THIRD QUARTERLY 2013

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INTERNATIONAL EDITION | Third Quarterly 2013
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CONSIDER THIS: Peace is Child's Play

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donaldsonBy O. Fred Donaldson*

TRUMBULL,CT, USA - Albert Einstein asks, “Is the universe friendly?”

A sign in Mother Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta is a Zen-like reply to Einstein’s question: “Take time to play, take time to love and be loved.”

Instead of answering the question, the sign tells us what to do in order to discover the answer for ourselves.

Theologians, poets, scientists and philosophers have looked out into the world through the peephole of our finite humanity hoping to see the infinite face of Creation, and have struggled eloquently to make sense of the universe and find our peace in it. While many scientists and sages acknowledge that a sustaining pattern of unity exists in life, they haven’t known how to develop it. Nor do they know where to look to find it.

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DISARMAMENT: Hiroshima and Nagasaki Beckon Nuke Free World

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By Ramesh JaurVisitors to the Hiroshima exhibition | Credit: SGIa

BERLIN | HIROSHIMA - “World leaders, high-ranking UN officials, city mayors and representatives of the civil society from around the globe, gathered for a summit at Hiroshima and Nagasaki to mark the seventieth anniversary of the atom bombing of two Japanese cities, declared that nuclear weapons will be outlawed by 2020, and called upon all governments to agree at the earliest on a nuclear weapons convention.”

A press release in August 2015 might read somewhat like this if the momentum building up for ushering in a world free of nuclear weapons continues and Soka Gakkai Internatonal (SGI) President Daisaku Ikeda’s proposal for a nuclear abolition summit to be held in 2015 on the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is translated into action.

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DISARMAMENT: UN Presses Forward on Global Ban on Nuke Tests

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Photo: Some of the members of the Group of Eminent Persons at the official launching of the group in New York on September 26, 2013. Credit: CTBTOBy Jaya Ramachandran

NEW YORK – Seventeen years after the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) opened for signature, the United Nations has launched a new initiative to expedite its entry into force “at the earliest possible date”.


Foreign ministers and high-level representatives from the 183 Member States of the Treaty have urged the eight remaining States – China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States – to sign and ratify the CTBT, “thus ridding the world once and for all of nuclear test explosions”. Ratification by these eight countries is indispensable for the Treaty coming into force.

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DISARMAMENT: ICAN Australia Shows The Way To Abolish Nukes

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By Neena BhandariPhoto: ICAN director Tim Wright and Hiroshima students launch thousand paper cranes project | Credit: MAPWcommunications

SYDNEY - Even as the nuclear-armed countries continue to amass new warheads and build and modernise ballistic missiles, bombers and submarines to launch them, the campaign for nuclear abolition is growing from strength to strength.

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DISARMAMENT: North Korea and a Nuclear Weapons Ban

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A statue of Kim Il-sung. | Credit: Wikimedia CommonsBy Frederick N. Mattis*

ANNAPOLIS, USA - To abolish nuclear weapons, North Korea and all states would have to join the ban before its entry into force, for three reasons. First, the nuclear ban (or abolition) treaty, often called a Nuclear Weapons Convention, would not create true abolition unless all states are parties to it. Second, current nuclear powers in all likelihood would not join unless the ban when enacted is truly global. (There already exists the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which has been joined by all but nine states as “non-nuclear weapon” parties.) Third, unanimity of accession by states would give the ban unprecedented geopolitical force for ongoing compliance by states - desirable in itself, and a crucial incentive for today’s nuclear weapon possessors to actually renounce their arsenals.


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DISARMAMENT: Obama Magic is Gone

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By Ramesh Jaura

BERLINImage: President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, June 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)245 - President Barack Obama’s commitment four years ago “to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” reverberated across the globe generating hope that humankind will not be annihilated by a sheer flash of light. On June 19 in Berlin he sought to build on the iconic Prague speech. But there was no magic filling the air.


The reason, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) General Secretary Kate Hudson wrote on June 28 in her blog: “. . . despite Obama's apparent continued commitment to the goal of global abolition, he did not quite take us to the dizzy heights of hope and emotion stirred by his Prague speech in 2009.”

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DISARMAMENT: What About The ‘Global Red Line’ For Nukes

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Image: UNGABy Ramesh Jaura

BERLIN - Reputed to be an ardent campaigner for a nuclear weapons free world, ICAN has yet again called upon the powers-that-be to ban all nukes threatening the very survival of planet Earth and entire humankind. The fervent appeal by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons coincided with the UN high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament in New York.


