are taking the virus lightly are committing a grave mistake, he said.

He added that when in July the situation had improved, the experts had predicted that there would be an upsurge after a few months. “In fact, the second wave hit several countries, including the European states, before it struck Pakistan somewhat late. We had given the good news in August that we had been successful against Covid-19 but experts had warned about a second wave.”

Dr Shazli Manzoor said that the opening of tourist spots also helped spread the virus. “I have even received patients who got infected during their visits to areas such as the Khunjerab Pass and other mountainous tourist destinations in Pakistan. Such people stayed in hotels that were previously occupied by others who might have been COVID-19 patients.”

Young users of internet

 BBC Homepage

Social media: How can we protect its youngest users?

By Talia Franco
BBC ClickPublished3 days ago

Child on phone

Children searching for content relating to depression and self-harm can be exposed to more of it by the recommendation engines built in to social networks.

Sophie Parkinson was just 13 when she took her own life. She had depression and suicidal thoughts.

Her mother, Ruth Moss, believes Sophie eventually took her own life because of the videos she had watched online.

Like many youngsters, Sophie was given a phone when she was 12.

Ruth recalls discovering soon after that Sophie had been using it to view inappropriate material online.

Sophie Parkinson and mother Ruth Moss
image captionSophie Parkinson, pictured here with her mum, killed herself six years ago aged 13

“The really hard bit for the family after Sophie’s death was finding some really difficult imagery and guides to how she could take her own life,” she says.

Almost 90% of 12 to 15-year-olds have a mobile phone, according to the communications watchdog Ofcom. And it estimates that three-quarters of those have a social media account.

The most popular apps restrict access to under-13s but many younger children sign up and the platforms do little to stop them.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) thinks the tech firms should be forced by law to think about the risks children face on their products.

“For over a decade, the children’s safety has not been considered as part of the core business models by the big tech firms,” says Andy Burrows, head of child safety online policy at the charity.

“The designs of the sites can push vulnerable young teenagers, who are looking at suicide or self-harm, to watch more of that type of content.”

Recognise and remove

Recently, a video of a young man taking his own life was posted on Facebook.

The footage subsequently spread to other platforms, including TikTok, where it stayed online for days.

TikTok has acknowledged users would be better protected if social media providers worked more closely together.

But Ruth echoes the NSPCC’s view and thinks social networks should not be allowed to police themselves.

She says some of the material her daughter accessed six years ago is still online, and typing certain words into Facebook or Instagram brings up the same imagery.

Facebook announced the expansion of an automated tool to recognise and remove self-harm and suicide content from Instagram earlier this week, but has said data privacy laws in Europe limit what it can do.

Other smaller start-ups are also trying to use technology to address the issue.

SafeToWatch is developing software that is trained by machine-learning techniques to block inappropriate scenes including violence and nudity in real-time.

image captionSafeToWatch is designed to detect explicit photos

It analyses the context of any visual material and monitors the audio.

Then company suggests this provides a balanced way for parents to protect their children without intruding too deeply into their privacy.

“We never let parents see what the kid is doing, as we need to earn the trust of the child which is crucial to the cyber-safety process,” explains founder Richard Pursey.

‘Frank conversations’

Ruth suggests it’s often easy to blame parents, adding that safety tech only helps in limited circumstances as children become more independent.

“Most parents can’t know what exactly goes on their teenager’s mobile phone and monitor what they have seen,” she says.

And many experts agree that it is inevitable most children will encounter inappropriate content at some point, so they need to gain “digital resilience”.

“Safety online should be taught in the same way as other skills that keep us safe in the physical world,” explains Dr Linda Papadopoulos, a psychologist working with the Internet Matters safety non-profit.

“Parents should have frank conversations about the types of content kids might encounter online and teach them ways to protect themselves.”

She says the average age children are exposed to pornography is 11. When this happens, she advises, parents should try to discuss the issues involved rather than confiscating the device used to view it.

“Take a pause before you react,” she suggests.

