Social Equity Key To Asia’s ‘Mobile Revolution’

By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BANGKOK (IDN) – Opening the Connect Asia-Pacific Summit of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in the Thai capital, secretary general Dr Hamadoun Touré remarked that the conference was about putting the “feet on the accelerator in the quest to embrace broadband” but also warned that it needs to add value to the lives of the ordinary citizens.

The Summit – the last of the regional gatherings organized by ITU since 2006 – included some 554 participants from 37 ITU Asia-Pacific Member States, including 7 Heads of State or Government, 30 Ministers, deputy ministers and Ambassadors. A total of 88 Project Proposals were submitted for funding and the Summit identified a market opportunity of approximately 53 billion USD by the roll out of broadband services in the region.

‘We Are Suffering A Slow-Motion Nuclear War’

By Julio Godoy* | IDN-InDepth NewsInterview

BERLIN (IDN) – Robert Jacobs was born 53 years ago, at the height of the cold war, amidst the then reigning paranoia of nuclear annihilation of humankind. In school, he was eight years old. “We learned about how to survive a nuclear attack. We were told that the key to survival was to always be vigilant in detecting the first signs of a nuclear attack.”

45 years later, Jacobs, Bo for his friends, is one of the world’s leading researchers on the social and cultural consequences of radioactivity on families and communities. Bo holds a PhD in history, has published three books on nuclear issues, and is author of hundreds of essays on the same matter. He is also professor and researcher at the Graduate Faculty of International Studies and the Peace Institute, both at the Hiroshima City University, Japan.

Nuclear-Weapon Free Northeast Asia Possible

By Jamshed Baruah | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

GENEVA (IDN) – While existing tensions in Northeast Asia continue to be a source of concern and urgent action is required to diffuse these and bring about meaningful cooperation, a nuclear-weapon free zone (NWFZ) in the region is possible and should in fact be a priority, according to an international conference held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on November 26.

Warsaw UN Climate Meet Bears Promising Fruit

By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

GENEVA (IDN | South Centre) – The UN Climate Conference held in Warsaw has set up a new international mechanism to help developing countries affected by loss and damage from climate change, such as the Philippines typhoon.

The setting up of a loss and damage international mechanism was the major achievement of the 19th Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC (COP19) that ended on November 23, a full day after its scheduled conclusion.

Geneva Nuclear Breakthrough Win-Win For All

By Zachary Fillingham* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

TORONTO (IDN) – A preliminary deal has been reached between the P5+1 parties and Iran, establishing a series of restrictions on the country’s nuclear program in exchange for a partial reduction of the sanctions that have decimated the Iranian economy. The agreement represents a breakthrough in U.S.-Iranian diplomacy since the 1979 Revolution, and the new normal it envisions could have a profound impact on not just the geopolitical reality of the Middle East, but the global economy as well.

The deal was helped along by secret talks between U.S. and Iranian representatives – another exceptional event given the disregard and mistrust that generally passes for bilateral exchange between the two countries.

UK Fails To Turn CHOGM13 Into Rights Tribunal

By Kalinga Seneviratne | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

SINGAPORE (IDN) – In his opening address to the Commonwealth leaders’ summit (CHOGM) in Colombo mid-November, Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse concluded his speech by quoting from the Buddha. “‘Let not one take notice of faults of other’s or what they have done or not done. Let one be concerned only about what one has done and left undone,” he told assembled leaders from 53 member countries in an obvious swipe at the British PM’s pre-summit tirades on human rights violation by Sri Lanka.

Syria: Road To Geneva-II Littered With Bumps

By Manish Rai* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN) – While efforts are underway to make a peace conference on Syria possible, the surrounding atmospheres are not encouraging as opposition groups in the Syrian conflict seem to still have reservations and preconditions.

The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the main opposition group in exile, threw a monkey wrench into the planned peace talks in Geneva saying that it won’t attend the Geneva II peace conference unless there’s a strict timetable for President Bashar al-Assad to leave power.

Trade: Guard Against WTO Wall On Way To Bali

By Chakravarthi Raghavan*  | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis | SUNS

A controversial package consisting of agreements on trade facilitation, agriculture and development issues is on the anvil in run-up to the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to be held from December 3 to 6, 2013 in Bali, Indonesia. One of the contentious proposals pleads for a take-it-or-leave it “political decision”. The writer walks through a labyrinth of agendas, negotiations and deadlocks, laying bare all sorts of traps into which developing countries with little political clout tend to fall rather inadvertently.

Asia Wants To Abolish Hunger and Poverty

By Ashok Kumar | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BANGKOK (IDN) – Asia-Pacific region has bumpy roads to traverse before it achieves ‘zero hunger’ and ‘zero poverty’. But it is gearing up for ‘food security for all’ backed by ‘concerted efforts’ to achieve Zero Hunger by 2025 when global population is estimated to surpass the 8 billion mark.

The ‘Zero Hunger Challenge’ – highlighting that hunger can be eliminated in our lifetimes – was launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in June 2002 at Rio to commemorate and review the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in June 1992.

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