Sudan Targets Gold to Soften Loss of Oil Money

By Zak Rose* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

DETROIT (IDN) – The gold output of Sudan was 41 tonnes in 2012 – compared with 220 tonnes from the continent’s largest exporter, South Africa – and export levels will likely experience modest growth over the immediate short term. However, owing to recent government promotion and foreign investment from major mineral companies, some official estimates have predicted a spike in Sudan’s gold exports within the next five years.

Government interest in the gold industry stems from a desire to balance against decreasing oil revenues. When South Sudan seceded in 2011, it took roughly 75% of Sudan’s oil wealth with it. And while informal gold mining has long been a part of the Sudanese economy – between 500,000 and 750,000 artisanal gold prospectors are active in Sudan – it has only been since the separation of South Sudan that the government has begun to focus on a capital-intensive expansion of the gold sector.

‘Don’t Take Arabs’ NPT Membership for Granted’

By Baher Kamal* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

CAIRO (IDN) – Not that nuclear issues are an actual source of concern to Egyptian citizens. They are deeply worried about their present and immediate future now that inter-religious violence is on the rise, triggering a dangerous, growing insecurity amidst an overwhelming popular discontent with President Mohamed Morsi’s regime. Simply put, there is too much frustration and deception here to think of nukes.

Nevertheless, it is also a fact that the governments of Arabs countries in general, and in the Gulf region in particular – following reported U.S. political pressures – have lately been expressing increasing fear of Iran’s nuclear programme and therefore focusing, again, on nukes.

Turf Wars Making Farce of US Intelligence

By Jen Alic of* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

WASHINGTON DC (IDN) – The US intelligence community is in a state of disarray – most recently illustrated by the Boston Marathon Bombings – and the idea of a more structured cooperation with Russian intelligence as a direct result of this incident is a paper tiger.

The mainstream US media has latched on to the idea of a new era of US-Russian intelligence cooperation as a result of the Chechen connection to the Boston bombing because this is an attractive post-Cold War idea that makes for good headlines.

Testing Times Again For Democracy in Pakistan

By Shastri Ramachandaran* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN) – In a country of coups, where generals take precedence over political parties, democratic transition can be a fraught affair. So it is in Pakistan as it prepares to elect, on May 11, a new 342-member National Assembly and four provincial assemblies of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

Youth Holds Out Hope For Banning Nukes

By Ramesh Jaura* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN | GENEVA (IDN) – If it were up to the youth, all nuclear weapons in global arsenals would be declared inhumane and a comprehensive treaty banning these would be put in place. This is the upshot of an international survey released at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) during a milestone conference.

The survey, carried out by youth members of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), shows that 91.2% of respondents aged between 15 and 45 are of the view that nukes are inhumane and 80.6% favour a comprehensive global treaty banning all these weapons of mass annihilation.

Civil Society Defying Tough Times

By Rchard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BRUSSELS (IDN) – The 27-nation European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Cathy Ashton, has expressed concern “about the efforts of some states to bar, constrict, or control the work of NGOs”, and stressed that “a vibrant and independent civil society is an essential ingredient of effective and stable democracy”.

‘War Crimes’ Wrangle Ignores Lankan Tamils’ Challenge to India

By Shastri Ramachandran* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

CHENNAI (IDN) – Some five weeks after the foreign policy fiasco on the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) – which earned the Congress-led UPA government the hostility of all sections in Sri Lanka and the Tamil political parties in India – New Delhi seems to have gone back to sleep on the issue.

The March 21 resolution called upon Sri Lanka to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law – during the final phase of the 26-year war, which came to an end after Sri Lanka’s army defeated separatist Tamil rebels in 2009.

Nukes Indefensible on Humanitarian Grounds

By Hirotsugu Terasaki* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

TOKYO (IDN) – It is a cause of grave concern that there are an increasing number of regions under tension and exposed to the threat of nuclear weapons; namely, the Middle East, South Asia and Northeast Asia. Today, there are more countries that seem to be adhering to the doctrine of nuclear deterrence and/or extended deterrence than during the Cold War era.

This reminds me of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s warning to the world, “Unfortunately, the doctrine of nuclear deterrence has proven to be contagious. This has made non-proliferation more difficult, which in turn raises new risks that nuclear weapons will be used.” It is critical that all of us share an awareness that humanity is standing at an important tipping point today.

Globalisation Polluting Environment

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

PARIS (IDN) – Globalisation has had some crucial negative impacts on the environment. But given vital, political regulations and incentives, it can be part of a solution that addresses the breadth and urgency of the challenges ahead, says a new study commissioned by the Public Affairs and Communications Directorate of Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Presently, disagreements between developed and developing countries on responsibilities and cost sharing are major stumbling blocks in discussions about an international agreement on climate change.

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