Tag Archives: Business

Scandal over face mask business deals forces German MP from Angela Merkel’s party to quit — RT World News

Scandal over face mask business deals forces German MP from Angela Merkel’s party to quit — RT World News

German MP Nikolas Löbel, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party, will quit parliament and not seek re-election. The reason? A series of deals on protective face masks that landed Löbel around €250,000.

As the coronavirus pandemic took hold in Germany, a company owned by Löbel brokered deals between a Chinese face-mask manufacturer and healthcare companies in the cities of Heidelberg and Mannheim. The contracts netted the 34-year-old MP a cool €250,000 ($298,000), Der Spiegel reported on Friday.

Löbel, who initially defended his deal as “in line with the market,” was bombarded with calls to resign, and on Sunday announced that he would retire from politics at the end of August, and from the CDU and its sister party, the CSU, immediately.

Also on rt.com
‘I would take jab at any time’: German regional leader urges Berlin to use Russia’s Sputnik V in vaccination campaign

“Being a member of the German Bundestag and being able to represent my home city of Mannheim, there is a great honor and special moral duty,” he wrote in an apology statement to German media. “I take responsibility for my actions and draw the necessary political consequences.”

Löbel’s August retirement date wasn’t soon enough for his opponents, who continued to press for his immediate resignation. After a meeting on Sunday afternoon, his own party sided with the opposition, demanding that Löbel “complete this withdrawal from all offices and mandates” by the end of March. 

By Saturday evening, it was still unclear whether Löbel would honor his party’s demand.

Also on rt.com
Offices of senior German lawmaker in Merkel’s party raided over allegations he claimed huge fee in Covid mask deal – reports

Löbel is not the first CDU politician embroiled in a mask-supply scandal. Georg Nüsslein, a CSU lawmaker from Bavaria, has been accused of lobbying the government on behalf of a mask supplier last year, earning €660,000 ($800,000) that he then didn’t pay tax on. Nüsslein denied any wrongdoing, but resigned on Friday from his post within the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, and announced that he would not seek reelection in September.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Source link

Showers expected at several provinces after 1pm

Showers expected at several provinces after 1pm

Showers or thundershowers will occur at several places over Central, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, North-western and Western provinces after 1.00 p.m., stated the Department of Meteorology.  

Fairly heavy falls above 75 mm can be expected at some places. 

Several spells of showers will occur in Eastern and Uva provinces in the morning too. 

Misty conditions can be expected at some places in Central, Sabaragamuwa, Uva and Western provinces during the morning. 

General public is kindly requested to take adequate precautions to minimize damages caused by temporary localized strong winds and lightning during thundershowers.

Source link

China says manufacturing ‘greatness’ still 30 years away | China Breaking News | Top Stories | Political | Business | Entertainment

China says manufacturing ‘greatness’ still 30 years away | China Breaking News | Top Stories | Political | Business | Entertainment

  • March 08, 2021

Last year, manufacturing accounted for slightly over a quarter of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the lowest level since 2012.

Article source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56316943

Source link

How to Start an Electrician Business (Sutherland Shire, Australia)

How to Start an Electrician Business (Sutherland Shire, Australia)

How to start an electrician business (Sutherland Shire, Australia)

A step-by-step guide on how to start an electrical company.

Do you have any plans to turn your electrician skills into a business? Find out how to start.

If you have finished your apprenticeship or have worked as an electrician in the past, you may consider starting your own electrical business as a next step. Here is your guide to setting up your new company, ranging from legal documents to marketing and charging prices.

An electrical business is defined as a company that manufactures, supplies, or instals electrical equipment.

An electrician company is responsible for installing and maintaining the wiring and equipment in an electrical system. Since you are an electrician, you can do work in both residential and industrial buildings as well as construction sites.

How to launch an electrician company.

To help you start a successful electrician company, follow this step-by-step guide.

