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Global

Inbox Ghandi statue to be unveiled in London’s Parliament Square four 78 l www.global -br ief ing.org th quar ter 2014 global commonwealth network The small Caribbean nation of St Vincent and the Grenadines is to receive US$6.4 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help restore its struggling economy following severe flooding. Floods and landslides in December 2013 damaged housing, infrastructure and farm land. Eight people lost their lives during the unusually heavy rain. Min Zhu, deputy managing director and acting chair of the IMF’s executive board, said: “Rehabilitation and reconstruction spending is expected to widen the fiscal deficit this year. Mindful of the high and growing public debt, the authorities have reiterated their intention to rely mainly on grants and concessional resources to finance the recovery. “At the same time, they will step up their efforts to mobilise budgetary resources by increasing revenue collection, containing the wage bill and reducing transfers to state-owned enterprises.” A statue of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the greatest inspirations for civil-rights movements and freedom the world over, will be erected opposite the Houses of Parliament in London. The unveiling of the statue, which is due to take place in Parliament Square in early 2015, will see Ghandi placed alongside other distinguished leaders including Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln. Plans were announced by Foreign Secretary William Hague and Chancellor George Osborne on a recent cabinet trip to India that included a visit to the Gandhi Smriti memorial in Delhi. The Smriti memorial stands at Gandhi’s former home and is the site of his assassination. British ministers are keen to reinforce commercial and diplomatic ties with India, which is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. The presence of a monument in Parliament Square, a landmark key to the democratic values of the UK, is seen as fitting tribute to Ghandi, who led the nationalist struggle for Indian independence from Britain in the 1940s. “As the father of the largest democracy in the world, it’s time for Gandhi to take his place in front of the mother of parliaments. He is a figure of inspiration, not just in Britain and India, but around the world,” Osborne said. “I hope this new memorial will be a lasting and fitting tribute to his memory in Britain, and a permanent monument to our friendship with India.” St Vincent gets IMF cash injection Traditional poetry is revived as Taliban retreat Pashtun refugees from north-western Pakistan are rediscovering traditional verse, which was banned when the Taliban took over North Waziristan. For more than 1,000 years, Pashtun poets have recited verses, drawing on the mountainous scenery, local culture and love as their inspiration. But when the Taliban arrived in 2001, poets were warned that their verses must only carry jihadist messages about war, violence and martyrdom. The refugees have been temporarily displaced while the army attempts to clear the area of militants. But while many are enduring difficult living conditions – staying with relatives or sleeping in schools in neighbouring provinces – traditional poetry has seen a revival. “It was so horrible for me, like a nightmare, when they approached me for the first time to make words about slaughtering innocent people part of my poetry,” 38-year-old Saleem Khan told The Washington Post. Khan is now composing poetry about his life as a refugee. Army leaders say that the drive to remove the Taliban is progressing well, with the Pakistani government hoping that the refugees will be able to return home in the autumn. The islands suffered damage to roads, housing and farm land in the 2013 flooding


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