The Human Consciousness Now...Our World in the Midst of Becoming...to What? Observe, contemplate Now.
Cloud from an atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, in November 1952. Photo credit: US Government
- A three-day landmark U.N. Conference on Disarmament Issues has ended here â one day ahead of the International Day Against Nuclear Tests â stressing the need for ushering in a world free of nuclear weapons, but without a consensus on how to move towards that goal.
The Aug. 26-28 conference, organised by the Bangkok-based United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan and the city and Prefecture of Hiroshima, was attended by more than 80 government officials and experts, also from beyond the region.
It was the twenty-fifth annual meeting of its kind held in Japan, which acquired a particular importance against the backdrop of the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the founding of the United Nations.
Summing up the deliberations, UNRCPD Director Yuriy Kryvonos said the discussions on âthe opportunities and challenges in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferationâ had been âcandid and dynamicâ.
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference from Apr. 27 to May 22 at the U.N. headquarters drew the focus in presentations and panel discussions.
Ambassador Taous Feroukhi of Algeria, who presided over the NPT Review Conference, explained at length why the gathering had failed to agree on a universally acceptable draft final text, despite a far-reaching consensus on a wide range of crucial issues: refusal of the United States, Britain and Canada to accept the proposal for convening a conference by Mar. 1, 2016, for a Middle East Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs).
Addressing the issue, Japanâs Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida joined several government officials and experts in expressing his regrets that the draft final document was not adopted due to the issue of WMDs.
Kishida noted that the failure to establish a new Action Plan at the Review Conference had led to a debate over the viability of the NPT. âHowever,â he added, âI would like to make one thing crystal clear. The NPT regime has played an extremely important role for peace and stability in the international community; a role that remains unchanged even today.â
The Hiroshima conference not only discussed divergent views on measures to preserve the effective implementation of the NPT, but also the role of the yet-to-be finalised Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in achieving the goal of elimination of nuclear weapons, humanitarian consequences of the use of atomic weapons, and the significance of nuclear weapon free zones (NWFZs) for strengthening the non-proliferation regime and nuclear disarmament.
Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM) submunitions boast a distinctive white nylon stabilization ribbon. Credit: StÃ©phane De Greef, Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor/CC-BY-2.0
- New research released today by a leading human rights watchdog has found evidence of seven attacks involving cluster munitions in Yemenâs northwestern Hajja governorate.
Carried out between late April and mid-July 2015, the attacks are believed to have killed at least 13 people, including three children, and wounded 22 others, according to an Aug. 26 report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The rights group believes the rockets were launched from Saudi Arabia, which has been leading a coalition of nine Arab countries in a military offensive against armed Houthi rebels from northern Yemen who ousted President Abu Mansur Hadi earlier this year.
Banned by a 2008 international convention, cluster munitions are bombs or rockets that explode in the air before dispersing many smaller explosives, or âbombletsâ, over a wide area.
âWeapons used in these particular attacks were U.S.-made M26 rockets, each of which contain 644 sub-munitions and that means that any civilian in the impact area is likely to be killed or injured,â Ole Solvang, a senior research at HRW, said in a video statement released Thursday.
According to HRW, a volley of six rockets can release over 3,800 submunitions over an area with a one-kilometer radius. M26 rockets use M77 submunitions, which have a 23-percent âfailure rateâ as per U.S. military trials â this means unexploded bombs remain spread over wide areas, endangering civilians, and especially children.
Local villages told HRW researchers that at least three people were killed when they attempted to handle unexploded submunitions.
The attack sites lie within the Haradh and Hayran districts of the Hajja governorate, currently under control of Houthi rebels, and include the villages of Al Qufl, Malus, Al Faqq and Haradh town â all located between four and 19 km from the Saudi-Yemeni border.
Given the attacksâ proximity to the border, and the fact that Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) â all members of the Arab Coalition â possess M26 rockets and their launchers, HRW believes the cluster munitions were âmost likelyâ launched from Saudi Arabia.
Marek Marczynski is Head of Amnesty Internationalâs Military, Security and Police team
The recent destruction of this 2,000-year-old temple â the temple of Baal-Shamin in Palmyra, Syria â is yet another grim example of how the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) uses conventional weapons to further its agenda â but what has fuelled the growing IS firepower? Photo credit: Bernard Gagnon/CC BY-SA 3.0
- The recent explosions that apparently destroyed a 2,000-year-old temple in the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria were yet another grim example of how the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) uses conventional weapons to further its agenda.
But what has fuelled the growing IS firepower? The answer lies in recent history â arms flows to the Middle East dating back as far as the 1970s have played a role.
- The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has agreed to give the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) a grant in support of a project aimed at improving the productivity and competitiveness of the shrimp value chain in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region.
OFID is the development finance institution established by the member states of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1976 as a collective channel of aid to the developing countries.
The grant, which amounts to 300,000 dollars, aims at co-financing a project worth close to 900,000 dollars. OFID Director-General, Suleiman J. Al-Herbish and UNIDO Director General Li Yong, signed the agreement in Austriaâs capital, where the two organisations are based.
UNIDO Director General Li Yong (left) and OFID Director-General Suleiman J. Al-Herbish (right). Credit: Courtesy of OFID
Al-Herbish said that the project âwill support the sustainable development of the fisheries sector in the LACÂ region through the promotion of more resource efficient, environment friendly and socially equitable fish farming and processing practices.â
In the past two decades South Korea has made such vibrant progress that it now counts itself as one of the worldâs leading economies. Credit: Anton Strogonoff/CC-BY-2.0
- Back in 1996, when South Korea voluntarily quit the 132-member Group of 77 (G77) â described as the largest single coalition of developing nations — it joined the 34-member Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), long known as the ârich manâs clubâ based in Paris.
As one of only three countries to leave the G77 for the OECD â the other two being Mexico and Chile â Korea elevated itself from the ranks of developing nations to the privileged industrial world.
A Honduran peasant on his small farm. Two-thirds of rural families in Central America depend on family farming for a living. Credit: Neil Palmer/CIAT
- Central Americaâs toolbox to pull 23 million people â almost half of the population â out of poverty must include three indispensable tools: universal access to water, a sustainable power supply, and adaptation to climate change.
âThese are the minimum, basic, necessary preconditions for guaranteeing survival,â VÃctor Campos, assistant director of the Humboldt Centre, a leading Nicaraguan environmental think tank, told IPS.
A group of eminent persons (GEM) launched a concerted campaign on Aug. 25, 2015, for entry into force of a global ban on nuclear weapon tests such as this one at Bikini Atoll in 1946. Credit: United States Department of Defense via Wikimedia Commons
- As the international community gears up to commemorate the 20th anniversary next year of the opening up of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) for signature, a group of eminent persons (GEM) has launched a concerted campaign for entry into force of a global ban on nuclear weapon testing.
GEM, which was set up by Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the September 2013 Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) at the United Nations headquarters in New York, met on Aug. 24-25 in Hiroshima, a modern city on Japanâs Honshu Island, which was largely destroyed by an atomic bomb during the Second World War in 1945.