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.”

Challenges Ahead For Indian Space Programme

By Radhakrishna Rao*
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

NEW DELHI (IDN | IDSA) – By all means, 2012 can be considered a watershed year for the Indian space programme. The programme had begun modestly in November 1963 with the launch of a 9-kg sounding rocket from a modest facility in the fishing hamlet of Thumba on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram. 2012 saw the 100th space mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

On September 9, 2012, the four stage workhorse PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) orbited the 720-kg French remote sensing satellite Spot-6 along with the 15-kg Japanese Proiteres probe as a piggy back payload on commercial terms, and in the process helped ISRO complete the saga of a “space century”. The significance of the mission lay in the fact that the PSLV, considered a highly reliable space vehicle, launched the heaviest ever satellite of an international customer on commercial terms.

55 Years On: Time To Upgrade UN Rules For Treatment Of Prisoners

By Andrea Huber* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

LONDON (IDN) – When Phillip J. was aged 16 he was held in solitary confinement for 36 days in a U.S. prison. He described how isolation itself became a trigger for traumatic memories of solitary confinement. “Once you are confined the way I was, then any other confinement just triggers that experience – loss of sleep, all these different flashbacks of different bad events. You try to harness it, but you don’t know how or what’s going on or what’s happening.”

Tough Road Ahead for Egypt’s Democracy

By K. P. Fabian*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis | Gateway House

Despite heavy opposition from several factions, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s propositions for altering the constitution have been approved. Although the alterations have democratic elements, the liberals and secularists bear responsibility in taking forward Egypt’s journey to complete democracy.

NEW DELHI (IDN) – On December 22, 2012, the president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, got approval through a referendum for a much-contested altered Constitution. Will this prove to be Pyrrhic victory, won at too high a cost? [1]

Fresh Impetus Expected For Banning Nuke Tests

By Jamshed Baruah
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

VIENNA (IDN) – The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, better known as CTBTO, expects fresh momentum in 2013 for the entry into force of a global treaty prohibiting nuke tests, which herald advent of new weapons of mass destruction.

This sanguine anticipation derives from the fact that in a near unanimous vote at the UN General Assembly on December 3, 2012, the vast majority of countries listed their support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test- Ban Treaty (CTBT) – which, according to Rebecca Johnson of Acronym Institute, “remains a key piece of unfinished business of the nuclear age”.

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