Sri Lanka Turning Anew into a Geopolitical Battle Ground

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By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

SINGAPORE (IDN) - On January 8, 2015 when President Mahinda Rajapakse’s former Cabinet colleague Maithripala Sirisena defeated his old boss in a shock election result campaigning on heralding a non-corruptible ‘yahapalana’ (good governance) regime, people of Sri Lanka took a deep breath, some with euphoric expectations and others with fears of war and terrorism re-visiting the now peaceful island.

Mixed reviews of the anniversary in local newspapers agree that there is a better climate of freedom especially in the media. But it is another question whether democracy and media freedom could eradicate corruption from the political system.

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Digital India Has Much To Attract China

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By Shastri Ramachandaran* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BEIJING (IDN) - Although India and China are politically, culturally and economically different, the two countries have much more in common than the border and Buddhism. India’s economy, for one, is very much on a China-like trajectory. That has been so since the economic reforms piloted by Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister after P V Narasimha Rao became India’s Prime Minister in 1991.

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China’s New Two-Child Policy No Economic Panacea

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By Shastri Ramachandaran* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BEIJING (IDN) - The ending of China’s one-child policy, which gained notoriety for its coercive implementation, is a landmark event of immense economic and political significance, but there are serious question marks about whether it can effectively produce the positive economic fallout that its architects expect.

The importance of the October 29 decision of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to jettison the 35-year-old draconian one-child policy in favour of a new, universal two-child norm is primarily political as underscored by the fact that the announcement was made in a communique released at the conclusion of the four-day conclave – Fifth Plenum – of the CPC’s 18th Central Committee.

The main purpose of the plenum was to finalise China’s 13th Five-Year Plan – the first since Xi Jinping became President – and map the road ahead for the world’s second largest economy, which has had to contend with a falling growth rate in the last few years. China now aims to strive for a GDP growth rate of 6.5 to 7 percent during the five years of this Plan ending in 2020.

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China’s Carbon Trading Pilot Programmes Flawed

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By Wang Yan* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BEIJING (IDN | UNDP) - As China prepares to launch a nationwide carbon cap-and-trade program to try to slow climate change, experts are warning of a long list of flaws in seven pilot programs that are already operating throughout the country.

Major issues ahead of the planned 2017 launch of a national carbon trading program include a lack of openness, transparency and fairness; a flawed system of allowance allocation which does not reflect real industry conditions; and an inadequate monitoring, verification and reporting system.

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A Young Japanese Foundation Reaches Out to the World

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By Robert Johnson | IDN-InDepthNews Feature


BERLIN | MILAN (IDN) - “To safeguard the future of the planet and the right of future generations everywhere to live healthy and fulfilling lives. This is the great development challenge of the 21st century,” declared the Human Development Report 2011, an independent publication commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme.

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Pacific Islanders Debating ‘Oceanian’ and Global Citizenship

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By Shailendra Singh* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

SUVA, Fiji (IDN) - Discussions about the concept of ‘Global Citizenship’ are gaining momentum in various international forums, but remain largely unexplored in the Pacific Islands.

According to Ron Israel, co-founder of The Global Citizens’ Initiative, Global Citizens think beyond communities based on shared group identities, and see themselves as part of a larger, emerging world community.

In the Pacific, the late Tongan academic and philosopher, Professor Epeli Hau’ofa, had gone as far as proposing a common regional identify he called the “new Oceania”, comprising of people with a common Pacific heritage and commitment, rather than as members of diverse nationalities and races.

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U.S.-India-Japan Seek Asia-Pacific Rebalance

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By J Nastranis | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

NEW YORK (IDN) - As part of the U.S. “rebalance to the Pacific”, the growing convergence of their respective countries’ interests in the Indo-Pacific region, and with an eye on China’s increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea, Washington has initiated a trilateral dialogue involving both India and Japan.

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Sri Lanka: Voters' Expectations Yet to be Fulfilled

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By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis


SINGAPORE (IDN) - The U.S., UK and the international media have hailed the August 18 election results in Sri Lanka as a victory for democracy, but the looser may well turn out to be the voters of Sri Lanka. The political comedy that has taken place in the island republic in the aftermath of the election, exposes yet again the deficiencies of the democracy gospel that is unable to stamp out embedded corruption in the system.

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Japan Will Never Be ‘Belligerent’ Overseas

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By Isamu Ueda* | IDN-InDepthNews Viewpoint

The author is New Komeito Party member of Japan’s House of Representatives and Chairman of the party’s International Committee. In a brief and exclusive opinion article, he says: “Japan’s ‘Peace and Security legislation’ has not changed its exclusively defence-oriented posture.”

TOKYO (IDN) - In Japan, “Peace and Security Legislation” has been a main focus of deliberations in the Diet this year. How Japan could ensure the country’s security in response to the changing security environment has been discussed.

Debate has also focused on the extent to which Japan should contribute to the peace of the international community. Following meetings between the ruling parties over one year, the Japanese government submitted this legislation to the current Diet session.

 

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India Confronts Reality at Shanghai Summit

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By Shastri Ramachandran*  | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

CHENNAI, India (IDN) - The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a regional forum where India may not be able to have its way against Pakistan. To the contrary, Pakistan – which also became a full member of the SCO along with India on July 10 in Ufa (Russia) – may be better placed in the six-member regional grouping dominated by China and Russia.

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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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