Indian scientist Kamal Bawa, founder president of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) in Bangalore and a distinguished professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, has won the 2014 Midori Prize in Biodiversity for his research, including climate change in the Himalayas.
The Midori prize is a biennial international prize given by the AEON Environmental Foundation and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity to honour individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity at global, regional or local levels.
Bawa will receive the prize with a cash award of $100,000 during the Conference of Parties (COP-12) on October 16-17 to the Convention on Biological Diversity in South Korea.
The prize also honours his contributions to research in ecology of tropical forests, sustainable use of tropical forests, promoting engagement of civil society in conservation efforts, and for his leadership role in setting up ATREE.
The other two who bagged the prize are Dr Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, Chair, Ghana National Biodiversity Committee, and Dr Bibiana Vila, principal researcher of the National Research Council and Director, Vicunas, Camelids and Environment (VICAM), Argentina.
Egypt’s Morsi Face Death Penalty
Former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi may face death sentence for leaking national security documents to Qatar in exchange for $1m (£610,000).
The former president along with 10 others will face trial over charges of handing national security files to the Qatari intelligence and Doha-based Al-Jazeera news channel under orders from the international organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood. According to the sources, the indictment issued by the public prosecution has included a number of charges under the penal code that can be punished by the death penalty.
Qatar is a key ally of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which was designated as a terrorist organisation by the Egyptian government in December last year.
Morsi is now being tried in three other cases for inciting deadly violence against protesters outside the presidential palace in 2012, the murder of prison officers during his escape from jail during the 2011 uprising and working with foreign organisations to commit terrorist acts.
India signs FTA in services
India has formally signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) for services and investments with 10-member Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN). The India-ASEAN Agreement on trade in goods was operationalised since 2010.
Experts say that the agreement will be helpful for balancing India's deficit with ASEAN countries in trade of goods. The agreement will open up opportunities of movement of manpower and investments, allowing India to leverage its competitive edge in the areas of finance, education, health, IT, telecommunications, transport and many more. Nine out of ten ASEAN countries have signed the accord while Philippines alone have been left to sign the agreement.
Welcoming the signing of FTA in services and investment with ASEAN, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) President Mr Sidharth Birla said, “It will supplement the India-ASEAN FTA in goods and help in getting greater market access for India’s professionals and service providers in the 10-member block. We are happy that an annexure on movement of natural persons has been included in the agreement, which will benefit our professionals”. ASEAN’s share of global services trade has been rising over the past decade or so, moving up from 4.6 per cent in 2000 to around 8 per cent in 2012.
—Nishan Kumar Azad with inputs from Agencies