Chinese Workforce Discovers Africa

By Mark Kapchanga* | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

NAIROBI (IDN) – Africa is turning out to be a new home for Chinese people. Four years after he entered Kenya, a Mr Liu says he may not head back to his rural home in East China’s Fujian Province anytime soon.

Having taken part in the construction of the just completed Thika Superhighway, the father of three says he plans to open up a retail business or get another job in the country.

This worker represents the latest wave of Chinese migrants to Africa. To date, there have been more than 810,000. Lucrative earnings, coupled with enormous businesses opportunities, have motivated the majority to remain behind, despite their work permits expiring.

Some have also been drawn in by Africa’s vast arable land, which they intend to turn into a gold mine.

Li Ruogu, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of China, once suggested that there was no harm in allowing Chinese farmers to leave the country to become farmers in Africa. He argued that the institution would support a migration that was investment-oriented.

Stormy Seas Await New Big Fisherman

By Nimal Fernando* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

WASINGTON DC (IDN) – Simon Peter’s latest successor is now in place. Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis I, who had been the archbishop of Buenos Aires, follows 265 other pontiffs as the representative of Jesus Christ on Earth.

He will no doubt have to summon all his management skills to deal effectively with more than a few challenges before the Roman Catholic Church.

As the past year and more has made abundantly clear, Catholics worldwide have voiced their unease, if not displeasure, in the church’s handling of the sex abuse by clergy. Catholics in the United States, for instance, tend to view the scandal over sex abuse by clergy as the most pressing issue for their church today, as an early-March poll by the Pew Research Centre showed.

Chavez Had Creative Link With A US Organisation

By Ernest Corea* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

WASHINGTON DC (IDN) – The death of President Hugo Chavez, after a drawn-out battle with cancer, brought out huge crowds of grieving Venezuelans onto the country’s streets. Their grief suggested that he had been a more effective ruler than many of his critics allowed.

His visceral reaction to most things American was unfortunate, standing in the way of expanded economic relations which could have benefitted both countries, while each remained faithful to its internal political imperatives. In one area, however, he was personally responsible for a strong and beneficial link with the US.

The PLA On Way To a Sophisticated Military

By Mandip Singh* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN | IDSA) – As a part of its modernization plan to fight wars under conditions of informationalisation, the PLA has embarked upon an ambitious effort to induct, educate, train and prepare its rank and file to meet the challenges of future wars. A well-conceived and planned Professional Military Education (PME) programme is underway for Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and junior officers. The aim is to raise the bar of the personnel educational standards of the PLA in order to imbibe new generation high technologies and weapon systems.

Thus college degrees and university tie-ups to recruit the modern NCO and junior officer corps have become popular while technical education is limited to one to three month courses at military centres or online before becoming NCOs. While this may produce well-read and technically savvy junior leaders, what needs to be evaluated are the intangibles in the modernization and Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) of the PLA leadership and motivation.

US Spending Cuts Hit Poor at Home and Abroad

By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

GENEVA (IDN) – On 1 March 1, the United States government had to introduce spending cuts of US$85 billion for this year, as President Obama and the Congress failed to reach an agreement on how to reduce the budget deficit. The so-called “sequestration” marked a new failure in the relations between the President and the Republicans in Congress.

The term “dysfunctional” is now commonly used to describe the US government system, as the deadlock between the President and Congress, and the animosity between the Democrat and Republican parties have blocked laws, policies and agreements.

Trailblazing Conference Urges Ban On Nukes

By Ramesh Jaura* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN | OSLO (IDN) – There are miles and miles to go before a world without nuclear weapons becomes a reality. But a significant step towards banning atomic arsenal capable of mass annihilation has been taken in Oslo, the capital of Norway, which is an ardent member of the 28-nation North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

People Getting Fed Up With The Mighty Few

By Roberto Savio* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

ROME (IDN | OtherNews) – For those who think that Occupy Wall Street, the indignados in Spain, the World Social Forum and the hundreds manifestation of protest worldwide are expressions without concrete outcome, the result of the recent Swiss referendum (March 3 2013) on capping the salaries and bonuses of banks executives should make them think twice.

Like it or not, two-thirds of the Swiss, who are not exactly a revolutionary people, have given the shareholders of financial institutions the right to decide salaries and bonuses of their executives, which is thus no longer to the cosy mutual enrichment of their boards, and another referendum is due shortly on limiting the salaries and bonuses of executives of companies of all sectors to a figure that does not exceed 15 times that of the average salary of their employees.

UN and Disarmament Entering New Transition Age

By Angela Kane* | IDN-InDepth NewViewpoint

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut, USA (IDN) – Disarmament is, first and foremost, one of the UN’s oldest and most durable goals. The term appears twice in the UN Charter – which we should recall was adopted before the first nuclear weapon was even tested. The first resolution adopted by the General Assembly established on January 24, 1946 the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons and all other weapons “adaptable to mass destruction”, later called WMD.

South Africa Could Do Better, Says OECD

By Richard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

PARIS (IDN) – “Despite considerable success on many economic and social policy fronts over the past 19 years, South Africa faces a number of long-standing economic problems that still reflect at least in part the long‑lasting and harmful legacy of apartheid,” according to a new report by the prestigious Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) .

The Taliban Discover Thailand

By Murray Hunter | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

ARAU, Perlis (IDN | – A frequent traveller to Thailand who goes around the country today, couldn’t help but notice a rapid rise in the prominence of Muslims in the country, stretching from Chiang Rai in the north – right down to the south. Many of Thailand’s 6-7 million Muslims are totally integrated into Thai culture and society, a country that takes great pride in its cultural homogeneity.

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