English News (18)
StoriesAsia - On World Press Freedom Day 2018, we are pleased to announce the setting-up of StoriesAsia, one of the world's largest collectives of freelance journalists from 16 South Asian and Southeast Asian nations, as media face an unprecedented financial crisis amid widespread repression of freedoms.
Journalists across Asia have shown exemplary resilience in the face of repressive regimes, often paying for their courage with life and limb. Underpaid and censored as they are, Asia teems with both experienced and newbie freelance journalists keen to have their stories noticed around the world.
Despite the technological and multiform developments in journalism, this vast region remains both misrepresented and underrepresented in the global narrative. Even as Asia in particular and the world in general edges towards more controlling governance, the voices of the most deeply affected - the impoverished and those unwillingly invisibilised by socioeconomic upheaval, force majeure events and geopolitical game-playing - are being muted and are often lost to time.
StoriesAsia intends to address the imbalance in regional coverage, and to tell stories clearly and honestly through a subaltern perspective by, literally, walking the terrain and disseminating the stories as widely as possible.
StoriesAsia's reportage and analysis from the ground will also counter the ongoing assault of fake news, much of which is cooked up in the closed confines of rooms packed with nonjournalists.
It is through humanising narrative nonfiction - a largely ignored journalistic genre in the region - that StoriesAsia will seek to replace the present-day parade of faceless numbers. We live in times of an empathy deficit - and that is unacceptable.
To that end, StoriesAsia will work with both audiovisual and print journalists across platforms and in multiple formats. Our list of continent-wide freelancers is already substantial, and growing.
As we lock with major media partners across the world, you will not only get to read unique stories but to see them as well. (pr)
LISBON - The Sustainable Energy for All Forum opened today in Lisbon, Portugal, with the urge to global leaders that more can be done to ensure no one is left behind in an energy transition aimed at delivering Sustainable Development Goal 7 - access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Hosted by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), the Forum is focused on addressing the key challenges in delivering universal energy access to the billion people globally who are still living without basic modern energy services, such as electricity, and the three billion who lack access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking.
Speaking via video message, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, said: “One billion people still lack electricity. Far more needs to be done to advance renewable and efficient energy in all sectors. From industries to transportation, from cities to rural areas.” He added: “Let us invest in the future, not the past.”
To underpin the urgency needed in addressing the energy access gap, the Forum was the launch platform for the new Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report – a global stock-take on data showcasing progress to energy goals as set out in Sustainable Development Goal 7. The report, which assesses the status of renewable energy, energy efficiency plus access to clean cooking and electricity, was launched during the opening morning by its authors.
The latest data shows that the world remains off track to meet 2030 energy targets at the current rate of progress, but certain countries or trends reveal that progress is being made where political leadership and finance is being prioritized. Renewable energy is making impressive gains in the electricity sector, although these are not being matched in transportation and heating – which together account for 80% of global energy consumption.
In her opening remarks, Rachel Kyte, CEO of SEforALL, and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, called on the Forum to use this latest data as a reality check of the challenge ahead. She said: “The world has committed to leave no one behind. To keep this promise as we move through the energy transition, we need to think differently about how we deliver affordable, reliable and clean energy services. Every year of delay in providing energy access is a lost year, a lost opportunity, for millions of children and their families. Countries cannot afford to leave entire generations behind when there are solutions that deliver affordable, clean energy services today.”
SEforALL has brought together over 800 participants from nearly 100 countries, with 10 Ministerial level speakers joined by CEO’s, investors and civil society leaders. The Forum connects those delivering change, working to increase the scale of impact and to provide a forum to gather the views of practitioners and leaders ahead of the High-Level Political Forum to be held at the UN in July.
Rachel Kyte added, “The SEforALL Forum is focused on what it will take to reach speed and scale in bringing energy solutions to improve people’s lives. More reliable, affordable, and clean energy lies not only at the heart of people’s energy needs, but also at the heart of job creation, clean air in towns and cities, health care and education. The work of the Forum will support raised ambition from SEforALL’s partners in a global movement that shares a sense of urgency around pushing forward the energy transition.”
A new report, “Levers of Change: How Global Trends Impact Gender Equality and Social Inclusion in Access to Sustainable Energy”, from Sustainable Energy for All and Energia, was also launched during the opening day of the Forum. The report examines the implications of global trends on energy access, gender equality and social inclusion. The report looks at key emerging issues – such as increasing use of mobile money financing and declining decentralized renewable energy technology costs – and the extent to which women are able to leverage these trends so that they can gain access to electricity, clean cooking and other sustainable energy solutions. Read online here.