© 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. 


modified on12 PM-14 Nov,2020

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday presented a dossier containing details of India’s state-sponsored terrorism being carried out in Pakistan.
“Today we have irrefutable facts that we will present before the nation and International community through this dossier,” said the foreign minister in a press conference along with Director General Inter Services Public Relations Major General Babar Iftikhar at the Foreign Office.
The press conference comes a day after the ISPR said that the Pakistan Army inflicted substantial losses on Indian troops. It had also said that the losses were also reported by the Indian media.
“You can see a pattern of constant ceasefire violations,” said Qureshi, adding that the dossier contains many details and some of them will be used at the “time of need”.
“World knows that when Pakistan was busy and partnering in world peace, India was surrounding Pakistan with a web of terrorism,” said the country’s top diplomat.
“India was allowing its land to be used against Pakistan for terrorism,” said the foreign minister. He added that New Delhi not only used its own soil but also made use of neighbouring countries to “attack Pakistan”.
The foreign minister said that India that used to claim itself as the world’s biggest democracy due to its actions is becoming a “rogue state”.
“We have information and evidence on which we can say that India is promoting state terrorism,” said Qureshi. He added that India has developed a plan to destabilise Pakistan.
The country’s top diplomat said that the information was “not new” for him but “time” had come for Islamabad take the nation and international community into confidence.
“I feel that by remaining more silent it will not be in [favour] of Pakistan and the peace and stability of this region,” said Qureshi.
‘India has there objectives’ in Pakistan
Foreign Minister Qureshi explained that India has three objectives in Pakistan which includes causing problems in country’s step towards peace, economic and political instability.
“Their first objective is to create hinderance in Pakistan’s move towards peace, ” said the foreign minister. He added that New Delhi has not accepted that Pakistan has defeated terrorism and is moving towards peace.
The minister said to achieve this New Delhi was promoting “nationalism and sub nationalism” in Gilgit Baltistan, erstwhile FATA and Balochistan.
Qureshi said the second objective for India was to ensure that Pakistan does not become economically stable.
“A wall is created to our path towards prosperity,” said Qureshi. He cited the example of the FATF’s plenary meeting saying India was trying to push Pakistan to the blacklist.
“Their third objective is political instability.


Having exposed society’s dysfunction, the COVID-19 crisis invites us to rethink our future.

Albert Camus’ novel The Plague starts with rats dying, followed by a tsunami of human deaths. The town’s leaders are reluctant to acknowledge the epidemic at first but are soon forced to take the situation seriously. With martial law imposed, no one is allowed to enter or leave the city. Being unable to communicate with or see loved ones weighs heavily on everyone – for some, more than the threat of death itself. Law and order quickly break down. As the plague continues to ravage the town, funerals turn into rush jobs, with no ceremony or emotion. The first “serum”, a kind of vaccine, turns out to be a failure. Eventually, a better version allows the quarantine to be lifted.  

Doesn’t this story sound familiar? A very similar scenario is playing itself out right now. Camus was trying to describe how human beings respond to and live with a completely absurd death sentence – death being part of the cycle of life. Perhaps was he also trying to show how little it takes for a society to fall apart?

In 1947 (the publication date of Camus’ novel), we got a strong reminder of the unpredictability of life, as well as concern for how humanity was evolving. But attention wasn’t paid. The 2011 movie Contagion, directed by Steven Soderberg, provided a more modern warning about the precariousness of the human condition. Many of its scenes hit very close to home. The movie tracks the arrival of a fictional virus that ends up killing millions of people worldwide. The outbreak sends officials from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organisation scrambling to figure out the origins of the virus, how it spreads and how to find a cure. And just like our current crisis, it takes much teetering before anyone realises the gravity of the situation. The film includes the economic struggles of ordinary people.

Will we learn from COVID-19?

The interesting question now is what the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic is going to look like. When the crisis subsides, will we go back to normal? Will we even want to? Or does COVID-19 provide us with an important learning experience?

Hopefully, a cure to coronavirus will be found. But whatever happens, we should keep in mind that the threat of infectious disease is not going away. Pandemics are not the mere imaginary product of a few artistic types. Frankly speaking, we are at a dramatic inflection point.

Our response to this pandemic will have an enormous effect on the future of humankind. More than anything, the coronavirus has highlighted existing political, economic and social dysfunctionalities. It has also shown the crisis of leadership. It is an invitation to make radical changes to the economy, our social behaviour and the role of government in our lives.

