We look forward to high quality free trade agreement with New Zealand – Merkel

Newsroom24x7 Desk

angela merkel in new zealandGermany: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in her joint press release with New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key said that Germany looks toward intensification of mutual relations between the two countries. This came in as a follow up of her visit to in November last year, and Merkel stood determined to take the bilateral ties a step ahead. Reaffirming that this partnership was defined by shared values, vibrant political, economic, scientific and cultural engagement, strong people to people links and close cooperation on a range of international issues, Merkel welcomed the increased tempo of visits by senior political figures in both directions, as well as productive engagement on a wide range of global issues.

Chancellor said Germany looked forward to a continuing pattern of regular political level visits and dialogue with New Zealand and hoped this engagement would be supplemented from 2016 with the inaugural visit of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Fellow for Germany, to New Zealand. Extending forward the consistentcy in staying put with the agreement in 2014, Merkel stated that there had been an increasing breadth of discussion between the two governments. She said, ‘We have directed senior officials to continue to take regular opportunities to share perspectives and experiences on issues of mutual interest, in particular including international and regional political, economic and security matters. We appreciated the growing trade and investment ties between our countries. We welcomed the recent successful conclusion of negotiations between New Zealand and the European Union for the Partnership Agreement on Relations and Cooperation, which provides a formal structure for relations between New Zealand and the European Union.’

On EU’s stance pertaining to New Zealand, Merkel said, ‘We also warmly welcomed the announcement that the EU and New Zealand will start the process for negotiations to achieve swiftly a deep and comprehensive high-quality Free Trade Agreement, and we look forward to this taking place as soon as possible.’ Discussions between the two leaders ranged across the board of sectors, and Merkel spoke about this thus — Science and innovation engagement has gathered further momentum over the last year. Collaboration in medical robotics between the University of Auckland’s Bioengineering Institute and the German Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA has now achieved the status of an ICON project; and further joint scientific endeavour is under way, notably in agricultural sciences.
Yesterday, we both took part in the High-Level Opening Meeting of the 21st Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris at the invitation of French President Francois Hollande. Both countries strongly support the adoption of an ambitious, durable, comprehensive and legally binding agreement to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2°C above pre industrial levels and will work towards a successful outcome of the Conference. We also joined 37 other countries to support a Communiqué calling on the international community to eliminate inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies as a major contribution to climate change mitigation.

A cohesively strong partnership is what Merkel termed the bilateral ties with New Zealand, saying — shared values had reinforced mutual interest in close engagement on significant international developments, including on Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, international refugee and migration issues and relations with countries in Asia. We agreed on the importance of promoting the resolution of maritime disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law. We are committed to fully utilise the potential of the Working Holiday Programme. Our common interest in promoting peace and international security, as well as higher education, will be given tangible recognition through a New Zealand Prime Minister’s Peace and Security Scholarship for a German student to undertake Master’s study in New Zealand.

Another rainy week disrupts life in Chennai

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Chennai floodsChennai : Life has come to a standstill in Tamil Nadu in general, and places like Chennai, Puducherry and Kancheepuram in particular, as heavy rains have disrupted normalcy in these areas and drowned the entire region under a water deluge. Torrential rains and follow-up downpour is adding to the water base and respite from weather is not visible in immediate time frame. Meteorological department has predicted heavy to very heavy rains in the next four days. Continuous downpour has disrupted commuting, and state residents are stranded in water puddles around their habitation, totally dependent on rescue operations for basic survival.

Heavy rains have derailed life, the means of travel like air routes and rail lines are all under water-arrest resulting in airports declared shut till tomorrow, and railways disrupting services and mammoth cancellations becoming order of the day. Date collected from over a decade of meteorological record-keeping suggests that these rains over past so many weeks in Chennai have almost touched and is on the verge of surpassing a 100-year record with one day’s rainfall covering a month’s average. Data keeps mounting to new highs at the Met level, and citizens in these parts of Southern India are sinking deep in despair under the toll of rains, which is taking their restlessness to a new low with every passing rainfall.

Non-stop torrential rains since Monday night pounded several parts of Chennai and its suburbs and Puducherry. This further triggered an add-on deluge, which again disrupted the barely-recovered normalcy, and army and navy were additionally deployed in two suburban areas to undertake rescue on a war footing. The heavy downpour flooded areas in Vadapalani, Valasaravakkam and Nandamvakkam as nearby lakes overflowed into the city.

Central and state government are working in perfect tandem and rescue operations are in full swing. Today’s activities from rescue front includes — INS Airawat equipped with 5 Jamini boats, 20 divers, relief material, will reach Chennai sometime during the evening today. According to Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s take on the situation, armed forces and the NDRF personnel have been pressed into service and government assures all possible support and cooperation. Regarding state level updates, Chennai airport, Tambaram and Arakkonam air bases being flooded, fixed wing aircraft will land closest to Tirupathi. Chennai Airport will remain shut for operations till 6 am tomorrow. The Chennai corporation has released a few helpline numbers for people affected by the floods. The Tamil Nadu government has announced holiday for schools and colleges while most of all the factories and offices too are staying closed. By Tuesday noon, power supply was suspended in almost 60% of the city locations as a precaution against fatality due to shorting.

PM Narendra Modi met Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Venkaiah Naidu and took update on speed of relief and rescue operations personally. As residents in southern suburbs were the worst affected, thousands of people who went to the city for work on Tuesday were stranded at different points en route to their home after bus and train services stopped. Tambaram and Mudichur areas were maximum affected with hundreds of houses submerged in water. Southern suburban railway stations were flooded with people after many who had to reach further southern suburbs could not find vehicles. The main GST road, connecting city with southern districts is fully cut off from the main city and vehicles were seen floating on the road by Tuesday night.

Mizoram govt announces cash reward for info on terrorists

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mizoram forceAizawl : A cash reward for information terrorists in Mizoram has been announced by ruling government in the state. Mizoram government has announced a cash reward of Rs one lakh each for anyone giving information in connection with five terrorists of Manipur-based Hmar People’s Convention (Democrats) who were involved in the ambush of members of a state assembly committee on March 28.

The attack had rendered fatalities of force personnel as three policemen were killed in the ambush of team of state legislature’s committee. Terrorists had attacked police personnel and an encounter took place between terrorists and force personnel which resulted in fatal injuries to both sides. The great loss to police team stirred the government and thus triggered off search operation. Certain tip offs have been gathered, but specific information regarding Manipur and Lalchanwala terrorists is still wanting. The militants are – Thanglawmvel, Rinsang and Lalrohuol all of them from Manipur and Lalchawimawia and Jacob, both from Mizoram.

One of the leaders of the Hmar militants was an ex-police personnel. This person named Malsawmkima ambushed the team of assembly committee. He was the one who had deserted state armed police some time back. This militant was caught in the ambush and trapped in police net. Police force gunned him down in an encounter  on May 8 inside Manipur. In case of Reuben Lalrammawia, another militant involved in ambush, a similar scenario evolved when he got arrested on September 22 at Hmarkhawlien village in Assam while commander of the group Lalbiakliana was nabbed inside Manipur on October 16.

State Home Minister R. Lalzirliana said there could never be peace negotiations with HPC (D) unless the latter returned all weapons snatched from policemen in March 28 ambush. The cash reward is viewed as a motivating temptation for localites to shed their scare and come forward to share info which they have been holding, just in case.