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves also announced Chebet Lesan as the winner of its Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The award program recognizes outstanding female leaders in the household energy sector who are advancing clean cooking solutions in emerging markets. Chebet founded BrightGreen, which produces and processes organic and agro-waste into eco-friendly, cost-cutting charcoal briquettes. (pr)
DILI - Congratulations to the 30 TVET trainers who graduate from a 12 month English language training course today. They come from 20 training centres, across 10 municipalities.
The trainers completed courses in Certificates I to III in General English and English Teaching Methodology. They have improved their English language skills and teaching methods to meet nationally accredited standards.
The training was delivered by Australia’s Workforce Development Program Timor-Leste in association with INDMO and the English Language Centre at UNTL.
Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Peter Roberts said ‘Better English skills for TVET trainers build important workforce skills in Timor-Leste. This will help more young people be work ready for jobs in the public and private sectors.’
The trainers will use their new English language skills while they teach subjects like agriculture, construction, administration and tourism. Demand for English skills is growing in the private sector, both locally and internationally, and within the Government of Timor-Leste. So it is vital for TVET trainers to have the skills to fast track their students’ English language knowledge.
The English Language Centre at UNTL is the only training provider accredited to deliver these courses. But the SOS for Youth and Labour, H.E. Nivio Leite Magalhães, is calling for other colleges to deliver the Certificates in General English, and English Teaching Methodology.
‘I am pleased to hear that English language training is now accredited under the national qualifications framework and that Centro Treinamento Integrado e Desenvolvimento in Baucau has recently submitted their application for accreditation. I urge other training providers, especially those whose trainers are graduating today, to take action to become accredited.’ said Magalhães.
Australia’s Workforce Development Program Timor-Leste is also delivering an in-service nationally accredited English Language teacher training program in Ermera and Aileu, for 57 high school teachers. They will graduate in November this year. (pr)
José Ramos Horta wearing FRETILIN Shirt for FRETILIN rally in Manatuto municipality, March 10th, 2018. Photo Supplied.
DILI - The 1996 peace prize winner Jose Ramos Horta recently decided to return to FRETILIN party and start criticized his former chief of the resistance, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão. During the struggle Xanana decided to appoint Horta as his special envoy of CNRM in abroad. After the independence in 2006 Xanana appointed Horta to become the second prime minister of the country to replace Mari Alkatiri.
Moreover, in 2007 Xanana play a big role to bring Horta to be the president of republic of Timor - Leste.
Ramos Horta lose the election when he try to re-run for the second term of the presidency in 2012. He lost the election as he failed to get the support from Xanana. In that time Xanana supported Taur Matan Ruak to be the president of republic.
How is Timor – Leste now. I mean, Timor – Leste now is moving well in the right direction?
On the political, democracy, rule of law, and human right dimension, I would say we are doing very very well. Even a conservative think – thank, like Freedom House in Washington said Timor – Leste is the number one functioning democracy in Southeast Asia. Our democracy is not perfect like most democracy is are not perfect. However we’ve make tremendous progress of the last 15, 17 years in consolidating our democratic culture and democratic institutions.
The campaign have entered one week and no major conflicts have occurred. As a Nobel Peace Price laureate what is your role to ensure the process of this campaign until the upcoming election?
Well, is not only as a nobel peace laureate could be as a former president, be as a citizen, each of us, everyone of us have the obligation to contribute towards keeping the debate, the political confrontation, rising the convince of civilize the event. And so far the campaign, the debate been very civilize. I don’t even mind when some in opposition make outlandish accusation, that’s normal. Look at the US presidential election two years ago. So it’s absolutely normal. And I was think all the other parties, Xanana Gusmão, Taur Matan Ruak, Mari Alkatiri, the young generation (Democratic Party), they all have been very good in influencing our people not to result to personal attacks, although it does not mean I am personal attack but peace for me important is no one is wounded, no one is killed because of some election. For me that is the main careful democracy.
How are your expecting the campaign to be conducted given the more polarized state of politics in Timor – Leste. Is there a significant risk of violence?