I would like to suggest two scenarios for our future: a rather pessimistic one and a more optimistic one. We could see parts of these scenarios overlap.

A pessimistic scenario

In crisis situations, most people tend to regress to a state of greater dependency. It usually results in a cry for the kind of leadership that can soothe collective fears and anxieties. It may explain a paradoxical phenomenon: Even highly incompetent leaders may rise in popularity at such times. Indeed, is the leadership of the most powerful countries in the world up to the present challenge? Can they be trusted? Unfortunately, too many of our leaders have proven to be quite ineffective. And with populations in a state of psychological regression, they may get away with it.

When the going gets tough, societies tend to withdraw instead of reaching out. Our sense of helplessness increases the appeal of national identity politics, with a move back to the nation-state. We can expect identity politics to become even stronger. In fact, this scenario is already happening, if we consider the way various countries are trying to acquire badly needed items to conquer the pandemic.

Sadly, this pessimistic scenario plays neatly into an agenda of totalitarian control – a fact that isn’t lost on autocratic leaders. For them, the pandemic is a convenient excuse to channel people’s growing sense of helplessness into autocracy. Populations may become more willing to hand over control to governments. As a rule, when we are frightened, we are more willing to cut down on civil liberties. Even when leaders pretend to be democratic, under the right conditions, the inner autocrat may emerge. There is also the potential for a search for scapegoats. After all, nothing unites a population better than an outside threat. Thus, apart from regressive processes, paranoid reactions can also come to the fore.

The infrastructure, technology and legislative framework for types of martial law have long existed. We must consider how these exceptional measures could easily become permanent. I am referring to such things as the abdication of personal liberty (even extrajudicial, indefinite detentions), censorship of the press and the internet (supposedly to combat disinformation), the denial of freedom of assembly, the tracking of everyone’s movements at any time and restrictions on travel. It may even include giving the state greater control over our bodies (as reflected in compulsory vaccination and other medical treatments).

Furthermore, this pessimistic scenario may involve reducing people’s sense of community through various social changes: pre-eminence of e-commerce (no more shopping in brick-and-mortar shops), the fading out of office space, a focus on online learning and play, as well as the remote viewing of sports and entertainment. The idea of Gemeinschaft – a society based on close social ties – may become a relic of the past.

Many of these developments were already underway, but the arrival of COVID-19 has greatly accelerated their acceptance and could render them permanent. We need to ask ourselves: How much of our lives and civil liberties do we want to sacrifice at the altar of a sense of greater security? Do we want to live in a world where human beings can rarely congregate? If social distancing becomes the norm, can we put up with the likely increase in isolation-induced depression, paranoid reactions, drug abuse and suicides?

An optimistic scenario

Crises do not necessarily only bring the forces of regression and paranoia to the fore; they can also create greater solidarity. As we have seen many times over, when people unite, miracles can happen. 

We are now on the cusp of many critical decisions. The pandemic should encourage us to reflect on the power of our collective will.

Despite the enormous number of jobs lost, could the pandemic be an opportunity to direct our energies to other kinds of activities? What parts of the economy would we like to restore, and what parts could we do without? Given the increasing concern about our planet and the disastrous effects of global warming, do we really need all this commuting, all this air travel?

From an evolutionary point of view, health comes from community. Human life doesn’t thrive in isolation. Being part of a community is important for our mental health. As it is, we are already living in much more distant ways than has ever been the case. Should we continue on this path? The pandemic could give us an opportunity to restore lost connections and create more interrelated, cooperative societies. The coordinated efforts of scientists all over the globe to find a cure for the coronavirus suggest such cooperation is possible.

The present pandemic could spur us to tackle issues that we have always been quite aware of but have preferred to ignore. It could be our chance to do something about the rise of dysfunctional leaders; to decrease socio-economic inequities; to really fight addictions; and to take measures to avert ecological collapse. First, we need to accept the reality of living in an interconnected world. We must develop a more “glocal” outlook, one in which we think globally and act locally.

