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  • Africa’s Time of Reckoning
    October, 2009 By Ambika Vishwanath

    Poverty, civil wars, pirates, environmental degradation, the highest number of HIV/Aids victims are some of the images conjured up when we discuss Africa. It is a land of high fertility and large families, where societies are under extreme stress and the young out number the old by almost double. The poorest region of the world, Africa rates low on the 2001 Human Development Index, where 29 of the 36 nations with the lowest human development are in Africa. The growth rate, at the lower end of the scale is 2.2 percent, as compared to the world average of 1.4 percent. In parts of Western Sahara, Niger, Uganda and Angola, fertility is the highest, with women having an average of 7 children. 

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  • Israel’s Future Dilemma: the importance of ‘final status’
    October, 2009 By Gitanjali Bakshi

    The last few months have seen a recent push from the Obama administration to speed up the Israel-Palestine peace process; a push that has not come without a fair share of resistance. The main challenge in the negotiation process has been the five final status issues – namely borders, Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, water rights and lastly refugees and the right of return. These five issues -- aptly named ‘final status’ -- carry so much contention between the two-sides that during previous peace negotiations, discussing them in detail has often been deferred till the very end. 

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  • The Slippery Balance of Chinese Diplomacy
    October, 2009 By Sahiba Trivedi

    China’s ambitions of taking its place among the major world powers are being seriously challenged by its stance on Iran’s nuclear program. At present, the People’s Republic seems to be caught in a tug-of-war between Iran and the West. It finds itself in the midst of the diplomacy being used by the two sides – one trying to levy sanctions on a ‘pariah state possibly working to make a nuclear bomb’ in an already explosive neighbourhood and the other trying to evade or defy them at all costs. As Iran’s traditional ally, China may have to take tough decisions over the question of sanctioning Iran’s nuclear program in the coming few months. China’s stand on Iran’s nuclear program will decide, to a large extent, its future position in the global power structure.

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  • What's In A Name?
    October, 2009 By Anumita Raj

    In recent weeks, most Indians have been subject to mass amounts of information and opinion on the Naxalite problem in the country. The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and the Home Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram have both stated recently on the record that the Naxal insurgency within the country is the gravest internal threat that India has ever faced. Dealing with this threat in the future will require measures on government’s part that are at the same time more expansive and more definitive. It has been painfully obvious for some time now; state police forces have battled to no avail to curb the threat.

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  • Nigeria: Treading the Renewable Path
    October, 2009 By Sowmya Suryanarayanan

    In 2010, Nigeria will complete 50 years since it first started exporting crude oil from Oloibiri in Rivers State. The present state of its economy shows that the financial windfall obtained from oil exports have not boosted the economic growth of the country. In fact, it has lead to environmental degradation, corruption, wide spread poverty and conflict. 

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  • The Song of the Samburu
    September, 2009 By Ilmas Futehally

    Soon after the workshop on Climate Change and Water Stress in the Eastern Himalayan River Basins in Kathmandu, I left on a family holiday to Kenya. This was the African Safari we had been dreaming about…. seeing the Big Five, apart from giraffes, zebras, hippos…. Little did I think that climate change and water stress would continue to occupy my thoughts.

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  • The Pakistan Army’s Existential Folly
    September, 2009 By Rohit Honawar

    Former President Pervez Musharraf’s admission that Pakistan has been using US military aid intended for the ‘war on terror’ to strengthen defences against India, is a candid reinforcement by a Pakistani leader of a fact which should come as no surprise to the Indian establishment. 

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  • Ba’ath Troubles Reveal External Interference in Iraq
    September, 2009 By Gitanjali Bakshi

    The first few weeks of September were host to a series of mudslinging events between Syria and Iraq. The Iraqi administration accused Syria of housing Ba’athists suspected of perpetrating the August truck-blasts in Baghdad; the Syrians challenged them for concrete evidence. Iraq then demanded that Syria hand over the suspects and Syria responded with a flat refusal. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki went so far as to request for an international tribunal to settle the dispute but the Syrians insisted that they would not betray those who took sanctuary within their territory, as Maliki himself had done during Saddam’s reign. 

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