By Kalinga Seneviratne | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
SINGAPORE (IDN) - A recent skirmish has highlighted a widely unnoticed fishing war that has been going on for two years in the Palk Straits, a stretch of sea about 30 km long, that separates India’s Tamil Nadu state from Sri Lanka’s northern province that was plagued by a civil war for over 30 years. The southern state of Tamil Nadu is often at daggers drawn with the central government in New Delhi.
By R. Nastranis and Kinda Mohamadieh*
GENEVA (IDN) - Uncertainty clouds the fate of the current round of global trade negotiations under the umbrella of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which commenced in November 2011 and have been stalled since July 2008. All eyes are now set on the ninth ministerial conference (MC9) to be held on the Indonesian island of Bali December 3-6, 2013.
The reason behind the impasse, according to Dr Rubens Ricupero, a former UNCTAD Secretary-General, is that the advanced economies are retracting on their promises given at the WTO's Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001.
By Alyn Ware* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
NEW YORK (IDN | Pressenza) - A meteor blasting into the atmosphere over Siberia (on February 15), injuring about 1000 people with debris, provided a graphic warning of the risk of a larger meteor, or even an asteroid, hitting earth. About the same time that the 10 ton meteor entered the earth’s atmosphere, an asteroid 15,000 times larger whizzed past planet earth. If the asteroid instead of the meteor had hit us, it could have wiped out civilization just as an asteroid hitting the earth 65 million years ago created climatic consequences that wiped out the dinosaurs.
By Michael Felsen* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BOSTON (IDN | CGNews) - Like so much else that touches on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a just-released three-year-long study of how textbooks on both sides portray the “other” has provoked a firestorm of controversy.
The fruit of a seed first planted in 2008 by a post-Annapolis Conference committee of Israelis and Palestinians dedicated to promoting education on tolerance, building a culture of peace, and preventing incitement, the study has succeeded in generating more heat than light, at least as far as the Israeli government is concerned. But a closer look suggests there is much to be learned – both from the study and from the responses to it.
By Richard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
PARIS (IDN) - The French nuclear company Areva achieved a record uranium production of 9,760 tonness in 2012 – up from 9,142 tonnes the previous year – enabling the company to retain its place as the world's second-largest corporate uranium producer. The world leader is Kazatomprom of Kazakhstan, with a 2012 production share of nearly 12,000 tonnes.
By Jamshed Baruah | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
BERLIN (IDN) - A new report by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) has come to a worrisome conclusion that the United States and Russia continue to maintain large numbers of nuclear forces on high levels of alert, ready to launch within minutes, as if the Cold War – which is believed to have ended more than two decades ago – was going on unabated.
Together with France and Britain, the four countries deploy approximately 2000 warheads ready for use on short notice – more nuclear warheads than held by all the other states in possession of nuclear weapons combined, finds the report titled Reducing Alert Rates of Nuclear Weapons, co-authored by Hans M. Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) and Matthew McKinzie from the Natural Resources of Defense Council.
By Ernest Corea* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
WASHINGTON DC (IDN) - Hostile and sometimes potentially humiliating treatment of some of President Barack Obama's nominees or potential nominees for high office by opposing legislators provides a foretaste of what might lie ahead for legislation that will be formulated in line with the national agenda he outlined in his State of the Union Address on February 12.
His proposals cannot simply spring into life and become the law of the land without expert and empathetic management and implementation by senior officials, primarily members of his second term Cabinet that he is now in the process of putting together.
By Outi Hakkarainen* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
HELSINKI (IDN) - Finland is a North European nation with its own socioeconomic challenges, but globally it belongs to well-off countries responsible for engaging in the global development agenda. The Finnish government wants to be an accountable member of the international community, but its political will to be so does not always materialise.
Finland has not, for example, been able to reach the 0.7 % target for its development funding. On the other hand Finland's current Development Policy Programme is positively founded on a rights-based approach. The challenge for Finnish civil society is to compel the government to improve its international performance.
By R. Nastranis | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
ROME (IDN) - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations, has opened a new chapter in its longstanding engagement with indigenous peoples, majority of whom live in rural areas and face the dual challenges of poverty and marginalization. They were offered an important platform of dialogue at the first meeting of the Indigenous Peoples' Forum at IFAD.
By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
BONN (IDN) - The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat is joining hands with the East African Development Bank (EADB) to establish a regional collaboration centre in Ugandan capital Kampala, to increase African countries' participation in clean development mechanism (CDM) projects.
An agreement for the purpose was signed by UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, and the EADB Director General, Vivienne Yeda, on February 12.
By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN (IDN) - An eminent Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda is calling for an "expanded nuclear summit" in 2015 to solidify momentum toward a world free from nuclear weapons and become the launching point for a larger effort for global disarmament aiming toward the year 2030.
With this in view, he hopes that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and forward-looking governments will establish an action group to initiate before year's end the process of drafting a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) outlawing nuclear weapons, which are not only inhumane but also swallow some $105 billion year after year.
"A key factor . . . will be the stance taken by those countries which have relied on the extended deterrence of nuclear-weapon states, the so-called nuclear umbrella," writes Ikeda, who heads Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a Tokyo-based lay Buddhist organization spanning the globe.