I do not anticipated fear any formal violence, but I can anticipate even more increasing vitriolic speeches but Mr. Xanana Gusmão in particular he is already over 70, look at him he is tired and this is his last for run, his last active involvement. He is a good man, he cares about the country, he wants the best for the country and maybe sometimes he feel very hard that not everyone supporting him. I am very people can say, I am very Westernize but I know the country well. I go all of the country, I build with the common people and many of the common people they support me because they know I don’t tough really play politic. But on the other hand been exposed to western democracy, but also our own values democracy I think that more then 10 years for a government of a leader be in office is not good, not good for democracy, not good for the leader himself or herself. The electorate get tired be you might turn out of the ideas, run out of credibility and I can see that Mr. Xanana was 15 years in the government. First as a president, and as prime – minister. It’s obvious that he’s tired, frustrated because people around him, the cabinet members they didn’t deliver and he pay the price last year in 2017, and he probably pay the price again because of the people around him. They didn’t deliver on his grand vision and the program. So most likely he will be gone politically speaking and even if he want to win, I almost guarantee Xanana Gusmão will not be the prime – minister because he left 2015 and the electorate watching this and that’s why there is so much support for FRETILIN as to change. So it’s time to FRETILIN and the a new party.
Do you fear undermining the credibility of your Nobel prize by taking sides in partisan politics?
Maybe that the argument that I hear but many other nobel laureate, Nelson Mandela he was a nobel laureate even more then me and the others, he was the president of ANC. He never left ANC and continue to support ANC then my good friend former president of Costa Rica in South America twice as a president. He is as a nobel peace price and he campaign for equality party. Barack Obama, leader of Democratic Party, president of United States (US) and many others like in Northern Ireland two leaders there David Trimble and John Hume and the we have Shimon Peres leader of the Israel labor party and others. I think that’s not issue but I think everybody would agree with me that at least in my public intervention again and again, I only show respect to uncle Xanana Gusmão, to Taur Matan Ruak, I tell people that don’t do personal attack and I don’t agree with Mr. Xanana Gusmão on a number of policies issue in therm of governance. I don’t agree. Like if I have been a prime – minister for 10 years I would be focus all this 10 years on quality education, on rural development and that means water and sanitations for the people, full security and this have been failure for the last 10 years. The study by the UN on our social economic indicator, particularly on malnutrition and the children growth extremely negative, I’d say total failure over the last 10 years. So I would have priority. For me the campaign has to be policies and the priorities. And Alkatiri, the FRETILIN would have a different priorities. Yes, we can not change everything there are good thing that Xanana did like infrastructure building. We have to continued but we have to be more modest the type of roads we build. So fundamentally, I believe that Alkatiri is a face strict manager. I’m very impress with the way he has learn to be economist, a manager, administrator and a leader. He is very restrict and that’s why sometimes Xanana does not like him. Xanana is too flexible, too spontaneous, improvise, make decision on the spot. Alkatiri he go by the law, and the rule and he is a very different leader.
How can Timor – Leste improve the living standards of its people; is the focus on big ticket economic developments the right approach or should there be more attention to improving basics such as access to clean water?
The next 10 years this government and whoever come after five years maybe this one again will have 10 years from the government program I know it will be focus on rural development. Rural development in every aspect of A to Z. Rural roads, not high ways. Rural roads to make easy access for education, for students, for health care, people to move from their villages to schools and electricity is very important but is not a main great electricity can be solar panels and absolutely vital, the clean water. So all of this part of the rural development. We have to improve education system. It has been many 10 years of really disaster. For instance, if I were make decision this past 10 years I would have invest a lot in vocational training. Copying model the Australian vocation schools call TAFE were young people by basic electricity, car mechanic to able to fix a car, fix motorbike, the bicycle, air conditioner, refrigerator, builder, a carpenter and all of this. But if we do not have enough job, too many young people with a certificate in profile vocational skills they can easy to get a job in Australia or in Korea make thousands of dollars a month. You will better paid with a vocational certificate in electricity, plumbing and if you show up with your PhD in a humanities. So it has very wrong from the start to the independence. I hope the next government can change that and I have discussed with Australia, with South Korea and Japan how to expand their support for vocational school in Timor – Leste.
What’s your assessment of Timor – Leste’s progress since independence?
We have made a tremendous progress. Consolidating democracy, real culture democracy of tolerance, on the security side. Timor – Leste is most peaceful even common criminality is very low. We don’t have organized crime. Timorese are not involve in organized crime like money laundry, trafficking, people smuggling or sex slavery, Timorese are not involve in that. We do have it some attempts that using Timor – Leste for money laundry but this by foreigners. On the economic front we have unable the last 17 years to change from dependency on oil and gas revenues and exports to more diversify economy. In the diversification economy I would say at least two for the timing realistic. One is agriculture so that we guarantee food security the other is tourism. On both agriculture slash security and tourism the last 10 years we have done. Timor – Leste can not leave as and industry country or a manufactory country but we could be have a service economy so that we adopt trade port people, we have a proper legislation and open up Timor – Leste for financial services like Dubai, like Singapore not we are going to be like them, I am not saying, I just . . . incentive to attract main insurance companies and others to establish their offices in Timor – Leste even at all short of facilities because Timorese are very good in administration. I have observe for the last 10, 15 years. By watching, for instance our finance minister 10 years ago a lot of foreigners are working there now almost 100% Timorese. Our petroleum fund investment is almost 100% Timorese managing. So we need more trading and to set up a financial center in taking stage 20 years but I think we can do that and the first like manufactory or Timor – Leste be a mass trading center. Look Singapore, Singapore doesn’t produce much. Singapore is a big financial center and particularly import – export hub. So you build port then encouraging shipping to come to Timor – Leste, you build ware houses and then from here re – export even to Indonesia, re – export to Australia.
