ICAN Resolved to Ban Nukes

By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

OSLO (IDN) – A global movement to outlaw nuclear weapons is in the making with significant support from Norway, which is protected by the U.S. nuclear umbrella as a member of the 28-nation North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This emerged from a two-day ICAN Civil Society Forum in Oslo.

Some 400 youthful participants gathered in the Norwegian capital on March 2 and 3 ahead of an ‘international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons’, which the five ‘official’ nuclear powers that are also permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council – United States, Russia, China, France and U.K. – have boycotted in a concerted move that surprised officials and non-governmental organizations at the ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) Forum.

India Still at the Centre of the Indian Ocean

By Nilanthi Samaranayake* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

ALEXANDRIA, VA (IDN) – Is India’s influence declining in the ocean named after the country? That seems to be the conclusion of some analysts after Maldives’ cancellation of an airport development contract with an Indian company in November 2012.

These concerns are elevated by China’s increased engagement with smaller states in the Indian Ocean, including Maldives. Given the legacy of the 1962 war between China and India and ongoing competition for influence, New Delhi is right to have suspicions about Beijing’s intentions in its neighbourhood and whether smaller Indian Ocean countries are playing the two sides off each other.

Media Coverage on Migration Found Faulty

By R. Nastranis | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

VIENNA (IDN) – Media coverage of migration issues is far from conducive to promoting better understanding between cultures, religions and peoples around the world, according to a study presented at the Fifth Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) in Vienna on February 28.

The study – a pilot project by the UNAOC and the European Journalism Centre (EJC) – was a highlight of the Global Forum, which was attended by over 2,000 people from around the world. Participants included youth leaders, representatives from the private sector and civil society, journalists, foundations, alongside governmental and multilateral representatives.

Battle Against Post-harvest Losses Can Be Won

IDN-InDepth NewsReport

WASHINGTON DC (IDN) – Robert D. Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, speaking at a conference here on February 19, 2013, urged that solving the problem of post-harvest food losses should be made a global priority. That would be “a giant step forward” towards conserving the world’s natural resources. It would, as well, improve the food security of the world’s poor and boost the incomes of smallholder farmers in developing countries, he explained.

Measures to avoid post-harvest losses are “within reach” he emphasized – if “bold action” is taken.

I CAN Get Rid Of Nuclear Weapons!

By Xanthe Hall* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

BERLIN (IDN) – The latest acronym in the disarmament community is CHC. It stands for Catastrophic Humanitarian Consequences and is the message that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (ICAN) is trying to get across, both to the general public and to governments. So far, so successfully.

U.S. Abandoning Commitment to Nuke-free World?

By Lawrence Wittner* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

ALBANY (IDN) – In a major address in Prague on April 5, 2009, the newly-elected U.S. President, Barack Obama, proclaimed “clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

On January 24, 2013, however, Senator John Kerry, speaking at Senate confirmation hearings on his nomination to become U.S. secretary of state, declared that a nuclear weapons-free world was no more than “an aspiration,” adding that “we’ll be lucky if we get there in however many centuries.” Has there been a change in Obama administration policy over the past four years? There are certainly indications that this might be the case.

Happiness is More than State of Mind

By Shastri Ramachandran* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN) – The big-versus-small debate pervades all facets of our lives. Big may be better, but small is smarter. This seems to be the subtext of a recent “happiness survey” in the Indian daily Hindustan Times. The happiness index was based on whether people are happy with their health, wealth and sex lives.

The survey’s findings are important for what they state as much as for what they conceal. Small is not always beautiful or smart.

The Unnoticed India-Sri Lanka Fishing War

By Kalinga Seneviratne | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

SINGAPORE (IDN) – A recent skirmish has highlighted a widely unnoticed fishing war that has been going on for two years in the Palk Straits, a stretch of sea about 30 km long, that separates India’s Tamil Nadu state from Sri Lanka’s northern province that was plagued by a civil war for over 30 years. The southern state of Tamil Nadu is often at daggers drawn with the central government in New Delhi.

Global Trade Talks Remain Stuck

By R. Nastranis and Kinda Mohamadieh*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

GENEVA (IDN) – Uncertainty clouds the fate of the current round of global trade negotiations under the umbrella of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which commenced in November 2011 and have been stalled since July 2008. All eyes are now set on the ninth ministerial conference (MC9) to be held on the Indonesian island of Bali December 3-6, 2013.

The reason behind the impasse, according to Dr Rubens Ricupero, a former UNCTAD Secretary-General, is that the advanced economies are retracting on their promises given at the WTO’s Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001.

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