EU Parliament to approve EU-Vietnam trade deal despite human rights “concerns”

euractive.com

By Jorge Valero | EURACTIV.com 0:02

A worker operates at Garment 10 company in Hanoi, Vietnam, 07 February 2020. Vietnam’s textile and garment industry expects to achieve 42 billion USD in export in 2020 . [EPA-EFE/LUONG THAI LINH]

The European Parliament is set to approve on Wednesday (12 February) a trade agreement with Vietnam, despite some MEPs and NGOs seeking to postpone their consent until the human rights situation improves in the country.

The agreement, concluded after six years of negotiations, would be the most ambitious deal signed with a developing nation.

It will eliminate 99% of the tariffs over a seven-year period and will reduce other non-tariff barriers for cars wines and spirits. It will also protect Europe’s geographical indications  on products including Champagne, Rioja and Parmigiano.

“The deal will give a boost to the prosperity both of the EU and Vietnam, and represents a great opportunity for European exporters and investors”, said Parliament’s rapporteur, Belgian conservative Geert Bourgeois.

Vietnam is known for its textile and technology exports, especially smartphones. Samsung represents around 20% of the goods the country sends overseas.

Vietnam and EU sign ‘milestone’ free trade agreement

The European Union and Vietnam on Sunday (30 June) signed a long-awaited free trade deal that will slash duties on almost all goods, an agreement that pushes back against a rising tide of global protectionism and hailed as a “milestone” by Brussels.

But human rights organizations and some political groups were calling to postpone the approval until the country improves further its human rights and labour conditions.

During the debate held in the plenary of Tuesday, political groups including the EPP, Socialists, the liberal Renew Europe group and conservatives spoke in favour of giving their consent to their agreement, while the Identity and Democracy, the Greens and the Left-GUE were against.

Following the Parliament’s blessing, the agreement must be approved by the Council. The investment protection agreement must also be ratified by the 27 member states.
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Ra mắt Văn phòng Đại diện Hiệp hội Năng lượng Sạch Việt Nam tại TP.HCM

Ngày 9/2/2020, Hiệp hội Năng lượng Sạch Việt Nam đã tổ chức Lễ ra mắt Văn phòng đại diện Hiệp hội tại Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh.

TS Mai Duy Thiện trao quyết định cho ông Hoàng Giang, Trưởng Văn phòng Đại diện Hiệp hội Năng lượng Sạch Việt Nam tại Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh

Đến tham dự buổi lễ có TS Mai Duy Thiện – Phó Chủ tịch Thường trực, Hiệp hội Năng lượng Sạch Việt Nam (VCEA) và đông đảo đại diện các doanh nghiệp, hội viên hoạt động trong lĩnh vực năng lượng tái tạo.

Phát biểu tại buổi lễ, ông Mai Duy Thiện cho biết, Việt Nam nằm trong khu vực nhiệt đới gió mùa, số giờ nắng bình quân trong năm từ 2.500 – 3.000 giờ; nhiệt độ bình quân năm trên 21 0 C; hơn 8% diện tích có tiềm năng gió rất tốt (tốc độ gió ở độ cao 65m là 7 – 8 m/giây)… Với lợi thế đó, Việt Nam xác định, đây là 2 nguồn năng lượng chính để phát triển điện sạch.
Tiếp tục đọc “Ra mắt Văn phòng Đại diện Hiệp hội Năng lượng Sạch Việt Nam tại TP.HCM”

Fast fashion giant H&M appoints former sustainability head as CEO; activists call for a different business model

eco-business.com 

Industry observers hope H&M Group’s new CEO, Helena Helmersson, will push for more durable fashion and steer the company away from overproduction.

In an appointment that created buzz within sustainability circles last week, Swedish fast fashion giant H&M named its former sustainability head and chief operating officer (COO), Helena Helmersson, to the top job.

Helena Helmersson

Helena Helmersson. Image: Mattias Bardå/ H&M Group

Helmersson is the 73-year-old company’s first female chief executive, but what has caught the eye of activists and fashion industry insiders is the 46 year-old’s career path in the company that she joined in 1997. Tiếp tục đọc “Fast fashion giant H&M appoints former sustainability head as CEO; activists call for a different business model”

Chuyến bay đặc biệt chở 30 công dân Việt Nam từ Vũ Hán về sân bay Vân Đồn

Rạng sáng nay, 10.2, chuyến bay đặc biệt HVN68 chở theo 30 người Việt Nam từ Vũ Hán (Trung Quốc) về nước đã hạ cánh tại sân bay Vân Đồn.
Phi hành đoàn và đội ngũ chuyên gia trên chuyến bay khởi hành từ Nội Bài đêm 9.2 /// Ảnh chụp màn hình

 

Phi hành đoàn và đội ngũ chuyên gia trên chuyến bay khởi hành từ Nội Bài đêm 9.2

Ảnh chụp màn hình
Máy bay Airbus A321 số hiệu chuyến bay HVN68 của Vietnam Airlines đã khởi hành lúc 21 giờ 55 phút tối qua, 9.2, từ Nội Bài, vận chuyển đồ cứu trợ của Chính phủ Việt Nam cho Chính phủ, người dân Trung Quốc và hàng hóa viện trợ của Vietnam Airlines ủng hộ các hãng hàng không Trung Quốc.