Is Timor – Leste at a stage when it needs to move pass the independence hero stable of leaders and transition to a new generation?
Well, as you know in the government last 10 years more young leaders in the government and the Mr. Xanana like Dionisio Babo, Rui Hanjam and so many. In FRETILIN as a same. Look at the current government maybe the only three belong to the older generation. Alkatiri, myself and maybe Estanislau Aleixo da Silva. The next five years our responsibility is to consolidate for the democracy, rule of law, improve governance, absolutely security inter – equality for the people and then 2023 are you believe Mr. Alkatiri, myself, we will be side line. Maybe how to build the new government if that’s all they want but on mater we hand over to them in 2013 the country full democratic, democracy still . . ., absolutely peaceful, so save and with a sound economy.
What political leadership ambitions do you have?
No, I don’t have any . . . you know as you I am not even on the party list. I was there because I believe I have to help Alkatiri, to help FRETILIN but I also help Democratic Party because if you look at all political parties in Timor only FRETILIN and Democratic Party we say have roots, they solid structures. Look at the democratic party, Mr. La Sama died the party continue strong. Alkatiri can leave today there are many people in FRETILIN will take over. That’s what guarantee governance stability, democracy in the country. CNRT party, if Mr. Xanana want to leave today, CNRT would disassemble completely and PLP even worse. They have even less educated experience committed people then CNRT. Something happen Mr. Taur Matan Ruak decided with PLP for . . . So that’s only I support Democratic Party and FRETILIN. And I believe these two parties are crucial for democracy in Timor – Leste.
What does this election means for you personally and to Timor – Leste?
As a person if it goes peacefuly and I believe it will then as a political person as one of the leader of the country I’m very happy because again we show the maturity Timor – Leste democracy. So that both are personal sentiment and the political sentiment. If Mr. Xanana win, very few people believe he can win . . . all the observers, foreign diplomats, the churches, everybody tell me very difficult for CNRT to win. And the FRETILIN will win but even if he win I will be the first to congratulate and wish him to success and he will deserve, he will need all the support he can. I will not be part of it as I was not part of any . . . the government over past 10 years but as a human being, as a Timorese I have to pray and wish that he does a good government.
What is your possition on the Greater Sunrise issue? Are you supporting the government possition to bring the pipeline to Timor – Leste?
Having resolve the maritime boundary next we have to find the most treaties comercially, financially, and technical viable option to develop Greater Sunrise. All we know that Mr. Xanana Gusmão has been insisting, advocating, bringing pipeline for Greater Sunrise to Timor – Leste. I can speak only as a government . . . and Alkatiri as a prime – minister he also said he want to see the pipeline coming to Timor – Leste but that’s our view and the pipeline is not to take political decision to be blame by Timor – Leste government and Australian government. It’s involve many oil and gas companies and involve billion of dollars that belong to the oil and gas companies. So and then these oil and gas companies they will make decision only on the basis of how economically, financially viable not at the political reason. We want the pipeline come to Timor – Leste. So we all support that the pipeline may come to Timor – Leste but I don’t have any documentation because Mr. Xanana Gusmão never provided to us with comprehensive report, studies that it was conducted paid for by Timor – Leste government money. To make that understand, the reason why he so much insist on the pipe line to come to Timor – Leste. We support but to be better if we have . . . we lead all the studies done by all the his consulted that the government have done. As a hire, paid for so that we can better . . . Mr. Xanana is said he is not doing any report because he . . . that was everybody want to feel because he was the chief negotiator and the State negotiate with the State, government negotiate with government and the oil companies negotiating with Timor – Leste because they tough Mr. Xanana was the official chief negotiator and not a freelancer but he said basically he is not. So who is represented the State? Anywhere in the world is represented by the elected people, represent by the president of republic and his . . .
Regarding to your accusation which posted on the Facebook seems like some people are disrespecting you now but before people very respect you a lot. What is your comment or why it’s happen like that?
