From Non-Proliferation to a Total Ban on Nukes

By Tim Wright* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

MELBOURNE (IDN) – At the beginning of March, the Norwegian government hosted a landmark conference in Oslo on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the inability of relief agencies to respond effectively in the event of a nuclear attack. More than 120 governments, the Red Cross and several UN agencies participated. Their message came through loud and clear: the only way to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again is to outlaw and eliminate them without further delay.

Conference Urges Enhanced Nuclear Safety

By J C Suresh | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

OTTAWA (IDN) – Experts from more than 50 nuclear and non-nuclear countries have stressed the need for enhancing safety and security culture with a view to preventing the occurrence and minimizing the consequences of accidents in nuclear power plants. The call emerged from a four-day conference hosted by the Canadian government in Ottawa.

This was the third international conference of its kind organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since the first such gathering held in Moscow in 2006, followed by the second 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa. The next International Regulatory Conference will take place in 2016 and will be hosted by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) at a location yet to be determined.

A Global New Deal Can End Menacing Austerity

By R. Nastranis | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN (IDN) – Economic austerity is spreading its tentacles to rich and poor countries around the world threatening to impact 5.8 billion citizens this year, and 6.3 billion or 90 percent of global population by 2015, warns a new report and calls for a Global New Deal to stave off the menacing situation.

A Global New Deal involves public investments to boost employment, catalyse sustainable development, improve living standards, reduce inequalities and promote political stability, says the report, titled ‘The Age of Austerity – A Review of Public Expenditures and Adjustment Measures in 181 Countries’.

Asia Prefers To Quietly Calm Down North Korea

By Kalinga Seneviratne | IDN-InDepth News Analysis

SINGAPORE (IDN) – While the Anglo-American international media has been beating the war drums on North Korean leader Jong-un’s threats to fire missiles at American bases in the region, commentaries in Asian newspapers have focused on why nobody in the region wants war and that trouble makers must be quietly calmed down.

Late March, President Kim, approved a plan to attack the U.S. mainland, Hawaii and Guam if the United States attacks the country. The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling party, listed U.S. military bases in Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Misawa, Aomori and Okinawa in Japan as potential attack targets.

More Guns For the Poor, Less For the Rich

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

STOCKHOLM (IDN) – Instead of raising the standards of living of their people by investing all possible resources in sustainable development, some of the countries traditionally considered poor are spending more on guns. The better off are still responsible for the lion’s share of world military spending, though there has been a marginal decline.

Military expenditure refers to all government spending on current military forces and activities, including salaries and benefits, operational expenses, arms and equipment purchases, military construction, research and development, and central administration, command and support.

The Political Damage Thatcherism Wrought

By Roberto Savio* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

ROME (IDN | Other News) – The flood of elegiac articles on former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is in itself a good measure of how we have all become Thatcherites without realising it. Only those who are not graced by a young age can see how the world and politics have changed so deeply since her days that it is correct to call her a “great revolutionary”.

Let us recall something that has been forgotten. Immediately after the end of World War II, two other major events took place. One was decolonisation and the emergence of the Third World, the other was the creation of a powerful and strong socialist bloc, led by the Soviet Union, but with offshoots in Africa, Latin America and Asia, from Angola to Cuba and China, for example.

BRICS Building An Equitable Economic South

By Devaki Jain* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

GENEVA (IDN) – For those of us who participated in the South Commission and in the preparation of its report and recommendations, the announcement of the setting up of the BRICS bank, at the BRICS summit in Durban, is a moment not only to celebrate but to reflect (BRICS comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Further, its raison d’etre being to claim some autonomy from the traditional Bretton Woods Institutions is heartening. This was in fact the reasoning behind the South Commission’s recommendation, in chapter four of the report, ‘A challenge to the South’, which was released in 1990.

Nuclear Energy Far From Extinct

By Richard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

LONDON (IDN) – While Japan’s reactors remain vulnerable two years after Fukushima disaster, more than 45 countries, ranging from sophisticated economies to developing nations are reported to be actively considering embarking upon nuclear power programs, The front runners after Iran are said to be UAE, Turkey, Vietnam, Belarus, Poland and Jordan.

North Korea Defying Ally China Too

By Zachary Fillingham* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

TORONTO (IDN) – For those in need of a refresher, here is the Cold War paradigm underpinning China-North Korean relations up until now. Historically speaking, a shared ideology has been at the core of their relationship. The two countries fought a war together in 1950 and have stood shoulder-to-shoulder against encroaching U.S. military power in East Asia throughout the sixty years that followed.

Land Degradation Involves Huge Costs

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

BERLIN (IDN) – Some 600 scientists, government officials and representatives of civil society organizations are gathered in Bonn to carry out the first ever comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of desertification, land degradation and drought. During the meetings, concluding April 19, governments will for the first time also provide concrete data on the status of poverty and of land cover in the areas affected by desertification in their countries.

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