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DECEMBER 2012 - International Edition

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incorporating September, October and November issues
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES WILL APPEAR QUARTERLY IN 2013:
MARCH – JUNE – SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER


Global Perspectives December 2012 International Edition

CONSIDER THIS - Israel’s Punitive Expansion Plans Condemned

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By Ernest Corea*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

WASHINGTON DC (IDN) -- The Israeli government’s desire to extract revenge from the Palestinians for the recognition that the international community has bestowed on the Palestinian Authority (PA) is offensive and inconsistent with the norms of appropriate diplomatic conduct.

The planned revenge is doubly repugnant because Israel wants to direct its punitive ire at Palestinians for action taken by 138 of the world’s established nations.

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VIEWPOINT - Half-truths Prevail in the Middle East

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By Julio Godoy
IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

BERLIN (IDN) - Late last August, during the conference of the non-aligned countries in Tehran, the Iranian press quoted the Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi saying that the government of Bahrain, given its dismal human rights record, had lost whatever legitimacy it had. Nothing surprising in this quote: The regime of Bahrain has indeed a dismal human rights record, it latest performance being to strip opposition leaders of the Bahraini nationality, after harassing them for many months.

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VIEWPOINT - Look Beyond the Rainforest

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By Luc Gnacadja*
IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

BONN (IDN) - It is human development, or at least the quest for it, which caused the conversion of billions of hectares of forests into man-made deserts. It prompted, in the middle of the 19th century, the French novelist Chateaubriand to state that "forests precede civilizations, deserts follow them". In other words, human beings are the only desert making species.

To reverse the tide and change such an inherent habit, we must think and operate outside of the “forest” box. We must look beyond the rainforest horizon and embrace holistic approaches to the entire landscape if we want to make sustainable forest management a green pathway for human development.

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NEWS ANALYSIS - Aid Should Focus on Sustainable Development

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By Jaya Ramachandran
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

BERLIN (IDN) - For the first time since 1997 the net official development assistance (ODA) to countries in dire need of funds declined by 2.7%, says the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), which comprises 24 industrialised states of the 34-nation Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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NEWS ANALYSIS - Daunting Development Challenges Ahead

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By Richard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

PARIS (IDN) - Despite development successes over the past 20 years and the progress of many emerging economies, inequality is increasing in all countries and 1.4 billion people still live in absolute poverty. This gloomy situation was acknowledged by development ministers from industrial and emerging economies, who met in London on December 4 and 5 for the High Level Meeting (HLM) of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), which comprises 24 of the 34-nation Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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NEWS ANALYSIS - Iraq: Development on the Backburner

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By Bernhard Schell
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

BAGHDAD (IDN) - Iraq has undergone drastic changes in the last ten years since the 'regime change', but the transition to democracy has failed to pave the way for development. Though the government announced a strategy for poverty reduction in 2009, the efforts, resources and follow-up measures have not been fetched noticeable results on the ground, according to the Iraqi Al Amal Association.

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NEWS ANALYSIS - Germany among World's Largest Arms Sellers

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By Jaya Ramachandran
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

STOCKHOLM (IDN) - Germany is among the world’s largest arms exporters, though estimates of the magnitude of the country’s arms sales and of its ranking among arms traders differ. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Germany was the fifth largest exporter of major conventional weapons in 2011 behind the USA, Russia, France and China.

The U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS) on the other hand ranks the country as the sixth largest arms exporter. The CRS estimates the financial value of German arms deliveries in 2011 at $1.6 billion (in 2011 U.S. dollars), or approximately 4 per cent of global arms exports. This ranked Germany behind the USA, Russia, the UK, France and Italy.

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NUKE ABOLITION - Stable Nuke Zero is Feasible

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By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

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BERLIN | VIENNA (IDN) - Before World War II broke out in 1939, German-born Nobel laureate Albert Einstein recommended President Franklin D. Roosevelt to begin research on a nuclear weapon since Germany under Adolf Hitler might be developing such a destructive tool. The result was the Manhattan Project, which culminated in the U.S. dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Einstein deplored use of the new discovery of nuclear fission as a weapon, and signed with the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, highlighting the danger of nukes.

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NUKE ABOLITION - NATO Pushing Europe into New Nuclear Arms Race

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By Julio Godoy | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

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BERLIN (IDN) - Between late 2009 and mid-2010, the German government, represented by its foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, made a case for dismantling B61 atomic bombs on German soil. The actual number of such weapons of mass destruction is a top military secret, but some 20 of these are reported to be stationed in Germany.

