Saturday, February 18, 2017

G20 FMs meeting concludes

The foreign ministers meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) concluded here Friday with participants affirming support for multilateralism after two days of intensive interactions.
German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said at a press conference shortly after the meeting ended that the participants agreed countries should work together to deal with the various challenges facing the world today.
"The meeting was very fruitful, indeed," Gabriel said.
Gabriel said the G20 played an increasingly important role in tackling global issues such as climate change and water scarcity, and such issues could only be tackled by working together, not by working in isolation.
The German minister also called for the establishment of an early warning mechanism so that the world would be better prepared to deal with global issues.
The meeting of foreign ministers, one of the serial ministerial-level meetings leading to the G20 Hamburg Summit in July, was held at the World Conference Center in Bonn.
The participants met on Thursday for the first working session focused on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted in September 2016 at the Hangzhou Summit.
They met for the second session on Friday to discuss issues about conflict prevention, post-conflict peace building, and how to strengthen cooperation with Africa.
The G20 is comprised of 19 countries plus the European Union (EU). The countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Britain, and the United States.

Chinese, Spanish FMs agree to boost ties

 China and Spain agreed to expand cooperation and enhance communication as the foreign ministers of the two nations met on Friday.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Spanish counterpart Alfonso Dastis on the sidelines of the 53rd Munich Security Conference, which opened on Friday afternoon.
Wang told Dastis that Spain, as an EU member, is a good friend and an important partner to China. China is an important trade and investment destination to Spain, and vice versa,
Bilateral economic and trade cooperation is continuously deepening and promising, Wang said.
China is ready to work with Spain to jointly implement the consensus reached by the leaders of both sides, maintain high-level exchanges, expand pragmatic cooperation, strengthen cultural exchanges and thereby to elevate their comprehensive strategic partnership to a new level, Wang said.
Dastis responded by saying Spain would like to strengthen high-level exchanges with China and deepen bilateral trade and investment cooperation.
Meanwhile, against the backdrop of international uncertainties, Spain is ready to enhance strategic communication with China, jointly push forward the globalization process and oppose protectionism.

Kolinda : Russia shouldn't be seen as enemy

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said Friday that Russia should not be seen as an enemy while relations with Russia should follow principles, local media reported.
Kitarovic made the remarks as she attended the Munich Security Conference (MSC), which which officially opened Friday afternoon in Germany, according to Croatia's news agency HINA.
According to the report, she said developing relations with Russia should follow two tracks.
One is defense of the principles of international law and the other is cooperation, including in the fields of fighting against terrorism, the Syrian issue, and in the stabilization of Southeast Europe, she said.
"We should not make Russia to be an enemy, but we must be very clear in the protection of the sovereignty and territorial integrity. And every country has the right to decide their future," she was quoted as saying.

Merkel committed to improving relations with Russia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged to remain committed to improving relations with Russia despite disagreements. She added that Russia and the West have a common interest in fighting terrorism.
“Over the past 25 years, we haven't been able to establish stable relations with Russia, but Russia is our neighbor, it's an EU external border,” Merkel said as cited by TASS news agency.
Merkel said she would not cease to be committed to maintaining good relations with Russia, despite differing opinions on various issues.
In particular, Merkel said, “it is important... to go on working in the framework of the Russia-NATO Council, and the common fight against Islamic terrorism.”
The West and Russia have “the same interests” in the fight against terrorism, and can cooperate on this issue, Merkel added.
Merkel also called for discussion on the idea of hybrid war at a session of the Russia-NATO Council.

Bees are facing a giant global crisis that threatens our food supply

Today at 4:26

Chinese FM move to cordial Japan

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during a meeting here with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida on Friday, urged efforts from both countries to bring bilateral ties back on the right track.
Wang and Kishida met on the sidelines of the Group of Twenty (G20) ministerial summit in Germany’s western city of Bonn.
Wang noted that 2017 and 2018 respectively mark the 45th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japan diplomatic ties and the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between China and Japan.
He said both countries should take the opportunity of these anniversaries, draw on past experiences on their relations, and work to consolidate the political foundation for bilateral ties, in a bid to bring bilateral ties back on the correct track.
Wang stressed that there are now both opportunities and challenges for improving China-Japan relations. He said the continous, negative moves made recently by Japan regarding major sensitive issues have caused disturbances to the improvement of bilateral ties.
He said only when Japan honors its commitments and adopts a responsible attitude, thus preventing the occurrence of incidents damaging the political foundation of the China-Japan ties can there be real improvement in relations.
Kishida said 2017 is a vital year for the China-Japan relations, expressing the Japanese side’s willingness to handle differences between both countries well. He said Japan would work to make events marking the 45th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japan ties a success, giving a boost to the improvement of bilateral ties.
Saying Japan attaches importance to the major concerns raised by China, Kishida reiterated Japan’s stance of not supporting claims of “two Chinas,” “one China one Taiwan,” and not supporting “Taiwan independence,” saying the stance would not change.

