MARCH 2012 Issue

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incorporating February Global Perspectives February-March 2012 International Edition

CONSIDER THIS: For China Mutual Respect Is Key

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Credit: Official White House Photo by David LienemannBy Ernest Corea*

WASHINGTON DC - He came, he listened, he bought soybeans. That would be a reasonably accurate but cynical summary report of the February 13-17 visit to the US by China's Vice President Xi Jinping. It would miss out, of course, on other aspects of the visit, the complexities and nuances of the bilateral relationship, and its significance in broad global terms

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China Dislikes Indo-U.S. Military Cooperation

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By Alicia Wong Hu Zhiyong

SHANGHAI - Despite the unresolved border conflict, China and India have made "significant" progress in their bilateral relations. But U.S.-led multinational military collaborations in the region, including India, threaten to have "a complicated and in-depth influence", according to a Chinese think-tank.

"In recent years, China and India's cooperation has made significant achievements in various areas and both countries have maintained good coordination and cooperation in dealing with major international affairs, including border issues," says Hu Zhiyong, associate professor at the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

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Greater Mekong Development Plan Agreed

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ADB funded development projects By Taro Ichikawa

TOKYO - Leaders of the six nations that share the Mekong River have agreed on a 10-year plan to boost growth, promote development and reduce poverty in the region comprising Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Viet Nam, and China's Yunnan and Guangxi regions.

The decision was taken at the fourth Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Summit in Manila, the Philippines. In a joint declaration, GMS leaders endorsed a strategic framework for 2012 to 2022 that calls for a range of new measures to strengthen regional cooperation, including more effective resource utilization and more careful balancing of development with environmental concerns.

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IMF Seeks Asia's Help to Tackle Eurocrisis

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By J. CCredit: IMF. Suresh

TORONTO – When an international commission headed by Nobel laureate Willy Brandt drew attention to global economic interdependence in its report in 1980, the world was divided between rich North and the poor South. More than three decades later, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is asking what were until recently developing countries to help stave off the European financial crisis resulting in the global economy sinking like Titanic.

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Arms Sales to Africa Small But Dangerous

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Picture: Swedish combat aircraftBy Jamshed Baruah

BERLIN - South Africa is not only the largest importer of weapons but also the only country in sub-Saharan Africa producing a wide range of military equipment, says a report by the prestigious Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

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NATO Committed to Counter-Piracy Mission

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By Jaya RamahandraAdmiral James G. Stavridisn

BERLIN - Though there have been reductions in piracy, "NATO remains committed to the counter-piracy mission, and our ships will continue to sail in the area off the coast of Africa for the foreseeable future," says Admiral James Stavridis, one of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's two strategic commanders.

The reason: Somali pirates continue to account for the majority of attacks in East and West Africa. A military solution should however be accompanied by supporting local development of villages that have gained little from hosting pirates, he added expressing his interest in the findings of a paper titled 'Treasure Mapped: Using Satellite Imagery to Track the Developmental Effects of Somali Piracy', published by Britain's Royal Institute of International Affairs, better known as Chatham House

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Farmers Divided Over 'Green Economy'

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Credit: IFADBy Eva Weiler

ROME - Representatives of farmers and rural producers from around the world feel far from comfortable with the ramifications of a "green economy" focus that they fear could turn ecosystem services and biodiversity into economic "goods" to be traded and speculated upon in open markets.

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Blue Economy Can Protect Mediterranean Sea

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By Richard JohnsoPhoto: UNEP | Countries call for blue economy to protect the Mediterranean. n

PARIS - Twenty-two Mediterranean countries and the European Union expect the forthcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil to adopt a strategic policy framework supporting a "blue" economy to safeguard and promote a clean and healthy environment.

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UN To Grant 'Land for Life Award' At Rio+20

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Fertile land with 'Land for Life' Award LogoBy Jutta Wolf

BERLIN – Ahead of an international conference to commemorate the historic Earth Summit twenty years ago, the United Nations will grant a 'Land for Life Award' to honour initiatives aimed at sustainable land development. The conference known as Rio+20 is being held in the historic Brazilian city from June 20 to 22.