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NUKE ABOLITION - Hiroshima and Nagasaki Want Nukes Abolished

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By Ramesh Jaura*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

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BERLIN | TOKYO (IDN) - Much to the chagrin of several millions in Japan and beyond, who are relentlessly campaigning for a nuclear weapons-free world, the government in Tokyo has declined to join an initiative calling for efforts to outlaw nukes out of concern it would affect the country's security arrangement under the U.S. nuclear umbrella. But the mayors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima as well as the Hiroshima Prefecture's Governor remain unwavering in their impassioned commitment to abolition of nuclear weapons.

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NUKE ABOLITION - Australia-NZ Pact Falls Short of Abolishing Nukes

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By Neena Bhandari
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

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SYDNEY (IDN) - Australia and New Zealand have entered into a scientific and technical cooperation agreement to strengthen detection of nuclear explosions under the framework of the international Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and work together to promote a permanent and effective ban on nuclear weapon tests.

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NUKE ABOLITION - Snail's Pace Towards Ban on Nuke Testing

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By Jamshed Baruah | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalyis

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VIENNA (IDN) - Since the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru called for a "standstill agreement" on nuclear testing on April 2, 1954, 183 out of 196 states around the world have signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) that bans atomic explosions by everyone, everywhere: on the Earth's surface, in the atmosphere, underwater and underground.

157 countries including three of the nuclear weapon States – France, Russia and Britain – have ratified the treaty. But before the CTBT can enter into force, 44 specific nuclear technology holder countries must sign and ratify it. Of these, eight are still missing: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the USA. In fact, India, North Korea and Pakistan have yet to sign the treaty.

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ASIA - Japan Braving the Quake and Tsunami Debris

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By Ramesh Jaura and Katsuhiro Asagiri
IDN-InDepth NewsFeature

SENDAI (IDN) - While the Fukushima nuclear disaster marks yet another wake-up call to re-think energy policy, the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Tohoku, the north-eastern region of Japan, has not only left behind a trail of pain and suffering but also an indefatigable resolve of survivors to abandon despair and transform their agony into strength.

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ASIA - Japan Treading New Horizons in Education

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By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepth NewsFeature

BERLIN (IDN) - When I visited Japan five years ago and met senior representatives of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) in Tokyo, I learnt about the educational activities of this faith organization and the underlying concept spelt out by its President Daisaku Ikeda: "Education that lacks an ethical or spiritual underpinning can warp our attitudes toward knowledge, allowing scientific research to run dangerously out of control."

Nothing demonstrates this more horrifically than the development of nuclear weapons, he said in an interview. "This is why I have put my energies into dialogues aimed at bridging differences of nationality, religious affiliation and ideology, and into promoting educational exchanges that foster people-to-people connections," stressed the President of SGI, a worldwide Buddhist network spanning the globe and promoting peace, culture and education through personal transformation and social contribution.

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AFRICA - African Economies Resilient But Vulnerable

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By J C Suresh
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

TORNOTO (IDN) - A new report by the World Bank highlights the resilience of African economies despite global slowdown caused by the Euro-zone crisis and decline in growth in emerging economies, particularly China – an important market for the continent's mineral exports.

In fact, new oil, gas and mineral wealth offer an opportunity for inclusive development. But strong growth rates could yet be vulnerable to deteriorating market conditions in the Euro-zone, the report warns.

So far, consistently high commodity prices and strong export growth in those countries which have made mineral discoveries in recent years, have powered economic activity and are expected to buttress Africa's economic growth for the rest of 2012, according to the World Bank's new Africa's Pulse. African countries' share in global reserves and annual production of some minerals is sizeable.

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AFRICA - Africa Can Avoid Food Crises and Earn Billions

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By Jerome Mwanda
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

NAIROBI (IDN) - Some 19 million people in West Africa's Sahel region are living with the threat of hunger and malnutrition, though the potential to increase agricultural production in Africa is enormous. Poor people in the slums of Nairobi pay more for their maize, rice, and other staple food than wealthy people pay for the same products in local supermarkets.

Such asymmetries are surmountable – if only African leaders would agree to improve inter-regional trade so that food can move more freely between countries and from fertile areas to those where communities are suffering food shortages, says the World Bank in a new report.

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AFRICA - Plea for Reducing Foreign Aid Dependency

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By Jerome Mwanda
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

NAIROBI (IDN) - Whether and how African countries could reduce their dependency on foreign aid - if not do without it altogether - was a major subject of debate at the African Economic Conference in Rwanda's capital Kigali. It was the first time since the 2011 Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea, that the issue was discussed.

Convened by the Economic Commission for Africa, (ECA), the African Development Bank, (AfDB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the four-day conference from October 30 to November 2, 2012 focussed on the theme 'Inclusive and Sustainable Development in an Age of Economic Uncertainty'.

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