In a statement on September 26, ICAN, a global campaign coalition of more than 300 organizations in 80 countries, asks: “Where Is the 'Global Red Line' for Nuclear Weapons?

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MIDDLE EAST DOSSIER: Iran-US Relations: Restoration Benefits Both

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By Nasser Saghafi-Ameri* Picture credit: Iran Review

TEHRAN - After nearly 35 years of estrangement between Iran and the United States, a short phone call between President Rouhani and President Obama on September 27, 2013 culminated into a marathon diplomacy which started few days earlier at the United Nations and following the blessing of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in what he qualified as 'Heroic Flexibility'.

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MIDDLE EAST DOSSIER: Iran and P5+1 Take One More Step Toward Mutual Confidence Building

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Image credit: Iran ReviewBy Hassan Beheshtipour* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

TEHRAN  - The fourth round of negotiations between representatives of Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers (USA, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany), which ended on October 16, 2013, was a great leap ahead for both sides and a solid measure aimed at mutual trust building.


The two-day talks in Geneva were very remarkable for the Iranian side because serious negotiations had gotten underway again after a hiatus of several months. By offering a new proposal which was too attractive for the Western states to reject, Iran proved that it is ready to reach a comprehensive and complete understanding with the West over its peaceful nuclear energy program.

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MIDDLE EAST DOSSIER: The Continuing Agony Of Syria

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The Writer | Credit: Wikimedia CommonsBy Jayantha Dhanapala*

KANDY, Sri Lanka - The United Nations rose to one of its finest moments when the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2118(2013) on the September 27 addressing the outrageous use of chemical weapons in Syria while setting guidelines for a political solution to the civil war in that country. Great powers can sometimes agree to use diplomacy wisely to save the world from conflict. However the assumption that the Syrian crisis has been solved through a U.S.-Russian agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons hides the ugly reality of a continuing civil war with daily death tolls adding to a total of about 100,000, a suffering populace and an exodus of refugees now numbering 1.9 million apart from the displaced.

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MIDDLE EAST DOSSIER: Syria Starts Abandoning Chemical Weapons

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By Richard JohnsoPhoto: Pallets of 155 mm artillery shells containing "HD" (distilled sulfur mustard agent) at Pueblo Depot Activity (PUDA) chemical weapons storage facility | Credit: Wikimedia Commonsn

THE HAGUE (IDN) – When the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) enters into force for Syria on October 14, 2013, the country will become the 190th Member State of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), according to the Hague-based global watchdog.

The CWC – or the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction – is the most recent arms control agreement with the force of International law. This agreement outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. It is administered by the OPCW, an independent organization.

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MIDDLE EAST DOSSIER: A Complicated US-Russia Power Game in Syria

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Picture credit: IIran ReviewBy Reza Hojjat Shamami*

TEHRAN - Without a doubt, during these days that the international community is grappling with the Syria crisis, a new sensitive and determining chapter is being opened for the international world order. Of course, the ongoing developments inside Syria do not constitute the main reason for this situation, but it is more a result of a complicated power game, especially between the United States and Russia.


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MIDDLE EAST DOSSIER: Grounds For Optimism In Egypt

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By Ismail Serageldin*Ismail Serageldin | Credit: Library of Alexandria

ALEXANDIRA - Violence is about in the land. The young, the idealists and the dutiful, along with the fanatics, are dying in the streets and the hamlets of Egypt. Hatred and attacks on the Christian minority have reared their ugly head again. Differences of opinion escalate into confrontation, and the declaration of a state of emergency and the imposition of a curfew have formally underlined the gravity of the situation.

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MIDDLE EAST DOSSIER: Israeli Policy Bleeding Palestinian Economy

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By Jaya RamachandranPicture: Bank Of Palestine, Ramallah, handling New Israeli Shekel (NIS) alongside American Dollar (USD) and Jordanian Dinar (JOD) | Credit: Wikimedia Commons

GENEVA (IDN) - Though at pains not to transgress political correctness, a new UN report unveils the highhandedness characterising Israeli economic policies towards the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), which are denting the authority of the Palestinian government.


Israel is not only depriving the OPT of about US$300 million every year but also buttressing Palestinian dependence on Israel, and gravely undermining its competitiveness by refusing to transfer to the Palestinian treasury revenues from taxes on direct and indirect imports and on smuggled goods into the OPT from or via Israel, says a new report by UNCTAD.

