FEBRUARY 2011

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VIEWPOINT: Civilisation Has a Future Beyond Oil

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By Stefan Schurig* in Hamburg

Each generation takes care of its descendants: This basic tenet is ignored when it comes to the energy systems deployed by most of the industrialised nations. The western lifestyle today is based almost exclusively on fossil fuels. This will have to change if we want to pass on a more-or-less intact world to the generations to come. Not sometime in the distant future but now!

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CONSIDER THIS: Egypt Has Much to Celebrate While Questions Linger

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By Ernest Corea* in Washington D.C.

Twenty-one years to the day on which Nelson Mandela emerged from the darkness of 27 years in a South African prison, Egypts Hosni Mubarak packed his bags and departed with his family from the darkness of 30 years of his own dictatorship.

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MIDDLE EAST: NATO Ready to Facilitate Peace

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By Bernhard Schell

As uncertainty and suspense about an emerging new Egypt and its impact on the Middle East grip the international community, the Euro-U.S. military alliance NATO has offered to serve as a facilitator, though in a rather circumspect manner.

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DEVELOPMENT: Aid Should Not Sustain Repression in Ethiopia

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By Karina Boeckmann* in Berlin

Western nations and multilateral agencies disburse aid mechanically rather than intelligently; no one cares what happens to the money; and the level of cynicism in aid bureaucracies is simply atrocious, says a distinguished Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega who along with his wife Serkalem Fasil, also a journalist, has suffered behind bars.

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DEVELOPMENT: Combating Poverty with Clean Energy

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By Bernhard Schell

Fighting poverty by promoting sustainable development and mitigating climate change is one of the priorities of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for 2011. With this is view, he is calling for a global revolution that would benefit some 1.6 billion people in developing countries still lacking access to electricity.

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UNITED NATIONS: Beyond the Illusion of Security Council Reform

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By Ramesh Jaura

Some nine months after President Barack Obama backed India for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, he may spring a surprise at the General Assembly opening session in September 2011 that would initiate a process paving the way for the promise becoming a reality.

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SPECIAL REPORT: Peace Impulses from Okinawa

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By Ramesh Jaura

Living in Berlin, one tends to view the world from a European perspective, and focus only on the lessons Europe has learned from the Second World War in the last sixty-five years. Visits to East Asia, however, not only help to adjust one's lenses but also provide new insights. Japan is a distinguished example of a country that has been undergoing a bottom-up process of change.

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SPECIAL REPORT: Reminiscing the Battle of Okinawa

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By Haruko Oshiro in Okinawa

There was a hell called war in my youth. As long as live, I would like to speak out about the importance of peace and education so that we have no more war, says 88-year old Haruko Oshiro in a poignant eyewitness account of the desperately tragic situation confronted by Japanese in Okinawa toward the end of World War II. Following are excerpts of the eyewitness account translated from Japanese into English by Makoto Higasa.

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SPECIAL REPORT: Harmonizing Business with Employees and Society

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By Taro Ichikawa

Everyone but me is my mentor. True to that maxim, constant communication with employees is his tenet. I feel a sense of gratitude for all those who are working in my company. I want my employees to share with me not only a sense of commitment and responsibility but also a sense of pride and happiness as colleagues, says Masaki Ishihara.

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ENERGY: India Makes Headway in Indigenous Atomic Power Programme

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By Clive Banerjee in New Delhi

The inauguration of Indias latest nuclear reprocessing plant by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on January 7, 2010 emphasizes once again the countrys commitment to developing a largely indigenous atomic power programme.

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ENERGY: Despite Nuclear Boom China Lags Far Behind USA

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By Taro Ichikawa

China, the worlds most populated and second largest economy, has made big strides in the past four decades. But it is lagging far behind the worlds largest economy, the USA, and will continue to do so in the next ten years despite ambitious plans to build atomic reactors, according to analysts.

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ASIA: China Keen to Strengthen Sway over North Korea

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By Taro Ichikawa in Tokyo

China is deeply concerned about stability in North Korea and therefore availing of every opportunity to affirm its diplomatic support for Pyongyang, much to the chagrin of Japan, South Korea and the U.S., says a new report.

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AFRICA: ‘Don’t Abandon Somalia’

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By Jerome Mwanda in Nairobi

Twenty years after the Somalia President Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted on January 26, 1991, the country in the Horn of Africa remains embroiled in an endless cycle of civil war, religious conflict and clan violence, and has come to be known as a failed state.

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AFRICA: Elites Bear Huge Responsibility

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By Tumenta F. Kennedy*

The African continent has never been poor in materials and human resources, but people continue to be trapped in the poverty of the spirit. The impoverishment of vast parts of the national populations in African countries is a reality the diplomats and elites are confronted with and have to handle in their everyday conduct.

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AFRICA: Memorable Encounters in Ghana

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By Yuki Sakaguchi in Tokyo

Akwaaba, which means welcome,” was the first word I came across upon my arrival in Ghana. Many people identify Africa with words that have negative connotations, such as poverty, conflict or disease. However, there is much more to this vast continent than such associations. This is what I learnt during my one-year study visit to Ghana. I found so much hope and potential there.

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ARTS AND CULTURE: Of Zubin Mehta, Berlin Musicians and Nature Conservation

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By Corina Kolbe

Zubin Mehta, a renowned Indian conductor of western classical music -- who commutes between the major music centres in Europe, the United States and Israel -- remains emotionally attached to the country of his birth, particularly the diversity of its nature.

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STRAY THOUGHTS: Cancel the Licenses to Steal and Kill

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By Julio Godoy

The legend has it that in 1948 U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, confronted with the ruthlessness and corruption of the Nicaraguan dictator Anastazio Somoza, said that the latter was a "son of a bitch. But he is our son of a bitch".

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