By Prasanta Kumar Pradhan*
The Gulf Cooperation Council countries have their own reasons to believe that a regime change in Damascus is necessary. They do not enjoy a warm relationship with Syria; instead, they see it as a strategic ally of Iran which latter has the potential to undermine their dominance in the region.
By Sérgio de Mello
BRASILIA (IDN) - Among few good tidings from the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit (Rio+20) is that the heads of the secretariats of three Rio Conventions have pledged to generate synergies in support of sustainable development. The three Conventions emerged from the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit 20, years ago.
By Jason Netek*
CHICAGO (IDN) - On the eve of a presidential election in Iceland on June 30, many of the same economic problems that plagued the country for the past three years remain. In January 2009, the government of Iceland became the first political casualty of the global economic crisis.
For nearly 20 years, the conservative Independence Party had dominated the political scene and steadily reoriented the tiny nation's economy toward the increasingly deregulated financial sector. Before the crash of 2008, Iceland was one of the richest nations in the world thanks to its bloated banking sector, which held debts that amounted to as much as 10 times the country’s gross domestic product.
By Sérgio de Mello
RIO DE JANEIRO (IDN) – Critics of massive corporate influence on the United Nations feel vindicated as they cast a close look at the deal on the table at the Rio+20 conference. The Rio+20 draft declaration does not address the environmental and social crises that the world is facing, says Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) and avers that "it simply allows multinational corporations to continue exploiting people and the planet without restraint."
By R. Nastranis
STOCKHOLM (IDN) - Short of passionately pleading for a profound change in the military-oriented mind-sets of decision-makers, SIPRI Director Dr Bates Gill has called for a "far greater focus on less militarized solutions" to the global security challenges ahead, and stressed the need for resorting to "an innovative integration of preventive diplomacy, pre-emptive and early-warning technologies, and cooperative transnational partnerships."
By James Petras*
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA (IDN) - Greece faces the unenviable choice between accepting the terms of “the Troika” and facing the continuation and deepening of a socio-economic crises, which includes five years of negative growth, over 23% unemployment, an astronomical rise in poverty (from less than 15% to over 40%) and mounting suicides, or a rejection of the “memorandum”, and a likely cut-off of Eurozone funding and capital markets with virtually few reserves to cover salaries, pensions or public services.
By Luc Gnacadja*
RIO DE JANEIRO (IDN) - "Essentially, all life depends upon the soil. There can be no life without soil and no soil without life; they have evolved together," American naturalist Charles Kellogg wrote in 1938. Fertile soil is indeed among the world’s most significant non-renewable and finite resources. It is a key element, which sustains life on the Earth and provides us with water, food, fodder and fuels.
By Ernest Corea*
WASHINGTON (IDN) – Mega commitments or mega carnival? That about sums up core options before the high-level delegates including heads of state and government who are due to meet in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 20-22 for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development.
By R. Nastranis
BRUSSELS (IDN) - The United Nations has commended Europe for taking the lead in international efforts to tackle climate change, establish protected areas and reduce air pollution, but has criticized that the region's environmental footprint remains disproportionately high.
According to the Global Environment Outlook 5 (GEO 5) report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), despite some successes in 'decoupling' environmental pressures from economic growth, large parts of Europe are consuming unsustainable levels of resources.
By Richard Johnson
LONDON (IDN) - The persisting political stalemate in the aftermath of the 2011 uprising in Bahrain, the tiny island kingdom near the western shores of the Persian Gulf, threatens to become an arena for proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
By Rina Kuusipalo*
RIO DE JANEIRO (IDN) - We used to think that we had reached the end of history, as Fukuyama put it, whereby the reigning institutional-economic arrangement was seen as the best of all possibilities, while seeing the physical planet as infinitely re-imaginable by technology.
Now – not least due to climate change and the global financial crisis – we have hit the wall and reached the planet's limits. We are at the threshold of engaging with the idea that the old paradigm is a false necessity, the social world is ripe with alternatives, and it is the institutional-economic creation that must alter.