Thursday, 9 May 2019

The world's population

"Around the world, death rates gradually decreased in the late 19th and the 20th centuries, with death rates in the developing world plummeting after World War II thanks to the spread of modern medicine. In much of the developing world the decline in death rates preceded the decline in birth rates by 20 years or more, resulting in record-high rates of population growth of 3 percent or even 4 percent a year. Since the 1960s birth rates have also been declining rapidly in most developing countries except those in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. This trend in birth rates in the developing world is comparable to what took place in Europe and the United States in the 19th century."

The world's population is growing—and aging. Very low birth rates in developed countries, coupled with birth rate declines in most developing countries, are projected to increase the population ages 65 and over to the point in 2050 when it will be 2.5 times that of the population ages 0-4. In 1950, there were 335 million children in the 0-4 age group and just 131 million people ages 65+. According to United Nations Population Division estimates for mid-2010, there were 642 million persons ages 0-4 and 523 million ages 65+. That is, of course, quite a change. The UN also projects that for the first time in history, the 0-4 age group will decline between 2015 and 2020, having peaked at around 650 million. The 65+ population is projected to exceed the 0-4 population during that same five-year period, rising from 601 million in 2015 to 714 million in 2020, although at the time that happens will depend on how fast birth rates in developing countries decline. 

World Trade

World trade fell at the end of last year as imports to and exports from China plummeted, a sign that higher tariffs and the threat of more to come are cooling global economic growth.The figures showed that late last year, U.S. efforts to revamp its trade relationships were increasingly disrupting the global trading system and the cross-border production lines that businesses have built over recent decades.

Webb will begin his new position in New Orleans in June after a long and successful career leading the World Trade Center Kentucky.During the same period, WTC-KY team secured a partnership with the University of Kentucky, Gatton College of Business and Economics to design and provide international training and certification to its MBA candidates. The Global Strategies and Commerce Certificate has provided over 200 future leaders across the commonwealth with the international business knowledge to grow professionally and to grow Kentucky trade.The latter program continues to build as the center has partnership agreements with Murray State University, where Webb is a founding board member of the Center for International Business and Trade. The WTC-KY also announced recently an agreement with the University of Louisville.Sandy Miles, the Hutchens Distinguished Professor at Murray State University, said: “Ed has been very instrumental in bringing international trade education to west Kentucky, and has been a significant partner in developing the MSU Center for International Business and Trade in Paducah. With deep gratitude for all Ed has done in west Kentucky, we know Ed will be extremely successfully in continuing to build key relationships and moving the dial in international trade in New Orleans, which has the potential to indirectly affect our area. As such, hopefully Ed’s new position opens the gateway for regional partnerships such as the Delta Regional Authority.”

Where countries have faced trade barriers and wanted them lowered, the negotiations have helped to liberalize trade. But the WTO is not just about liberalizing trade, and in some circumstances its rules support maintaining trade barriers — for example to protect consumers or prevent the spread of disease. At its heart are the WTO agreements which provide the legal ground-rules for international commerce. They are contracts, binding governments to keep their trade policies within agreed limits. Although negotiated and signed by governments, the goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business, while allowing governments to meet social and environmental objectives.

The system’s overriding purpose is to help trade flow as freely as possible — so long as there are no undesirable side-effects — because trade is viewed as important for economic development and well-being. This partly means removing obstacles, and also means ensuring that individuals, companies and governments know what the trade rules are and that they are transparent and predictable.
A third important side to the WTO’s work is the resolution of trade conflicts. Trade relations often involve conflicting interests. Agreements, including those painstakingly negotiated in the WTO system, need interpreting. The most harmonious way to settle these differences is through some neutral procedure based on an agreed legal foundation. That is the purpose behind the dispute settlement process written into the WTO agreements.

Fani Cyclone.

The Tropical Cyclone Fani which has thrown life out of gear in the coastal areas of India with its high impact on the Bay of Bengal has crossed Bangladesh coast near Chittagong. Gusty wind with speed 40-50 km per hour is expected at isolated places over coastal Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir, sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim.

 As per the, moderate to heavy rains is predicted over states of Assam, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. Heavy to very heavy rains with extremely heavy showers are also likely over the states of Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and Meghalaya.  Heavy rainfall to lash Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya on May 4th, 2019. 
The rainfall activities over the Northeast region would get intensified on May 4th and 5th, 2019, resulting in heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places over Assam-Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.

The cyclone intensified into a ‘severe cyclonic storm’ on April 30th, 2019 evening and could take the shape of an ‘extremely severe cyclone’ by May 2nd, 2019, the India Meteorological Department said. The defence forces are on high alert ahead of cyclone Fani. The Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and personnel of National Disaster Response Force and fire service have been deployed in vulnerable areas to help the administration in evacuations.
 A day after extremely severe cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ pummelled the entire coastline of Odisha causing extensive damages in several districts after making landfall near Puri, relief and restoration process to bring back life to normalcy has been undertaken on a war footing.
According to sources, relief works and restoration of electricity, water supply, roadways and telecommunication infrastructure in cyclone affected areas of Puri, Khurda, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur and Balasore districts which sustained maximum damage are being directly undertaken by officials of concerned departments and NDRF, ODRAF and Fire Services personnel.
NDRF DG Satyanarayan Pradhan informed that it is likely to take two to three days before situation is normalised. To expedite the restoration process, high tech equipments are also being roped in from nearby Andhra Pradesh.

