“Not credit as a means to advance a positive social outcome, but credit as a means to create the profit-spinning foundation of a company.” See the Toronto Star’s report here on what has happened to the microcredit dream three decades after it began. “The concept of microcredit is being blatantly abused. Now any traditional loan shark anywhere can easily claim that they are the promoters of microcredit. What we created to fight loan sharks now is being used to give loan sharks a respectable identity.” Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus , founder of microcredit pioneer Grameen Bank , warning earlier this year that turning microcredit into a high-profit, high growth business would devastate the poor. (Separately, Prof. Yunus has become mired in controversy after Norway last week began investigating claims Grameen had diverted aid given by Oslo for microcredit projects to other, commercial, parts of the bank. The bank denies the claims).
Amnesty International Wednesday slammed Britain’s announcement of new measures restricting the issuing of arrest warrants for suspected war criminals and torturers visiting the UK as “dangerous and unnecessary.”
Refugees from southern Sudan will be able to vote in the United States on an independence referendum on January 9 that could split Africa's largest state, AP reports . Registration in Omaha began Tuesday, and expatriates are turning out in 'droves' to register, reports said. Most observers expect the South to opt for independence, an outcome even the United States has labeled "inevitable", AP reported. China has also endorsed the referendum, calling for it to be 'peaceful and transparent'. The United Nations Security Council on Nov 16 reaffirmed its "strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, peace and stability of Sudan" – while at the same time welcoming the start of registration for the referendum and encouraging "further efforts to ensure" that it takes places.
“I am saddened with India. I would like to have thought that India would be standing behind us. That it would have followed in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.” The Indian Express spoke to Myanmar’s opposition icon in her first interview to an Indian news organisation. Having initially supported Nobel Laureate Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, New Delhi shifted its strategy in the early 1990s to court the military regime, Reuters reports . Suu Kyi’s comments follow similar remarks last month from US President Barack Obama who, noting that states with global...
Indian and foreign phone companies could be forced to pay more than $1bn each to the New Delhi government after a critical audit of a controversial allocation of mobile licences, the Financial Times reports. The decision comes amid one of India’s biggest corruption scandals in the Congress-led government’s six years in power, which has damaged the ruling party’s image and strained ties with a crucial coalition ally, Tamil Nadu’s DMK.
Having drawn over $3 billion investment this year alone in car manufacturing facilities, Chennai and its suburbs will in the next five years become a key automobile exporting hub, with investments expected to reach $15bn, the Tamil Nadu government says. Tamil Nadu presently makes almost 1.3 million vehicles per year, the Economic Times reports . “Rapid progress is expected in industrialisation over the next decade,” Chief Minister M Karunanidhi says, adding, “the State will rank highly with newly industrialised countries in the next five years.” Currently, US automaker Ford, Korea’s Hyundai, German luxury car manufacturer BMW, and Franco-Japan automakers Renault-Nissan and amongst those who have set up manufacturing facilities in the area. Mitsubishi owns a plant in Chennai making SUVs and sedans, and Nissan is to produce a new MPV at its plant there.
Against the backdrop of senior Israeli politicians and army officers avoiding visits to European countries fearing arrests for war crimes under universal jurisdiction laws, a new website has published names and photographs of 200 soldiers whom it said were involved in Israel’s onslaught on Gaza two years ago. The site, which Israeli media reported was initiated by anonymous British activists and hosted by a US-based internet service, dubbed the soldiers listed as ‘war criminals’. The website drew wide coverage in Israel because, unusually, it listed not only the army's top-ranking officers, but also commanders of battalions, companies and platoons, and even conscripted soldiers, The National newspaper said. " From now on, European travel may entail some risk even to a young platoon commander from the paratroopers' brigade, who may have in the meantime been released from the army and was considering studying abroad," wrote Amos Harel , a commentator in the Haaretz newspaper.
“Modern diasporas challenge notions of how political life should be organised. … Such transnational engagement is likely to grow as a part of political life in the coming decades.” “Diasporas linked to states and those that are stateless have distinct differences. Some of the most highly mobilised networks support movements to liberate a homeland, as among the Tamils, Eritreans, Palestinians, Irish, Armenians and Kurds." " In these cases the perceived danger to one’s kin and the absence of a state to organise the nation’s defense foists that responsibility onto those in the diaspora who can...
“A rising India - with its robust democracy, thriving entrepreneurial capitalism, and expanding global interests - is bound to acquire a new identity as a champion of liberal international order”. India needs to move from ‘strategic autonomy’ to strategic cooperation with the United States, senior Indian analyst C. Raja Mohan writes in the journal Foreign Policy . The problem for India's strategists, he says, is how to secure equitable terms in a grand bargain with the United States. "It is also how to bring along a political elite and bureaucracy that are adapting too slowly to the new...
China’s funding of Sri Lanka's Hambantota port development, and similar projects in other countries, has been interpreted by some Western and Indian analysts as part of a grand geostrategic design. The ‘ string of pearls ’ argument, first made by a few US military analysts, has not only become explanation for, but also ‘evidence’ of, China's supposed military ambitions in the Indian Ocean. This logic, while ignoring important related developments elsewhere, has also prevented serious consideration of alternative explanations. It cannot, for example, account for China investing seven billion dollars to develop three other ports in … Italy.