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India, Pakistan take battle over basmati rice title to EU | European Union News

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From biryani to pulao, Pakistan and India’s shared culinary landscape is defined by basmati, a distinctive long-grain rice now at the centre of the latest tussle between the bitter rivals.

India has applied for an exclusive trademark that would grant it sole ownership of the basmati title in the European Union, setting off a dispute that could deal a major blow to Pakistan’s position in a vital export market.

“It’s like dropping an atomic bomb on us,” said Ghulam Murtaza, co-owner of Al-Barkat Rice Mills just south of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city.

Pakistan immediately opposed India’s move to gain Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) from the European Commission.

A Pakistani worker fills a sack with rice at the Al-Barkat Rice Mills on the outskirts of Lahore [Arif Ali/AFP]

India is the largest rice exporter in the world, netting $6.8bn in annual earnings, with Pakistan in fourth position at $2.2bn, according to the United Nations figures.

The two countries are the only global exporters of basmati.

“(India) has caused all this fuss over there so they can somehow grab one of our target markets,” said Murtaza, whose fields are barely five kilometres (three miles) from the Indian border.

“Our whole rice industry is affected,” he added.

From Karachi to Kolkata, basmati is a staple in everyday diets across southern Asia.

It is eaten alongside spicy meat and vegetable curries, and is the star of the endlessly varied biryani dishes featured at weddings and celebrations across both countries, which only split following independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

They have since fought three full-scale wars, with the latest skirmish in 2019 involving the first cross-border air attacks in nearly 50 years.

Diplomatic relations have been tense for decades and both countries routinely attempt to malign each other on the international stage.

‘Very important market’

Pakistan has expanded basmati exports to the EU over the past three years, taking advantage of India’s difficulties meeting stricter European pesticide standards.

It now fills two-thirds of the region’s approximately 300,000-tonne annual demand, according to the European Commission.

“For us, this is a very, very important market,” says Malik Faisal Jahangir, vice-president of the Pakistan Rice Exporters Association, who claims Pakistani basmati is more organic and “better in quality”.

A Pakistani farmer inspects rice grains during a refining process at the Al-Barkat Rice Mills on the outskirts of Lahore [Arif Ali/AFP]

PGI status grants intellectual property rights for products linked to a geographic area where at least one stage of production, processing, or preparation takes place.

Indian Darjeeling tea, coffee from Colombia and several French hams are among the popular products with PGI status.

It differs from Protected Designation of Origin, which requires all three stages to take place in the concerned region, as in the case of cheeses such as French brie or Italian gorgonzola.

Such products are legally guarded against imitation and misuse in countries bound by the protection agreement and a quality recognition stamp allows them to sell for higher prices.

India says it did not claim in its application to be the only producer of the distinctive rice grown in the Himalayan foothills, but attaining PGI status would nevertheless grant it this recognition.

“India and Pakistan have been exporting and competing in a healthy way in different markets for almost 40 years… I don’t think the PGI will change that,” Vijay Setia, former president of the Indian Rice Exporters Association, told AFP news agency.

Pakistan and India’s shared culinary landscape is defined by basmati, a distinctive long-grain rice now at the centre of the latest tussle between the bitter rivals [Arif Ali/AFP]

Joint heritage

As per EU rules, the two countries must try to negotiate an amicable resolution by September, after India asked for a three-month extension, a spokesman for the European Commission told AFP.

“Historically, both the reputation and geographic area (for basmati) are common to India and Pakistan,” says legal researcher Delphine Marie-Vivien.

“There have already been quite a few cases of opposition to geographical indication applications in Europe, and each time a compromise has been found.”

After years of procrastination, the Pakistani government in January demarcated where basmati can be harvested in the country.

It also announced it would assign similar protected status to pink Himalayan salt and other vaunted agricultural products.

Pakistan hopes to convince India to instead submit a “joint application” in the name of the common heritage that basmati represents, Jahangir said.

“I am confident that we will reach a (positive) conclusion very soon… the world knows that basmati comes from both countries,” he added.