Golconda Masters 2017 Kunal Bhasin shines with a 66

Kunal Bhasin shines with a 66, in five-way lead with Mukesh Kumar, Abhijit Singh Chadha, Himmat Singh Rai & Khalin Joshi

Rookie Viraj Madappa fires day’s best 64
Hyderabad, February 17, 2017: Round two of the Golconda Masters 2017 witnessed a leaderboard logjam as five players shared the lead at seven-under-135. Australia’s Kunal Bhasin produced a masterclass five-under-66 to be the joint leader along with Mukesh Kumar (67) of Mhow, Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha (67), Delhi’s Himmat Singh Rai (68) and Bengalurean Khalin Joshi (70).

Reigning champion Ajeetesh Sandhu (67) was bunched together in tied sixth at five-under-137 along with Samarth Dwivedi (68), Angad Cheema (71), round one leader Sameer M Shaikh (74), Digvijay Singh (67), M Dharma (69) and Sri Lankan Anura Rohana (67).

Kolkata-based 19-year-old rookie Viraj Madappa also made an impact at the Hyderabad Golf Club (HGC) on Friday after he returned the day’s best score of seven-under-64.

The cut was declared at two-over-144. Fifty professionals made it to the money rounds.

Kunal Bhasin (69-66), a three-time winner on the PGTI, zoomed up from his overnight tied 13th courtesy a brilliant 67 that was punctuated by six birdies and a lone bogey. Kunal earned a birdie for almost driving the green on the 15th and also chipped-in for birdie on the fourth.

The 37-year-old Mumbai resident Bhasin said, “I hadn’t played from the start of the season till August last year as I had taken a break from the game for training on and off the course. When I came back in September I suffered a back injury. So that put paid to my hopes last season.

“But I feel my game and fitness are back on track now. I’ve worked on my mind and sharpened my mental aspect since the end of last year.

“I only had a bad stretch on the fourth, fifth and sixth in round one. I’m now nine-under over the last 30 holes with just one bogey since the sixth hole yesterday. It’s set me up well for the last two days.”

Mukesh Kumar (68-67) and Abhijit Singh Chadha (68-67) moved into the joint lead from overnight tied seventh having carded scores of 67. Chadha tapped-in for an eagle on the 10th on Friday.

Himmat Singh Rai (67-68) birdied all five par-3 holes and the 15th at the cost of a bogey and a double-bogey to gain three places from his overnight tied fourth.

Khalin Joshi (65-70), who was overnight second, also moved into the joint lead after a steady 70.

Haider Hussain (74-72), the lone professional from Hyderabad, missed the cut as he totaled four-over-146 to be tied 60th.

All six Hyderabad-based amateurs missed the cut. Rahul Ajay was the best performing amateur at eight-over-150. He was placed tied 79th.

Viraj Madappa’s smooth transition to the pro ranks

Teenaged rookie Viraj Madappa seems to have made a smooth transition from the amateur to the professional circuit. Madappa, India’s top amateur in 2015, had posted a creditable tied 31st finish in his debut event as a professional last week in Noida.

The six foot two inch tall golfer from Kolkata’s Tollygunge Club, who had six wins against his name on the amateur circuit, once again impressed in round two of the Golconda Masters as he shot the day’s best score of seven-under-64 to lie tied 13th at four-under-138 at the halfway stage.

It was a strong comeback for Viraj who began the week with a three-over-74 that had placed him tied 67th after round one. His error-free second round was highlighted by a magnificent tee shot on the 11th that set up a four feet birdie putt and a 25-feet birdie conversion on the fifth.

Viraj said, “I was more focused today compared to round one. I hit it long so that plays to my advantage here at the HGC which happens to be one of my favourite courses. I hit it close today, landing it within four feet on at least three occasions, to set up birdies. My short-game was also sharp.

“Last week when I made my debut as a professional, I was just getting comfortable with the new surroundings. It was different seeing a lot of new people around and playing alongside the likes of Gaurav Ghei and Himmat Singh Rai in my first event. These are people I have looked up to.

“I feel I’m more settled this week. Speaking to Shubhankar Sharma, whom I’ve known since my junior days, also helped me settle down.

“This year will be a learning curve as I have to see how the results work out for me after all the work I’ve put in. I feel I have the advantage of knowing most of the courses where the PGTI events are held.

“I also think that my temperament will be my strength. I wasn’t very calm on the course when I started playing golf but gradually I’ve learnt not to show my emotions during competition,” added Madappa, who admires golfers such as Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson and Anirban Lahiri.

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