Re-thinking South-South Cooperation

By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

GENEVA (IDN) – On May 7 the idyllic South Pacific island of Fiji became the venue of some political leaders and thinkers of developing countries to brainstorm about the future of South-South cooperation. The island state is chairs the Group of 77, the alliance of over 130 developing countries that operate in the United Nations and beyond.

The Fiji government decided to host “eminent personalities of the South” to reflect on the state of the developing world and on South-South cooperation. The theme may not be original, but the personalities discussing it were colourful, most of them being Presidents or Prime Ministers, and mainly from the South Pacific island countries.

Saudi Arabia Becoming Vulnerable

By Fahad Nazer* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

WASHINGTON (IDN | Yale Global) – Thanks to the bountiful oil under its desert sands and an equally plentiful supply of foreign labour – skilled and non-skilled – Saudi Arabia has enjoyed a booming economy. Prices of crude oil, nearly $100 a barrel for two years running, have largely spared Saudi Arabia the ill effects of the economic downturn that stalled many nations across the globe.

Thanks to the prosperity, the kingdom has also survived, relatively unscathed, the seismic events of the Arab Spring, spurred in large part by feelings of economic deprivation and political marginalization among Arab youths.

Mega Business Leads UN Road to Development

By R. Nastranis | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

BERLIN / MONTEVIDEO (IDN) – All that glitters is not gold would appear to be the core of critique the Social Watch, a network of civil society organizations in over 80 countries, has launched against the United Nations High Level Panel’s suggestions of new development goals to replace the MDGs.

In a document titled ‘A New Global Partnership’ the panel claims that, in preparing it, it “heard voices (…) from over 5000 civil society organizations working in about 120 countries” and “also consulted the chief executive officers of 250 companies in 30 countries, with annual revenues exceeding $8 trillion”.

Inequities and No Jobs Worry Europeans

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

PARIS (IDN) – A new poll finds that Europeans are growing dissatisfied with the inequities of the economic system, which are also rooted in the “still rising unemployment” that, as the OECD’s Chief Economist Pier Carlo Padoan avers, present “the most pressing challenge for policy makers” in the euro area.

The euro area consists of 17 members of the 27-nation European Union: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.

Report Censures Israel For Demolishing Palestinian and EU Property’

By Bernhard Schell | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BRUSSELS (IDN) – Hundreds of Palestinian homes and structures have been bulldozed and approvals for illegal settlements have increased despite the 27-nation European Union (EU) asking Israel to stop settlement expansion, forced displacement, and demolition of Palestinian property in an unprecedented statement one year ago, says a new report.

EU foreign ministers adopted on May 14, 2012 some of the most extensive and far-reaching recommendations on the issue of the Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT). In particular, the EU ministers approved specific recommendations for developing Area C which constitutes 60 percent of the West Bank and falls under full Israeli military and civil control. An estimated 150,000 Palestinians live there among 325,000 Israelis living in settlements that are illegal under international law.

Arctic Council Honours India’s Alertness

By Shastri Ramachandran* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN) – Even as most Indians continue to rue that, in recent months, the government has achieved little on the foreign front, New Delhi has scored a diplomatic victory by joining the Arctic Council as an observer.

India’s accomplishment came at May 15 meeting of the Arctic Council in Kiruna, Sweden. This is a rare instance of diplomatic alertness and activism paying off, thanks to proactive pursuit of a prospect that could have gone awry had the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) taken things for granted. If the MEA been laid back and assumed that India’s entry in to the Arctic Council would happen as a matter of course, the outcome at Kiruna could have been different.

TRIPS Hang Over LDC Like A Sword Of Damocles

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN (IDN) – A modern-day Damocles’ sword is hanging over 49 of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable courtiers spanning across Asia-Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. Unless the U.S. and the 27-nation European Union change their minds, the least developed countries (LDCs) will be forced to abide by the Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) – much to their detriment.

Bollywood Reflects India-China Love-Hate

By Coonoor Kripalani* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

SINGAPORE (IDN | Yale Global) – The activities of Indian and Chinese troops along the line of actual control, the undemarcated border between the two nations known as LAC, may recall memories of 1962. That year marked a border conflict between the two Asian giants that remains etched in the Indian psyche – reinforced by the 1964 film Haqeeqat, written and directed by Chetan Anand. The same dispute goes unmentioned in China’s history books.

EU Spares Trillions Hidden in Tax Havens

By R. Nstranis
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN (IDN) – ‘There is no alternative but to cut public spending and development aid’ has become a much repeated mantra for governments in the rich countries. But investigations reveal that there is a huge lot of hidden ‘private’ money that could put an end to extreme global poverty.

Wading Through The Syrian Labyrinth

By Antonio C. S Rosa* | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

An international peace mission visited Damascus from May 1 to 11 wading through a labyrinth of multi-layered domestic and foreign political, economic and religious interests constituting the backbone of persistent half-truths about a rather intricate situation in Syria whose worst victims are ordinary and peace-loving people. Following are excerpts from an extensive report by the editor of peace journalism website TRANSCEND Media Service (TMS).

PORTO (IDN) – It was disconcerting coming into the country for the first time knowing what I thought I knew and seeing a calm, positive demeanour in people, which could well be misconstrued as apathy, yet exhibiting expectant, concerned, awaiting eyes and facial expressions.

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