The recent attack on US consulate at Benghazi which resulted in death of four US personnel including the ambassador Christopher Stevens has begun a new phase of retaliatory politics in the Middle East. The destruction at the Islamic Centre of Sheikh Abdussalam Al-Asmar in Zliten, the Mosque of Sidi Sha’ab in Tripoli, and at the Shrine of Sidi Ahmed Zaroug in Misrata has also unleashed a new trend of vengeance. The entire region has become hostile and the entire world seems to be divided into two halves. The uncalculated unilateral interventions have grossly failed to bring about normalcy in the region. The tensions between different ethnic groups have been escalated.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was on official visit to India; her visit is a landmark achievement towards the mutual progress of both the nations but is also important for peace and security of Asia. For Australia, her visit to India is her most important foreign visit of the year, and she also used the opportunity to make solid pitch to win over Indian hearts and minds.
In search of identity
The 12th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held in Beijing. During the summit, the SCO members – Russia, China, and Central Asian states discussed the issue of setting up a special fund and ways to have a significant role in stabilizing Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US led troops at the end of 2014. The summit was more significant as the organization had crossed the threshold of the second decade of its existence. It was founded on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan on the basis of the Shanghai Five active since 1996. Iran, India, Mongolia, Pakistan and now Afghanistan are the observer states. Belarus and Sri Lanka became SCO dialogue partners in 2010. The participation of officials representing the United Nations, the CIS, the Eurasian Economic Community and the Collective Security Treaty Organization gave the event a new dimension converting it into an international forum of global scale and importance.
In a major political development, President Michel Sleiman has appointed the 55-year-old billionaire and Hezbollah-backed Sunni Najib Azmi Mikati as Lebanon’s Prime Minister. He has succeeded Prime Minister Saad al- Hariri. Under Lebanon’s power-
Safeguarding European monetary union
Crisis has its own utility in human life. When things go normally, people tend to overlook fundamental systemic anomalies believing that they hardly exist. It is only when things do not remain normal any longer and a crisis situation looms large, do people recognize the anomalies and the systemic faults even as they struggle to find the reasons for the crisis. What follows are reforms aimed at correcting the faults and thereby ensuring that a similar crisis does not occur in the near and distant future. In the process of bringing the global economy back on track, much needed global economic reforms agreed by the major economies of the world, albeit after much debate and deliberation finally seem to be on the anvil.
G20, in order to fight economic slowdown and combat corruption, has expressed confidence that $450 billion firepower of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would help in safeguarding financial stability and preventing global crisis. It has called for collective action to deal with financial market tensions and promote trade, growth and jobs. The entire cynosure of the summit was to evolve effective ways to get rid of contagious eurozone debt crisis. G20 has urged Europe to take concerted effort to resolve financial crisis. The European leaders said they will take all necessary measures to safeguard the integrity and stability of the euro zone to improve the functioning of the financial markets.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, a socialist former guerrilla leader, has registered a landslide victory and has started his third term as a President. Ortega had 62.7 percent of the vote, his closest rival, conservative radio personality Fabio Gadea got 30 per cent followed by discredited former president, Arnoldo Alemán with 6 per cent, in November 2011. This majority in the unicameral legislature had given his party Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) to bring about changes in the Constitution. Ortega was a leader of the Sandinista revolution that toppled the Somoza family's brutal dictatorship in 1979. Ortega was elected president in 1984 but voted out in 1990 and then spent 16 years in opposition and came back as President in 2006 with just 38 percent support.
China has announced an ambitious five-year plan to explore outer space. The plan includes China's previously-stated goals of putting a man on the moon and building a space station. As per its ambitious plan, China will deploy space laboratories, launch manned spaceships and space freighters, and make technological preparations for the construction of space station by the end of 2016. It should be noted that China has already made sound progress in space exploration and research but it still lags far behind the United States and Russia in space technology and experience.
In a significant move the Palestinians asked the United Nations (on September 23, 2011) to accept them as a member state. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas submitted the application to UN chief Ban Ki-moon as planned. In his letter to Ban accompanying the application, Abbas asked the UN chief to immediately forward the request for full UN membership to the Security Council and the General Assembly. This development comes even as the United States made an appeal to stop such a bid and instead restart direct negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians. We need to understand the fact that the establishment of the state of Palestine is not an option, to choose or not to choose. It should be seen as a valid expression of democratic and human right. Everyone in the world is born with a basic right to equal treatment regardless of ethnicity, religion, education, hobby and domicile. The Palestinian nation
Bhattarai face intractable task
The political instability in Nepal seems to be looming large and is definitely getting worse. Nepal has elected its fourth prime minister in four years. Dr Baburam Bhattarai of Unified Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist (UCPN-M) is an alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) of India, where in 1986 he earned his PhD in underdevelopment and the regional structure of Nepal. Dr Bhattarai had graduated from Punjab University, Chandigarh and studied for a masters in the School of Planning and Architecture in Delhi. He is Nepal’s second Maoist prime minister after Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, whose term lasted nine months in 2008-09. Bhattarai was one of the lead negotiators of the Maoists before and after the people’s movement of 2006 that overthrew the monarchy in Nepal. One can recollect that the rebels, represented by Dr Bhattarai’s Maoist’s party, fought a decade-long guerrilla campaign against the former monarchy until joining the United Nations-supervised peace process in 2006. The monarchy was eventually removed from power in 2008 but more than 16,000 people had died in the civil war.
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