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.
By Shastri Ramachandaran*
NEW DELHI (IDN) - Democracy in Nepal has more lives than a cat. It never fails to revive every time it is proclaimed dead. And, that has happened many times since multi-party democracy was institutionalised with a popular mandate in 1991.
In fact, the over-confidence of political forces – that Nepal can now never be pushed back into an autocratic or authoritarian mould – may well be responsible for their reckless adventurism.
By Ernest Corea*
WASHINGTON DC (IDN) -- The Labour Department's Bureau of Statistics recently released its job creation and unemployment statistics for June. The compilation landed with a dull thud, causing concern among the public at large, aggravating the distress suffered by the unemployed, and taking some of the bounce out of the Obama campaign’s momentum.
By Martin Khor*
GENEVA (IDN) - The UN Conference on Sustainable Development, more popularly known as Rio+20, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit (concluded on June 22) with expressions of deep disappointment from broad sections of members of the media and the environmental NGOs, who saw little new commitments to action in the final text that was adopted by the heads of states and governments and their senior officials.
By Jaya Ramachandran
GENEVA (IDN) - The United Nations has in a new report expressed grave doubts about the widespread practice of detaining migrants. States use a variety of reasons to justify this practice and some see irregular migration as a national security problem or a criminal issue, notes the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, in his latest report to the Human Rights Council. However, he warns, there are a number of human rights issues at stake.
By Tom Owiyo*
South-South Cooperation initiatives can potentially help to unpack some of Africa's more persistent problems including the coordination of the generation and sharing of climate science data, improvements in the analytical capacity and the ready availability of information to promote decision-making on agricultural production.
By Ramesh Jaura
BERLIN (IDN) - Luc Gnacadja has rock-solid reason to be upbeat: some 100 heads of state and government agreed at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – better known as Rio+20 – to strive for "a land-degradation neutral world", characterised by zero growth in desertification.
In doing so they were responding to the UNCCD's clarion call in a "policy brief" for 'A Sustainable Development Goal for Rio+20: Zero Net Land Degradation'. The brief provides a snapshot of the world's land, explains causes and impacts of land degradation and suggests pathways to land-degradation neutrality.
By Jaya Ramachandran
BRUSSELS (IDN) - The 27-nation European Union is one of the main catalysts for international economic exchanges, including migration. Its prospects of growth and employment have a direct bearing on global migration flows. What is happening in Europe today is therefore one determining factor for international migration flows in the coming years.
In fact, as OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría says, labour market developments and migration flows are closely linked. "The decline in labour demand has been the driving force behind the fall in migration during the crisis, not restrictions imposed by migration policies, as our 2012 International Migration Outlook shows," he said presenting the report in Brussels on June 27.
By Richard Johnson
LONDON (IDN) - The restart of the Ohi nuclear reactor on July 1 in Fukui prefecture, near the centre of the Japan Sea Coast, points to a momentous trend nearly 15 months after the Fukushima meltdown, particularly as this is the first nuclear site to go back online since Japan shut down the last of the country's nuclear reactors in May 2012 because of security concerns.
By Katsuhro Asagiri
TOKYO (IDN) - Piracy attacks off the Horn of Africa and in Southeast Asia have attracted most attention but the Gulf of Guinea has emerged as a new "hot spot". Increased assaults are threatening the economic development of the region, particularly the exploitation of its marine resources, according to a maritime security expert.
By Nikolas K. Gvosdev*
Russia has strategic interests in Syria, the main one being that Damascus is critical to Moscow's ability to project any sort of power in the region via one of Russia's most important military bases based outside the former Soviet Union. The Russians have concluded that if Assad is overthrown, any successor government will expel Russia from its facilities at Tartus. Perhaps if the Syrian opposition had, early on, announced its adherence to what might be termed the Guantanamo standard, things might have been different.