Just when the tensions between Pakistan and India seemed to cool down and become more neighbor-friendly, another setback hits the sensitive relationship. Even though India´s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, warned the Pakistani government not to visit Kashmir´s separatist leaders at the Hurriyat Conference behind his back, they disregarded his concerns and scheduled a meeting. India´s previous prime ministers tolerated such behavior, but Mr. Modi indicated he won´t accept any such actions. As consequence he cancelled planed talks with Mr. Sharif over the expansion of friendly neighborhood relationships.
Every day new conflicts spark around the world - Middle East, Russia & Ukraine, Africa, and because of stronger global networks more and more countries get involved in the conflict. This has positive and negative effects. It is an advantage to the people suffering, that international organizations and governments around the world conjointly arrange humanitarian and military supplies in order to put and end to the suffrage. But since the countries get more and more involved in conflicts, backing out in case of they cut loose, might get more difficult. A two-sided effect on geopolitics in times of globalization which needs to be observed closely.
Among the most peaceful countries are Iceland, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Central and Northern Europe. The most disturbed countries are Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, North Korea and certain countries in Central Africa.
Every year in early January the newspapers and media channels are jammed with news about budget discussions and the fear of whether or not the United States will manage to sustain for one more year with their financial debt or if they´ll go broke. India is in their final phase of discussing the government budget after the general elections are over and a new government is formed and Russia, which actually has the most positive financial portfolio, risks monetary deficits through the civil war in Ukraine and the forceful acquisition of Crimea. Brazil expected an economic boost after hosting the FIFA 2014 World Championships, but so far the positive effects are missing.
A positive breeze can only be noticed from Germany, which manages to plan their budget without further debt in 2014 and from China, which quickly recovered from the economic slowdown in 2013. But who will be setting the tone in the future?
The global misery index is a measurement tool consistent of unemployment and inflation rate, as well as the bank lending behavior.
Currently, China and the North American continent have reasons to smile. The official unemployment rate in China is 4.1%, even lower than the US with 6.4% or Canada with an all-time high of 7.1% unemployment. India on the other hand is fighting serious inflation (7.3%), high unemployment (8.8%, Pakistan only has an unemployment rate of 5.3%), a 67.72% government debt to its GDP and a trade deficit of US$ 11.763,20. The hopes are high that the negative figures in India will turn to a more positive outlook under the new government, that in the near future both economic tycoons - China and India - have reasons to smile.
After the outbreaks of bird and swine flu and the dramatic consequences it had for Chinese consumers and farmers, now a new scandal. An inspection revealed that McDonalds, Pizza Hut and KFC - some of the most visited restaurants in China - used expired meat for preparing their end products, such as Burgers and Appetizers. It is said that these three chains had the most successful market entry in China and hence grew immensely during the last decade. That means that probably thousands of visitors were victim to the poor food safety control of these fast food chains and thus consumed scruffy meat.
It is said, that responsible for the poor meat quality was the food supplier Husi Food, but in the end the fast food chains themselves have to implement an individual security and control system that automatically detects and dismisses expired eatables.
China´s political environment changed radically, since Xi Jinping joined office as Prime Minister of the republic in early 2013. As he promised to eliminate all intoxicating forces, such as corruption, from the political horizon, so he does since then. The first steps were the revelations of corrupt officials of all levels and their dismissal from all political and influential positions. Now, China´s leading heads start a new era - they tackle "moral corruption". This includes adultery, harassment and insobriety. