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TOP HEADLINES 21 November 2014
1. INDIA: World's largest youth population
2. INDONESIA: The challenge to meet energy needs
3. SOUTH ASIA: Dhaka to press for regional connectivity
P O V E R T Y   S P O T L I G H T
INDIA: Highest number of people practicing open defecation
4. MYANMAR: Act now on TB before it's too late
5. NEPAL: Country's first SEZ inaugurated
6. VIET NAM: Banks to trim bad debts by year end
7. CAMBODIA: World Bank OKs proposal for new funding
8. PAKISTAN: First sign language digital tools developed
9. INDONESIA: Carmakers catching up with Thailand
10. VIET NAM: Economists skeptical about plan for 1,000 supermarkets
IN DEPTH
1. INDIA: World's largest youth population
Source: dayafterindia.com

"With 356 million 10-24 year-olds, India has the world's largest youth population despite having a smaller population than China, according to a new UN report. China is second with 269 million young people, followed by Indonesia with 67 million, the United Nations Population Fund's State of the World's Population report said. Within this generation are 600 million adolescent girls with specific needs, challenges and aspirations for the future.

With the right policies and investments in human capital, countries can empower young people to drive economic and social development and boost per-capita incomes, the report said. Critical youth investments needed to reap a demographic dividend are those that protect rights, including reproductive rights, improve health, including sexual and reproductive health, and provide skills and knowledge to build young people's capabilities."

Read the full report here.



 ADBI What's New

Asia Pathways:
From the Russian Federation's focus on Europe to its pivot to Asia
The United States' "pivot to Asia" has been intensely discussed over the last years. But recently, a new pivot model has come up: the Russian Federation's pivot to Asia. This article analyzes this topic from an economic perspective by asking: Is the Russian economy really about to shift its focus thus far centered on the European Union to Asia?


2. INDONESIA: The challenge to meet energy needs
Source: theworldfolio.com

"Indonesia continues to play a vital role in regional and global energy markets. It exports more coal than any country in the world, and is also the world's fourth-largest exporter of liquid natural gas and the 24th largest producer of crude oil. However, proven oil reserves are diminishing at the same time the economy is growing, so Indonesia is turning to renewable sources, especially geothermal, to diversify its energy mix.

Indonesia will see its energy needs multiply in the years to come as total economic activity expands from $800 billion this year to $4 trillion in little over a decade. To meet this challenge, policymakers and business leaders will look to the country's abundant geothermal resources, the world's largest, with a total generating capacity of 29GW annually. In June, workers broke ground on the construction of what will be the world's largest geothermal power plant, a $1.6 billion initiative known as the Sarulla Geothermal Power Project."



3. SOUTH ASIA: Dhaka to press for regional connectivity
Source: thedailystar.net

"Dhaka will stress cooperation on regional connectivity, poverty alleviation, youth development and fighting terrorism, among other major issues, during the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu on November 26-27. The current volume of intra-SAARC trade is less than 5 percent of the total trade in South Asia. On the contrary, the volume of ASEAN trade is 26 percent among the member nations and that of European Union is 45 percent.

The meeting of eight South Asian nations is expected to seal the SAARC Motor Vehicles Agreement, SAARC Regional Railways Agreement, and SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation. Bangladesh Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali said Dhaka will focus on 10 core issues for regional cooperation -- youth development, poverty alleviation, connectivity, climate change, science and technology, education, women empowerment, food security and combating terrorism."


P O V E R T Y   S P O T L I G H T
INDIA: Highest number of people practicing open defecation
Source: deccanchronicle.com

"India has the highest number of people practicing open defecation in the world at 597 million, according to the UN which said political will at the 'highest level' is needed to address the challenge. About one billion people worldwide or one-sixth of the developing world's 5.9 billion population do not use toilets. The UN noted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pledge to have 111 million toilets and achieve an end to open defecation by 2019.

Women and girls bear the greatest burdens caused by the lack of toilet access. Girls are more likely to drop out of school if they don't have access to a safe and clean toilet. Women and girls are also at the risk of harassment and sexual abuse when trying to use public toilets or when trying to find somewhere to defecate in the open."


4. MYANMAR: Act now on TB before it's too late
Source: mmtimes.com

"Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) recently released a report based on key indicators from eight high-tuberculosis-burden countries, including Myanmar. MSF's findings reveal that we are not winning the fight against this highly dangerous and contagious disease. Donor countries and other organizations must step up and provide the funding to ensure that Myanmar has the ability to pay the enormous costs involved in expanding an effective national response to the disease.

The medicine alone for one DR-TB patient can cost up to $5000 for a two-year regimen, depending on the strain of the resistance and medication for side effects required, according to MSF. This does not include the huge investment in human resources, diagnostics, clinic construction, infection control and transportation, among other factors."



5. NEPAL: Country's first SEZ inaugurated
Source: ekantipur.com

"Nepal's first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) was inaugurated in Bhairahawa on Tuesday, 11 years after the construction began. The government launched the SEZ plan in 2000, but the construction began only in 2003, with an estimated cost of Rs 540 million. The SEZ currently houses three building blocks and 68 plots meant for factory units to be built.

According to the project office, about 95 percent of the construction work has completed, while infrastructure like petrol pump are in final stages of completion. However, stakeholders have express doubt whether industries would set up immediately as the government is yet to introduce the SEZ Act. The government made several attempts in the past to bring the Act, but to no avail."



6. VIET NAM: Banks to trim bad debts by year end
Source: thanhniennews.com

"Bad debts in Vietnam's troubled banking system could fall sharply by year-end to 2.5 to 2.7 percent of total loans thanks to debt restructuring and tighter supervision, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said on Wednesday. Dung's government has been battling with high levels of non-performing loans that have hurt the property market and stifled efforts to boost private sector businesses and stimulate credit growth.

Vietnam's central bank projected bad debts would amount to between 3.7 percent and 4.2 percent of total loans at year end. Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service have raised Vietnam's sovereign ratings, citing improvements in the economy and stronger position in its balance of payments. But independent economists still cast doubts on Vietnam's economic performance and reported levels of bad debts."



 DEVBlogs ROUNDUP
Nearly 14.3 million people, including children, are 'trapped' in modern-day slavery in India, which tops a global index of people under bondage across the world with an estimated 35.8 million people enslaved, according to a new research published by the Walk Free Foundation. The report said that the people are trapped in slavery through human trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage or commercial sexual exploitation.

7. CAMBODIA: World Bank OKs proposal for new funding
Source: phnompenhpost.com

"Officials at the World Bank, which in 2011 froze new loans to Cambodia, have approved preliminary proposals to issue funding for a land-titling program. The proposed project would give additional funding to 14 social land concessions (SLCs) bankrolled by the Japan Social Development Fund and the World Bank since 2008. It would also create a new SLC in Kampong Thom's Doung commune near the heavily logged Boeung Per Wildlife Sanctuary.

The bank has not yet assessed whether there are indigenous people living on the site but indicated in a recently published document that locals would need to make way for planned construction if the project is approved. The bank has continued to directly fund projects in Cambodia approved before December 2010 and has committed to administering $67 million in loans and grants from 'trust funds' this year."



8. PAKISTAN: First sign language digital tools developed
Source: dawn.com

"The struggle for the rights of physically-challenged people in Pakistan took a giant leap on Wednesday with the launch of 'Pakistan Sign Language Resources', the first ever sign language learning digital tools that are available free of cost across the country. There are about two million deaf people in Pakistan, of them 50 to 60 percent are children of school going age. However, only two percent of the children have access to schools.

The work on the sign language took three years to complete. The team also took care that people living in areas without electricity should also benefit from the work and a book with basic 1,000 words had also been developed which was available in English, Urdu and four other regional languages. Sign language is the third most studied language in the United States."



9. INDONESIA: Carmakers catching up with Thailand
Source: thailand-business-news.com

"Indonesia carmakers are slowly catching up with Thailand, as their production should reach 1.6 million units in 2014, while Thailand is on track to produce around 2 million units in 2014 due to poor domestic demand. Carmakers in Indonesia expect to see a 93 percent rise in exports next year, thanks to a higher volume of production.

Indonesia has seen its domestic car sales pass the one million milestone, a feat that has drawn automobile producers to invest in the country. Though most carmakers limit their stake to assembly plants, some Japanese car brands, including Indonesian favorite Toyota, have begun investing in full manufacturing plants."



10. VIET NAM: Economists skeptical about plan for 1,000 supermarkets
Source: vietnamnet.vn

"Under the wholesale and retail network development program, Hanoi will have 999 supermarkets, 42 shopping malls and 595 traditional markets by 2020. However, Vu Vinh Phu, chair of the Hanoi Supermarket Association, said a lack of funds is the biggest problem. It is estimated that it would take VND600 billion at least to compensate people to obtain a land plot of 2,000-5,000 square meters.

Another problem lies in the workforce. There are nearly 100 supermarkets in Hanoi, but only 10 percent of the workers have taken training courses in the field. Phu said 87 percent of Hanoians go to traditional markets and small groceries instead of supermarkets when they need essential goods. Therefore, many of the 1,000 supermarkets might become idle, and the huge capital poured into supermarket development would be difficult to recover."



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