We have opened our doors to a blog with many contributors. This blog gathers opinions of people who are in the places where tomorrow's news takes place.
In September 2015, the Angus Reid Institute asked Canadians about their country’s general military priorities. 74% said that ‘Canada should be focused on peacekeeping’, with the other 26% choosing ‘military preparedness’. This is in line with the main tradition of Canada’s peacetime military role, but is somewhat surprising in view of the deep transformation of Canada’s military under the Conservative government of Stephen Harper. Despite ever-increasing demand for personnel for UN operations, Canada currently has some 100 military personnel so deployed.
To help its South American ally win the last armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere, the United States began financing in 2000 the so-called Plan Colombia. Fifteen years and 10 billion dollars later, and as the third year of peace negotiations between guerrillas and the Colobian government in Cuba rolls, the Obama administration and President Juan Miguel Santos gathered in Washington to draw a balance of the controversial success of the US aid package, and to assess Colombia's request for a new chapter, Paz Colombia.
Indestructible, by salsa singer Ray Barreto and Chavismo's campaign theme song, boomed still on legislative election day, 6 December 2015. Yet another election irregularity like many others recorded, it did not change the landslide outcome that went to the opposition to Nicolas Maduro's government.
Emotions were running high in Venezuela in the countdown to Sunday's watershed election. Chavismo, the socialist experiment launched by Hugo Chavez in a decade of high oil prices, could lose, according to polls. An addiction to power amongst the military, mishandling of the economy and widespread corruption and violence could award the victory to the opposition for the first time in 17 years.
Mauricio Macri, the new Argentine president, does not like ties, but his accent is that of the wealthy neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. Born in Rome, his father Franco built an empire from scratch in just two generations beginning as an immigrant laborer. An entrepreneurial spirit runs in his son's blood.
It is safe to assume that his week will be recorded as a special moment in Myanmar’s history. On November 8, the first free – or at least partly free – elections since 1990 were held, and they may turn out to be the first ones whose results will be respected since 1962.
"The biggest surprise was that for the first time in Argentina's history, people voted wisely despite a campaign designed to arise fears," Marcela Marino, a manager at a drugstore in Buenos Aires, told East. On Monday, supporters of the coalition Cambiemos partied until late, while dismay anddisbelief hit hard Kirchneristas Peronists, whose candidate Daniel Scioli the polls forecasted to win in the first turn with 40% of the vote.
“They are not even real monks, Buddhist monks are the most tolerant people in the world,” says Mr. Tin, a Muslim social activist, as we sit down in a café in central Yangon, Myanmar’s former capital. He is talking about the Committee to Protect Race and Religion, better known as Ma Ba Tha. The organization was officially founded in 2014, and since then it has become a political force to be reckoned with, organizing various xenophobic rallies against the Muslim community and releasing incendiary statements.
All three of the leading candidates in the upcoming general elections are Peronists - Scioli, Macri, Massa. The former, endorsed by the incumbent, Cristina Kirchner, and leading in the polls, wows to keep the existing subsidies system and the current strong state control over the economy. The second aims at liberalizing the economy to create jobs, and ending the dollar peg of the peso. The latter pledges also to create jobs, but commits as well to zero tolerance for violence, corruption and legal uncertainty. Generic? Yes, but neither the Argentines got to learn much more about the specific programs, especially in the case of the officialist Scioli. A loyal and large part of Argentine electorate does not want to hear about policies involving "adjustments". The result is that, once again, Argentines may vote with their heart dismissing economic and political issues.
Nationalist and secessionist movements are definitely not just few isolated cases. Scotland and Catalonia recent referendum, indeed, prove how alive is the desire of independence.What is Nationalism? Is it the spirit of a nation? Or is it the common background that links a group? Or none or maybe both?
Once upon a time there was the B of the so-called BRICS, and a star among emerging countries. In fifteen years, Brazil's wealth grew six fold making it the seventh largest economy in the world after France and before Italy. Thanks to a sustained boom in exports and record capital inflows, the strongest economy in South America even lent money to the rest of the world. By exporting soybeans and sugar — becoming their largest exporter in the world — and especially oil, Brazil was able to accumulate reserves 10 times higher than it had in 2003 when Luiz Inácio da Silva, Lula, was elected president. Also leaving from its ports were iron, coffee, wood pulp, poultry and aircraft engines, aircrafts, helicopters and space shuttles.
"Lebanon, the bin-Republic": that is how the French daily L'Orient Le Jour entitled the article published on its front page on Thursday, August 20. It is not so frequent that a city gets to experience the failings of government quite so literally pungently. But Beirut, the Lebanese capital, the same that until mid 70’s was used to be dubbed the Switzerland of the Middle East, has been drowning in garbage for over a month.
A commodity curse? What is sure is that the "tigers", i.e. those countries that achieved an impressive economic expansion by exporting their natural resources, are capitulating to a whirl of global forces. China's move to devaluate the renminbi by 4.4% this week was the last blow in a downward process that is hitting hard currencies, capital flows and the economies of countries like Russia, Indonesia, Brazil alongside India, Turkey, Nigeria and South Africa, to name a few.
We receive and are glad to publish the article by Ibrahim Kalin, Spokesperson for the President of the Turkish Republic, that has already been published on August 4 in the "Daily Sabah". Turkey alone cannot establish regional peace through its counterterrorism efforts against the PKK and ISIS. It also needs the support of the international community.
Young people emigrate because they cannot find jobs. The government has no say on monetary policy. It does, however, on fiscal policy, and in the last 10 years its spending was much higher than its income. Debt kept accumulating, and equals now 100% of GDP. According to its critics, the social, school and health systems, as well as retirement conditions for some groups, like judges and teachers, are unsustainable.
China thinks big when it comes to secure its food and energy future. Across the Pacific, a continent is rich in those resources, but to get to the ports of Shanghai, Ningbo and Shenzhen, commodities must first travel through South America and reach the Panama Canal. Chinese manufactured goods must travel the same reverse path to reach the more developed an populated Atlantic coast, where consumers live in the big Brazilian and Argentinian cities. In the last decade, the Asian powerhouse has been building thousands of kilometers of top-of-the-range railways, and it has the financial resources Latin America is badly in need of.
More than a year after the elections, Afghanistan has finally managed to form a government. We interviewed Thomas Ruttig, co-founder of Afghanistan Analysts Network, on the situation of the country and the prospects that the new executive branch can make to solve national and dramatic problems of the region.
As the international community is focused on the Middle East, where crises and conflicts follow one another with an unprecedented pace, few people seem to have realized that Pakistan and Afghanistan are experiencing a very delicate phase of transition, whose outcome will certainly contribute to determining future international balances. We spoke about that with Ahmed Rashid, one of the most prominent scholars of the region.