FIRST QUARTERLY 2013

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INTERNATIONAL EDITION | First Quarterly 2013
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CONSIDER THIS: 10 Years On - Murder and Mayhem Prevail in Iraq

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By Ernest Corea* Photo credit: bestgamewallpapers.com

WASHINGTON DC - Anniversaries are usually treated as occasions for celebration. They are given special names as in “golden” for a fiftieth anniversary and “tin” for a tenth. Goodwill is in the air, food and drinks are brought out, and “don’t worry, be happy” is the overarching theme for all concerned. Not so in contemporary Iraq, where the tenth anniversary of the US invasion of that country fell on March 19, 2013. The event was not commemorated with joyous activity. Instead, murder and mayhem prevailed

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CONSIDER THIS: Obama Retains Audacity of Hope

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President Obama delivers the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Feb. 12, 2013. | Official White House Photo by Chuck KennedyBy Ernest Corea*

WASHINGTON DC - Hostile and sometimes potentially humiliating treatment of some of President Barack Obama's nominees or potential nominees for high office by opposing legislators provides a foretaste of what might lie ahead for legislation that will be formulated in line with the national agenda he outlined in his State of the Union Address on February 12.


His proposals cannot simply spring into life and become the law of the land without expert and empathetic management and implementation by senior officials, primarily members of his second term Cabinet that he is now in the process of putting together.

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VIEWPOINT: Land and Forest Should Ride A Tandem

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By Luc Gnacadja* Image credit: IISD.CA

There is widespread agreement that sustainable forest management on a global scale is not achievable without halting land degradation. But this view is not shared by the rationale and focus of the tools and mechanisms designed during the past decade to promote and incentivize sustainable forest management.

As if to prove the point, the global coalition of the willing has been putting its money and effort into saying “Yes we can achieve sustainable forest management on a global scale without halting land degradation.”

“What if we change this state of affairs?” asks UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja. “Can the economy and the business community benefit from such a change?” he adds and elaborates "on the nexus of land degradation and sustainable forest management" and highlights the specific case of drylands

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VIEWPOINT: The Worlds Beyond Darwin’s and Hawking’s

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Picture: The writer | Credit: TranscendBy Antonio Carlos Silva Rosa*

PORTO - In regards to the way things are and how they could/should/ought to be, we are cutting ourselves short by concentrating almost exclusively on our intellect, knowledge and intelligence.

I am fascinated with the insights the evolution of science provides, particularly astronomy, cosmology, quantum physics and medicine. Medical research and technology opened the doors to the insides of our brains, considered by ourselves superior and in many ways as complex, dynamic, fascinating as the universe itself. And scientists keep sending those 'intelligent' messages to outer space in hopes that other 'intelligent' beings will pick them up and beam back their replies to them thus completing the human life-changing experience of a close encounter of whatever kind. They assume that beings ‘out there’ possess minds and intellects like our own.

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VIEWPOINT: Stormy Seas Await New Big Fisherman

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By Nimal Fernando*Pope Francis, then Cardinal Bergoglio, celebrating mass in Buenos Aires, 2008 | Credit: Wikimedia Commons

WASINGTON DC - Simon Peter's latest successor is now in place. Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis I, who had been the archbishop of Buenos Aires, follows 265 other pontiffs as the representative of Jesus Christ on Earth.


He will no doubt have to summon all his management skills to deal effectively with more than a few challenges before the Roman Catholic Church.

As the past year and more has made abundantly clear, Catholics worldwide have voiced their unease, if not displeasure, in the church's handling of the sex abuse by clergy. Catholics in the United States, for instance, tend to view the scandal over sex abuse by clergy as the most pressing issue for their church today, as an early-March poll by the Pew Research Centre showed.

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NEWS ANALYIS: Obama Urges Middle Class-Based Prosperity

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2013 Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama | Credit: Wikimedia CommonsBy Ernest Corea*

WASHINGTON DC – A 19-year-old single mother captured the spirit of hope and change that animated candidate Barack Hussein Obama’s first presidential election campaign with this text message: “Rosa sat, so Martin could walk; Martin walked so Obama could run; Obama is running so our children can fly.” Khari Mosley, a leader of the Democratic Party in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania cited the comment in a newspaper article and it re-surfaced in 2013, reaffirming the sentiments of “hope and change” that helped to propel Obama to the pinnacle of political power in the US.

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NEWS ANALYSIS: Media Coverage on Migration Found Faulty

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By R. NastranisUN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with journalists at UNAOC Forum in Vienna Credit: UNAOC

VIENNA - Media coverage of migration issues is far from conducive to promoting better understanding between cultures, religions and peoples around the world, according to a study presented at the Fifth Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) in Vienna on February 28

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PERSPECTIVES: 'Drone War Will Trigger New Arms Race'

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Predator drone firing missile | Credit: Drone Wars UKBy Jaya Ramachandran

LONDON - 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.

