By J C Suresh | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
TORONTO (IDN) – There are miles and miles to go before capital punishment is at last accepted as a remnant of the gory past and abolished. But indications are that it is slowly on its way out. Amnesty International has welcomed an upsurge in global support for abolition of the death penalty, after the UN General Assembly (UNGA) voted overwhelmingly in favour of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
In the vote on December 20, the fourth such vote by the plenary session of the UNGA since 2007, 111 states voted for the resolution – an increase of two from the last vote in 2010. There were 41 votes against, with 34 abstentions.
By Bernhard Schell
BISHKEK (IDN) – Kyrgyz President Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are leaving no stone unturned to intensify and deepen cultural, political, economic and military relations between the two countries based on vision of a Turkic peoples’ identity. But both at home and abroad they do not always come across undiluted approval.
“There is quite a cautious and negative attitude towards the Turkish presence and influence in Kyrgyz society,” says Valentin Bogatyriev, co-author of a new study published by the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) close to the Social Democratic Party. He refers to a recent sociological survey which finds that Turkey comes last among the countries cooperation with which is considered important for the national interests of Kyrgyzstan.
By J. Brian Atwood*
PARIS (IDN | OECD) – The 20th century American environmentalist John Muir said, “Everything is connected to everything else”. Yet while this is true in the natural world, it is sadly still not true in the policy world, which is subject to a diversity of views, objectives and competing agendas – particularly when it comes to environmental issues. If we are to achieve the common goal of “sustainable development”, more policy convergence is essential.
This year’s Development Co-operation Report (DCR) explores the ideas and orientations of leaders, thinkers and pioneers in diverse public policy areas and disciplines who are contributing to connecting everything to everything else in this sphere as well.
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).
By Murray Hunter* | Geopoliticalmonitor.com IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
KANGAR, Malaysia (IDN) – Late last month, 171 Chinese national bus drivers who were employed by the Singapore Government-controlled bus and underground railway company (SMRT) took industrial action by staging a two day walkout. The bus drivers were protesting their relatively lower wages vis-à-vis other foreign workers doing the same job, as well as the poor sanitary state of their accommodations.
This was reportedly the first strike in Singapore since 1986.
By Shastri Ramachandaran*
NEW DELHI (IDN) – Multi-party democracy was born in Nepal in 1991 – after a popular uprising forced an autocratic king to make way for a constitutional monarchy. This year, 21 summers after an interim coalition government presided over the Himalayan kingdom’s first multi-party elections, Nepal should have come of age as a democracy, as a republic.
Unfortunately, the nascent democracy never grew up. It remains a stunted, retarded caricature of electoral democracy with institutions such as parliament, the election commission and Supreme Court standing as tragic reminders of their irrelevance. The so-called ‘Republic of Nepal’ is bereft of life breath, namely, a constitution. There is no government, at least not a legitimate one.
By Eva Weiler | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
AMSTERDAM (IDN) – “With all combat troops scheduled to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, the negotiations taking place in Kabul on the presence and role of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond that point must include a plan for a Contingency Force as part of the troop drawdown,” according to experts.
“And the United States should take the lead in establishing this Contingency Force, either under the flag of NATO, or as a new coalition concerned with security and stability in Afghanistan in coming years,” say Norine MacDonald QC and Jorrit Kamminga in a paper titled ‘Preparing for the worst: A call for an Afghanistan Contingency Force’.
By Bernhard Schell
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.
By Cillian Nolan* of Crisis Group
JAKARTA (IDN | Crisis Group Blogs) – The UN peacekeeping mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) is now in the final stages of its long-planned withdrawal. By the end of December, the only staff left will be packing up computers and dismantling the portable containers at its “Obrigado Barracks” headquarters. Following largely peaceful presidential and parliamentary elections earlier this year, Timorese are in confident spirits about the many challenges ahead. But after thirteen years of UN presence in the country, it is natural that there is some apprehension among some about security after the end of peace operations.
By Melissa M. Cyrill*
NEW DELHI (IDN | IDSA) – The last two years have witnessed a heady interplay of inter-state disputes and constant strategic manoeuvring, if not intrigue, in the South China Sea (SCS). Beyond anything else, it gives the world a sure glimpse of the possibility of future energy wars over oil and gas resources in this energy-rich area, which is moreover emerging as a hotbed of global power politics.
Understanding the South China Sea dispute thus involves a series of complex and interwoven technical, legal, economic and geographic claims, the most critical of which involves issues of territory and sovereignty.