Eco-Drive A Sustainable Solution at the heart of the UN Agenda

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By Valentina Gasbarri | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW YORK (IDN) - The threat that climate change poses to peace, security and sustainable development has led to the general recognition of the significance and the urgency of an integrated multi-dimensional approach to analysing the impact of environmental challenges, to address them creatively and build resilient societies worldwide.

Climate change is a problem requiring new and transformative solutions. In order to achieve the goal of sustainability, the role of public-policy makers, governments and international institutions as well as of the private sector and the academia is essential. Taking a cue from the United Nations, the first International Conference on Global Environment, Carbon Reduction, and Eco-Drive was held on October 17, 2014 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. It was co-hosted by the World Association of Former United Nations Internes and Fellows (WAFUNIN), the ASUA Corporation of Japan and the Permanent Mission of Romania to the United Nations.

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India: Facing Up To Ugly Truths About the ISIS

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By Shastri Ramachandaran* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

MUMBAI (IDN) - In sharp contrast to the ongoing dissection — in the West and West Asia — of the ISIS, its roots, its growing appeal, the dangers it poses and ways in which it can be confronted and countered, in India there is a deafening silence.

The government and political parties act as if the threat would go away if they don’t talk about it. We make do with bombast about the patriotism of Muslims in India, and do not debate what the threat is about. The ISIS is not a challenge to any one community or country. It is a phenomenon attracting adherents from unlikely quarters in the West; from the very countries that have joined hands to militarily crush the ISIS.

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China Lays Claim to Leadership of the Buddhist World

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By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BAOJI, China (IDN) - With an impressive display of Chinese Buddhist culture and hospitality, China laid claims to giving leadership to the Buddhist world, by hosting over 600 international delegates for the 27th General Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) at this historic city in northwestern China from October 16 to 18.

Though not officially acknowledged, China is today home to between 200-300 million Buddhists thus making it the country with the world’s largest Buddhist population. The restored grand Buddhist temples in Baoji and in close by Xian, and the impressive Buddhist cultural display at the opening ceremony of the WFB meeting is anything to go by, it indicates that Chinese Buddhism has undergone a remarkable revival, after Buddhist temples were destroyed and Buddhist practices disrupted during the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s.

Lou Qinjian, Governor of Shaanxi Provice (where Baoji and Xian are located) in a speech opening the conference told delegates from over 40 countries that Buddhism has become an important part of Chinese civilization for over 1800 years and his province has been the gateway for the flow of Buddhism from India to China. He added that over this period Buddhism has spread the ideas of equality, benevolence and harmony that have become important parts of Chinese civilization.

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Obama’s Talk Closer to Indian Position On Nukes

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By Shastri Ramachandaran* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN) - Present-day summit meetings are about optics and atmospherics. It is the triumph of style over content. The meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama was no different. In the age of tweet and TV-driven news coverage, events take precedence over outcomes and sound bytes over substance.

Documents such as the vision statement or the joint statement, which in times past served as a measure of the agenda and accomplishments of bilateral meetings, are today ignored as pointless verbiage unavoidable for the record.

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Commercialisation of Children’s Media Hampering Global Citizenship

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By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

KUALA LUMPUR (IDN) – Excessive commercialization of children’s media, especially television, is obstructing efforts aimed at education and capacity building for global citizenship and raising awareness among children of the diversity of the world, according to experts.

Many of the speakers at the recent World Summit on Media for Children in Kuala Lumpur agreed with Dr Patricia Edgar, former director of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, that the majority of children’s programmes are commercially driven and not educational.

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The Foreign Policy of Narendra Modi

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By Jayantha Dhanapala* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN) - Within two months the newly elected Prime Minister of India has had summit meetings with the Japanese Prime Minister, the President of China and the President of the USA. India, Japan and China are the Asian giants while the US remains the sole global super power. Thus the evolving relationships amongst them have special significance. It has become a cliché today to describe all friendly bilateral relations as “strategic partnerships” but obviously some relations are more “strategic” than others.

In the halcyon period of Jawaharlal Nehru’s leadership of Indian foreign policy good relations with China was a cornerstone governed by the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence or Pancha Shila embodied in the Sino-Indian Treaty of April 29, 1954. The Sino-Indian war of 1962 blighted that relationship and although some normalcy has been restored, especially in terms of trade and other economic ties, bilateral relations have never been the same. India’s dramatic economic development and the election of a strong leader in Narendra Modi has created a new climate for reaching out to Asia and the world after the symbolic first steps towards South Asian neighbours were taken with the problem of Pakistan shelved for the moment.

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Asian Leaders Show A Way Out of the ‘Hell’ Let Loose

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By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

SINGAPORE (IDN) - In 2003 when U.S. President George W Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were contemplating invading Iraq based on the now discredited claims of Iraqi President Saddam Hussien possessing “weapons of mass destruction”, the then Arab League chief Amr Moussa warned that such an action would “open the gates of hell” in the Middle East.

Today, not only Iraq, but also many of its neighbours such as Syria, Palestine and Libya have descended into the “hell” Moussa predicted. Yet, the West seems blind to it and is repeating the same mistakes again, lacking the wisdom to understand that the threat the West argues needs to be neutralized, is coming from the “hell” they themselves created.

Six months after invading Iraq, in September 2003, President Bush addressing the UN General Assembly (UNGA) said that the U.S. and its allies were fighting “a global movement of violent extremists” and in September 2014 President Barack Obama used almost identical words when he said that the U.S. will work with a broad coalition to “dismantle this network of death”.

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Waiting For Zero Nuke

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By D Ravi Kanth* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

GENEVA (IDN) - The commemoration of the United Nations International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on September 26 was a grim reminder of the continued threat from nuclear weapons to people at large.

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U. S. Military Three Years After ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

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By Chas Henry* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

WASHINGTON DC (IDN) - On a recent summer morning in Northern Virginia, about 100 very fit 20-somethings in camouflaged uniforms marched onto a large asphalt parade field in Quantico, Virginia – elated after ten weeks of tough physical and mental screening to have been selected as officers in the U. S. Marine Corps.

Among their ranks: Joseph Rocha, who many would have imagined the last person who would want to be part of that formation.

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Arab NGO Network Concerned Over Rights Violations in Egypt

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By Jutta Wolf | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

BERLIN (IDN) - Violations of rights in Egypt are becoming increasingly evident in the aftermath of the country’s Ministry of Social Solidarity proposing a new law, which would constitute a dangerous escalation in the framework of systematic targeting of civil society activists and increasing restrictions imposed upon them, according to the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND).

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Wanted A ‘Global Europe’

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By Shada Islam* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

BRUSSELS (IDN) - Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini’s appointment as the new European Union foreign policy chief offers the opportunity for an overhaul of EU foreign and security policy.

With many EU leaders, ministers and senior officials slow to respond to world events given Europe’s traditionally long summer break, the 2014 summer of death and violence has left the reputation of ‘Global Europe’ in tatters, highlighting the EU’s apparent disconnect from the bleak reality surrounding it.

When she takes charge in November along with other members of the new European Commission, led by Jean-Claude Juncker, Mogherini’s first priority must be to restore Europe’s credibility in an increasingly volatile and chaotic global landscape.

It cannot be business as usual. A strategic rethink of Europe’s global outreach is urgent.

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