MAY 2012 issue - International Edition

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incorporating April Global Perspectives April-May 2012 International Edition

CONSIDER THIS: Vitriolic Attacks on American Women

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By Ernest Corea* 

WASHINGTON DC - America's commemoration of International Women's Day (March 8) took place while unseemly demonstrations of gender bias, misogyny, crude insults, and efforts to limit women's access to health care were trundling along as well.

In some public references, these have been bundled together as a "war on women." The description has a touch of hyperbole, although it also fails to capture some significant aspects of what has been going on – and keeps going on

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VIEWPOINT: Plea for a Contrarian View on Oil and Nukes

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Marc FaberBy James Stafford*

Iran should be allowed nuclear weapons. China has no military ambitions in Asia. The U.S. should pay heed to Chinese sensitivities. Fukushima will not influence the nuclear energy prospects long term in the world. Alternative energy investments are a bad idea for investors. Barrack Obama is a "disappointing president". These are some of the salient points of an interview legendary Swiss investor Dr Marc Faber, the editor and publisher of the Gloom Boom & Doom Report, gave to Oilprice.com

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VIEWPOINT: A Tale of Two Coming Summits

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By Dr Ian Anthony*The 2012 NATO Summit

NATO summit will be held in Chicago, in an election year. While it will be hard to find anyone willing to go on record as saying that the choice of location is intended to be a boost for President Obama, it’s difficult to interpret it any other way. The NATO summit on May 20-21 will take place at the same time as a meeting of leaders of the most industrialized countries, the Group of Eight (G8). Perhaps unfortunately for NATO, both the agenda and the format of the G8 summit make it the more interesting and important of the meetings.

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VIEWPOINT: Social Justice Put on the Backburner in Egypt

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Credit: Nasser NouriBy Sharif Abdel Kouddous*
 
CAIRO - Egypt is teetering on the edge of an economic crisis. Cast adrift in a deepening political quagmire over the past fourteen months, the economy has now reached a critical juncture, as the country faces the pressing challenge of financing a large budget deficit as rapidly dwindling foreign currency reserves threaten to crack apart an already fragile situation

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VIEWPOINT: What The Arab Spring Means For Freedom

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By Megan Martin*Credit: Wikimedia Commons

WASHINGTON DC - Wielding mobile phones and computers, the young activists across the Middle East have altered the way the world approaches popular mobilization, social networks and Internet freedom.

The Internet can be a transformational force for societies and individuals, allowing for organization on a mass scale and the free flow of information.

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VIEWPOINT: For a Denuclearised Middle East

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DIALOGUE IN ACTIONBy Daiskau Ikeda*

TOKYO - In recent months, the dispute over the nature and intent of the Iranian nuclear development program has generated increasing tensions throughout the Middle East region. When I consider all that is at stake here, I am reminded of the words of the British historian Arnold Toynbee (Left in Picture), who warned that the perils of the nuclear age constituted a “Gordian knot that has to be untied by patient fingers instead of being cut by the sword.

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NUKE ABOLITION: Impassioned Plea for Averting War with Iran

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Pax Christi protesting against TridentBy Richard Johnson

LONDON - Pax Christi, the International Catholic Movement for Peace, has made an impassioned plea for averting war with Iran. "Surely such a war would spell worldwide disaster, and it's up to movements like us to send a strong message against military aggression," Pax Christi said in an important document.

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NUKE ABOLITION: Dangers of Extended Nuclear Deterrence in Asia

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By Neena Bhandari

Credit: Economic Times IndiaSYDNEY (IDN) - With India and Pakistan testing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles this April, close on the heels of North Korea's unsuccessful test launch of a long-range rocket, a new report by the Sydney-based Lowy Institute for International Policy says it is Asian strategic mistrust that is holding back nuclear disarmament.