Above all, the coronavirus crisis opens the door for us to create more compassionate societies – the kinds of societies that acknowledge how we are all connected and that our planet should be managed for the generations to come. Chief Seattle once said, “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” 

World bank report on economy

COVID-19 to Plunge Global Economy into Worst Recession since World War II

Per Capita Incomes to Shrink in All Regions
WASHINGTON, June 8, 2020 — The swift and massive shock of the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown measures to contain it have plunged the global economy into a severe contraction. According to World Bank forecasts, the global economy will shrink by 5.2% this year.1 That would represent the deepest recession since the Second World War, with the largest fraction of economies experiencing declines in per capita output since 1870, the World Bank says in its June 2020 Global Economic Prospects.
Economic activity among advanced economies is anticipated to shrink 7% in 2020 as domestic demand and supply, trade, and finance have been severely disrupted. Emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) are expected to shrink by 2.5% this year, their first contraction as a group in at least sixty years. Per capita incomes are expected to decline by 3.6%, which will tip millions of people into extreme poverty this year.
The blow is hitting hardest in countries where the pandemic has been the most severe and where there is heavy reliance on global trade, tourism, commodity exports, and external financing. While the magnitude of disruption will vary from region to region, all EMDEs have vulnerabilities that are magnified by external shocks. Moreover, interruptions in schooling and primary healthcare access are likely to have lasting impacts on human capital development.
“This is a deeply sobering outlook, with the crisis likely to leave long-lasting scars and pose major global challenges,” said World Bank Group Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu. “Our first order of business is to address the global health and economic emergency. Beyond that, the global community must unite to find ways to rebuild as robust a recovery as possible to prevent more people from falling into poverty and unemployment.”
Under the baseline forecast—which assumes that the pandemic recedes sufficiently to allow the lifting of domestic mitigation measures by mid-year in advanced economies and a bit later in EMDEs, that adverse global spillovers ease during the second half of the year, and that dislocations in financial markets are not long-lasting — global growth is forecast to rebound to 4.2% in 2021, as advanced economies grow 3.9% and EMDEs bounce back by 4.6%. However, the outlook is highly uncertain and downside risks are predominant, including the possibility of a more protracted pandemic, financial upheaval, and retreat from global trade and supply linkages. A downside scenario could lead the global economy to shrink by as much as 8% this year, followed by a sluggish recovery in 2021 of just over 1%, with output in EMDEs contracting by almost 5% this year.
The U.S. economy is forecast to contract 6.1% this year, reflecting the disruptions associated with pandemic-control measures. Euro Area output is expected to shrink 9.1% in 2020 as widespread outbreaks took a heavy toll on activity. Japan’s economy is anticipated to shrink 6.1% as preventive measures have slowed economic activity.
“The COVID-19 recession is singular in many respects and is likely to be the deepest one in advanced economies since the Second World War and the first output contraction in emerging and developing economies in at least the past six decades,” said World Bank Prospects Group Director Ayhan Kose. “The current episode has already seen by far the fastest and steepest downgrades in global growth forecasts on record. If the past is any guide, there may be further growth downgrades in store, implying that policymakers may need to be ready to employ additional measures to support activity.”
Analytical sections in this edition of Global Economic Prospects address key aspects of this historic economic shock:
• How deep will the COVID-19 recession be? An investigation of 183 economies over the period 1870-2021 offers a historical perspective on global recessions.
• Scenarios of possible growth outcomes: Near-term growth projections are subject to an unusual degree of uncertainty; alternative scenarios are examined.
• How does informality aggravate the impact of the pandemic? The health and economic consequences of the pandemic are likely to be worse in countries with widespread informality.
• The outlook for low-income countries: The pandemic is taking a heavy human and economic toll on the poorest countries.
• Regional macroeconomic implications: Each region is faced with its own vulnerabilities to the pandemic and the associated downturn.
• Impact on global value chains: Disruptions to global value chains can amplify the shocks of the pandemic on trade, production, and financial markets.
• Lasting scars of the pandemic: Deep recessions are likely to do long-term damage to investment, erode human capital through unemployment, and catalyze a retreat from global trade and supply linkages. (Published June 2)
• The implications of cheap oil: Low oil prices that are the result of an unprecedented drop in demand are unlikely to buffer the effects of the pandemic but may provide some support during a recovery. (Published June 2)
The pandemic highlights the urgent need for health and economic policy action, including global cooperation, to cushion its consequences, protect vulnerable populations, and strengthen countries’ capacities to prevent and deal with similar events in the future. It is critically important for emerging market and developing economies, which are particularly vulnerable, to strengthen public health systems, address challenges posed by informality and limited safety nets, and enact reforms to generate strong and sustainable growth once the crisis passes.
Emerging market and developing economies with available fiscal space and affordable financing conditions could consider additional stimulus if the effects of the pandemic persist. This should be accompanied by measures to help credibly restore medium-term fiscal sustainability, including those that strengthen fiscal frameworks, increase domestic revenue mobilization and spending efficiency, and raise fiscal and debt transparency. The transparency of all government financial commitments, debt-like instruments and investments is a key step in creating an attractive investment climate and could make substantial progress this year.
Download the June 2020 Global Economic Prospects report.
Regional Outlooks:
East Asia and Pacific: Growth in the region is projected to fall to 0.5% in 2020, the lowest rate since 1967, reflecting disruptions caused by the pandemic. For more, see regional overview.
Europe and Central Asia: The regional economy is forecast to contract by 4.7%, with recessions in nearly all countries. For more, see regional overview.
Latin America and the Caribbean: The shocks stemming from the pandemic will cause regional economic activity to plunge by 7.2% in 2020.For more, see regional overview.
Middle East and North Africa: Economic activity in the Middle East and North Africa is forecast to contract by 4.2% as a result of the pandemic and oil market developments. For more, see regional overview
South Asia: Economic activity in the region is projected to contract by 2.7% in 2020 as pandemic mitigation measures hinder consumption and services activity and as uncertainty about the course of the pandemic chills private investment. For more, see regional overview.
Sub-Saharan Africa: Economic activity in the region is on course to contract by 2.8% in 2020, the deepest on record. For more, see regional overview.

