World Bank Helps Tackle Rapid Urbanization

By J C Suresh | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

TORONTO (IDN) – Developing countries are urbanizing so fast that their populations will tilt from less than 20 percent urban today to more than 60 percent in just 30 years. This is in stark contrast to the mostly gradual transformation today’s developed countries experienced as their cities expanded over a period of 100 years or more with jobs shifting from farms to factories.

Developing countries cannot afford today’s developed countries’ luxury of trial and error in growth patterns and policies. To meet the challenges that rapid migration is creating, city leaders must move quickly to plan, connect, and finance resilient and sustainable growth. A new World Bank report, Planning, Connecting and Financing-Now: What City Leaders Need to Know, provides a framework to assist in this huge task.

Africa Witnessing Impressive Economic Growth

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

GENEVA (IDN) – There is good news from Africa. The continent is witnessing the second fastest economic growth, and according to knowledgeable sources it may grow even faster in 2013. What is more, currently Africa accounts for 14 sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) with a total amount of USD114 billion in 2009, representing 3% of global SWFs, and that share is expected to increase in future with the establishment of new SWFs.

Debt Crises Can and Need Be Resolved

By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

GENEVA (IDN) – The issue of foreign debt has made a major comeback. This is due to the crisis in Europe, in which many countries had to seek big bailouts to keep them from defaulting on their loan payments. Before this, debt crises have been associated with African and Latin American countries. In 1997-99, three East Asian countries also joined the indebted countries’ club.

European countries, notably Germany, insisted that private creditors share the burden of resolving the Greek crisis. They had to take a “haircut” of about half, meaning that they would be repaid only half the amount they were owed.

The ‘Arab Spring’ Arrives in Eritrea

By Mirjam van Reisen* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

BRUSSELS (IDN) – Arab Spring has arrived in the Horn of Africa. Young people have been campaigning for the last year, inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt, phoning households in the country that has been in the grip of its leader Isaias Afewerki since independence from neighbouring Ethiopia in 1991.

‘Drone War Will Trigger New Arms Race’

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

LONDON (IDN) – The increasing resort to drones by President Barack Obama will over the long term usher in “a new arms race and lay the foundations for an international system that is increasingly violent, destabilized and polarized between those who have drones and those who are victims of them”, a leading terrorism expert has warned.

One of the distinctive elements of President Obama’s approach to counterterrorism has been his embrace of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to target terrorist operatives abroad, says Michael J Boyle in an article for International Affairs, a British journal published every two months.

UN Keen To End Humanitarian Crisis in Congo

By Richard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

GENEVA (IDN) – Stepped up violence among ethnic groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the second largest country in Africa, has led to a serious humanitarian crisis, displacing thousands of people who live in hostile conditions, according to the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO). The world body and its partners are, therefore, appealing for $30.5 million to assist some 59,000 people in DRC’s eastern province of North Kivu.

German Trade Union Tables Euro Marshall Plan

By Eva Weiler | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

BERLIN (IDN) – The German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB) has tabled a 260 billion Marshall Plan for Europe aimed at providing a decisive impetus for qualitative growth as well as new jobs with a future in all 27 European Union (EU) countries for a 10-year period from 2013 to 2022.

The proposed investments and investment subsidies of €260 billion annually comprise direct investment and investment grants of €160 billion and ten-year low-interest loans of €100 billion to private investors.

China To Survey Disputed Marine Territories

By Bijoy Das*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN) – After establishing Sansha, passing a new maritime regulation from Hainan, and, printing maps on passports, the Chinese authorities have now unveiled a plan to survey all marine and island territories for marine resources.

Although the report indicates that the survey will be carried out throughout the country, it also specifically mentions Sansha (i.e. South China Sea) and baseline points (which would include all disputed marine territories). The terse report, when translated, reads as follows:

“The 2nd Chinese Comprehensive Survey of Marine and Island Resources will be started sometime in the first half of this year. The survey is expected to be completed by December 2016. By this survey, the Chinese hope to fill earlier gaps regarding the distribution, quality and quantity of resources in important marine and island territories like Sansha and other baseline points.”

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