If an agreement cannot be reached and the EU rules in India’s favour, Pakistan could appeal to the European courts, but the long review process could leave its rice industry in limbo.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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COVID-19: Ex Judiciary Secretary, Kagole Kivumbi Dies

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Former Secretary to the Judiciary, Mr Kagole Kivumbi Expedito, has succumbed to COVID-19.

He was 58 years-old.

Judiciary’s Principal Communications Officer, Solomon Muyita said Kagole “died on Sunday at Le Memorial Medical Services at Kitiko-Lubowa, Kigo Road”.

He had been admitted in critical condition, according to relatives.

Kagole was forced out of office for alleged misappropriation of funds according to the Auditor General’s report for the Financial Year 2017/2018.

He was the fourth Secretary to the Judiciary.

He came from the Judicial Service Commission, one of the 18 Justice, Law and Order Sector Institutions, where he was accounting officer for seven years.

Despite his mistakes, Kagole was hailed for the extensive revamp of the High Court headquarters carried out between 2017 and 2018.

This encompassed renovation and painting works on the over 80-year-old building as well as the refurbishing and renovating its places of convenience.

Kampala High Court building/Judiciary Head Quarters was in June 2018 fitted with Closed Circuit Television (CCTV )cameras in a move to boost security at the building located in the city centre.

The post COVID-19: Ex Judiciary Secretary, Kagole Kivumbi Dies first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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Denmark’s Eriksen is joking and in a good mood: Agent | Euro2020 News

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‘He is fine,’ but may have to stay in hospital for two more days, the Inter Milan player’s agent Martin Schoots told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen may have to stay in hospital for two more days but is making a good recovery, his agent said on Monday.

Eriksen collapsed during Saturday’s European Championship game against Finland in Copenhagen and doctors think he had a cardiac arrest. He was resuscitated on the pitch.

“He has been joking, he was in a good mood. He is fine,” the Inter Milan player’s agent Martin Schoots told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper after visiting him.

“We all want to know what happened, he as well. The doctors are doing lots of tests and that takes time.”

The 29-year-old is not expected to play again in the tournament but could continue his recuperation at home soon.

Eriksen will stay in hospital in Copenhagen on Monday “and perhaps also Tuesday” added Schoots.

“He is happy because he has seen how many people care about him. He has had messages from across the world,” he added.

Denmark, who lost 1-0 to Finland having decided to restart the game hours after his collapse, meet favourites Belgium in their second Group B game on Thursday.

“Without a doubt, he wants to support his team against Belgium as a fan,” said Schoots, without specifying whether that would be in the Parken Stadium in the Danish capital.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Covid-19 claims Kanungu district health officer Dr Ssebudde

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Kanungu district health officer, Dr. Stephen Ssebudde has succumbed to Covid-19. According to Kanungu deputy resident district commissioner, Gad Ahimbisibwe Rugaaju, Ssebudde breathed his last at 09:00 pm yesterday at Entebbe Grade B hospital where he spent a week in admission.

Kanungu resident district commissioner, Hajji Shafiq Ssekandi who also heads the district Covid-19 taskforce says that Ssebudde’s death is a big blow to the district health department because he has been working selflessly to ensure that all people in the community receive equal health services.

Martin Kafanta Atukwase, the former Kanungu district youth chairperson, says Ssebudde’s death should send a strong message to the public about the need for extra vigilance and the need to implement Covid-19 preventive measures because the disease has the capacity to get to anyone.  

This is the first district health officer in Uganda to succumb to the virus, which has claimed at least 15 prominent figures in the last seven days.

Some of the victims include Manzi Tumubweine, the former state minister for Privatization and former Rukiga county MP, Patrick Besigye Keihwa, the former Kabale district LC V chairman, senior superintendent of police (SSP), Samuel Bamuzibire, the Kampala Metropolitan 999 Patrol commander, and former judiciary permanent secretary, Kagole Kivumbi among others.



Source – observer.ug

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