The ‘Arab Spring’ Arrives in Eritrea

By Mirjam van Reisen* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

BRUSSELS (IDN) – Arab Spring has arrived in the Horn of Africa. Young people have been campaigning for the last year, inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt, phoning households in the country that has been in the grip of its leader Isaias Afewerki since independence from neighbouring Ethiopia in 1991.

‘Drone War Will Trigger New Arms Race’

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

LONDON (IDN) – The increasing resort to drones by President Barack Obama will over the long term usher in “a new arms race and lay the foundations for an international system that is increasingly violent, destabilized and polarized between those who have drones and those who are victims of them”, a leading terrorism expert has warned.

One of the distinctive elements of President Obama’s approach to counterterrorism has been his embrace of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to target terrorist operatives abroad, says Michael J Boyle in an article for International Affairs, a British journal published every two months.

UN Keen To End Humanitarian Crisis in Congo

By Richard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

GENEVA (IDN) – Stepped up violence among ethnic groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the second largest country in Africa, has led to a serious humanitarian crisis, displacing thousands of people who live in hostile conditions, according to the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO). The world body and its partners are, therefore, appealing for $30.5 million to assist some 59,000 people in DRC’s eastern province of North Kivu.

German Trade Union Tables Euro Marshall Plan

By Eva Weiler | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

BERLIN (IDN) – The German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB) has tabled a 260 billion Marshall Plan for Europe aimed at providing a decisive impetus for qualitative growth as well as new jobs with a future in all 27 European Union (EU) countries for a 10-year period from 2013 to 2022.

The proposed investments and investment subsidies of €260 billion annually comprise direct investment and investment grants of €160 billion and ten-year low-interest loans of €100 billion to private investors.

China To Survey Disputed Marine Territories

By Bijoy Das*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN) – After establishing Sansha, passing a new maritime regulation from Hainan, and, printing maps on passports, the Chinese authorities have now unveiled a plan to survey all marine and island territories for marine resources.

Although the report indicates that the survey will be carried out throughout the country, it also specifically mentions Sansha (i.e. South China Sea) and baseline points (which would include all disputed marine territories). The terse report, when translated, reads as follows:

“The 2nd Chinese Comprehensive Survey of Marine and Island Resources will be started sometime in the first half of this year. The survey is expected to be completed by December 2016. By this survey, the Chinese hope to fill earlier gaps regarding the distribution, quality and quantity of resources in important marine and island territories like Sansha and other baseline points.”

IMF Pleads Guilty But Insists on Austerity

By Julio Godoy* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN (IDN) – Under different conditions, the recent admission by the head economist of the International Monetary Fund, Olivier Blanchard, that the Fund was dead wrong when it prescribed tough austerity measures to countries trapped in a sovereign debt crisis and in recession, would be a reason for satisfaction. But the price paid by the youth in Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, to name only the European victims of the IMF ill advices, is too high for celebrating being right.

Indian Olympic Association Farce Unveils Entrenched Ills

By Shastri Ramachandaran
IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

NEW DELHI (IDN) – Just months after India achieved its best ever, if still meagre, Olympic haul of six medals, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was suspended because of excessive governmental interference in its work.

The paradox is that the Indians, who were visibly proud at the country’s performance in the London Olympics (July-August 2012), were hardly seen lamenting the IOA’s loss of place and face in the international arena.

The average television-watching, newspaper-reading Indian is thrilled by the winning performances of Indians in international events – be it the Olympics, Asian Games or Commonwealth Games. But this Indian is not conspicuously upset if the country fails to make a mark. It is simply written off as another bad day, and life goes on.

Robots Changing Modern Battlefields

By Chas Henry* | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

This report, by Washington-based national security correspondent Chas Henry, was broadcast during December 2012 on All News 99.1 WNEW, a CBS Radio station in Washington DC. You can hear Chas Henry’s’ audio documentary here:

Washington DC (IDN) – When we humans go to war, our least favorite way is hand to hand, face to face.

“It speaks to human nature,” says Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Missy Cummings, a former Navy fighter pilot. “We don’t really like to kill, and if we are going to kill, we like to do it from far away.”

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