As the cyclone knocked out power, more than 30 lakh electricity consumers have plunged into darkness in almost all cyclone-affected areas. Briefing about the situation, Odisha Energy Secretary Hemant Sharma said, “Power distribution infrastructure has entirely collapsed in the cyclone. As many as 10,000 poles have been damaged in Bhubaneswar alone.”
On restoration work, Sharma said “Restoration works to bring normalcy has been undertaken on a war footing. Electricity supply will resume in Balasore, Bhadrak, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj today while some parts of the State capital will also be provided with power supply today.”

Flood Kerala

The Amrita Hospital sent out medical relief teams of doctors and paramedics who provided round-the-clock medical care, conducting dozens of medical camps in hard-to-reach areas and treating thousands of patients. In some places, the teams had to deliver service and medical assistance by boat as the areas were so deeply flooded. And in the remote, hilly areas of Wayanad District, the teams had to hike in on foot to reach those in need. Tele-medicine and an ambulance van accompanied them were very helpful.

The Catholic Church has joined relief efforts as unprecedented floods and landslides continue to wreak havoc in India's Kerala state, killing 75 people within a week.
All 41 Catholic dioceses in the southern state have opened schools and other institutions to accommodate flood victims and are cooperating to send food, clothes and other relief materials to affected areas.
Thousands have fled their homes to reach safer places after incessant rain since Aug. 13 filled up reservoirs of Kerala's 33 dams to the brim, forcing authorities to open sluices. This left all 44 rivers to overflow and inundate homes, farms and roads and railways as floodwater gushed to the Arabian Sea on the state's western border.

"It is an extremely worrying situation," Kerala's Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told media on Aug. 15, noting that heavy rain was forecast for another two days.
A red alert has been sounded across the state as the heaviest rain and floods since 1924 continue, leaving about 75,000 people in relief camps and causing damage worth US$1.2 million to crops and properties.

What has drawn the world’s attention to this tragedy is the sheer scale of it. Estimates put the death toll between August 8 and 20 at 223. Overall, more than 400 people are presumed dead since the monsoon began in late May. The last time devastation on this scale was seen in Kerala, was back in 1924 when 1000 people were killed by heavy rain and floods.
In addition, over 10.28 lakh people were staying at 3700 relief camps across the state, primarily in Idukki, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Kochi and Pathanamthitta. Even those who managed to stay in their own homes, or who tried to leave for other places, didn’t have it easy. Electricity and water supply was cut off in large parts of the state due to water-logging. Cochin International Airport, one of the State’s three international airports, suspended operations till August 26. Water-logged tracks and damaged roads badly affected (or completely stopped) rail and road traffic in the above districts as well. 
Following the havoc, the Central government has categorised the situation in Kerala as an L3-level disaster—the highest disaster categorization under the National Disaster Management Guidelines. 

Flood Uttakhand

Uttrakhand, located in the geologically young Himalayan belt is an active seismic zone -5 (highest degree of danger), prone to earthquakes, landslides, avalanches and hailstorms. Given its riverine topography extremely vulnerable to flash flood, state had witnessed man-made disasters and natural calamities in four of the past seven years. Yet there is no effective disaster risk management plans put in place.

Himalaya one of the youngest fold mountain systems in the world is known for its poor soil stability in its steep slopes braided with gigantic rivers of high sediment carrying capacity, often plays havoc in its course. So Government can’t stop Ganga from flooding, but it can effectively prevent people getting washed away by the flood by putting effective mechanisms in place. Apart from the stability of soil in the region, other reasons the experts quote are – the unbridled expansion of the hydro-power projects and myopic construction of roads in the Himalayan region, to match up with the demands of ever increasing traffic in the area.
The tourist influx multiplied to 5.4million from 2.1 million in 2002- led to sudden mushrooming of large number of resorts and guest house, some of them were dangerously constructed on the banks of the river disturbing the river ecology. To attract more and more tourists the ecologically fragile and religiously sacred sites in the state began to empower it with every kind of luxury which ultimately clogged the ecosystem.

 The uphill areas have virtually been dazed and any thought of real estate activity would be stretching things a little too far. The impact has been negative even in the mid level areas where people are now keeping their hands of any real estate activity fearing for the worse.
While such a negative impact on the real estate market in the hilly regions of Uttarakhand is quite natural, real estate experts believe that the negative sentiment would be short lived as the area still offers a very good long term growth prospects. The state capital of Dehradun on the other hand has thankfully not been adversely affected by the rains or floods and the market sentiments remain strong. Dehradun is witnessing a good growth period in the residential real estate segment. Since the city has limited open space due to the forest reserves, property prices in Dehradun are likely to increase in the near future. Also since more and more people are investing in Dehradun as a holiday destination close to the hills, investing in Dehradun is bound to give you substantial returns in the long term. The average property prices in Dehradun for residential apartments are in the range of Rs. 2500 to Rs. 3000 per square feet.

The flash floods and the massive large scale destruction have made people aware of encroaching natural landscapes. The forest cover in Dehradun is unlikely to be altered that may trigger a good upside for the existing land and real estate projects. Dehradun is well connected to all parts of the country and is considered to be one of the safest cities due to its location at the foothills of the Himalayas.

The world's population

"Around the world, death rates gradually decreased in the late 19th and the 20th centuries, with death rates in the developing world...