By Carlos M. Correa*
GENEVA (IDN) - A proposal has been made to initiate a debate on 'patent quality' at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The expression patent quality ambiguously alludes to a growing problem, faced in both developed and developing countries alike: the overwhelming majority of patents are applied for and granted over incremental developments on existing technologies. Although the patent system is supposed to reward inventiveness, in many cases patents cover minor improvements or trivial ideas.
By Ernest Corea*
WASHINGTON - (IDN) Nobody said it was going to be easy. The transition from a military dictatorship of several decades to a democracy is never a straightforward out-in arrangement, as countries which attempted the change have realised. Egypt is now absorbing that lesson of political realism: Transition is tricky.
By Dr Julia Leininger*
BONN (IDN) - In the Sahel a war is spreading. Within three months it has overtaken the towns in an area of northern Mali larger than France. 365,000 people have taken flight within the country and across its borders into neighbouring Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger. But it is not the only disaster to strike northern Mali. The people are not only fleeing the violence, a reminder of the Tuareg war of 1990 to 1992: they are also trying to escape drought and famine.
By Ernest Corea*
WASHINGTON (IDN) - An arsenal of weapons and other materiel in the apartment of James Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora Atrocity, implied meticulous planning for a rampage, and aggressive preparations for its aftermath. Plans and preparations, which included stockpiling ammunition, are likely to have taken months. The apartment was booby trapped to kill the first person – probably a police officer – who would be expected to enter the apartment in search of the suspect and/or evidence.
By Rodger Baker and Zhixing Zhang | Stratfor*
TORONTO (IDN) - Over the past decade, the South China Sea has become one of the most volatile flashpoints in East Asia. China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan each assert sovereignty over part or all of the sea, and these overlapping claims have led to diplomatic and even military standoffs in recent years.
Because the sea hosts numerous island chains, is rich in mineral and energy resources and has nearly a third of the world's maritime shipping pass through its waters, its strategic value to these countries is obvious. For China, however, control over the South China Sea is more than just a practical matter and goes to the center of Beijing's foreign policy dilemma: how to assert its historical maritime claims while maintaining the non-confrontational foreign policy established by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1980.
By Jaya Ramachandran
LONDON (IDN) - Covert support for anti-regime fighters in Syria is likely to increase as disillusionment with current diplomatic efforts grows, according to knowledgeable sources. Although Saudi Arabia and Qatar have officially denied reports that they have been supplying arms to rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters, arms shipments from the Gulf, including anti-tank weapons, reportedly increased significantly in June, says a new analysis.
By Priyanka Singh*
NEW DELHI (IDN) - As President Barack Obama rules out an "outside" solution to Kashmir, there are strong indications that the United States is fast developing interest in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Pertinent in this regard was the five-day visit of a three member delegation from the U.S. embassy in Islamabad to Gilgit Baltistan.
By Jaya Ramachandran
BRUSSELS (IDN) - Nearly ten years after the Bali bombing that put the international focus on terrorism in Indonesia, the threat of extremist violence in Indonesia persists, even though the last two years have seen major successes in smashing extremist networks, says the International Crisis Group.
By Katsuhro Asagiri
TOKYO (IDN) - Japan is Afghanistan's second largest donor behind the United States. Since the Tokyo Conference in January 2002, it has provided $3.3 billion till the end of 2011, to support political processes, assist infrastructural, agricultural and industrial development, help meet basic human needs, and promote Afghan culture that has profoundly suffered in the past about three decades.
By Ramesh Jaura
BERLIN (IDN) - Climate negotiators from around the world are wading through a jungle of multifarious vested interests to pave the way for substantive and forward-looking agreements at the next United Nations climate change conference from November 26 to December 7, 2012 in Doha, the capital of meanwhile ubiquitous soft power Qatar.
By Peter Wahl*
BERLIN (IDN) - This European Union summit on June 28-29 had been expected with high suspense against the backdrop of the deteriorating economic situation in the Eurozone, the resurgence of the banking crisis in Spain, and Italy and Spain being obliged to pay unsustainable interest rates above 6% for their bonds. The crisis countries have also been witness to rising political tension: in Italy, Silvio Berlusconi threatened to attempt a comeback with the slogan 'Let's get rid of the euro'. The euro volcano was on the brink of eruption.