Nuclear Weapons Free World No Lost Cause

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By Jamshed Baruah | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN) – The forthcoming 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August is an appropriate occasion to start developing a legally binding instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons. This, according to experts, is the distinct message emerging from the four-week long United Nations conference, which ended without an outcome document on May 22.

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Conference Calls for Quality Education to Promote Global Citizenship

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By Shin Mee | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

SEOUL (IDN) - In run-up to the UN High-Level Summit in September in New York, a milestone United Nations conference in South Korea has highlighted the need for a new vision for education, which it aims to realise by 2030 with a view to fostering global citizenship by inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all.

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Mapping India-China Cultural Links Crucial For Asia’s Emergence

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By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

NEW DELHI (IDN) - When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived on May 14 in the historic city of Xian, at the start of his three-day visit to China, he was almost immediately taken by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Wild Goose Pagoda that symbolise the two countries’ umbilical cultural ties, thus setting the tone for the important visit. Xian is where the ancient Silk Route began.

This Buddhist temple which is today a major tourist attraction in China, and where the Chinese Buddhist scholar monk Xuanzang spent many years of his later life translating some 35 volumes of Buddhist scriptures into Chinese that he collected during 16 years he spent at Nalanda University in India in the 7th century. It is these volumes that helped to spread Buddhism across much of East Asia and later helped Indian scholars to find out about Nalanda University after Muslim Turkic invaders burned Nalanda into ashes in the 12th century.

Thus these two-way civilizational exchanges are significant milestones as Asia’s two leading civilizations led by two visionary leaders embark on building a new economic and cultural relationship that could transform the world.

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Poland Asked to Reduce Reliance on Fossil Fuels

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By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepthNews Report

PARIS (IDN) - In a carrot-and-stick approach, the 34-nation Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has commended Poland for having combined robust economic growth with reducing some of the pressures on its environment since it joined the European Union in 2004. At the same time, it asks Poland to decrease its economy’s reliance on fossil fuels and make growth greener.

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Liberia Needs a Marshall Plan

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By Mirjam van Reisen* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BRUSSELS (IDN) - At the height of the Ebola-crisis, scenarios predicted the deaths of around 1.4 million people, or around 20.000 deaths a month. Now the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Ebola-free. This means that no new cases have been diagnosed in the last 42 days. The total number of lives claimed by the disease in Liberia is 10,722 deaths. What lessons can be drawn from this and what should be done now?

News of a first Ebola patient in Liberia was spread in March 2014. A doctor at a large public hospital in Monrovia had attended a meeting at the University and left that same night to sound the alarm. The danger was immediately recognised by the leaders of the healthcare system in Liberia. Nonetheless, a large number of doctors and healthcare workers died in the first period, because the knowledge and means to properly face and control the disease were lacking.

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India-Denmark Relations at Their Lowest

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By Shastri Ramachandaran | IDN-InDepthNews Viewpoint

NEW DELHI (IDN) - The Royal Danish Embassy in New Delhi is a reminder that Denmark has fallen off the map of India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Neither the change at the helm – from Manmohan Singh as prime minister to Narendra Modi – nor foreign secretary Sujatha Singh being replaced by S Jaishankar has altered Denmark’s situation.

The Government of India (GoI) barely acknowledges the Danish embassy as a diplomatic entity, which is kept out of official programmes. However, the embassy does not deny a visa to any Indian, including journalists, who want to visit the land of Hans Christian Andersen, known for famous fairy tales, including The Little Mermaid and The Emperor’s New Clothes.

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‘Create a World that Guarantees Everyone’s Right to Live in Dignity’

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IDN-InDepthNews Interview with Daisaku Ikeda*

By Ramesh Jaura

BERLIN | TOKYO (IDN) - As things appear to fall apart and decision-makers around the world grapple with ways out of manifold crises, an eminent Buddhist philosopher and peace-builder has stressed the need for building a “sustainable global society” in which all peoples’ rights are protected and the international community agrees on a path that leads toward a nuclear weapons free world.

In an exclusive interview with IDN, Soka Gakkai International president Daisaku Ikeda expressed the hope that the adoption of sustainable development goals (SDGs) by the United Nations General Assembly in September will “energize a new round of mutual striving to contribute to a world free of needless suffering”.

The email interview in full follows:

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OECD Urges Reforms for More Inclusive Growth in Japan

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By Taro Ichikawa | IDN-InDepthNews Report

TOKYO (IDN) - The 34-nation Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has called for narrowing “gender inequality” as part of “reforms for more inclusive and stronger growth” in Japan. Presenting the OECD’s 2015 Economic Survey of Japan, the influential economic bloc’s Secretary-General Angel Gurría also pleaded for boosting productivity that, he said, was “key to unlocking stronger growth”.

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Wanted An International Mediterranean Summit

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By Mirjam van Reisen* | IDN-InDepthNews Viewpoint

BRUSSELS (IDN) - The European Council is expected to formulate a coherent European response to the continuing humanitarian disaster in the Mediterranean on April 23. The tragic deaths of more than 1000 men, women and children as well as the recognition that the situation is spiralling out of control, seem to have finally alerted Europe to the scale of the crisis. EU High Representative Federica Mogherini for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – who is also Vice-President of the European Commission – and her staff deserve commendation for their determination and commitment to get things moving.

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The Mediterranean Catastrophe Calls For An International Response

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By Mirjam van Reisen* | IDN-InDepthNews Viewpoint

BRUSSELS (IDN) - Despite one of the largest humanitarian disasters of recent years unfolding on their doorstep, and another 700 deaths on April 19, the EU and its Member States seem totally paralyzed and incapable of providing an urgent and appropriate response. The deaths of men, women and children only seem to promote further rounds of discussion. These will – in due course - no doubt result in yet another political declaration and yet more empty promises.

The urgency of the situation demands action, not words.

After several years of intense debate, the EU seems further away from providing any tangible and effective response to the crisis than ever before. Europe has proved totally incapable of agreeing to anything that could halt the loss of life in the Mediterranean. While the diplomats and politicians talk interminably the death toll is increasing remorselessly. The deliberate downscaling of search and rescue operations, and the blunt refusal to respond to even the most basic requests for international protection, have caused the death and suffering of some of the most vulnerable and desperate people.

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Nuclear Testing Legacy Haunts Pacific Island Countries

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By Shailendra Singh* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

SUVA, Fiji (IDN) - Prominent Pacific Island anti-nuclear campaigners want a revival of their once-robust movement to support the international effort against ‘nuclearism’. Their call coincides with a major international meeting at the United Nations in New York – the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) from April 27 to May 22, 2015.

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