By Taro Ichikawa
TOKYO (IDN) - China has been fighting two prolonged dry spells and the ongoing floods that have caused havoc in central and eastern parts of the country this year. The second spell of drought in the Yangtze River basin was followed by devastating floods with an enormously adverse economic impact.
A total of over 36 million people are reported to have been affected, at least 355 killed and with direct economic losses of nearly US$6.5 billion, according to Xinhua.
By Werner Hoyer*
BERLIN (IDN) - India was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the then European Economic Community (EEC) in the early 1960s.
About three decades later, the Member States ratified the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 which transformed the EEC to the European Union and established the new tool of 'Common Foreign and Security Policy'. As a consequence the relationship between India and the EU was intensified and extended beyond trade and economic cooperation through the Cooperation Agreement of 1994.
By Ramesh Jaura
BERLIN (IDN) - As the international community struggles to provide all possible assistance to more than 11 million people in Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti and Kenya – adversely affected by the lack of food and long spell of drought – Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Luc Gnacadja, has drawn attention to an often ignored fact that "droughts do not happen overnight."
By Bernhard Schell
GAZA (IDN) - As September draws closer and the Palestine Authority prepares to achieve statehood as well as full membership of the United Nations, a new report is calling upon Fatah and Hamas rivals to take necessary steps to implement the Egyptian sponsored reconciliation agreement and install a Palestinian leadership able to reach and carry out peace with Israel.
By S J Chandler
TORONTO (IDN) - A 25 percent cut in contributions to the cash strapped United Nations, embargo on funding for the UN Human Rights Council and making assistance conditional on countries' voting behaviour at the UN are some of the salient features of a new U.S. legislation.
Called the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of Financial Year 2012, the bill was passed by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on July 21. It authorizes spending for the U.S. State Department, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and international institutions for fiscal year 2012.
By Richard Johnson
BRUSSELS (IDN) - Nearly four months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, government ministers of 27 European Union countries have taken a decision on radioactive waste management that promises to be of profound significance not only for the member nations, but also for the African, Pacific and Caribbean states as well the Antarctic.
By Jayantha Dhanapala*
WASHINGTON D.C. (IDN) - 2009, was a year of promise with President Obama's memorable speech in Prague, the nuclear arms negotiations between the United States (U.S.) and Russia and many other hopeful signs. It was springtime of hope – but many asked then, cautiously, having lived through several false dawns, whether we were going to see a summer season for disarmament.
By Peter Wahl*
BERLIN (IDN) - The EU has for some time been discussing a package of proposals to better coordinate economic policies and avoid crises in the Euro zone. The main purpose is to impose stricter budget discipline on member countries even including sanctions for those in the Euro zone.
By Lance Selfa*
LONDON (IDN) - When one of the most arrogant men in the world is forced to issue a full-page apology in national newspapers, you know that he feels he has little other choice.
That must have been the calculation in the inner sanctum of News Corporation when billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch signed off on a full-page ad in several of his (and his competitors') British newspapers. The ad, presented as a personal letter from Murdoch himself, led with "We are sorry..." It proceeded to apologize for the "serious wrongdoing" of his News of the World, whose reporters hacked e-mails and phone messages of ordinary people in search of tabloid scoops.
By R Kim
SEOUL (IDN) - A new report has cautioned against hastening the collapse of North Korea and implicitly pleaded for a softer approach towards ending the division of Korea stemming from the 1945 U.S.-led Allied victory in Second World War.
By Alemayehu G. Mariam*
SAN BERNARDINO, USA (IDN) - Hope springs eternal in Africa and light is now visible at the end of Africa's thugtatorship tunnel. On May 31, 2011, Nigeria's newly-elected president Goodluck Johnathan lifted the dark curtain of secrecy that had shrouded Nigerian politics for decades by signing a freedom of information act (FOIA). Nigerians now have the legal right to demand open government, political accountability and transparency.