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Preparations Move Ahead For Rio+20 Summit

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By Richard Johnson

GENEVA - A significant step in preparations for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro was taken as delegates from UN agencies, member states and various civil society organisations concluded three days of deliberations on the draft outcome document

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Non-Proliferation Through Fuel Cooperation

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The writer Ulrich KühnBy Ulrich Kühn*

HAMBURG - Middle East: The year is 2022. A growing need for energy is putting strain on three major actors in the region. There is Muslim Brotherhood-ruled Egypt, democratic but turmoil-plagued post-Assad Syria, and the military junta reigning in Saudi Arabia. Back in 2012, these states had started to realign their national energy policies. The common goal was to add a nuclear component to the mix within the next decade. Their motivations range from the general need to foster sustainable growth and to satisfy the thirst for energy of fast growing populations, to specific desalination needs

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SANE Act to Cut U.S. Nukes Budget

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U.S. Congressman Edward J. MarkeyBy Jamshed Baruah

BERLIN - If you are 'sane', you are mentally sound. U.S. Congressman Edward J. Markey has lent a new dimension to that word by introducing the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act of 2012 that cuts $100 billion over the next decade on outdated nuclear weapons programmes.

Markey, who is Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), took to the House floor on February 8, 2012 to decry the wasteful spending in America's nuclear weapons programmes. SANE has 34 co-sponsors

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Security Benefits of Nuclear Abolition to USA

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FREDERICK N. MATTIS200By Frederick N. Mattis*

ANNAPOLIS, USA - The alarm over the Iranian nuclear program calls for reflection on the ultimate cause of all nuclear weapons-related threats: the absence of a worldwide ban on nuclear weapons.

Focusing on the USA, below are security benefits of nuclear abolition – with axioms being that all states have joined a treaty banning nuclear weapons before it enters into force, and that worldwide inspection (verification) applies, and that before signing the nuclear ban treaty, states must fully join the current chem-bio weapons bans: 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).

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Respect Dignity of Life, Convoke Nuke Abolition Summit

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By Ramesh JaurSGI President Daisaku Ikeda a

BERLIN | TOKYO - In a variation of the legendary slogan "make love, not war", an eminent Buddhist philosopher is calling for a nuclear-free world in which genuine human security, sustainable development and unwavering respect for the dignity of life do not only comprise an ideal but constitute an entrenched reality.

In a 23-page 'peace proposal,' titled 'Human Security and Sustainability: Sharing Reverence for the Dignity of Life,' Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda pleads for a nuclear abolition summit in 2015 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of the two cities so that the growing momentum toward elimination of nuclear weapons becomes irreversible

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Global Support Peaks For No Nukes

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JONATHAN FRERICHSBy Jonathan Frerichs*

GENEVA - A new and compelling story about nuclear weapons is emerging around the world. The new story is having an impact because it is one that many can own. It displaces nuclear fiction with nuclear facts. 2012 has begun with sabre-rattling in the Middle East and will end with new leadership in five nuclear-armed states. What is this new story and what can it bring?

The shortest version of the story is the one told by the new International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Ask anyone, "Can you imagine a world without nuclear weapons?" Expect the reply: "I can."

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Latin America Seeks to Spread Nuclear Free Zones

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By Emilio GodoCredit: SGIy

MEXICO CITY - Latin America and the Caribbean are discussing ways to step up supervision of the use of nuclear materials in the region and contribute to the creation of more nuclear weapon free zones around the world, on the 45th anniversary of the treaty that banned nuclear arms in the region.

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Israel and Iran Agreed on Nuclear Ambiguity

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Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak | Credit: Wikimedia CommonsBy Pierre Klochendler

JERUSALEM - Will Israel attack Iran’s nuclear facilities this spring? That is a question dominating the international agenda. Meanwhile, the grand project of a nuclear weapon-free Middle East is relegated to the utopian "day after" a solution is found to the Islamic republic’s atomic programme.

Strangely enough, Israeli public opinion has no clear opinion on the subject, and relies on ‘those who know best’. ‘Those who know best’, like Defence Minister Ehud Barak, say: "Should sanctions fail to stop Iran's nuclear programme, there’ll be a need to consider taking action." "Whoever says 'later', could find that it’s too late," he told an international conference in Herzliya, Israel, on Feb 2.

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Two Visions, One Choice

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By Ernest CoreCredit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souzaa

WASHINGTON DC – Just a day after delivering his assertive State of the Union address on January 24, President Barack Obama visited Arizona and was greeted at the Phoenix airport by Republican Governor Jan Brewer who wagged an admonishing finger in his face as cameras clicked and whirred.

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Going For Growth Despite Crisis

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OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría By J. C. Suresh

TORONTO - In the midst of unusual global economic uncertainty, caused by the unpredictable course economic policies could take in major economies over the next few years, the 34-nation OECD has come out with a flagship report passionately pleading for structural reforms as a way out of the crisis

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Angels Invest Where Banks Dither

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Image Credit: falseprecision.typepad.comBy Ramesh Jaura

BERLIN - For innovative young folks, angels are by no means mythical beings or messengers of God as depicted in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles and the Quran. They are flesh-and-blood source of equity capital at the seed and early stage of company formation, particularly when banks are reluctant to lend.

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