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Iraq, a federal state in the making

Kirkuk has become a persistently emblematic case for Iraq. For the Kurds Kirkuk is their fourth province, a logical extension of the Kurd Autonomous Region (KAR). The Arab Iraqis and the Turkomen however claim Kirkuk to remain under Bagdad’s wings. The city and the province of the same name are already considered the ultimate test case for Iraq’s n ...
Kristof Clerix
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'Activity of Russian intelligence service has risen exponentially'

In an interview with MO*, Alain Winants, the head of the Belgian civil secret service ("Veiligheid van de Staat") comments on the recent spy case in Estonia.
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‘Isolating the Balkans is not an option’

Seventeen years ago Albania was completely isolated from the rest of the world. Today, European membership is on the horizon. But every process of transition has to deal with growing pains.
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Poverty and hunger are worse than the economic crisis

The United Nations General Assembly elects a president every year. For the 63th session which began on September 16, the world’s nations elected the former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann. Father Miguel d’Escoto, to be precise. He uses the presidential podium not only to anounce the next speaker, but also to anounce that ano ...
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Zimbabwean writer Chenjerai Hove: ‘Zimbabwe is one big prison’

Chenjerai Hove (52) is one of Zimbabwe’s biggest authors and most respected thinkers. He lives in exile in Norway but stayed in Vollezele -a small village in Flanders- for a while to work on an update of Shakespeare’s play King Lear. Hove: ‘Just like Lear, Mugabe surrounds himself with flatterers and people who confirm his policies.
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Opium, not for the people

The struggle against drugs in the 'Golden Triangle' – Laos, Birma and Thailand – causes many victims among the poorer farmer families. Traditionally, they are specialized in growing opium poppies. Following severe efforts of governments to counter opium growing, these farmers are now deprived of their income.
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‘It could take long’

After years of negative reporting about silenced media, crushed street demonstrations, forged elections and political repression, this summer finally good news came from Belarus. President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime released its most important political prisoners. Is there a wind of change blowing through Europe’s “last dictatorship”? The parlia ...
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South African writer Damon Galgut: 'No more heroes'

Although being a very friendly and modest person, Damon Galgut writes gloomy novels about mankind and the human intercommunication skills. He creates magnificent stories while using desolate landscapes and corrupted governments. In short, he offers us a consoling pessimism.
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Transition: designing a better world for tomorrow

Policy makers, company leaders and social movements are becoming aware of the many problems facing the planet today. And they want to make an effort to create something new. Different and better. A term that seems to be catching on to cover this process is transition
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ILO director-general Somavia: 'People vote for decent work'

“The current globalisation may have reduced extreme poverty, but it has clearly enlarged the gap of inequality”, says Juan Somavia, director-general of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). In order to recede the inequality and its corresponding unrest, the Chilean is advocating decent work. That also happens to be the theme of a large campa ...
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EU and Central-America in a new alliance

Most probably, the EU and five Central-American countries will sign a historical association agreement in the beginning of 2009. Oscar Arias, Nobel price winner for peace of 1987 and president of Costa Rica for the second time now, came to Europe to support the negotiations.
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Guatemala is cracking

Guatemala suffers from escalating conflicts. In 2008, again several hundreds of women were killed, the country has now reach an average of 12 murders a day. If the international community doesn't intervene, the Central-American country might well crack alltogether.

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