According to Lowy's international security programme director Rory Medcalf, who is also principal editor of the report titled Disarming Doubt: The Future of Extended Nuclear Deterrence in East Asia, the nuclear disarmament push in Asia had stalled, owing to the region's tangle of strategic mistrust

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NUKE ABOLITION: France's Fuzzy Face

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By Julio Godoy Credit: Wikimedia Commons

PARIS – If you ask the French ministry for foreign affairs about the country's position on a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, the spokesperson will surely refer you to the statements by the French ambassadors before the UN both in New York and Geneva, and will repeat that France supports the global application of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

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ASIA: Quietly China Increases Defence Spending

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Credit: hyperbolicdiarrhea.wordpress.comBy Devinder Kumar

NEW DELHI - Amid little fanfare and just ahead of the opening of the National People's Congress (NPC), China announced its draft defence budget for 2012 on March 4. At 670.2 billion Yuan (US$106.4 billion) it represents an 11.2 per cent increase from last year's budget figures of 602.6 billion Yuan.

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ASIA: Nobody Bothers If a Tibetan Burns Himself

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By R. S. KalhaCredit: gorkhacreed.com*

NEW DELHI - When most people in India saw Jamphel Yeshi, a young 27-year old Tibetan, setting himself on fire – on March 26, 2012 – to protest the arrival in India of the Chinese leader Hu Jintao, they could not but have pondered over the sad fate that has befallen a forgotten people.

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PLANET EARTH: Green Economy is Not Always Green

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Credit: UNEPBy Richard Johnson

GENEVA - The round of informal negotiations from April 23 to May 4 on the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) failed to reach consensus on a global plan of action, titled "The Future We Want," to be adopted by a summit meeting of world leaders mid-June in Rio, Brazil.

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PLANET EARTH: We Need Transformational Change'

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By Daniel Mittler*Daniel Mittler | UNEP

BERLIN - Almost twenty years after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro we know solutions are available and affordable, that investments in clean technologies are rising, that deforestation can be stopped, and food provided for all if governments have the will. We also know development in both North and South remains deeply unsustainable.

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PLANET EARTH: Creating Resilient Agriculture

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Image: OutreachLONDON - Food security is critical to the mission of Rio+20. The threats are numerous: repeated food price spikes; shortages of good-quality land and water; rising energy energy and fertiliser prices; and the consequences of climate change.

Already, somewhere between 900 million and a billion people are chronically hungry, and by 2050 agriculture will have to cope with these threats while feeding a growing population with changing dietary demands. This will require doubling food production, especially if we are to build up reserves for climatic extremes.

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PLANET EARTH: Sustainable Energy for All is Possible

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Credit: ec.europa.euBy Simon Trace*

RUGBY, UK - The Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative was launched in September 2011 by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The three key objectives of the initiative, to be achieved by 2030, are: - Ensuring universal access to modern energy services
- Doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency
- Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

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PLANET EARTH: Poor Sanitation is a Costly Menace to Africa

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Nairobi SlumBy J C Suresh

TORONTO - Poor sanitation is not only a menace to public health, but also a roadblock to sustainable development and a huge strain on financial resources, according to a new World Bank study.

A report by the Bank's Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) finds that poor sanitation is causing a loss of US$5.5 billion every year to 18 African countries. That estimated loss in turn adds up to annual economic damages between 1 percent and 2.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

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WORLD BANK: Waiting For 'Other Shoe' To Drop

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By Ernest Corea* Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President-elect of the World Bank Group

WASHINGTON DC - When will the “other shoe” drop? And how? Will it create a reverberating, equanimity shattering thud? Or will it drop with the muted thump of a toddler’s soft toy falling on a plush rug?

With the election process at the World Bank (the Bank) completed, and Dr. Jim Yong Kim, president of Dartmouth College, confirmed as the institution’s twelfth president, questions like these are now likely to be running through the minds of the Bank’s professional staff. These are the men and women on whose efforts the effectiveness of the Bank depends

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