Tiếp tục đọc “Chuyến bay đặc biệt chở 30 công dân Việt Nam từ Vũ Hán về sân bay Vân Đồn”

10 Wuhan professors signed an open letter demanding free speech protections after a doctor who was punished for warning others about coronavirus died from it

People attend a vigil to mourn for doctor Li Wenliang on February 7, 2020 in Hong Kong, China.
People attend a vigil to mourn for doctor Li Wenliang on February 7, 2020 in Hong Kong, China. 
Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
  • An open letter signed by 10 Wuhan professors argues that the Chinese government needs to enforce its own freedom of speech articles in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.
  • The letter follows the death of Li Wenliang, a Wuhan doctor who was reprimanded by police for “making false comments” after warning people about the Wuhan coronavirus – which he later contracted.
  • The open letter, along with another letter signed by academics around China, demands that the government apologize to and compensate coronavirus whistleblowers and make Li a national martyr.

At the onset of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, local doctor Li Wenliang <a Tiếp tục đọc “10 Wuhan professors signed an open letter demanding free speech protections after a doctor who was punished for warning others about coronavirus died from it”

First childhood flu helps explain why virus hits some people harder than others

Date: February 4, 2020
Source:University of California – Los Angeles
Summary:Why are some people better able to fight off the flu than others? Part of the answer, according to a new study, is related to the first flu strain we encounter in childhood.
FULL STORY

Taking temperature of child (stock image). | Credit: (c) ladysuzi / stock.adobe.com
Taking temperature of child (stock image).
Credit: © ladysuzi / Adobe Stock

Why are some people better able to fight off the flu than others? Part of the answer, according to a new study, is related to the first flu strain we encounter in childhood.

Scientists from UCLA and the University of Arizona have found that people’s ability to fight off the flu virus is determined not only by the subtypes of flu they have had throughout their lives, but also by the sequence in which they are been infected by the viruses. Their study is published in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens. Tiếp tục đọc “First childhood flu helps explain why virus hits some people harder than others”

Clean Energy Investment Accelerator (CEIA) Southeast Asia – Thúc đẩy đầu tư năng lượng sạch tại Đông Nam Á

CEIA PROGRESS ACROSS SOUTHEAST ASIA

PHILIPPINES

  • CEIA led a deep-dive training workshop in November with the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (PHILRECA) entitled “Mobilizing Electric Cooperatives’ (ECs) Investment in Renewable Energy,” where CEIA trainers shared resources and tools like CEIA’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Calculator to help ECs develop plans to comply with the Philippines’ new on-grid RPS. 66 participants from 26 ECs joined the workshop, and all participants confirmed they gained confidence responding to the RPS by joining the workshop. Collectively, these ECs represent more than 3.7 million megawatt-hours of annual electricity demand, which is expected to mobilize 415 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity by 2030.
  • To promote broader replication of key learnings from our Philippines work, the CEIA team presented at the Unlocking Solar Capital: Asia Summit held during the Asia Clean Energy Summit in Singapore in October. The event brought together relevant solar and finance executives to discuss promoting bankable solar projects in Southeast Asia. Presenting alongside regional industry leaders like Sunseap, Sembcorp, and Sindicatum Renewable Energy, CEIA provided a comprehensive overview of corporate renewables procurement in Asia, with a focus on the Philippines.
      • As part of the second Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) partners meeting convened by the Philippine Climate Change Commission in November, CEIA expressed support in contributing to the Philippines’ “NDC Partnership Plan” to advance the government’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. In this regard, CEIA will continue its efforts to build the capacity of relevant national agencies to formulate bankable climate mitigation projects and access climate finance and investments, as well as strengthen resilience of critical infrastructure through clean energy solutions.

VIETNAM

  • CEIA led its sixth Renewable Energy Buyers Vietnam Working Group in December, bringing together 100 market participants involved in Vietnam’s corporate renewable energy market, ranging from multinational companies seeking to procure clean energy, to project developers and investors. Key topics included the Direct Power Purchase Agreement (DPPA) pilot program and the role of Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs) in Vietnam. Presentations can be accessed here.