  1. Determine your target market. Residential electrical work, industrial electrical work, construction electrical work, and emergency electrical work are all choices for you, depending on your area of expertise.
  2. Put together a business plan. Develop a strategic plan that explains the projected profits and expenditures, along with a market research and sales strategy. In addition to the business plan, you will also need to decide how much money you will need in the upfront costs and how much you can charge customers.
  3. Think about the different loan options. You will need to apply for a business loan or a personal loan depending on how much money you have and the equipment you want to purchase. New electrician companies can not be able to secure a business loan.
  4. Review the market structure. It is vital to have your business structure in order from the outset, as you will find yourself facing unforeseen tax obligations if you later alter your business structure. Electrical contractors should start a company as a Sole Trader because it is an easy and inexpensive way to go about business, but other frameworks are possible too.
  5. Be aware of your legal responsibilities. You will want to put your deal with customers in writing, so you are safe in the event something goes wrong. It is necessary to provide a separate contract that specifies the terms and conditions of any subcontractors or employees you recruit.
  6. Put the services on the market. Your marketing approach will be guided by your target market. Will you like to have construction workers in the building industry on your team? Next, you may want to make connections with the people in your business. Would you like to involve residential and commercial clients in your ad campaign? Once you’ve invested more in logo and branding, you may want to consider developing and promoting your services on platforms like Airtasker and hipages.
  7. Determine the name and logo for your company. Your electrician business’s name is its brand or trademarked name. It is important that you choose a business name that will help you convey the image you want to project to customers. When you have found a company name that you want, it is important that you make sure that it is available and register it with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). You can use various graphic design tools and services, such as logo design tools and services, to design a logo you can use to market your company.

Courses, certificates, and licences

Before you start your own company, make sure you have the requisite qualifications and experience as an electrician to operate on your own.

To become an electrician, you can take a number of routes. In most cases, electricians must complete a four-year apprenticeship programme. A Certificate III – Electrotechnology Electrician may also be expected of you. The course costs an average of $14,500.

After that, you’ll need to get an electrical licence so you can work without supervision. Different government departments are in charge of licences depending on the state or territory you’re in:

In certain jurisdictions, you must first seek insurance coverage before applying for a licence. You cannot apply for a licence in Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria, or Tasmania unless you have proof of insurance, while it is not required in other Australian states.

To start an electrician company, you’ll need the following equipment and software.

To start your own electrician company, you’ll need a few different tools and equipment. This contains the following:

  • Tapes for electrical links
  • Pliers with insulation
  • Screwdrivers with insulation
  • Cutters of cables
  • Strippers with wires
  • Knives for self-defense
  • spanners are a form of wrench
  • Testers for voltage
  • Hexadecimal keys
  • Hammers with claws

What is the best way to set up your electrician business?

You must determine how you will organise your organisation before you start it. We’ve written a detailed guide to market structures here, but here’s a fast overview of the various forms to consider:

Sole Proprietor. For electrician companies, this is the most common form of business structure. A sole trader is responsible for all aspects of their business, including all legal aspects, as well as all gains, losses, credit, and debts.

Collaboration. A relationship is a legally binding arrangement between two or more individuals. This community of individuals shares revenue, losses, and obligations. It is more costly to start than a Sole Tradership.

The business. A company is a large business that is run and controlled by its board of directors. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission controls companies (ASIC). Directors are responsible for debts and losses in a company.

Is it appropriate for me to have some legal documents?

To start your company and connect with customers, you can need a few different legal documents.

One of these is your Terms and Conditions, which dictates how you work with customers and what you are and aren’t responsible for. When you send a customer a quote, it’s customary to have Terms and Conditions. It will outline the services you will provide, your rates, payment conditions, and customer assurances, among other items.

Agreements with employers or subcontractors. If you take on additional staff, you will need to set out important aspects of their work including their hours, pay rates, superannuation, employee and employer obligations, and termination.

Where do you look for customers?

Your approach to finding customers will be decided by your area of expertise and target market. If you want to work as a subcontractor on construction projects, you’ll need to network with your current connections in the industry, but you won’t need to spend a lot of money on a logo and branding.

Source link

First batch of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX Facility arrive in Sri Lanka – Lanka Business Online

First batch of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX Facility arrive in Sri Lanka – Lanka Business Online

Today, Sri Lanka received the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility. This delivery of 264,000 doses is part of the first wave of arrivals that will continue in the coming weeks and months; culminating in 1,440,000 doses arriving through May. The additional doses to cover 20% of Sri Lanka’s population will arrive in the second half of 2021. All these doses are donor-funded and provided at no cost to Sri Lanka.

COVAX is a global vaccine initiative co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), funded by donations from governments, multilateral institutions and foundations; with UNICEF leading on procurement, logistics, and storage globally in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. COVAX is working in partnership with the World Bank, ADB, member countries, civil society organizations, manufacturers, and others to fulfill its mission to help end the acute phase of the pandemic as quickly as possible by enabling global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility to arrive in Sri Lanka is the Astra Zeneca/Oxford vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII). This is part of COVAX’s commitment to provide 8.4 million vaccine doses to cover 20% of Sri Lanka’s population.

The Minister of Health, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, emphasized the vital role COVAX Facility vaccines play in the Government’s commitment to vaccinate eligible Sri Lankans, starting with vulnerable groups like those over 60 years old and people residing in high case reporting areas. “Sri Lanka is one of the first countries to initiate vaccine roll out. We thank our partners for their contributions to protect our population against COVID-19 and for their continuous collaboration in strengthening the country’s capacities and building a more resilient health system for better preparedness and response to future health emergencies”.

It is in every country’s best interest to work together in solidarity to ensure that frontline health workers and older people in all countries start receiving the vaccine as soon as possible. COVAX is a key component of this call to action, which is at the heart of WHO’s vaccine equity campaign and declaration.

WHO Special Envoy on COVID-19, Dr Palitha Abeykoon, said: “this is a critical moment in our effort to fight COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. This is aligned with the WHO Director General’s call to the global community for ensuring the start of vaccination in 100 countries within the first 100 days of the year. Global solidarity would be crucial for its success. Now we must quickly and efficiently vaccinate according to our defined priorities because protecting the vulnerable will have the greatest public health impact in terms of reducing COVID-19 mortality.”

“The UNICEF-led supply operation to Sri Lanka, on behalf of the COVAX Facility, is part of one of the biggest vaccine procurement and supply operations in history. As the largest single vaccine buyer globally, UNICEF is geared to deliver 2 billion COVID-19 vaccines in 2021″ said the UNICEF Representative a.i Emma Brigham. “These supplies mean so much for the future of the children and families in Sri Lanka, and UNICEF hopes that life can start returning to normal, including that all children will be able to return to school and learning” she said.

WHO Representative to Sri Lanka, Dr Razia Pendse, noted that: “the vaccines are a major breakthrough and a critical addition to our tool kit to fight COVID-19; they are however, not the silver bullet. Vaccination combined with public health and social measures will help us end the pandemic. It is important that as vaccination is rolled out, we continue to stay the course with each one of us committing to practicing known preventive measures to reduce the spread of the virus; such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, washing our hands with soap, and avoiding crowded and enclosed spaces even when we have received the vaccine. Now is the time to be more vigilant and not let our guard down.”

Not only will vaccines help save lives and stabilize health systems, but they can help to drive a global economic recovery. With a diverse portfolio of vaccines suitable for a range of settings and populations, COVAX is on track to meet its goal of delivering at least 2 billion doses of vaccine to participating countries around the globe in 2021, including at least 1.3 billion donor-funded doses to the 92 AMC developing countries. This is a prime example of the world coming together through investments in research, manufacturing capacity, procurement, and investment in delivery to achieve results at an unprecedented speed.

Welcoming the arrival of 264,000 doses of Covishield vaccines made in India, the High Commissioner of India, Gopal Baglay, said: “it is a matter of great happiness that the first consignment of vaccines to Sri Lanka under the COVAX Facility has arrived from India. Ramped up vaccine capacities in India, the global leader in vaccine production, benefit humanity the world over in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. India remains committed to strong cooperation with the international community to this end”.

Commenting on the delivery of this first batch from COVAX, the Ambassador of the European Union in Sri Lanka, Denis Chaibi, said: “this is great news for the population of Sri Lanka. Ensuring access to safe and efficient vaccines for all, regardless of where you come from, is key to fight this global pandemic. COVAX is best placed to help us achieve this objective. COVID-19 knows no boundaries, and the world will only be safe when everyone is safe. Therefore, the European Union, jointly with its Member States and the European Investment Bank EIB under “Team Europe”, has invested massively – more than 2.2 billion EUR – to support this global solidarity mechanism. This comes in addition to the 5 billion LKR the EU specifically allocated to Sri Lanka to help with addressing the health and socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Led by the Government of Sri Lanka, the national response to the pandemic in Sri Lanka has seen excellent multilateral, bilateral and civil society collaboration and partnership.

UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, noted the importance of solidarity and partnership in defeating the virus. “Solidarity will save lives, protect people and help defeat this devastating virus. By coming together, the global community has made a promise to ensure there is no inequality in the distribution of the vaccine. COVAX ensures the most vulnerable receive the vaccine, and collectively we must strive to deliver on the promise of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda of leaving no one behind”.

The arrival of this initial batch is the result of an extensive planning process; over the past several months. COVAX partners have been supporting the Government of Sri Lanka in COVID-19 vaccination readiness activities. The Government’s commitment to slowing and preventing the spread of COVID-19 is reflected in their early vaccine roll out and continued efforts to distribute vaccines equitably.

Source link

Nicola Currie’s passion for baking turns into decorated north-east business – Nickytams Cakes ‘n’ Bakes

Nicola Currie’s passion for baking turns into decorated north-east business – Nickytams Cakes ‘n’ Bakes

Mother’s Day is fast-approaching, so it’s time to start searching for a gift to commemorate the special day.

While flowers and indulgent treats are always popular choices, Nickytams Cakes ‘n’ Bakes combines the two to create mouth-watering cupcake bouquets.

Based in Daviot, Nickytams Cakes ‘n’ Bakes is run by mum-of-two Nicola Currie, who has always had a passion for baking.

The talented baker launched her business in March 2015 and has become well-known in the area for her tasty treats, which not only include her ever-popular cupcake bouquets, but also a range of cheesecakes, rocky roads, brownies, cookie bars and tablets.

Unsure about what to gift the special woman in your life this Mother’s Day? Well, we caught up with Nicola to find out all about what she offers and her background in baking.

Your cupcake bouquets have really caught our eyes, are they your best-selling product?

Yes, my cupcake bouquets are by far my best-selling product, with amazing feedback being received regularly. Even after four years, they are still one of my favourite things to make.

A close second would be my chocolate brownies, which have become renowned locally, always selling out very quickly.

You clearly have a knack for baking. Has it always been something you’re fond of?

Well, my grandfather was a fantastic baker – who made lots of special wedding and celebration cakes – and I loved to help him whenever I could.

Nickytams Cakes ‘n’ Bakes was formed in March 2015, with the full support of my family. The business name came from when I was a child when my late grandparents nicknamed me ‘Nickytams’. So in their memory, I decided to name the business that.

After having my second son, I wanted a way to be at home and also progress my skills as a baker, as well as earning a little for the household. Through hard work and dedication, I became more confident and efficient by way of continued learning and training in the field of baking and cake making.

The business has grown progressively over the last five years and now requires my full-time commitment. Nickytams Cakes ‘n’ Bakes is fully insured, verified and regularly inspected by Environmental Health. I also hold food hygiene, hazard analysis and critical control points, and allergy awareness accreditation.

Balancing your time between your family and business must be challenging. Do you have any help at all?

It can definitely be challenging, especially during these times where I need to focus on homeschooling as well. However, I often rely on my mother to help out in the kitchen. My husband also helps out with the logistical elements – I couldn’t have done it without them.

That’s great to hear. Tell us more about the treats you offer…

Well, I make a large range of bakes – and taste is my number one priority. These include brownies, rocky roads, cookie bars, Scottish tablet and more. There are plenty of volunteers out of my family and friends who are always willing to sample new ideas that I come up with. I can supply bespoke treats for any occasion, Mother’s Day being one!

Other than the food side of things, I have also run a number of cupcake decorating classes for both beginners and intermediates since starting out, as well as live Facebook feeds showing various methods and tips for baking. I will definitely be looking to do these again in the future.

Have you adapted your services at all over the past year?

During the first Covid-19 lockdown, I came up with the idea to create and deliver Lockdown Survival Treat Boxes while also ensuring contactless doorstep handover. These were a huge success and I received feedback from far afield showing appreciation.

Another recent offering, which actually turned into a huge local demand, was my afternoon tea boxes, where I included a mixture of sweet and savoury content such as sandwiches, scones and sausage rolls. Again, the feedback received was fantastic.

How can orders be placed?

