Jayatilleka De Silva
Egypt is in turmoil again. Tahrir Square is again filled with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators. They are demanding the termination of absolute powers that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi assumed recently. Following the successful conclusion of the Gaza Ceasefire Accord he used his enhanced international prestige and understanding with Washington to issue a Constitutional Declaration on November 22 which said that
Climate change has become an issue that nobody could ignore. Even if one wishes to ignore it, events such as the series of hurricanes that struck North and Central America including Katrina and Sandy and the less violent but nevertheless devastating similar ones like Niem much closer in the Indian subcontinent constantly remind us about the dangers inherent in the
“All that is solid melts into thin air,” said Marx over two and half centuries ago. The Euro, second largest international currency in circulation that ruled from the eastern shores of the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and even to parts of the Black sea coast is threatened with imminent collapse. When it happens, the possibility of a quick-fix to the global financial crisis and a recovery of the global economy in the short-run would become both impossible and unreal. As predicted by the old comrade lying entombed at the Highgate Cemetery in London the general crisis of capitalism would deepen and accentuate further.
Two processes are at work in the Syrian situation. The United Nations and the Arab League have worked out a six-point plan to resolve the Syrian conflict through the good offices of their Special Envoy former UN secretary General Kofi Annan. Last weekend an international conference was held in Geneva in which an Action Group was formed to find a diplomatic peaceful resolution of the conflict.
The memories of the Egyptian revolution of January 25 last year is still fresh in the minds of the world public. The revolution, which brought millions of people to the Tahrir square in Cairo, toppled the monolithic 30-year old regime of Hosni Mubarak in 18 days.
On January 14, Taiwanese voters went to the polls to elect the President and the Legislative Assembly. Incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomingtang (KMT) party secured victory with 51.6 per cent of the vote while Opposition candidate Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) could get only 45.6 percent. A renegade of the KMT who contested from the People’s Front Party (PFP) could secure only 2.7 percent. The Kuomintang Party also won 64 of 113 seats while the DPP won only 40 seats in the 113 seat Parliament.
On January 5 President Barack Obama outlined the main contours of the new Strategic Defence Policy of the United Sates while Defence Secretary Leon Panetta spelt out the strategy in detail. Adding a dramatic touch to the event Obama went to the Pentagon to present his remarks on the strategy rather than following the usual practice where the Defence chiefs report at the headquarters of the Commander-on-Chief. Panetta was elated.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda visited both China and India during December 2011. This brought to the fore the relations between these three countries which could be identified as Asia’s Big Three. India and China are the most populous countries on earth exceeding One billion each. Thus, together they have roughly a third of humanity within their borders
New Year is a time for reflection, wishes and predictions. Reflections and wishes tend to be more personal while predictions are generally more general. Man being a curious animal is anxious to know what the future portends. It is also a time when speculation is also rife. The year 2012 has brought about numerous speculations. Most widespread among them is a belief that the end of the world would come about in December, 2012, more particularly on December 21, the day a mythical planet is supposed to collide with our earth.