Almost a decade after the global financial crisis rattled national economies, many in the world feel their respective countries’ economies remain weak.The survey reveals a bleak picture in parts of Europe, with more than eight-in-ten in Greece, France and Spain describing their country’s economic situation as bad. This gloom is not shared by all in the European Union, however – most Swedes, Germans and Dutch say their economy is doing well. And in China, India and Australia, views are mostly positive. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, killing 8,800, injuring thousands more and leaving many homeless. The quake and series of aftershocks also left property damage and devastated communities. International relief agencies rushed to the scene, but researchers warn that such disasters are inevitable for the entire Hindu Kush Himalayan region with the continuous sinking of the Indian tectonic plate below the Eurasian plate. Alark Saxena explains why Nepal and other countries are highly vulnerable to earthquakes and urges a long-term focus on preparation. Poverty, weak governance and uncontrolled urbanization increase the region’s vulnerability. Costly rescue operations grab headlines, but governments, NGOs, donors and the media must focus on strategies for long-term preparation. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The public continues to support U.S. drone strikes targeting extremists in Pakistan and elsewhere, despite ongoing concerns that drone attacks endanger lives of innocent civilians. The survey finds that 58% approve of the U.S. conducting missile strikes from drones to target extremists in such countries as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. About a third (35%) disapprove of U.S. drone attacks. While men approve of drone attacks by more than two-to-one (67% to 28%), the balance of opinion is much narrower among women. Half (50%) of women approve of the use of drones to target extremists, while 42% disapprove. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
‘Mothers Schools’ to Working With Police: Women Prevent Violent Extremism. U.S. Institute of Peace. Viola Gienger. March 18, 2015
The helplessness pours out of a crying mother in India, so silenced by patriarchal traditions that she’s afraid to speak up about the risk that her son might be drawn to radicalism. Continents away in Nigeria, police officers are ashamed to admit the poor working conditions that weaken their ability and motivation to protect their communities. The seemingly disparate scenes are elements of the same puzzle – how to combat violent extremism. And in both countries, local women activists are putting the pieces together. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) encompassing twelve nations in Asia and the Americas, was intended to be the most far-reaching and comprehensive FTA yet negotiated. It goes beyond traditional market access issues to deal with the thorny problems in intellectual property rights, investment codes, and state-owned enterprises, in ways far beyond the World Trade Organization (WTO) or past FTAs negotiated by the United States. According to the report, unless a TPP agreement is signed by the first few months of 2015, the entire venture could go the way of the Doha Round of WTO talks, with unending negotiations that never reach agreement. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Countering Others’ Insurgencies: Understanding U.S. Small-Footprint Interventions in Local Context. RAND Corporation. Stephen Watts et al. February 25, 2014.
The report describes counterinsurgency strategies and practices and conditions in which U.S. “small-footprint” partnerships may succeed. Successful U.S. operations have been concentrated in favorable conditions, but most insurgencies occur in worst-case conditions. Case studies of the Philippines and Pakistan reinforce findings of the analysis and highlight challenges for the U.S. in trying to influence partners. The authors provide recommendations are offered for managing troubled partnerships. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
In the past two decades, the U.S. Air Force has participated in three contingencies involving no-fly zones (NFZs) over Bosnia, Iraq, and Libya, and NFZ proposals have been proffered for some time as an option for intervention in the Syrian civil war that would avoid placing Western troops on the ground. The paper is intended as a preliminary look at NFZs as a strategic approach in such situations, with an emphasis on the forms they might take, their potential utility, and their probable limitations. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Economic integration has been a focus of Asia-Pacific affairs for the last quarter century. To support and strengthen economic ties, governments in the region have pursued an array of integration initiatives, from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum launched in 1989 to bilateral and regional trade negotiations currently underway. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Many rural agricultural areas around the world are facing severely depleted groundwater resources, which farmers rely on to increase agricultural productivity through irrigation. If groundwater in these areas is to be sustainably utilized, total withdrawals must be diminished from their current levels, which may cause a welfare loss on the part of farmers and their communities. The level of welfare loss, if any, and its distribution will depend which of a wide array of policies are implemented to curtail water use. In theory, the policies may take many forms, including direct and indirect rationing, direct and indirect marginal pricing, tradable water rights, and subsidizing water efficient technologies such as microirrigation. The research contributes to a policy debate motivated by the situation in North Gujarat, India, where a mix of recently enacted policies has somewhat helped to improve the groundwater situation, but in an inefficient manner. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The global economy is in flux. Emerging economies await signals of an improving U.S. economy and for Federal Reserve plans to pull back from bond purchases on the order of $85 billion per month. Anticipating an end to those capital flows, investors began withdrawing capital from emerging markets, prompting currencies to fall in nations like India and Indonesia, explains Will Hickey. Reliance on exports no longer offers an easy answer for the emerging economies as the United States and many European countries with aging populations and high debt reduce spending. Hickey urges countries to address corruption, education systems mismatched with job needs, outdated infrastructure, bloated pubic sectors and bureaucracies, all of which can stifle innovation. Good economic policy builds upon education and the use of skills in adding value to products and services. [Note: contains copyrighted material].