I have a fully functional website and orders can be placed on that. Alternatively, send me an email at nickytams.cakes@hotmail.com if you’d like to find out accurate information regarding delivery and collection – depending on where you live.

Am I right in saying that you’re incredibly proud of the business you’ve built?

I am very proud of what I have achieved up to this point and the customer base that I have established. I now have over 3,000 followers on my social media sites. However, as I am very passionate about my work and feel that I can offer more, I have decided to expand my business and follow my dream of owning my own café.

That’s amazing! Please, tell us more.

I will soon be opening a dedicated premise called Nicky T’s in Oldmeldrum, where lots of tasty cakes and treats, along with a lovely selection of breakfast and lunch options will be on the menu.

The café will consist of both a seated and separate takeaway area. A multi-purpose room will also be available for hire for any groups wanting to run courses, hold meetings, and so on.

Parking for parents and children, disabled individuals and the general public will be on-site as well.

We hope to offer something for everyone, including special dietary requirements and vegan and vegetarian options. In the café, it is our intention to shop local for the majority of ingredients and support local businesses where possible.

For me, the receipt of so much positive feedback and continuous repeat custom gives me the most satisfaction and has definitely driven me to expand the business.

Visit Nickytams Cakes ‘n’ Bakes on Facebook or nickytamscakes.com for more information

Fancy baking your own treats? Take a look at the recipes below to recreate Nickytams’ cookies and chocolate truffles.



  • 125g of butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 200g chocolate chips
  • 1 egg


  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Cream butter with both sugars using a hand mixer. Add the vanilla and mix. Then, add the egg and mix. Add salt and self-raising flour and mix. Once combined, fold in the chocolate chips.
  2. Using a baking tray (covered in baking paper), place a dessert spoon full of the mixture onto the paper, leaving space between each one. Bake for approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven when the cookies are golden in colour but soft looking in the centre. Leave on the baking tray until completely cool.



  • 30 digestive biscuits
  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 100g butter
  • 4 heaped dsp of drinking chocolate powder
  • Chocolate strands or desiccated cocoanut


  1. Crush digestives in a bag with a rolling pin or mix in food processor.
  2. Melt butter and condensed milk together in a heatproof bowl for 2 minutes in the microwave. Remove from the microwave and stir well until all the butter has melted and the mix has combined fully.
  3. Add both the crushed digestives and drinking chocolate powder to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the fridge and roll the mixture into walnut size balls and shake in a bag with either the chocolate strands or desiccated coconut.
  5. Place the truffles into paper cases and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Source link

APEC Business Travel Card Goes Digital

Officials from APEC member economies finalized their work toward modernizing and improving the security and efficiency of business travel by launching the Virtual APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC).

The Virtual ABTC displays a digital version of the APEC Business Travel Card on a mobile application, giving cardholders the ability to present their virtual card to enter an APEC economy.

“Our objective is to make traveling under the APEC Business Travel Card scheme more secure, efficient, convenient and user-friendly, particularly as APEC members are looking for safe and effective measures to open up borders and resume international travel,” said Kimberlee Stamatis, convenor of the APEC Business Mobility Group, who oversees the scheme.

The Virtual ABTC includes security features such as user verification, the use of holographic watermarks and disabling of screenshots within the mobile application to ensure authenticity of the cardholder. It also includes real-time connectivity to the internet, providing immediate updates of pre-clearance information needed for entry into APEC economies.

“Each APEC economy will determine its own timeline to transition to the Virtual ABTC for its cardholders,” Stamatis added. “Cardholders from transitional members will not have access to the digital service for now; however, existing processes will remain unchanged.”

Stamatis, who is also a director at Australia’s Department of Home Affairs, added that Australia will be the first economy to transition to the digital service for all Australian cardholders from March 2021.

“We really look forward to seeing other economies transition as soon as possible thereafter,” she added.

In order to support member economies’ transition to the new digital service, the process for issuing Virtual ABTCs has been streamlined to align with existing operations with as little change as necessary.

Nineteen APEC economies are fully participating members of the ABTC scheme, including: Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Chile; China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; the Philippines; the Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; and Viet Nam. Canada and the United States are transitional members.

