Sri Lanka Presidential Election: A Third Term Or A Fresh Start?

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By Jayantha Dhanapala* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN) - President Mahinda Rajapakse’s proclamation on November 20 last year decreeing a Presidential Election two years before the expiry of his second term of office has provided the voters of Sri Lanka with an unexpected opportunity to make a unique democratic choice on January 8, 2015.

With the Sri Lankan voter enjoying universal adult franchise from 1931 – even when the country was a colony of Britain – this island nation has, since gaining independence in 1948, changed its rulers through the peaceful use of the ballot a total of nine times. The choice has been between the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) or coalitions led by each of them.

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Increasing Importance of Education for Global Citizenship

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By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW YORK (IDN) - When United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Global Education First Initiative in September 2012, “fostering global citizenship” was one of his three priorities, along with “putting every child in school” and “improving the quality of learning”.

Ban said: “Education is much more than an entry to the job market. It has the power to shape a sustainable future and better world. Education policies should promote peace, mutual respect and environmental care.”

As the international community moves toward adopting the post-2015 development agenda, popularly known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the need for education for global citizenship is becoming increasingly important.

Because none of the goals impacting the Earth and its inhabitants can be achieved without people and governments around the world transcending narrow national interests and acting in the interest of the planet.

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Pakistan: The Rope is Not a Solution

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By This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. * | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

LAHORE (IDN) - The government of Pakistan, after the terrifying attack on a Peshawar school on December 16, which took the lives of 132 school students and nine staff members, and left numerous injured, decided to reinstate capital punishment.

No doubt, the whole nation is in great agony and grief. I, first of all, want to condemn such terror attacks and wish for this country to find a way out of this terrorism curse soon and we all shall resume peaceful and prosper lives.

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What China’s Silk Road Project Aims At

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By Shastri Ramachandaran* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

MUMBAI (IDN) - There is more to China’s Silk Route Project — from the sea lanes of East Asia through South and Central Asia to Europe — than is generally perceived in India.

India has been invited to join the project for rebuilding the ancient Silk Road that connected India, China and Central Asia to Europe and reviving the Maritime Silk Route for linking countries in the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean. Most of India’s neighbours see it as an opportunity that should not be missed.

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Pope Francis’ Sri Lanka Mission Unleashes Controversy

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By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

SINGAPORE (IDN) - Pope Francis is due to make a three-day visit to Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka with the highlight of the visit being the canonization of Joseph Vaz, an Indian born 17th century Catholic missionary who spent most of his life in Sri Lanka to help Catholics persecuted by the island’s Dutch rulers at the time.

The canonization and Pope Francis’s second visit to an Asian country has created much controversy, which fortunately for the Vatican, has been drowned out by the intensity of the presidential election campaign in Sri Lanka. The election is scheduled for January 8, just five days before Pope’s scheduled arrival in the island on January 13.

About 70 percent of the Sri Lankan population is Buddhists, while the Catholics account for just 6 percent. But, they are a powerful minority that is well connected to international Catholic networks.

The haste at which The Vatican in close collaboration with the local Catholic Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, has arranged this visit setting aside many protocols and by-laws from Rome has added to Buddhist suspicions that this visit is designed to promote proselyting activities not only in Sri Lanka but also in the South Asian region. The Catholic Church however claims the visit is for promoting reconciliation and religious harmony in Sri Lanka.

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Collective Denial Does Not Wipe Out Torture

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By Julio Godoy* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BARCELONA (IDN) - A couple of weeks after the attacks of Sept 11, 2001 against the Trade World Centre in New York, the U.S. playwright, actor, and essayist Wallace Shawn published a memorable analysis of the U.S. collective reaction to the attacks. Shawn diagnosed the U.S. a condition of denial. According to Shawn, the U.S. “cannot face (its) real problem, so (it) den(ies) that it exists and create(s) instead a different problem (to) solve.”

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‘Their Weapons Possess Them’

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By Xanthe Hall* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

“Possession does not prevent international disputes from occurring, but it makes conflicts more dangerous. Maintaining forces on alert does not provide safety, but it increases the likelihood of accidents. Upholding doctrines of nuclear deterrence does not counter proliferation, but it makes the weapons more desirable.” - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

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Survivors Aspire For A World Free Of Nuclear Weapons

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By Neena Bhandari* | IDN-InDepth NewsFeature

SYDNEY (IDN) - Sue Coleman-Haseldine, a Kokatha-Mula Indigenous woman, was about three years old when the United Kingdom began conducting Nuclear weapons tests in Australia’s Monte Bello Islands, off the Western Australian coast, and Emu Field and Maralinga in South Australia.

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Modi’s Neighbourhood Policy Yet To Bear Fruit

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By Shastri Ramachandran* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN) - Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have been the toast at the high tables from BRICS and ASEAN to G-20 and the East Asia Summit, but nearer home, in the neighbourhood, his 56-inch chest impresses few. The stark truth that India does not draw much water in the region was driven home unmistakably during the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu.

The November 26-27 SAARC Summit was dominated by India’s futile effort to check China’s influence in SAARC and over its member-nations. In this contest, China and its “all-weather friend” Pakistan not only got the better of India, but also won over others – such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives – to their case.

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UN Gets Ready To Face Zero Hunger Challenge

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By Valentina Gasbarri* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

ROME (IDN) - Despite significant progress made over the previous decades, persistent and unacceptable levels of malnutrition pose a formidable global challenge.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the prevalence of hunger has declined since 1990. But some 805 million (1 out of 9 persons) remain chronically hungry, FAO data for 2012-2014 shows.

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The Long Journey To Global Citizenship

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“I think Voltaire said something that applies to my perception. He said, I should be ready to die for what I believe, but I should not be ready to kill for what I believe. So, when you look at fundamentalism, that’s one of the problems, when you look just at the basic violence in society in the pursuit of individual interests, that’s one of the problems. When you’re looking at the world divided into pieces and somebody tries to take control of someone else, then there is another conflict and you’ve war.” –  Professor Carlos Alberto Torres

By Monzurul Huq* | IDN-InDepth NewsInterview

NAGOYA, Japan (IDN) – Education for global citizenship, funded among others through tax on financial speculation, will not only promote enlightened patriotism but also foster the cause of peace and counter nationalistic and fundamentalist trends, says Professor Carlos Alberto Torres in an exclusive interview.

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