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Timor Leste

India and China should join hands for drawing a road map to combat climate change and tackle extreme poverty without waiting for western assistance, East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta said on Thursday.

Asia had the resources and capability to address the challenge. “The question is whether we have the vision and political will power.”

“Scientists, scholars and technocrats in Asia should take steps and do ‘what they can do' without looking to the West for assistance,” he said. “Fifty years back, Asia was poor. Today, however, it can lead the world.”

Read more: ‘Without looking to West, Asia can take on climate change, poverty'

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Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 30 (PTI) About 400 delegates from 20 countries would participate in a three-day conference on 'climate change secular spirituality' to be organised by the Santhigiri Ashram here from September 9.

The meet, in collaboration with UNESCO, The American centre, and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi, will be inaugurated by East Timor President and the 1996 Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos Manuel-Horta, a release from the ashram said. Being held as part of the 'Parnasala (hermitage) dedication celebrations' at the spiritual retreat, the conference will focus on promoting a life vision and lifestyle compatible with both nature and development. It will help administrators, policy-makers, scientists, social scientists and activists to come together and devise action programmes and policies to promote a sustainable way of life and development pattern, the release said.

Read more: East Timor President to open meet on climate change at Santhigiri

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Twelve days after usurping the Labor leadership, new PM Julia Gillard outlined her "boat people" policy to an anxious public. The plan? A "regional processing centre" on East Timor.

There was nothing new about the idea - regional processing has been part of Australia's response to asylum seekers since the first wave of Indo-Chinese refugees in the late '70s. The only novel aspect of the policy was the astonishing speed with which it was cobbled together. A hasty call to Timor-Leste's President Jose Ramos-Horta, a quick chat with the UN, and Gillard was ready to strike asylum seekers from her pre-election to-do list.

Yet the issue of "boat people" can't be swatted away so easily. Australia needs to develop a considered, long-term approach to asylum seekers and refugees because they could be heading our way for a long time to come.

Read more: The next wave: climate refugees

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