The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) scheme facilitates short-term business travel within the APEC economies by streamlining the entry process at ports of entry within the region. Approved applicants are issued with a card that serves as the entry authority to fully participating economies.

The scheme reduces travel costs between APEC economies by 38 percent for cardholders, businesses pay 27 percent less in application fees and 52 percent less in immigration processing.

For more:

Information on the Virtual APEC Business Travel Card, please read the frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Information on the application process and eligibility criteria, please visit the APEC Business Travel Card page.

Information on the ABTC Mobile Application, please visit the ABTC Mobile Application page.

# # #

For further details, please contact:

Masyitha Baziad +65 9751 2146 at [email protected]
Michael Chapnick +65 9647 4847 at [email protected]

More on APEC meetings, events, projects and publications can be found on www.apec.org. You can also follow APEC on Twitter and join us on FacebookLinkedIn.

Source link

New Caledonia agrees to sale of controversial nickel mine, with Tesla as partner

New Caledonia agrees to sale of controversial nickel mine, with Tesla as partner

Issued on:

Political leaders in French overseas territory New Caledonia have agreed new terms for the sale of the Brazilian-owned Goro nickel mine. The deal gives a majority stakeholding to state entities based on the island following recent protests over the sale and takes electric car maker Tesla on as a business partner.

The deal, signed by pro-independence and loyalist leaders in the French Pacific territory on Thursday, also cited a “technical and industrial partnership” with electric car maker Tesla, which needs to secure supply of nikel for its batteries.

New Caledonia is one of the largest nickel producers in the world and the Goro mine and processing plant is owned by Brazilian miner Vale.

Last year Vale decided to sell the lossmaking plant to a consortium including Swiss commodity trader Trafigura. The decision sparked fierce opposition from pro-independence groups.

Following violent protests, Vale shut down the site in December.

The agreement reached with representatives of the independence movement, who now hold a majority in the government, will allow the sale to go through.

It would give a 51 percent stake to New Caledonia’s provincial authorities and other local interests, while Trafigura would have a 19 percent stake, less than the 25 percent planned in the initial sale deal with Vale.

Thousands of jobs at stake

The parties also called for reinforced environmental standards and set a target for the mining complex to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Vale and Trafigura welcomed the political agreement.

“Our task now is to complete any and all outstanding items to allow the transaction to formally conclude,” Vale told Reuters.

The company, which has tried to sell the New Caledonian assets for years, has said around 3,000 direct and indirect jobs depend on the restart of its mining complex.

“We’re looking forward to operations resuming and for final completion of the transaction as soon as possible,” a Trafigura spokesperson said.

Growing demand for nickel

Electric vehicle maker Tesla will not have a stake in the mine’s equity, but will act as an industrial partner to help with production and sustainability standards, as well as taking some supply for its battery division, according to the political agreement.

Demand for nickel, mainly for producing stainless steel, is expected to be boosted by demand for electric vehicle batteries. The most powerful lithium-ion batteries require nickel.

Last year Tesla agreed to buy cobalt, another metal used in batteries, from the Swiss miner Glencore.

New Caledonia is the world’s fourth-largest nickel producer. Its nickel industry also includes the SLN subsidiary of French mining group Eramet and a joint venture between commodity group Glencore and New Caledonia’s northern province.

(with Reuters)

Source link

We have a right to know which food is bad, and how much of it is bad: CSE

We have a right to know which food is bad, and how much of it is bad: CSE

The evolution of fat man Photo by Wiki
The evolution of fat man Photo by Wiki

In a nation where one in every four Indians is overweight or obese, we have a right to know which food is bad, and how much of it is bad: CSE

Clear, legible front-of-pack warning labels on food products is a must, say experts at global webinar organised to coincide with World Obesity Day

  “It was seven years ago – in 2013 – that an expert committee set up by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) first recommended a series of steps to regulate junk food and inform consumers about ingredients through simple and effective labelling, like front-of-the-pack. We were part of that exercise. Ever since, it has only been a tale of more committees, delays and dilutions, while India continues to sit on a ticking time-bomb of non-communicable diseases:” said CSE director general Sunita Narain, while inaugurating a global webinar here yesterday on ‘Front-of-Pack Labelling on Packaged Foods’.

