Times of Uncertainty Ahead For Burkina Faso

By Jerome Mwanda | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

DAKAR (IDN) – Burkina Faso, a landlocked country of the SaheI, has since 1987 been ruled by President Blaise Compaoré, who established a semi-authoritarian regime, moving from a repressive military rule to a formal multiparty democratic system, but one fully controlled by the president. This enabled him to stabilise a country marked by five coups between 1960 and 1987.

With less than three years left for presidential elections due in 2015, a new report is asking President Compaoré to facilitate a smooth transition and at the same time calling upon international partners, in particular Western allies, to focus no longer exclusively on mediation role in Mali and the monitoring of security risks in West Africa.

Africa: UN Advises ‘Development Regionalism’

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

GENEVA (IDN) – When long forgotten African leaders set up the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, coordinating and intensifying regional cooperation in order to achieve a better life for the people of the newly liberated continent was an important item on their agenda.

Fifty years later, a UN report says that efforts to date to spur jointly reinforcing economic growth on the continent have relied on a “textbook” and “linear” approach to regional cooperation that does not fit with the situation in Africa, world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent with than one billion people.

Japan: Political Reform Essential

By Frances McCall Rosenbluth* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW HAVEN (IDN | Yale Global) – The Liberal Democratic Party’s landslide victory in Japan’s House of Councillors elections on July 21 was good news for the Japanese economy – the third largest in the world. Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s Keynesian spending policies are exactly what’s needed to pull the country out of the prolonged economic malaise that has lasted, shockingly, for more than two decades since Japan’s asset bubble burst in1991.

With solid majorities in both houses of parliament, Abe is in a strong position to get on with the task of economic rebuilding that could also benefit the world. But given the fundamental weakness of Japan’s fractured political system, the moment could turn out to be ephemeral.

Fuelling an Investment Arbitration Boom

By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

GENEVA (IDN) – It must be the world’s most problematic and outrageous judicial system.  Its decisions can cost a country billions of dollars. It is riddled with conflicts of interest involving the judges, the lawyers and the proponents of the case. Yet its hearings and decisions are shrouded in secrecy and even the very existence of the cases is often not public information.

This is the arbitration system at the heart of international investment agreements.

India Irrelevant in Global Hotspots – Not Only in Egypt

By Shastri Ramachandaran* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN) – Official India does not call itself a ‘Superpower’. The preferred term is ‘Rising Power’. However, Rising Power or ‘Rising India’ is no less of a misnomer as it is unsuited to India’s status and relevance in world affairs.

There is not a single international event or development of consequence in recent times that saw India rising to the occasion. To the contrary, every major development in the world proved to be a forceful reminder of the growing irrelevance of India in global affairs.

Egypt’s Ongoing Revolution: On Violence and the Path Ahead

By Ismail Serageldin* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

ALEXANDIRA (IDN) – The Egyptian Revolution is ongoing. It got its second wind and corrected its path on June 30, 2013 when millions and millions took to the streets and said “No” to the rule of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Then after the first few days from June 30 to July 3, after President Morsi was toppled and the interim government was installed, vast numbers of the people began to abandon the streets, and were ready to turn the page, and start a new chapter. But the escalation in the rhetoric of the Islamist supporters of Morsi continued and calls were issued for fighting, violence and attacking the enemies of Islam, the enemies of Morsi.

Egypt: When Beards Become ‘Warning Lights’

By Maha Ezzat Elkholy and Lorenzo Kamel*

IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

CAIRO (IDN) – A huge amount of analysis on Egypt have been published by Western news outlets in the last few weeks. Most of them were focused on violent clashes: the country is facing a sort of war of “each against all” – government against opposition, lay against Islamists, Muslim Brotherhood against “literalist” salafis – in which only the army seems to remain a pillar of stability. What the TV and the main media networks do not show, however, is how this polarization is affecting the everyday life of Egyptian men and women.

While women as one of the most marginalized sectors of Egyptian society are suffering most from the precarious situation, – “women’s conditions were indeed better before the revolution”, Samah Anwar, a 24 years old young girl from Tahta (Sohag Governorate) told us – the story of the politicized situation in the country and its contamination of everyday life might best be told with another example, a seemingly trivial one, the example of the beard.

A Robin Hood Who Helped Millions with Generics

By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

GENEVA (IDN) – I spent a day with a giant of a man who arguably has done more than anyone else to save millions of lives of people with AIDS and other diseases in the developing world.

The meeting took place in Mumbai at the headquarters of Cipla, one of India’s biggest generic drug companies.

Dr. Yusuf Hamied, the co-owner, managing director and leading personality of Cipla, is most unusual. Ideas and words flow from him like a mighty river, as he moves from one topic to another, his eyes twinkling.

This seems to come from the combination of a brilliant scientific mind (he has a PhD in Chemistry from Cambridge), a passion to overcome injustice and do good for the poor of the world, skills to turn ideas into practical results and the business imperative to make money at the same time.

Egypt: A ‘Coup For Democracy’ By The Army?

By Jayantha Dhanapala* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN) – The dramatic and controversial military coup in Egypt on July 3 continues to have repercussions well beyond the borders of that ancient land.

One year ago, after a succession of Pharaohs, Kings and Army dictators in its rich five thousand year and more history, this major country in the Arab world elected Muhammad Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood as President with 52% of the vote in an undisputed democratic process. A year later, the Muslim Brotherhood is out of power with its leader Morsi arrested by the Army, an interim Government put in place and fighting causing many deaths going on in the streets of major Egyptian cities between Morsi supporters and opponents.

How could the Arab Spring turn to winter so abruptly in one year and how can the Army and the Tahrir Square demonstrators accept a military coup so soon after overthrowing Mubarak?

Containing The Fire in Syria No Easy Task

By Ryan Crocker* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW HAVEN (IDN | Yale Global) – The awful conflict in Syria grinds on, with more than 100,000 dead and no end in sight. The calls to “do something” – anything – become louder: arm the rebels, enforce a no-fly zone, send in the Marines. Before the United States acts, Americans should reflect on the realities in Syria in a historical context. Here are some relevant dates and events.

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