LONDON – Make no mistake. Barack Obama is going to go down in history as one of the great American presidents. At home he has confronted poverty, ill-health, racism, gun laws, unemployment, immigration and the criminal justice system – with amazing tenacity, sometimes to great effect, even though the Republicans have fought him tooth and nail over every attempt at reform.
TOKYO (IDN) – Poverty alleviation has been on the agenda of development cooperation since the early 1970s: Robert McNamara declared in 1973 that the World Bank’s mission is to eradicate poverty by 2000, and three years later the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), comprising world’s major donors, adopted the Basic Needs Approach. But the major challenge for the development community has been to find an effective method to provide substantial relief to the poor and deprived.
For some time, this issue was considered ideological, of a choice between growth and distribution. The last attempt at establishing a policy framework from an ideological perspective was the DAC’s policy declaration of 1996: Shaping the 21st Century; the Contribution of Development Cooperation. SPANISH | GERMAN | HINDI | JAPANESE
Donald Trump at a presidential campaign rally, September 3, 2015 | Wikimedia Commons
TORONTO – Trump’s latest TV ad says it all, even before you listen. The caption is: Paid for by Donald J Trump, Inc., Approved by Donald Trump. It’s almost as if he’s running his campaign as a send-up of the other hopefuls, beholden to lobbyists and the mainstream media.
The only one with name recognition is Jeb Bush, and that, only because his brother was president (disastrously) eight years ago. Think of Trump as The Joker in the film “The Dark Knight” (2008): “I’m not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are.”
LONDON – The year’s first major atrocity is Saudi Arabia’s execution by beheading on January 2 of 47 people, including an important Shia ayatollah who led Shia protests against discrimination by the Sunni majority but never committed an act of violence.
Even the Islamic State doesn’t behead 47 in one day. Although beheading is swift it strikes most of us as being grotesque as well as medieval. The Saudis are aware of their image in the outside world but nevertheless persist, as if they want to tell the rest of the world: “Back off. Our Wahhabi (ultra puritanical) morality is our morality. We are a belief system unto ourselves.”
They exported the political convictions that have evolved out of Wahhabism to Afghanistan (with money for guns along with the theology), first to fight the Russians, then to arm the Taliban and later to allow them to “ignore” that the Taliban was giving refuge to Al-Qaeda.
Over the last three years rich Saudis, for lack of policing, have been allowed, in effect, to fund IS.
TOKYO (IDN) – In March 2013, I established DEVNET Tokyo, now DEVNET Japan, as this East Asian country’s sole branch of Devnet International, which enjoys since 1995 a Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Before launching Devnet Tokyo, I was engaged as an entrepreneur in manufacturing, processing, sales and distribution with focus on agriculture, fisheries, livestock and forest industries. Based in my hometown in the Yamaguchi prefecture in Japan, I had expanded my business and built a huge distribution network worth more than 55 billion yen (approximately $4.5 billion) annual turnover at the peak time. SPANISH | GERMAN | HINDI | JAPANESE