International Press Syndicate

NOTE! This site uses cookies and similar technologies.

If you do not change browser settings, you agree to the use of cookies.

I understand

 

Formerly Globalom Media Information . Communication . Publishing Agency Established in March 2009

.

Photo: 2016 Elections in Argentina Credit: posadiststoday

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - Is there a democratic recession? No, not an economic one. Rather one of the voting kind. In other words: Is democracy going backwards? It is not. Democracy remains resilient. Authoritarianism is being held at bay, despite recession in Russia, Turkey and China.

“Democracy may be receding somewhat in practice, but it is still globally ascendant in people’s values and aspirations,” writes Larry Diamond in a new book, “Democracy in Decline”. In fact, Diamond’s positive conclusion is less positive than I believe the facts say. By and large democracy is not receding.

Photo courtesy: UNFPA

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - Over 200 years we have watched with a mixture of fascination and horror the explosion of population in most parts of the world. In the 1960s and 70’s many people were convinced that it was the single most important issue of our times.

Government aid agencies, especially in the Western world, gave overriding priority to distributing condoms wherever and whenever they had the chance.  Some people like the bishops of the Catholic Church and the mullahs of Iran got very hot under the collar. Indeed, these two groups would unite together to vote the “no” in UN population conferences.

In the Third World militants argued that this was one more perfidy carried out by the West – to rid the world of dark skinned people.

Photo: China has released a road map on genetically modified organisms and crops, giving priority to the development of non-edible cash crops. Source: GRAIN

Viewpoint by GRAIN

BARCELONA (IDN-INPS) - Ever since the ink dried on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), people have become aware of another mega-trade deal being negotiated behind closed doors in the Asia-Pacific region. Like the TPP, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) threatens to increase corporate power in member countries, leaving ordinary people with little recourse to assert their rights to things like land, safe food, life-saving medicines and seeds.

RCEP is being negotiated between the ten countries that form the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their six biggest trading partners in the region: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

According to the latest leaked draft of the RCEP agreement, dated October 15, 2015 and published by Knowledge Ecology International, the negotiating countries fall into two camps when it comes to legal rights over biodiversity and traditional knowledge useful for food production and medicine.

Photo: ‘Coalition’ airstrike on ISIL position in Turkey/ Kobane, Syrian border on 22 October 2014. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - “ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States,” President Barack Obama told Jeffrey Goldberg of Atlantic magazine recently.

What becomes clear in this long article, much of it Obama’s own words, is that Obama shies away from the idea that war can make bad things good. The unquenchable wars that he inherited – Iraq and Afghanistan – were set alight by his predecessor, George W. Bush, and no amount of Obama fire engines have been able to douse them with enough water to put them out.

As for the rest of the waterfront of foreign affairs, he argues that after a period of uncertainty he decided that the U.S. should not militarily involve itself in the civil war in Syria. He decided that Ukraine is not a core American interest, although it is a Russian one, and he was convinced that Iran would agree through peaceful negotiation to renounce the dangerous parts of its nuclear program.

Photo: United Nations Headquarters in New York City, view from Roosevelt Island

By Franz Baumann * | Reproduced courtesy of PassBlue

The author is a former assistant secretary-general of the United Nations and special adviser on environment and peace operations. This article originally appeared with the headline: UN Bureaucracy? No, Thanks.

NEW YORK - After more than 30 years of service, I retired from the United Nations as an assistant secretary-general, Special Adviser on Environment and Peace Operations, at the end of 2015, but to officially conclude my tenure with the UN, there was bureaucratic paperwork to contend with, to which Bartleby the Scrivener, Melville’s reluctant clerk, might have said, “I would prefer not to.”

During my last week in the office, between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and despite the new information-technology system, Umoja, I had to fill out by hand myriad forms. Originals of my marriage certificate (from 1987) and our daughter’s birth certificate (2000) needed to be submitted, even though the UN had moved us as a family across oceans a few times.

American Friends Service Committee

PHILADELPHIA (INPS | AFSC) - Islamophobia is at work in our national media, according to an original content analysis by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker peace and justice organization. The analysis shows a disturbing narrative link between Muslims and extremism, and then over-represents violent responses to politically motivated conflict.

The report, Mixed Messages: How the Media Covers “Violent Extremism” and What You Can Do About It, reviewed more than 600 news items from 20 major U.S. news outlets. Articles were sampled during April-June 2015 from 15 national media outlets such as the New York Times and NPR, and five “influencer” outlets such as Politico and CQ Weekly that reach audiences of policymakers and government staff.

Photo: Secretary of State John Kerry laid a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum on April 11, 2016. Credit: U.S. State Department

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - We were standing in Hiroshima looking at a stone wall. All there was to see was a shadow of a man. It had been etched into the wall at the moment of his obliteration by the blinding light of the first atomic bomb.

Olof Palme, prime minister of Sweden, stared hard at it. An hour later he gave a speech as head of the Independent Commission on Disarmament of which I was a member. “My fear”, he remarked, “is that mankind itself will end up as nothing more than a shadow on a wall.”

President Charles de Gaulle of France once observed, “After a nuclear war the two sides would have neither powers, nor laws, nor cities, nor cultures, nor cradles, nor tombs.”

Photo: Japan’s senior vice-minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries Taku Eto tries out a Japanese-made tilling machine in Cameroon. Credit: The Government of Japan

Analysis by Kingsley Ighobor

NEW YORK (IDN | Africa Renewal) - To many Africans, Japan is a country acclaimed for economic and technological prowess. Johnson Obaluyi in Lagos, Nigeria, says Toyota, the ubiquitous automotive manufacturer, comes to mind whenever Japan is mentioned. For Kwesi Obeng, a Ghanaian living in Nairobi, Kenya, it is technology. Beageorge Cooper, a consultant for the World Bank in Monrovia, Liberia, says she thinks of Japan as “a former world economic power”.

But it’s a different matter when Africans are asked about Japan-Africa relations. “I will have to read up on that,” says Cooper. “I think we are importing their Toyotas,” recollects Obaluyi. “They support research into tropical diseases in Africa,” says Obeng.

Photo credit: Jeffrey Moyo

Analysis by Jeffrey Moyo

HARARE (IDN) - The third Pan African Capacity Development Forum organized by the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), in partnership with the organisation’s Pan-African and international partners, has vowed to boost industry together with infrastructure, in order to promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation in line with the ninth goal of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

As such, the organisation says it has invested more than $1 billion, building institutions in 45 countries on the African continent and supporting regional economic communities as well as continental organisations.

The SDGs were built on the eight anti-poverty targets that the world committed to achieving by 2015, dubbed the Millennium Development Goals.

Photo: David Nabarro. Credit: Africa Renewal

Masimba Tafirenyika interviews David Nabarro

David Nabarro is the new special adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on sustainable development goals (SDGs), a plan of action for ending poverty adopted by UN member states in September 2015 to replace the Millennium Development Goals. Dr. Nabarro will work with member states to implement SDGs by 2030. The following are excerpts of his interview with Masimba Tafirenyika for Africa Renewal. IDN-InDepthNews is republishing the interview by arrangement with Africa Renewal.

Page 8 of 9