Tiếp tục đọc “Clean Energy Investment Accelerator (CEIA) Southeast Asia – Thúc đẩy đầu tư năng lượng sạch tại Đông Nam Á”

APPLY NOW FOR THE 2020 ENERGY JOURNALISM INITIATIVE

COLUMBIA CENTER FOR ENERGY POLICY

We’re excited to announce  an open call for applications for the 2020 Energy Journalism Initiative, which will be held June 16-19, 2020, in New York at Columbia University. To apply, please complete our online application, and submit three samples of your work along with a letter of recommendation from your direct supervisor. Applications are due at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, February 16, 2020.

APPLY NOW

Rapid changes are underway in the energy sector, we’re approaching a presidential election in the U.S., and climate change is getting more attention than ever before. It is imperative that journalists are equipped with the knowledge to report on the energy sector with insight and nuance. They are key to improving the dialogue around energy and environmental issues, creating a well-informed public and helping public and private sector leaders make good choices about our energy future. Tiếp tục đọc “APPLY NOW FOR THE 2020 ENERGY JOURNALISM INITIATIVE”

Perceptions of climate related investment risk in Southeast Asia’s power sector

SEI.org

Given the growing international pressure to mitigate climate change and increasing fears around climate impacts, expectations of continued investment in fossil fuels in Southeast Asia’s power sector appear puzzling. This paper explores how power sector investors perceive climate-related risks and how they factor these risks into investment decision-making.

du Pont, P. Gueguen-Teil, C. and Johnson, O. (2020). Perceptions of Climate Related Investment Risk in Southeast Asia’s Power Sector. SEI Working Paper. Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm. http://www.sei.org/publications/perceptions-climate-investment-risk-southeast-asia-power-sector

Tiếp tục đọc “Perceptions of climate related investment risk in Southeast Asia’s power sector”

Indonesian environment ministry ends WWF partnership amid public spat

Forecasting the world in 2020

FT.com

Brexit was not stopped, populists made smaller gains than expected in May’s European parliament elections, and the S&P 500 beat our — and most other people’s — expectations. Along with Brazilian growth falling below the year before, the FT’s forecasting team got those predictions wrong for 2019, though Philip Stephens last year admitted he offered his forecast that Brexit would be reversed “as much in hope as expectation”.

Though the world may seem ever more unpredictable, four wrong answers was an improvement on our dismal eight the year before. And aside from Brexit, readers in our annual competition generally made the same mistakes we did — more than 70 per cent of you got the same three questions wrong. For a third straight year, though, the top-scoring readers beat the FT. Three tied on 19 correct answers out of 20. Tiếp tục đọc “Forecasting the world in 2020”

Southeast Asia in 2020: Issues to Watch, Part 1

CSIS.org

January 14, 2020

In this two-part series, Dr. Amy Searight, senior adviser and director of the CSIS Southeast Asia Program, previews five key issues to watch in Southeast Asia in 2020. This installment addresses U.S.-ASEAN relations, climate change and the imperiled Mekong, and domestic politics. The next installment will cover economic trends and developments in the digital space.

Can Trump Reset U.S.-ASEAN Relations?

Disappointingly, 2019 was a pretty bad year for U.S.-ASEAN relations. Trump had a promising start in his first year in office, hosting four Southeast Asian leaders in the White House, traveling to Vietnam and the Philippines to unveil his “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” vision, and holding a U.S.-ASEAN summit. But Trump’s interest in Southeast Asia has since appeared to wane considerably. Although Trump traveled to Vietnam in February for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, he later called Vietnam the “single worst abuser” in trade relations with the United States. In November, President Trump skipped the East Asian Summit (EAS) for the third straight year, sending National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien instead. Trump’s absence in Bangkok and the historically low level of diplomatic representation at the summit ruffled a lot of feathers within ASEAN and led most of the Southeast Asian leaders to snub the U.S.-ASEAN summit held on the sidelines of the EAS (only Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos attended at the leader level). ASEAN’s disenchantment with the level of U.S. engagement came just as China was gaining new traction in the region, with a revamped Belt and Road Initiative that appeared to address regional concerns and progress toward launching the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a trade agreement between ASEAN, China, and four other regional trade partners.
Tiếp tục đọc “Southeast Asia in 2020: Issues to Watch, Part 1”

Children to bear the burden of negative health effects from climate change

sciencedaily.com 

Date: January 27, 2020

Source: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Summary: The grim effects that climate change will have on pediatric health outcomes was the focus of a recent article.Share:

The grim effects that climate change will have on pediatric health outcomes was the focus of a “Viewpoint” article published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation by Susan E. Pacheco, MD, an expert at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

Pacheco, an associate professor of pediatrics at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, along with professors from Johns Hopkins Medicine and the George Washington University, authored a series of articles that detail how increased temperatures due to climate change will negatively affect the health of humanity. In the article authored by Pacheco, she shines a light on the startling effects the crisis has on children’s health before they are even born. Tiếp tục đọc “Children to bear the burden of negative health effects from climate change”