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LONDON - Almost 60 percent of countries are at high risk of using slave labour in their supply
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 , according to a new global index
launched on Thursday.

By assessing incidents of human trafficking or slavery, national laws, and the quality of law enforcement across 198 countries, risk analytics company
Verisk Maplecroft found that 115 countries were at high or extreme risk of using

A cotton picker is at work during this year's harvest in Karakalpakstan Nike
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 , Uzbekistan in this October 2015
photo courtesy of Anti-Slavery International released to Reuters on December 18,

"Few countries in the world are actually immune to modern slavery," said Alex Channer, lead analyst for human rights research at Verisk Maplecroft.

Nearly 46 million people around the world are living as slaves Supreme
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 , forced to work in
factories, mines and farms, sold for sex, trapped in debt bondage or born into
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 , according to the 2016
Global Slavery Index by rights group Walk Free Foundation.

Modern slavery has become a catch-all term to describe human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, sex
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 , forced marriage and other
slave-like exploitation.

Channer said Verisk Maplecroft's index aims to help businesses identify countries most at risk of slave labour.

The issue has received increasing attention in recent years with exposes in sectors as diverse as fishing, mining and textiles.

Last year, Britain passed an anti-slavery law requiring companies with a turnover of 36 million pounds or more to report what they are doing to eradicate
slavery from their supply chains.

After North Korea, the report ranked South Sudan Supreme
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 , Sudan and
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one of the world's largest producer of
cobalt which is used in electronics, as countries with the most slave labour.

The European Union had a 'medium risk' of using slaves, while Britain Hombre
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 , Germany, Denmark and Finland
were the only four major European economies that had a low risk of slave labour.

"In general, most countries have moderate to excellent legal framework. But where they vary is how effective they are at actually implementing those laws,"
said Channer.

YANTAI, July 8, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Tourists walk across green algae mound on the seashore in Haiyang City of Yantai, east China's Shandong Province, July 8,
2016. Green algae, or enteromorpha prolifera, struck the coast of Haiyang due to
wind direction and tidal current. The clear-up work is underway. (XinhuaZhao

BUDAPEST, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Hungarian Economy Minister Mihaly Varga said on Thursday self-driving vehicles were key to national development.

While attending a conference here on The Car of the Future, Varga called the self-driving car a huge opportunity for Hungary's technological development,
given that almost all major automotive manufacturers were present in Hungary.

The government is ready to support research and development in this area and to offer the best possible conditions for advances in the field, he said.

Hungary needs to shift to an innovation driven economy which means boosting knowledge-based industry, intensive research and development, and the
introduction of new technologies, Varga said. Industry, he added, was one of the
most important engines of growth in the Hungarian economy.

The automotive industry accounts for 20.2 percent of the overall foreign direct investment (FDI) in the manufacturing industry and the volume of
investments is nearly 3.4 billion euros (about 3.8 billion dollars). It
currently employs 144,000 people in Hungary, if suppliers are included.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who also attended the conference, announced that a new test track would be built in Zalaegerszeg, western Hungary.

According to Orban, the new test track would be an ideal place to test the self-driving cars and related technological systems.

Varga, automotive company heads, and research institutions signed a declaration of intent involving the use of the new, not yet built, test track.
The ministry said the signatories planned to cooperate in studying self-driving
cars and their systems, including connected-car IT systems, fuel consumption,
and real-driving emissions, as well as safety.

Since self-driving cars are highly Internet-dependent, Orban also announced that the government was considering cutting the Value Added Tax (VAT) on
Internet services from the current 27 percent. If Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
data permits, he said, the tax could be cut to as low as 5 percent, which could
be a major boost to the industry.

Speaking for all of Europe, Gunther Oettinger, the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said Europe needed to take the lead in the digital
transformation of industry or lose its competitive edge.

Information technology and software are a critical part of the new industrial revolution, he said, noting the vehicle industry was about to change drastically
with the birth of self-driving cars. Not only would it reduce accidents but it
would also cut down on traffic jams and carbon emissions.

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Posted 22 Aug 2018
Posted 04 Sep 2018

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