World Bank Group COVID-19 Response
The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. We are supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. We will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support over 15 months to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concession

Health green jackfruit flour can help with type 2 diabetes, and reduce cancer patients’ side effects from chemotherapy

Topic | Wellness

Mythily Ramachandran
Published: 8:15pm, 11 Nov, 2020
Updated: 9:39pm, 12 Nov, 20209

For Susan Eapen, a diabetic since 2008, managing blood sugar levels was a constant challenge. She tried the low-carb, high-fat keto diet, but gave it up after having dizzy spells. She cut down on her carbohydrate intake – using almond flour instead of wheat flour – and supplemented meals with eggs and vegetables. But preparing a daily meal tailored for her own needs was not easy.

“I found it exhausting to put in extra effort to make something for me,” said the retired banker from Trivandrum, in India’s Kerala state. After sharing the family meal, though, she had high blood sugar, felt tired and had a constant need to urinate.

Eapen’s life changed in 2018 after reading a newspaper report on Jackfruit365, a start-up company producing flour made from green unripe jackfruit that is freeze dried and powdered. James Joseph, the man behind this enterprise, was changing the perception of the cumbersome jackfruit growing in every backyard in Kerala.

Neutral in taste and odour free, the jackfruit powder is easy to use in any cuisine. Joseph commissioned a clinical study in 2016 by Sydney University’s Glycemic Index Research Service (SUGiRS) – one of the world’s best for studies on glycaemic index, which measures how fast and how much a food raises blood glucose levels. Foods with higher index values raise blood sugar more rapidly than foods with lower glycaemic index values.
Green jackfruit flour is made from unripe jackfruit that is freeze dried and powdered. Photo: Getty Images
The study showed that 30g of green Jackfruit365, about a cup, has a lower glycaemic load (17) than one cup of cooked rice (29) or two wheat rotis, Indian flatbreads (27).
Eapen ordered the jackfruit flour and has been mixing it into her batter to make appam and dosas.

“The flour helped control blood sugar without much effort. Unlike almond flour required for a low carbohydrate diet, this is affordable and easily available. Preparing meals is no longer an effort,” she says, adding she has been off diabetes medicines since 2018.

“My sugar levels are in control. I am no longer tired or waking up post midnight sweating profusely.”

