China’s New Two-Child Policy No Economic Panacea

By Shastri Ramachandaran* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BEIJING (IDN) – The ending of China’s one-child policy, which gained notoriety for its coercive implementation, is a landmark event of immense economic and political significance, but there are serious question marks about whether it can effectively produce the positive economic fallout that its architects expect.

The importance of the October 29 decision of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to jettison the 35-year-old draconian one-child policy in favour of a new, universal two-child norm is primarily political as underscored by the fact that the announcement was made in a communique released at the conclusion of the four-day conclave – Fifth Plenum – of the CPC’s 18th Central Committee.

The main purpose of the plenum was to finalise China’s 13th Five-Year Plan – the first since Xi Jinping became President – and map the road ahead for the world’s second largest economy, which has had to contend with a falling growth rate in the last few years. China now aims to strive for a GDP growth rate of 6.5 to 7 percent during the five years of this Plan ending in 2020.

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Global Report Calls for End to ‘Media Sexism’

By Jutta Wolf | IDN-InDepthNews Report

BERLIN | BRUSSELS (IDN) – A new report finds that progress towards equality of women and men in the news media has virtually ground to a halt over the past five years. In fact, “progress towards news representation that acknowledges women’s participation in economic life remains elusive”. The report calls for “an end to media sexism by 2020”.

According to the findings of the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP), released on November 23, worldwide, women make up only 24% of the people heard, read about or seen in newspaper, television and radio news, exactly the same level found in 2010.

Global Population Shift Set to Reshape Economic Development

By International Press Syndicate | IDN-InDepthNews Report*

TORONTO (IDN) – As migrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East continue to arrive in Europe in unprecedented numbers, a new World Bank/IMF report says that large-scale migration from poor countries to richer regions of the world will be a permanent feature of the global economy for decades to come as a result of major population shifts in countries.

UN’s Human Rights Judgements Tend to be Selective

By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

SINGAPORE (IDN) – Making a statement during its latest session in Geneva, UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein lamented that many of their member states do not tolerate criticism and scrutiny and there is an increasing trend of governments moving to restrict and persecute voices of civil society.

“I, together with many of my colleagues at the office, feel exhausted and angry,” Zeid said. “Exhausted, because the system is barely able to cope, given the resources available to it, while human misery accelerates . . . And angry, because it seems that little that we say will change this. Unless we change dramatically in how we think and behave as international actors.”

Close the Eritrean Embassies Not The Borders

By Mirjam van Reisen* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BRUSSELS (IDN) – Even though the military regime has closed the border and practices a shoot-to-kill policy to stop people fleeing, nearly every tenth Eritrean has fled the country for political reasons or belongs to the Eritrean diaspora. With over 200,000 having sought refuge abroad or chosen to live overseas recently, more than ten per cent of the population seems to prefer to live abroad.

In fact, according to Dutch Minister Fred Teeven, there has been a rapid increase of refugees during the last months. In 2013 the Netherlands received one thousand Eritrean refugees in total. Meanwhile, the number of asylum seekers arriving in the Netherlands from Syria and Eritrea has gone up from 1,000 a month in February and March to around 1,000 a week.

Disposable Consumer Goods At High Human Costs

By Julio Godoy* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN (IDN) – Hundreds of thousands around the world demonstrate for better working conditions and fair wages on the International Labour Day. However, when May 1 is over, many of these demonstrators go back to their daily reckless consumption patterns, which consider practically all consumer goods as disposable, and therefore support international corporations, which exploit workers and poison the environment.

The garment industry is a most illustrative example of the follies of modern-times consumerism: Take Bella, a German girl living near the city of Bremen: Several times each year, Bella makes a shopping spree to a local fashion store and comes back loaded with clothes.

The store Bella regularly visits belongs to Primark, the Ireland-based clothing retailer, which due to its aggressive price policies has become a European leader in the sector. As Primark announces itself, it is “Adored by fashion fans and value seekers alike (and) is widely established as the destination store for keeping up with the latest looks without breaking the bank.”

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