What Russia Learnt From Chechnya Before Ukraine Foray

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By Brenna Owen | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

KINGSTON, Canada (IDN) - The view that Russian President Vladimir Putin has consolidated and strengthened Moscow’s power is commonly held and, indeed, holds much truth.

Domestically speaking, Putin has effectively reconstituted Russian state power – aided in part by the appeal of his charismatic ‘strongman’ image. What has emerged is a system of competitive authoritarianism in which Putin governs through formal democratic institutions, but violates rules and processes to such an extent that his regime fails to meet universally accepted democratic standards.

In addition to an iron-fisted grip on domestic politics, the perception exists that Putin’s foreign policy is a testament to Moscow’s strength. For instance, Putin’s close association with the relative stabilization of Chechnya conferred on him the mantle of legitimacy and lent him popular electoral support.

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Indian Army’s Modernisation Needs Huge Investment

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By Arun Sahgal* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

NEW DELHI (IDN | IDSA) - The NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government – headed by Prime Minister Narenda Modi – has identified defence reforms and building a self sustaining defence industrial base as a priority reform sector. To transform this into reality, it is not so much of the government commitment but its ability to take policy decisions and put processes in place by spurring public and private sector investments through higher indigenisation, transfer of technology, simplifying procedures, etc.

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Interfaith Harmony Can Generate Development

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By Valentina Gasbarri* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

ROME (IDN) - Worldwide, there is increasing recognition that faith and religion play a vital role in promoting peaceful and harmonious relationships within and between nations.

For more than half a century, the United Nations, the European Union and numerous other international and regional organizations have affirmed the principle of religious freedom. Journalists and pro-human rights organisations have reported on persecution of minority faiths, outbreaks of sectarian violence and discrimination practices against religious individuals and communities in many countries.

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India-Japan Link Amid Concern Over China

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By Harsh V. Pant* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN | Yale Global) - Asia’s leading nations have been slowly coming together to face the challenge of an assertive China. To the chagrin of Beijing, US, Indian and Japanese naval vessels gathered for a joint exercise in the Pacific ostensibly against piracy and terrorism. The rise of nationalist leaders in Japan and India, combined with growing US concern about aggressive Chinese policy, have created new dynamics in the region.

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Social Protection For The Poor Too

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By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

GENEVA (IDN) - “Social security” and “social protection” feature increasingly in the global policy atmosphere these days. The two terms encapsulate the idea that people should be able to have a basic income and access to health care and education, and that includes those who are poor or jobless.

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West Eyeing Ukraine’s Huge Agribusiness

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By J C Suresh | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

TORONTO (IDN) - The way international financial institutions jumped in on the heels of the political turmoil in Ukraine and are rivalling to deregulate and throw open the country’s huge agricultural sector to foreign investors is described by a new report from the California-based Oakland Institute, Walking on the West Side: the World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict.

The crisis in this Eastern European country, sprawling an area of 603,628 square kilometres (233,062 square miles), thus making it the largest country entirely within Europe, was precipitated by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s rejection of an Association agreement with the European Union in favour of a Russian deal. It was a major factor leading to his ouster in February 2014.

Soon after the change to a pro-EU government, the country’s swing to the West was buttressed with a USD 17 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and an additional USD 3.5 billion aid package from the World Bank, both of which require significant economic reforms and austerity measures that are expected to have disastrous impact on the country’s economy.

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Strengthening Community Forest Rights Mitigates Climate Change

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By Caleb Stevens, Robert Winterbottom, Sarah Parsons and Carni Klirs*

WASHINGTON DC (IDN | WRI) - Deforestation and other land changes produce about 11 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions globally. A new report reveals an undervalued and often-overlooked strategy for curbing these emissions – strengthening the rights of forest communities.

Governments around the world legally recognize at least 513 million hectares of community forests, land held collectively by either rural populations or Indigenous Peoples. This area stores about 37 billion tonnes of carbon – 29 times the annual carbon footprint of all the passenger vehicles in the world. Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change, a new report from WRI and the Rights and Resources Initiative, shows that by protecting and expanding the amount of officially recognized community forests, national governments can meet their climate goals while also improving citizens’ livelihoods.

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Geopolitics of Sino-Vietnamese Mail-Order Brides

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By Valentina Gasbarri* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

ROME (IDN) - The past 10 years have witnessed a rapid increase in the intra-Asia flow of cross-border marriage migration. While increasing neo-liberal globalisation, the opening of borders and the improvement of transport infrastructure between nations, have brought some gains through increasing trade, these have also facilitated an inhuman form of population movement, heightened the demand for cheap labour and exacerbated people smuggling and women and child trafficking, not only in the least developed countries.

Unauthorized entry and trans-national marriages in Sino-Vietnamese border areas represents a unique example as there are many natural and convenient ways for border crossing and for the development of sophisticated and insidious business involving the most vulnerable population groups, such as women and children from rural areas.

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WHO Warns Of A Post-Antibiotic Era

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By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

GENEVA (IDN) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) has sounded a loud alarm bell that many types of disease-causing bacteria can no longer be treated with the usual antibiotics and the benefits of modern medicine are increasingly being eroded.

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Japan Remains Committed to Non-Nuclear Principles

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By Isamu Ueda* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

TOKYO (IDN) - In recent years, Japan has found itself it in a rapidly changing security environment. The global balance of power has shifted and various new threats have emerged within the region, including the development of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile systems that may soon be capable of delivering them.

These changes have sparked serious debate within Japan about how best to meet the changing security needs of the people of Japan and to protect their lives and livelihoods.

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Nuke Proliferation in East Asia Affects International Security

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By Valentina Gasbarri* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

ROME (IDN) - The 10th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 on April 28, 2014 can be especially propitious for standing back from the perennial present of international security issues and evaluating longer-term trends.

The threat posed by the spread of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles is one of the main security challenges of the 21st century. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War led to a gradual reduction both in the security framework and in the perception of security.

In order to address this challenge and develop appropriate solutions, accurate risk factors analysis is required, as well as the ability to generate a multi-dimensional response: promoting the development of a comprehensive non-proliferation regime while also trying to explore how nuclear energy can safely be harnessed for sustainable economic development. The implications of nuclear proliferation for international relations are difficult to predict but profound.

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