Travel Resolution in 2018

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Asian nations plan fund to better prepare for health emergencies

By Nita Bhalla

NEW DELHI, Sept 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Eleven countries in South and East Asia on Friday agreed to establish an emergency fund to strengthen their health services to better respond to outbreaks of diseases, including emerging viruses such as Zika, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.

Made up of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, South Korea, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste, the South East Asia region is highly susceptible to disasters such as floods which can result in disease outbreaks.

The region is also threatened by a range of emerging diseases such as SARS, MERS CoV, pandemic influenza and Zika, say experts, adding that countries remain ill-prepared to effectively contain an outbreak should it occur.

The WHO said while nations already contributed to a fund to tackle health emergencies such as outbreaks of cholera or diarrhea in the aftermath of disasters, it was crucial to have finance available to help countrie…

Indonesia struggles to tap volcano power

Columns of steam shoot from the ground at an Indonesian power plant sitting in the shadow of an active volcano, as energy is tapped from the red-hot underbelly of the archipelago.

Pipes zig-zag up rugged mountainsides covered in tea plantations, carrying steam from the Earth's core to power enormous, electricity-generating turbines at the Wayang Windu facility on Java island.

Indonesia, a seismically-active island chain studded with scores of volcanoes, holds an estimated 40 percent of the world's geothermal energy reserves, but has long lagged behind in its use of the renewable power source.

<b>Steam rises from the Wayang Windu geothermal power station on West Java ©Bay Ismoyo (AFP)</b>

Now the government is pushing to expand the sector five-fold in the next decade, although the challenges are huge in a country where the burden of red tape remains onerous, big projects are often delayed and targets missed.

"The potential is tremendous," said Rully Wirawan, f…

Olympics-Asia council sets up sub offices as Kuwait row rumbles

Sept 24 (Reuters) - The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has decided to set up five new sub offices to enable it to function effectively while the row with the Kuwait government continues over its headquarters in the Gulf State.

Kuwait was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in October 2015 after the government was accused of interference in its national Olympic Committee, which has subsequently been dissolved.

A month later, the long-term agreement for the OCA to have its headquarters in Kuwait City was unilaterally torn up by the government.

The OCA Executive Board met on Saturday and decided to set up regional offices in Bangkok, Almaty, Delhi and Nansha, China as well as in Lausanne, Switzerland, the home of the IOC.

"We are committed to not only continuing with our services but to improve them further," OCA Director General Husain Al Musallam said in a statement.

"We hope for the (Kuwait) government to finalise what is the direction. (They) terminated t…