India puts three satellites into orbit

India successfully launched a rocket carrying three satellites and deployed them Wednesday. The rocket was fired from Sriharikota, India's main space station, which is located in Tamil Nadu. Space scientists gathered at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre applauded every stage of the rocket's progress and - at exactly 18 minutes after lift-off - its placing of the satellites into orbit at an altitude of 822 kms . The three are Resourcesat-2, a remote sensing satellite that will study and help manage natural resources, the joint Indo-Russian YouthSat, and Singapore's first satellite, X-Sat. Data...

Stiff war crimes sentences for Croatian generals

Croatians - and their government - have reacted with shock and outrage over the sentencing in the Hague last week of two former generals for crimes against humanity committed over fifteen years ago by troops they commanded. Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac were sentenced last week to 24 and 18 years respectively, after being found guilty of orchestrating a campaign of murder and looting that led to the expulsion of some 200,000 Serbs from the Krajina region of Croatia in August 1995. Operation Storm, conducted by Croatian troops, was heavily supported by the United States. It lasted just four...

Kosovo’s new President

Kosovo’s newly sworn in President, 36 year-old Atifete Jahjaga, has vowed to pursue wider recognition of her country’s independence and its entry to the United Nations, as well as stronger relations with the United states. "We will prove to ourselves and to the world that all conditions exist for every country to recognise independent Kosovo as an irreversible reality, as a factor of peace and stability," she said in her first speech to the parliament. "The ideal of all Kosovo is membership in the EU and a permanent friendship with the United States. I believe and I am convinced our dreams...

Ivory Coast: the problem is not elections, but xenophobia

“It is convenient for the world to think that the ongoing Ivory Coast civil war and genocide is about election and election results, and removing recalcitrant Gbagbo from an office which he lost in the polls. “In reality, this is hypocrisy. The UN and the stakeholder-countries involved in Ivory Coast [know] that the problem is not Gbagbo and Ouattara, or elections. The primary issue in Ivory Coast is that of “North vs. South” which is now translating into perhaps Muslim North vs. Christian South. “ The result of sweeping this fact under the rug and pretending that it is not there is what we...

EU migration chief urges members to accept Libya refugees

European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has urged member states to resettle Eritrean, Somali, Ethiopian and other refugees fleeing Libya. See reports by Reuters here and the Jesuit Refugee Services here " We need to show an element of solidarity. There are ... people who have nowhere to go and with this we will have to help, to resettle them ," she said. "Most of them would like to stay in Libya if the conflict ended tomorrow. That's where they had jobs and families. But if the situation escalates, we will have asylum seekers. If they come to Europe, we will have to offer them...

Justice is the glue that binds any long term peace

“Peace versus Justice; it is an old question for prosecutors at the International Criminal Court and one they are hearing all over again as they plunge into investigations in Libya and Ivory Coast. “What price stability, the argument goes, if the new leaders find themselves in the ICC crosshairs? Peace, in other words, trumps justice. It is a short term solution, but it is the wrong one, and not just on moral grounds “ The real reason to back the ICC is practical. African history is littered with cases of rebels deposing tyrants only to become tyrants themselves; for the ordinary people, the...

Indian nuclear program to continue, joint review with Russia

Alarmed over the recent nuclear catastrophe in Japan, India and Russia have decided to jointly review the safety of nuclear reactors installed in India, but have also agreed not to impose brakes on ongoing projects. "We will do this exercise together. But nothing stops and it does not replace anything that we have already agreed in the long-term ,” National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon says. See ANI’s report here . Nuclear energy constitutes just 3 per cent of India's power generation. Delhi would like this share to go up to nearly 25 per cent by 2050. Over the next few decades, India...

Why breaking up states is becoming easier

“ For decades, international and regional organisations have resisted the partition of states . Despite the principle of self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter, this emphasis on non-interference and territorial integrity has preserved artificially created state entities, defined by colonial boundaries that disregard traditional homelands. “ Now, the international community is starting to change its posture . The process that leads to the formal secession of South Sudan from Khartoum … was sponsored, not just accepted, by the international community. “For too long the international...

Responding to R2P criticisms

Critics argue that we are inconsistent, even hypocritical, in our military interventions. After all, we intervened promptly this time in a country with oil, while we have largely ignored Ivory Coast and Darfur — not to mention Yemen, Syria and Bahrain. We may as well plead guilty. We are inconsistent. There’s no doubt that we cherry-pick our humanitarian interventions. But just because we allowed Rwandans or Darfuris to be massacred, does it really follow that to be consistent we should allow Libyans to be massacred as well? Isn’t it better to inconsistently save some lives than to...

Desmond Tutu: Sports boycott crucial to ending apartheid

Many of you will remember how effective the sports boycott of the 1970s and 1980s was in conveying to sport-crazy South Africans that our society had placed itself beyond the pale by continuing to organise its life on the basis of racial discrimination. Your refusal to kow-tow to racism was the sanction that hurt the supporters of apartheid the most, and for those of us who suffered the effects of discrimination nothing could have shown us more vividly the principal value enshrined in the preamble to the Spirit of Cricket, which Lord Cowdrey and Ted Dexter later helped to introduce to the...

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