Well uncle if you look at my Facebook you will see I don’t make personal criticize, personal attack. I do criticize time to time about fair policy and then if you look at my Facebook in the past many years I every time there was some strong, very strong attack on the government by some journalists from outside or some academics I always try to defend but also even before of this election I always critical of properly education system, in the health system before a few years ago. I was only very critical of corruption. That’s nothing new I just saying that just because now I’m saying again? Well, have I lost credibility with them? That’s fine, okay I accept I lost credibility but you know if you look at my Facebook you know I try . . . sometimes you know I try to be funny and sometimes I . . . but I never make any strong unfair criticize of Avo Nana. No I’m consider him as our grand father and the most fair thing we can do to Avo Nana, to grandpa Nana is that on 12 May 2018 he retired to preserve his house and be the senior adviser of the State to the government. I care about him but you know he is out because I only tell him you know every time I travel in somewhere and the ambassador said ooohhh Mr. Xanana is here you want to say something to him? I said just tell him stop smoking, stop drinking too much coffee, don’t work to hard and do exercise because we want to see him live in healthy and long. So if he looses the election and everything make him loose the election do the blessing because he will stay happy and healthy. Thank you very much. (Oki)
DILI - Timor-Leste is about to enter a unique 30-40-year demographic opportunity window with the potential for rapid economic and human development gains. While many countries are challenged by their aging populations, Timor-Leste, the second youngest country in the Asia-Pacific region, has an opportunity to translate its blessing into socio-economic dividends by unlocking the potential of its youthful population.
However, this endeavour is challenged by a significant number of unemployed and underemployed youth who face multiple wellbeing vulnerabilities, particularly in education and community vitality. Unless more targeted and quality investments are made now in health, education and the economy, Timor-Leste may miss out on this unique opportunity to unleash its development potential over the next few decades.
Launched today by Minister for the Council of Ministers Adriano do Nascimento, the Timor-Leste National Human Development Report 2018, entitled ‘Planning the Opportunities for a Youthful Population’ aims to promote public discussion and policy making around investing in youth and their well-being to benefit from a potential demographic dividend. The report is the outcome of a two-year collaboration between the UNDP, the Government of Timor-Leste and Flinders University, Australia.
“Timor-Leste is presented with a unique opportunity to make a significant leap forward in its human development,” said Mr. Roy Trivedy, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative. “This can only be harnessed through an empowered generation of young women and men who are appropriately skilled, well-educated, and equipped to contribute fully to the process of nation building.”
Timor-Leste is one of the youngest countries in the world with 74 per cent of the population aged under 35, making it the second youngest nation in the Asia-Pacific region after Afghanistan and 15th youngest globally. Consequently, young people have the potential to play an extremely important role in the country’s achievement of its future development aspirations.
The report measures the subjective well-being of youth aged 15-34 across eight aspects of well-being based on a nationwide survey. Promisingly, it finds that three quarters of youth across Timor-Leste perceive themselves as leading healthy and satisfactory lives overall, however, it also finds that more than 80 percent experience deprivations in education and community vitality.
“Political leaders, government officials, businesses, community leaders and development partners have a responsibility to invest now in the wellbeing of youth. We need to unlock the potential of young people to contribute more effectively to Timor-Leste’s development to help create a more prosperous and sustainable future for all,” said Mr. Trivedy.
Inadequate investments in education and training result in a large pool of unemployed youth who feel unprepared for and lack the skills required to access decent employment. This is intensified for adolescent girls and young women who are further disadvantaged in fully participating in education and the economy due to gender roles. The perceived support youth receive from their communities is limited while more than 75 per cent have elevated levels of concern related to safety and security.
Considering the noticeable decline in birth rate in recent years and the arrival of a demographic window of opportunity, the report proposes that the largest human development gains and a rise in GDP per capita from $2,619 in 2015 to $15,375 in 2030 can be achieved if interventions in education and the economy are complemented by increased access to reproductive health services.
The report recommends allocating 25 per cent of the state budget to education and training and calls for several reforms to achieve better quality education and the transformation of economically inactive youth into entrepreneurs in agriculture, tourism and other sectors of the economy that show potential for growth. (pr)
Baucau – The ‘Good Farming for Better Nutrition’ event was held at Baucau Vila Nova Central Market on Thursday 22 March to promote local agricultural production and consumption of nutritious food.
Illustration; Image Courtesy: UNHCR
Reserve assets grow and the outlook for tourism and petroleum remains positive
Dili, Timor – Leste – After a decade of strong economic activity, growth in Timor-Leste is expected to have fallen sharply in 2017, following a tightening of public spending, according to a new World Bank report released today.