Ticking time-bomb is right. CSE researchers point out that as per 2017 statistics provided by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the share of deaths in India due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) jumped up from 38 per cent in 1990 to 62 per cent in 2016. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 5, almost 17 per cent of India’s adult male population and over 14 per cent of adult female population is diabetic – this proportion was 8 per cent and 6 per cent in NFHS 4.

A 2020 ICMR-NCDIR (National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research) report says over 28 per cent of Indians suffer from high blood pressure. Over 42 per cent of the urban population and 18 per cent of the rural population is overweight.

NFHS 5 points to another disconcerting truth: there has been increase in obesity in women in 16 of the 22 states surveyed; the number for men is 19 states. Also, in 20 of the 22 states, increasing numbers of children are becoming overweight.

Says Amit Khurana, programme director, food safety and toxins unit, CSE: “We are experiencing a dietary shift in India: consumption of processed and ultra-processed packages food is going up. Ultra processed foods – junk foods – are more like a factory product than a food. They are high in salt, sugar, refined carbohydrates, chemicals and empty calories. They are aggressively promoted, and widely and easily available. It is critical to have front-of-pack (FoP) labelling (besides the back of pack label which provides the nutritional information) for such products.”

“Consumers must get to know which food is bad, and how much of it is bad. The primary purpose of a FoP label is to provide the consumer this information,” says Narain. Adds Khurana: “FoP labels are consumer friendly. They are easily noticeable at the front, can be understood better, and can encourage healthy eating habits.”

The webinar, organised by CSE, had among its speakers Barry Popkin, professor of nutrition at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, USA; Mary L’Abbe, professor, Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Toronto, Canada; Lakshman Gamlath, former deputy director general, Environmental Health, Occupational Health & Food Safety, Sri Lanka; Rachita Gupta, national professional officer (nutrition), World Health Organization; Rekha Harish, paediatrician and former vice president, North Zone Indian Academy of Paediatrics; Ashim Sanyal, chief operating officer, Consumer Voice; George Cheriyan, director, Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS); and Vandana Shah, regional director, South Asia program, Global Health Advocacy Incubator. 

Warning FoP labels on ultra-processed foods have proven to be most effective in other parts of the world; experts at the webinar recounted experiences from Chile and Sri Lanka. Speaking at the event, Dr Popkin said: “Many studies have been conducted to show how front-of-pack labels are effective, but it’s only the mandatory warning labels that have brought change in the real world.”

“In Canada, with these labels on foods, people can choose what to buy in less than eight seconds,” said Mary L’Abbe, who has been closely involved in Canada’s movement towards mandatory warning labelling.  

It’s all in the choice of words. CSE researchers say that in India, the nutrients to be displayed on the FoP label should be ‘total fat’, ‘total sugar’ and ‘salt’ (against ‘saturated fat’, ‘added sugar’ and ‘sodium’). Says Khurana: “These were proposed by the FSSAI in its 2018 draft, but later diluted due to pressure from the industry. The FoP label should inform the consumer, while the back-of-pack label should be meant for scientific understanding and compliance. Both should complement each other. Putting ‘sodium’ on FoP will not help the consumer.”

FSSAI’s proposed 2018 and 2019 FoP labelling is based on thresholds decided on by the WHO-South East Asia Region (SEARO) nutritional profiling. “This model has been pilot-tested in India as well in 2016 on over 1,100 products. The thresholds have considered the applicability, palatability, and preservation of these foods,” informed Rachita Gupta (WHO) at the webinar. Rekha Harish opined that no relaxation should be given on these thresholds.

Narain urged the government to bring in the FoP regulation: “It’s time we moved ahead and introduced simple and interpretive warning labels on our foods. The global understanding has evolved – four years back we thought the traffic light system was the most effective FoP system, but now we clearly see that warning labels are really working.”

She added: “Companies should not be selectively allowed to implement it – it should be mandatory and be consistently applied on all products. There is no question about the suitability of WHO-SEARO nutrition profiling thresholds in the Indian context. If any changes are to be made, they should only be further tightened, not relaxed.”

Pratyusha Mukherjee
Pratyusha Mukherjee

Reported by Ms. Pratyusha Mukherjee, a Senior Journalist working for BBC and other media outlets, also a special contributor to IBG News. In her illustrated career she has covered many major events and achieved International Media Award for reporting. 

Source link