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PERSPECTIVES: Robots Changing Modern Battlefields

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By Chas HenryA group photo of aerial demonstrators at the 2005 Naval Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Air Demo. Credit: Wikimedia Commons*

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: www.chashenry.com/robot-wars-2/

Washington DC - 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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PERSPECTIVES: Arms Aid to Fragile States Can Backfire

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By Eva WeilerImage credit: diplomatie.gouv.fr

STOCKHOLM - The need for security forces in a fragile state to be adequately trained and equipped is recognized as a precondition for stability and development. However, supplying arms to security forces in fragile states can contribute to armed conflict and instability, warns a new report by the eminent Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

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DEVELOPMENT: Experts Urge Overhaul of Global Aid Policies

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By Ramesh Jaura*Picture credit: IFAD

BERLIN - Two former German policy-makers and practitioners of international development cooperation have decided to break taboos and call in a joint paper for an overhaul of national, European and international aid policies as a befitting response to rapid globalization that "has changed the world more than many in the field of development policy cooperation would like to believe". They also cast a rather critical look at the 0.7 percent aid target, generally considered as development community's 'holy cow'

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DEVELOPMENT: Poor Countries Robbed Of 6 Trillion Dollars

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Image credit: Lahore TimesBy Jaya Ramachandran

BERLIN - Crime, corruption, and tax evasion recorded near-historic highs in 2010, with illicit financial outflows costing the developing world $859 billion in 2010, just below the all-time high of $871.3 billion in 2008, the year preceding the global financial crisis. Besides, nearly $6 trillion (6000 000 000 000 000 000 U.S. dollars) were stolen from poor countries in the decade between 2001 and 2010, says a new report and urges world leaders to increase transparency in the international financial system.

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DEVELOPMENT: The Longest War is the War on Global Poverty

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By Nimal Fernando* Image credit: EuropeAid

WASHINGTON DC - The 'new year' is already three months old and all pointers are that at least one very old global issue is only that much older.


There is much reference to the 'longest' wars of the fiery kind, but less, perhaps, to the often silent, near-Sisyphean struggle against global poverty. Many concerned voices would argue that 2013 could be among the worst years in which to even embark on any kind of lasting progress on this front.

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SPECIAL: Sanctions Do Not Lead To Nuke Abolition in Asia

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Picture: Pyongyang Metro | Credit: Wikimedia CommonsBy Kalinga Seneviratne

SINGAPORE - North Korea’s response to the United Nations Security Council's expanded sanctions on January 22 by threatening to resume nuclear tests and failure
last November of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to persuade the five recalcitrant nuclear powers to sign the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ) have focused attention on the atomic threat facing the Asian region that is fast emerging as the centre of the global economy.

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SPECIAL: High-Alert Nukes As If the Cold War Didn't End

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By Jamshed BaruahThe Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Wyoming (SSBN 742)

BERLIN - A new report by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) has come to a worrisome conclusion that the United States and Russia continue to maintain large numbers of nuclear forces on high levels of alert, ready to launch within minutes, as if the Cold War – which is believed to have ended more than two decades ago – was going on unabated.


Together with France and Britain, the four countries deploy approximately 2000 warheads ready for use on short notice – more nuclear warheads than held by all the other states in possession of nuclear weapons combined, finds the report titled Reducing Alert Rates of Nuclear Weapons, co-authored by Hans M. Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) and Matthew McKinzie from the Natural Resources of Defense Council.

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SPECIAL: Aiming at Global Disarmament by 2030

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SGI President drafting 2013 Peace Proposal | Credit: SGIBy Ramesh Jaura

BERLIN - An eminent Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda is calling for an "expanded nuclear summit" in 2015 to solidify momentum toward a world free from nuclear weapons and become the launching point for a larger effort for global disarmament aiming toward the year 2030.

With this in view, he hopes that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and forward-looking governments will establish an action group to initiate before year's end the process of drafting a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) outlawing nuclear weapons, which are not only inhumane but also swallow some $105 billion year after year

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SPECIAL: ICAN Resolved to Ban Nukes

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By Ramesh JauraICAN Civil Society Forum on March 2 | Credit: Pressenza

OSLO - A global movement to outlaw nuclear weapons is in the making with significant support from Norway, which is protected by the U.S. nuclear umbrella as a member of the 28-nation North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This emerged from a two-day ICAN Civil Society Forum in Oslo.


Some 400 youthful participants gathered in the Norwegian capital on March 2 and 3 ahead of an ‘international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons’, which the five ‘official’ nuclear powers that are also permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council – United States, Russia, China, France and U.K. – have boycotted in a concerted move that surprised officials and non-governmental organizations at the ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) Forum.

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SPECIAL: ‘Humanitarian Diplomacy’ Fights Nukes

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Photo From the Conference on Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons | Credit: Mari Nordmo, MFA Norwegian By Jamshed Baruah*

OSLO - For the first time, ‘humanitarian diplomacy’ is being deployed to drive home the need for banning nukes – though under the self-imposed exclusion of the P5, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, who own a crushing majority of the 19,000 nuclear weapons capable of destroying the world many times over

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SPECIAL: Trailblazing Conference Urges Ban On Nukes

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By Ramesh Jaura*

BERLIN | OSLO Image credit: ICAN- There are miles and miles to go before a world without nuclear weapons becomes a reality. But a significant step towards banning atomic arsenal capable of mass annihilation has been taken in Oslo, the capital of Norway, which is an ardent member of the 28-nation North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Responding to President Barack Obama’s Prague speech in April 2009, NATO committed itself to “the goal of creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons”. But as part of a “strategic concept” endorsed at its Lisbon meeting in November 2010, it reconfirmed that, “as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world, NATO will remain a nuclear Alliance”.

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SPECIAL: Anti-Nuke Movement Goes to the Gulf

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MANAMA - After a week of activities in Oslo during the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, major anti-nuclear campaigners moved on March 10 to the Bahraini capital, Manama, in yet another step towards the abolition of atomic weapons.

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