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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
By Jamshed Baruah | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
GENEVA (IDN) - While existing tensions in Northeast Asia continue to be a source of concern and urgent action is required to diffuse these and bring about meaningful cooperation, a nuclear-weapon free zone (NWFZ) in the region is possible and should in fact be a priority, according to an international conference held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on November 26.
By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
SINGAPORE (IDN) - Eminent political analysts, academics and journalists have predicted a promising Asian resurgence in 2015 and called for Asians to learn to look to the Near East for inspiration and not the Far West. They included participants in the annual ‘Global Outlook’ conference organized by Singapore’s Straits Times group on November 21.
The Third International Conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons in the Austrian capital Vienna on December 8 and 9 should provide further impetus to efforts to end the era of nuclear weapons, an era in which these apocalyptic weapons have been seen as the linchpin of national security for a number of states, writes Daisaku Ikeda, a Japanese Buddhist philosopher and peace-builder, who presides over the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), in this article for IPS-Inter Press Service and IDN.
By Daisaku Ikeda* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
TOKYO (IDN) - As we approach the 70th anniversary next year of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there are growing calls to place the humanitarian consequences of their use at the heart of deliberations about nuclear weapons.
By Monzurul Huq* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
NAGOYA, Japan (IDN) - The concept of global citizenship is one of the new ideas that the United Nations is actively promoting in recent years. In today’s interconnected world challenges we face need solutions based on new thinking transcending national boundaries and ideas whose outreach stretches beyond conventional understanding of identities based on nationality.