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ASIA-PACIFIC: China Restraining Small Arms Exports

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By Richard JohnsonAK-47, the most ubiquitous automatic weapon in the world | Credit: Wikimedia Commons

STOCKHOLM – “China has been actively involved in three important processes during 2013 to prevent trafficking of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and promote greater transparency in international transfers of SALW,” says Tilman Brück, Director of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

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ASIA-PACIFIC: Behind Crackdown on China’s Bo Xilai

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Bo Xilai | Credit: Wikimedia CommonsBy Shastri Ramachandaran*

NEW DELHI - The abounding speculation over whether bribery, graft and abuse of power were the only reasons for China’s former Politburo member Bo Xilai being sentenced (on September 22) to life and stripped of his political rights and property for life is, perhaps, unlikely to be answered with any certitude for a long time. What is certain though is that, for now, the political phenomenon that was Bo Xilai is dead. So is his brand of mass politics.


Arriving in Jinan, capital of China’s northeastern province of Shadong, a day after the Intermediate People’s Court in the city handed him a life term, I found people going about their business as usual. Nothing appeared amiss in the city: the extra security at the airport could have been for any of several other reasons. There was no buzz about the sensational case, the like of which China has not witnessed in 30 years. To quote a phrase from another time and place, “not a dog barked” in Jinan, Beijing or Chongqin when Bo went down at the end of a well-choreographed trial that met every expectation of form.

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ASIA-PACIFIC: Sri Lanka: UN's Navi Pillay Fails To Dispel Charges Of Bias

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By Kalinga SeneviratnPhoto: Navi Pillay | Credit: Wikimedia Commonse

SINGAPORE - Giving a press conference at the end of seven-day visit to Sri Lanka, United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) head Navi Pillay, a South African, said that she was highly offended by comments in the Sri Lankan media accusing her of bias because of her Indian Tamil ethnicity.

“Some media, ministers, bloggers and various propagandists in Sri Lanka have, for several years now, on the basis of my Indian Tamil heritage, described me as a tool of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). They have claimed I was in their pay, the ‘Tamil Tigress in the UN’. This is not only wildly incorrect, it is deeply offensive,” said Pillay at the beginning of the press conference on August 31, 2013.

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ASIA-PACIFIC: Revived Nalanda Should Include Buddhists

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Ruins of Nalanda University in the Indian state of Bihar | Credit: Wikimedia CommonsBy Shenali D Waduge*

COLOMBO - In 1193 A.D. Nalanda, the world’s oldest Buddhist university was ransacked and destroyed by foreign invaders led by the Turkish Bakhityar Khiliji because the 14 acre “giver of knowledge” was a strong pillar of Buddhism and attracted students from all over the world, including countries such as Turkey and Persia. The invaders burnt to ruins the magnificent library and other architectural masterpieces of the Nalanda University.


In 2006, it was announced that Nalanda University was to be revived with the efforts and contributions of numerous countries. However, the issue is that old Nalanda was essentially a Buddhist place of learning promoting Buddhist beliefs and philosophy – the new architects are ironing out a creation of ancient Nalanda with a modern twist to include subjects that are taught in general universities thereby denying the Buddhist niche that Nalanda epitomized

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ASIA-PACIFIC: Political Reform Essential in Japan

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By Frances McCall Rosenbluth* Talk of changing the constitution raises fear as Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force is the third largest navy in the Asian-Pacific | Credit: yaleglobal.yale.edu

NEW HAVEN - The Liberal Democratic Party’s landslide victory in Japan’s House of Councillors elections on July 21 was good news for the Japanese economy – the third largest in the world. Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s Keynesian spending policies are exactly what’s needed to pull the country out of the prolonged economic malaise that has lasted, shockingly, for more than two decades since Japan’s asset bubble burst in1991.


With solid majorities in both houses of parliament, Abe is in a strong position to get on with the task of economic rebuilding that could also benefit the world. But given the fundamental weakness of Japan’s fractured political system, the moment could turn out to be ephemeral.

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LATIN AMERICA: Anti-US Rhetoric Does Not Overshadow Trade

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Picture: Brazilian President Rousseff  with Bolivian President Morales, united in denouncing the U.S. | Credit: YaleGlobalBy Luisa Parraguez, Francisco Garcia Gonzalez, Joskua Tadeo*

MEXICO CITY (IDN | Yale Global) - The Latin American blogosphere held its breath when Bolivian president Evo Morales’s plane was forced to land in Vienna in July. As European authorities searched for former U.S. National Security Agency contract worker Edward Snowden on board, Twitter accounts of South American presidents exploded with resentment

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