Disagreements Abound Over WMD-Free Middle East

By J C Suresh
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

TORONTO (IDN) – Negotiations for a proposed conference on ridding the Middle East of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction would be difficult and the path would be long, but the “prize” – the security of the region and the world – would be worth the time and effort, the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA’s) First Committee dealing with Disarmament and International Security has been told.

Asian Countries Easing Access To Cheap Drugs

By Martin Khor*

GENEVA (IDN) – Recent government actions by Indonesia and India to issue compulsory licenses are extending the trend in Asia to increase access to cheaper medicines to treat serious ailments, especially HIV/AIDS, cancer and hepatitis B.

The supply of generic medicines, either through import or local production, has been the major method of reducing prices and making the drugs affordable to more people.

India Overrides Party Politics For A Change

By Shastri Ramachandaran*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN) – Sections of New Delhi’s diplomatic circuit have been abuzz with two topics. One – in the aftermath of Brajesh Mishra’s demise on September 28, his transformation of India’s foreign policy and its security architecture – was predictable.

As principal secretary and national security adviser (from November 1998 to May 2004) to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mishra radically re-engineered India’s foreign policy, cleared the decks for the 1998 nuclear tests and, in dealing with its international fallout, re-wrote nuclear India’s terms of engagement with the world.

Small Steps Towards Ensuring Biodiversity

By Devinder Kumar
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

NEW DELHI (IDN) – While official statements about the outcome of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Hyderabad, read rather upbeat, a global environment organisation, Friends of the Earth International (FoEI), has criticized negotiators for focusing on false solutions to biodiversity loss and favouring corporate polluters over people and the planet.

Nuclear Industry Upbeat About Future

By Richard Johnson
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

LONDON (IDN) – Though it is still too early to assess the full impact of the Fukushima atomic power plant accident in March 2011, the World Nuclear Association (WNA) believes that it will have “very little impact” on global nuclear fuel markets.

In the latest edition of its biennial report, Global Nuclear Fuel Market: Supply and Demand 2011-2030, the WNA believes that it is possible to make some “reasonable deductions”. Despite the closure of reactors in Japan and Germany – and slowdowns in some programs in response to Fukushima – the report notes that the global situation for energy supply and demand remains “effectively unchanged”.

Thorny Road Ahead For Middle East Conference

By Ramesh Jaura
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN (IDN) – A veil of silence and secrecy has shrouded the fate of a conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in 2012, since the UN announced on October 14, 2011 that Finland will host it. The veil slowly lifting now corresponds to the “wall of silence” in Israel, which Israeli anti-nuke activist Sharon Dolev is persistently trying to break – with some success.

Knowledgeable sources in Berlin, London and Helsinki are convinced that the conference will indeed take place – from December 14 to 16 with seasoned Finnish diplomat and politician Jaakko Laajava as facilitator. However, hardly anyone appears to be particularly enthusiastic about it.

Anxiety Persists As IMF-World Bank Meet Ends

By Martin Khor*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

GENEVA (IDN) – There were sobering messages on global economic prospects emerging from the 2012 meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund on October 14 in Tokyo.

Developing countries’ Finance Ministers and Central Bank officials voiced their concerns on the failure of developed countries to deal with their economic situation and on the policy and political paralysis preventing solutions.

First Arab Watch Report Chides Governments

By Bernhard Schell
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

BEIRUT (IDN) – Though legally bound by their respective constitutions to honour basic economic and social rights, Arab government usually violate such rights in practice, which partly explains the socio-political eruptions in the region, widely known as the Arab Spring. This is the upshot of the first Arab Watch Report by civil society organizations of ten Middle East and North African countries.

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