MARCH and APRIL 2011 Combined Issue

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NEWS ANALYSIS: The Five BRICS Build an Alliance U.S. Need Not Fear

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By Shastri Ramachandaran in New Delhi

As the globalised world continues the search for an overarching new order, the emergence of any new alliance of sorts is bound to be resisted, and resented, by dominant powers in the existing order. BRICS -- the grouping of Brazil, Russia, India and China which has expanded to embrace South Africa -- is no exception.

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NEWS ANALYSIS: What After Saudi King Abdullah?

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By P. R. Kumaraswamy* in New Delhi

Who after? Democracies are often confronted by this question, especially after a strong and powerful leader. This is so when democracies tend to have arrangements for orderly power transfers and even leaders-in-waiting. Succession is a far more serious problem in the Middle East where state security is often co-terminus with regime survival.

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DEVELOPMENT: A Little Known UN Declaration Observes 25th Anniversary

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By IDN Development Desk

Though hardly known beyond a circle of experts, the right to development is a human right enshrined in a United Nations declaration. As the world body starts commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Declaration, UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay has expressed the hope that it would draw wider public attention, particularly in the wake of popular uprisings in North Africa and the Gulf region.

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DEVELOPMENT: 'To The Hungry, God Is Bread'

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By Ernest Corea* in Washington D.C.

Finance Ministers and Central Bankers of the Group of 20 (G20) -- the world's top economic performers -- who met on February 18-19 in Paris, took a low-keyed approach to a potential world food crisis that was the subject of much analysis and agitated comment on the eve of the meeting.

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DEVELOPMENT: Effective Development Is All About People

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By Ernest Corea* in Washington D.C.

On March 3 and 4, a group of teenagers and pre-teens in Springfield, a nearby suburb, underwent what was called a "30-hour famine". They fasted for 30 consecutive hours, breaking only occasionally for sips of water as nourishment.

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DEVELOPMENT: 'Get Ready for Cooperation in the Middle East'

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By J. Brian Atwood* in Paris

Spreading demand for change in the Middle East and North Africa has Western governments scrambling to calculate appropriate diplomatic responses. As happened when Central and Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union yielded to democratic forces, there will soon be demand from new and/or reforming governments for cooperation in political and economic institution building. Donor nations must be ready to respond.

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DEVELOPMENT: Indigenous Peoples Have a New Forum Now

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By Stefano Colombo in Rome

Indigenous peoples comprise one-third of the world's one billion extreme poor in rural areas. They are among the most vulnerable and marginalized of any group. Spread over 70 countries and representing diverse cultural backgrounds, they share many concerns such as limited access to healthcare and education, loss of control over lands, displacement and violations of basic human rights.

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ARAB UPSRISINGS: Benghazi Revolt Seems to Come in Handy for NATO

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By Jaya Ramachandran

As 28 foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and of the so-called "partner countries" met in Berlin within weeks of launching the military operation in Libya, they had reason to be grateful to the Benghazi uprising against Muammar Al-Gaddafi.

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ARAB UPRISINGS: Dengist China and Arab Despotism Are Two Different Worlds

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By Shastri Ramachandaran* in New Delhi

The unceasing waves of protests and uprisings against Arab regimes have given rise to a tantalising question: Why have the winds of change sweeping the Arab world not had any effect on the Chinese people and aroused them against their own government?

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SPECIAL REPORT: Recalling Hiroshima Encounters in Times of Fukushima Crisis

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By Ramesh Jaura

Images of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, following an unprecedented nine magnitude earthquake and resultant tsunami, inevitably evoke memories of my first encounter with Hiroshima in May 2008 and a second in September 2010.

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CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: Saving Family Business with Employees Support

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By Taro Ichikawa

Now an eminent CEO in Tokyo's Mitaka City, Masashi Takeuchi vividly recalls his days in Brazil's sprawling Sao Paulo, where he worked as a reporter for a newspaper that was rather popular with the Japanese community.

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ASIA SPECIAL: Facing Human Rights Challenge in Post-Conflict Sri Lanka

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By H. M. G. S. Palihakkara* in Colombo

A challenge that preoccupies local and foreign opinion is the Challenge of Human Rights: Some countries focus their bilateral dialogue with Sri Lanka only on human rights. Our interlocutors invariably refer to human rights concerns in the country and even suggest progress on human rights as a condition for dialogue and business in other areas e.g. commerce, security and even people to people contact.

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ASIA SPECIAL: Post-Conflict Sri Lanka Confronts Challenge of Peace Building

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By H. M. G. S. Palihakkara* in Colombo

When domestic processes fail to find solutions to internal problems, external forces find space to advocate or even impose solutions for their own political or strategic convenience. Sri Lanka is no exception. Leadership failures since independence by all governments and mainstream political parties contributed to externalizing the conflict from which Sri Lanka emerged in May 2009.

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NUCLEAR ABOLITION: The Ultimate Weapon of Terrorism

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Viewpoint* by David Krieger** in Santa Barbara

Nuclear weapons are the ultimate weapon of terrorism, whether in the hands of a terrorist organisation or those of the leader of a country. They are weapons of mass annihilation that kill indiscriminately men, women and children. Most people fear the possibility of these weapons falling into the hands of terrorist organisations, but never stop to consider that in any hands they are terrorist weapons.

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NUCLEAR ABOLITION: The Double Standards of Nuclear Powers

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Viewpoint* by Ray Acheson** in New York

On 5 February, the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) entered into force. New START is an agreement between Russia and the United States that sets 1550 as the limit of how many nuclear warheads each country can deploy at any given time (down from 1700-2200 under the old arrangement). The treaty does not affect the number of nuclear warheads each country can possess, which is estimated at 8500 for the US and 11,000 for Russia.

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NUCLEAR ENERGY: Alternative Laureates Want Nuclear Plants and Weapons Abolished

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By Jutta Wolf

Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award and members of the World Future Council have called for a global phase-out of atomic power reactors as well as the abolition of nuclear weapons. In a joint statement, fifty laureates said the Japanese nuclear disaster had raised global awareness of the extreme dangers that can result from nuclear power generation.

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NUCLEAR ENERGY: Fukushima Disaster Impacts India

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By Shastri Ramachandaran* in Mumbai

Uncertainty looms large over India's ambitious civilian nuclear programme as a consequence of the triple disasters that have struck Japan. For one, the civilian nuclear agreement, which New Delhi and Tokyo were negotiating, is certain to be indefinitely delayed.

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NUCLEAR ENERGY: The Stillborn ‘Nuclear Renaissance’

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By Julio Godoy

Since several years, a handful of international institutions, such as the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), some governments and state-owned enterprises specialized in the construction of nuclear power plants have been publicising the view that atomic power is experiencing a renaissance.

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STRAY THOUGHTS: Atoms Beyond Today

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By Ramesh Jaura

Coming as it did in a year that marks the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident has caused panic among a large section of the population - and in the media on the whole – particularly in Germany. While such reactions are understandable to an extent, the fact is that some of the fundamental issues continue to be left out of public debate. # Have necessary investments been made in research and development (R & D) to ensure the safety and security of nuclear power plants and to avoid devastating consequences that may result from natural disasters? After all, nuclear energy provides a critical contribution to industrial development.

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