International Press Syndicate

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Formerly Globalom Media Information . Communication . Publishing Agency Established in March 2009

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Photo: An antiwar demonstration in Tokyo, Japan on September 18, 2015. LittleGray T / Flickr

By Rory Fanning

The writer is a former US Army Ranger who is now a member of Veterans For Peace (VFP) and an activist. He and Mike Hanes, former US Marine and VFP activist, both recently completed a speaking tour in Japan. Titled 'The Antiwar Tour', this article first appeared in the quarterly magazine Jacobin, and is being published by arrangement with VFP.

CHICAGO (IDN) - A vibrant antiwar movement is blooming in Japan right now. Trade unions, civic groups, and an overwhelming number of young people are galvanizing the country around Article 9 of the Japanese constitution – the article that has kept Japan out of war for the last seventy years.

Photo: President Pranab Mukherjee credit: Buddhist Channe

Viewpoint by Kooi F Lim*

KUALA LUMPUR (IDN) - The Nalanda University website introduces the institution as the University that is "inspired by and aspires to match the ancient Nalanda which was an undisputed seat of learning for 800 years till the twelfth century, CE".

But not all is well with the reincarnation of this famous ancient university.

On November 23, Nobel laureate Prof Amartya Sen resigned from the governing board. He was the inaugural chairman of the Nalanda Mentor Group (NMG), which governed the establishment of Nalanda University.

Then two days later, George Yeo, a former foreign minister of Singapore who replaced Amartya Sen as the chancellor in July 2015, abruptly resigned. He cited "interference" in the "autonomy" of the university by the Government of India (GOI) as his reason for relinquishing his post.

Photo: Merengue musicians in the Dominican Republic. Credit: Ministry of Culture

By A.D. McKenzie

PARIS (IDN | SWAN) – Many people know of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, which include structures such as China’s Great Wall and Tanzania’s Stone Town of Zanzibar – “places on earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity” – but fewer perhaps know of the UN agency’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

This is an international register of cultural practices that are important for communities, in both traditional and modern ways, and 171 UNESCO member states have ratified a convention to safeguard these types of customs.

For ten years now, since the convention came into force in 2006, UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage Committee has met annually to choose nominees for inscription on the List, and next week members are meeting in Ethiopia to focus on traditional songs, rituals, celebrations and, in one case, beer drinking.

Photo credit: www.donaldjtrump.com

WASHINGTON D.C. (IDN-INPS | Press TV) - The victory of billionaire populist Donald J. Trump in the US presidential election is prompting responses from politicians worldwide, ranging from messages of congratulation to tacit expressions of discomfort.

Trump won more than 270 electoral votes in the 2016 presidential election on Wednesday, enough to make him the 45th president of the United States even as vote counting continued in a number of states.

His rise to the presidency wildly contrasted most forecasts within the United States, which had projected a strong win by his rival, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Photo credit: Museo Nacional de Arte

By A.D. McKenzie | SWAN

PARIS - It is being billed as the largest exhibition devoted to Mexican art in at least half a century, and the impressive show now on at Paris’ Grand Palais does feel like a landmark event.

Titled Mexique 1900 - 1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Orozco and the avant-garde, it features Mexico’s most famous artists, as well as those less known, and gives a historical perspective of the Latin American country through its art.

Photo: The USS Ohio sailing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The Trident nuclear submarine has been converted to a guided missile submarine. It was first launched in 1979, and was the original nuclear submarine in the U.S. Pacific Fleet stationed at what is now Naval Base Kitsap. (Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times)

Viewpoint by David Hall and Leonard Eiger

David Hall, of Lopez Island, and Leonard Eiger, of North Bend, are active members of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

SEATTLE (IDN | The Seattle Times) - Have you seen the Seattle bus ads? They read: “20 miles west of Seattle is the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.”

In light of recent media attention on who should have their finger on the nuclear button, this statement seems to beg the question: With so many nuclear weapons, what would happen should the president order their use?

Photo: Ban Ki-moon receives the Seoul Peace Prize in South Korea on October 29, 2012, with his wife, Yoo Soon-taek. In his last speech to the UN General Assembly opening session in 2016, Ban excoriated Syria. ESKINDER DEBEBE/UN PHOTO

By Barbara Crossette* | Reproduced courtesy of PassBlue

NEW YORK (IDN | Passblue) - With a cease-fire in Syria collapsing around him and bombs destroying precious relief supplies intended for the hungry, traumatized survivors of relentless government attacks on the once grand city of Aleppo, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon used his last speech to open a UN General Assembly debating season to lash out at the government of Syria and its supporters.

“Many groups have killed many innocents, but none more so than the government of Syria, which continues to barrel bomb neighborhoods and systematically torture thousands of detainees,” Ban said on Sept. 20, in a rare outburst of anguish and anger from a secretary-general aimed at a member country in this most public of places, as the world watches. “Powerful patrons that keep feeding the war machine also have blood on their hands.”

Photo: Nigerian-born, London-based writer Ben Okri will be one of the speakers at the Manchester Literature Festival.

By A.D. McKenzie

PARIS – While many literature festivals have become predictable in their line-up of bestselling authors, some innovative events have added a social-issues factor to their sessions, raising awareness about everything from climate change to the need for more diversity in publishing.

The Manchester Literature Festival (MLF), taking place October 7-23 in northern England and celebrating its 11th anniversary, is one such event. This regional gathering of authors and book-lovers has increased its focus on global concerns since 2006, and its programme this year includes topics such as immigration, mental health and the urban experience.

Photo: Benjamin William Mkapa. Credit: Club de Madrid.

Viewpoint by Benjamin William Mkapa*

GENEVA  (ACP-IDN | Daily News) - The EPA issue has once again re-emerged when Tanzania informed EAC (East African Community) Members and the EU that it would not be able to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between EU and the six EAC Member States in early July.

The European Commission reportedly proposed signature of the EAC EPA in Nairobi, on the sidelines of the 14th session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIV).

Photo: A sandstorm hits the UN mission in El Fasher, North Darfur, Sudan. The UN has installed carlogs in its vehicles there to measure idling. Credit: Adrian Dragnea, UNAMID.

By Franz Baumann * | Reproduced courtesy of PassBlue

The author is a former assistant secretary-general of the United Nations and special adviser on environment and peace operations. This article originally appeared with the headline: A Sorry State of Affairs: The UN Secretariat Has No Climate Plan.

NEW YORK (IDN | Passblue) - How green is the United Nations’ own environmental policy?

Shepherding the Paris climate agreement to conclusion in December 2015 has been a major achievement of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The agreement got more than 190 states to commit to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2 degrees centigrade, above pre-industrial levels.

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