Obama Magic is Gone – Caution Outweighs Zeal

By Ramesh Jaura* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN (IDN) – President Barack Obama’s commitment four years ago “to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” reverberated across the globe generating hope that humankind will not be annihilated by a sheer flash of light. On June 19 in Berlin he sought to build on the iconic Prague speech. But there was no magic filling the air.

The reason, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) General Secretary Kate Hudson wrote on June 28 in her blog: “. . . despite Obama’s apparent continued commitment to the goal of global abolition, he did not quite take us to the dizzy heights of hope and emotion stirred by his Prague speech in 2009.”

Nuclear Deterrence Works in Indo-Pak Ties

By A. Vinod Kumar* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN | IDSA) – For over two decades, a dominant section of western analysts harped on the volatilities of the India and Pakistan nuclear dyad, often overselling the ‘South Asia as a nuclear flashpoint’ axiom, and portending a potential nuclear flare-up in every major stand-off between the two countries. The turbulence in the sub-continent propelled such presages, with one crisis after another billowing towards serious confrontations, but eventually easing out on all occasions.

While the optimists described this as evidence of nuclear deterrence gradually consolidating in this dyad, the pessimists saw in it the ingredients of instability that could lead to a nuclear conflict. Though there is no denial of the fact that the three major crises since the 1998 nuclear tests – Kargil (1999), the Parliament attack and Operation Parakram (2001-2002) and the Mumbai terror strike (2008) – brought the two rivals precariously close to nuclear showdowns, not once had their leaderships lost complete faith in the efficacy of mutual deterrence. Fifteen years after the nuclear tests, it is relevant to examine if deterrence remains weak in this dyad or has consolidated towards greater stability.

Genuine Democracy Needs Responsible Media

By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN (IDN) – When Erik Bettermann, the outgoing director-general of the German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle, launched the Global Media Forum in 2008, he had an ambitious aim: to institute a ‘media Davos’ on the banks of the river Rhine. The recently concluded sixth Forum has indeed achieved that aim. It imbibed the essential spirit of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps and manifested alternative approaches guiding the World Social Forum.

More than 2,500 participants comprising representatives of mainstream, government controlled, alternative and social media as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and academia from over 100 countries attended the three-day conference from June 17 to 19, 2013 in the post-war historic city of Bonn and exchanged views on ‘The Future of Growth – Economic Values and the Media’ in some 50 workshops. They agreed that citizens are the key drivers of change, and that the media must build up an informed citizenry without which democracy would remain a farce.

‘It’s the Earth Democracy We Need To Create’

As India reels under the havoc caused by devastating floods in the country’s northern Himalayan region, the call by eminent environmental activist Vandana Shiva [1] for a new economic model that respects the planet and all species of life in a keynote address at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn on June 19, assumes an added significance. IDN is reproducing extracts of the speech transcribed by its partner Pressenza international press agency.

By Vandana Shiva* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

My home is in my heart and in my mind because I come from the Himalaya. 40 years ago ordinary peasant women came out and told the world something the world had forgotten; that somehow forests were connected to water because the market value of timber – and it was a German forester, who set up the system for the British in India on how to exploit forests – forests were just that much square foot of timber.

Quo Vadis, Brazil?

By Paulo Genovese, Pressenza

IDN-InDepth NewsReport

The writer, a member of the Humanist Movement, gives not only a personal account of protests that appeared to have come from nowhere, but also looks behind the scene and beyond.

SAO PAULO (IDN) – Millions of Brazilians have been protesting in the streets since June 6 when students blocked streets in downtown Goiânia, set fire to car tires, threw homemade bombs, and broke windows of police cars.

Creating New Values Through Gift Economies

By David Andersson | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

This is the text of a presentation at a workshop – ‘Turning a Crisis into an Opportunity: Humanizing the Economy’ – organised on June 18 by IDN partner Pressenza International Press Agency at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum 2013 in Bonn. It is being reproduced by arrangement with Pressenza.

Gift economies could be very potent and effective organizing tools for creating value. We have many examples of gift economies in our world today, such as community gardens or free/open software, where no money is paid for the creation and maintenance of this resource but instead people contribute time and talent and get recognition and respect as well as shared access to the resources.

What is the Edward Snowden Saga All About?

By Alexander Holstein* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

Contrary to the widespread view, Edward Snowden does not fit the traditional whistleblower profile. He has neither protected anyone’s rights nor guaranteed individual freedom. A former technical contractor for the U.S: National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee – his actions could in fact prove more damaging than those of traditional double agents such as Edward Lee Howard, Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen. On par perhaps with the most damaging spy of the entire Cold War – Kim Philby, the senior British intelligence officer and KGB mole who defected to the USSR, where he died as a Hero of the Soviet Union.

New Coalition To Face Law Suits on Investment Treaties

By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

GENEVA (IDN | SouthNews) – Leaders of several Latin American countries have set up a new coalition to coordinate actions to face the growing number of international legal suits being taken against governments by transnational companies.

A ministerial meeting of 12 countries held in Guayaquil, Ecuador, decided on several joint actions to counter the threat posed by these law suits, which have claimed millions or even billions of dollars from governments.

“No more should small countries face law suits from big companies by themselves,” said Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, at a media conference after the meeting which he chaired. “We have now decided to deal with the challenges posed by these transnational companies in a coordinated way.”

India: Historic ‘Bhendi Bazaar’ To Get New Look

By Qureish Raghib* | IDN-InDepth NewsFeature

MUMBAI (IDN) – From being an irrigation tract in its early days to being developed by the British to resettle communities – affected by the Great Mumbai Fire that broke in 1803 at the Fort area – and then eventually mushroom into a bustling business district, Bhendi Bazaar in India’s South Mumbai, has come a long way in terms of socio-economic evolution.

The market area derives its name from a plantation of thespesia populnia or bhendi in the north-west of Dongri as mentioned in the Maharashtra State Gazette. Surprisingly, even with its 200-year-history of characteristic entrepreneurial resilience, Bhendi Bazaar gradually sunk in an abyss of civic neglect and infrastructural despair leading it to be seriously challenged in a liberal Indian economy.

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