Joseph commissioned another study that was published in the American Diabetes Association journal Diabetes in June this year, involving type 2 diabetes patients. Participants took 30g of green jackfruit flour daily as a substitute for an equal volume of rice or wheat flour. After 90 days, there was a significant decrease in their blood sugar levels.
Professor Oommen V Oommen adds a spoon of green jackfruit flour to his herbal drink every day. Photo: courtesy of Professor Oommen

Oommen V Oommen, a retired biology professor from the University of Kerala who has been diabetic for 15 years, also found the jackfruit flour helpful in lowering glucose levels.
“In three months, my readings dropped substantially,” said the 71-year-old, who adds a spoonful of the flour daily into his herbal drink.

“It helped in reducing my insulin dosage, from 14 to 10 units in the morning and from 10 to eight units in the evening. It’s not a medicine, but as a food supplement, it helps manage diabetes.”
Vinu Nair was able to control his sugar levels after taking green jackfruit flour with his food. Photo: courtesy of Vinu Nair
Vinu Nair, a marathon runner from Chennai in Tamil Nadu, India was surprised to find he had high blood sugar levels during an annual check- up. He started taking medicines for diabetes.

Then his paediatrician wife began to mix a small amount of the flour into the mix for their Indian breads. Within three months there was a considerable drop in his blood sugar readings. “That motivated me to continue,” says Nair. Not only are his blood-sugar levels and triglycerides under control; the flour’s high fibre content helps keep him regular. And in May, he stopped taking medicine for diabetes.

Dr Thomas Varughese, a senior consultant in surgical oncology and reconstructive surgery at Renai Medicity hospital, in Kochi, Kerala, says the jackfruit flour added to cancer patients’ diets also helped them through chemotherapy. Results of the study he did in 2018 were published in the magazine of the National Library of Medicine.
Oncologist and surgeon Dr Thomas Varughese prescribed green jackfruit flour to cancer patients’ diets. Photo: courtesy of Thomas Varughese
He prescribed 30gm of green jackfruit flour daily for his patients who were part of a study group.

“My patients’ biggest trauma is the side effects of chemotherapy,” said Varughese. “Chemotherapeutic drugs while being aggressive are also toxic. They also act on other rapidly dividing cells of the body, leading to low WBC (white blood corpuscles) count, hair loss, mouth and throat ulcers, respiratory infection, fungal infection and diarrhoea.”
Those who had the flour did not experience a decrease in their white blood cell count, and their gut mucosa was protected, Varughese said. The jackfruit flour cannot prevent hair loss or vomiting, though.
Jyothi Rajeev, a cancer survivor, found chemotherapy more tolerable after including green jackfruit flour in her diet. Photo: courtesy of Jyothi Rajeev
“When the WBC count is maintained above normal, patients can take food and water without any issues,” he says, adding that protection of intestinal mucosa prevents diarrhoea. Since chemotherapy-induced diarrhoea brings patients back to hospital for electrolyte supplements and nutrition, readmission costs are reduced.
Jyothi Rajeev, a breast cancer survivor, was unaware of jackfruit flour until Varughese prescribed it. Initially she mixed it with dosa batter and roti dough, but then started mixing it with water and drinking it in one shot.

“My chemotherapy was so smooth that I did not know how I reached the sixth cycle. Except for hair loss, there were no mouth ulcers, nor nausea or loss of appetite. I could go for my 5km walk every day,” she says.
Varughese said the idea of using jackfruit flour was an “accidental discovery” after he noticed that two of his patients were free from side effects during chemotherapy.
“They told me about including green jackfruit flour in their diet to control diabetes. I decided to try it with other patients. Being a vegetable product, it posed no harm.”

Those who did not have the flour reported side effects, but when they started to take it from the next cycle, they benefited, also.
“My patients lead an active life with regular walks. Even during Covid times they are continuing with chemotherapy. This flour has boosted their immunity.”

Joseph, who developed the jackfruit powder, is not surprised by the findings. “A Jackfruit tree in the yard extends human life by 10 years,” he says, recalling his uncle’s words, that jackfruit “works like a bottle brush for your intestinal walls”

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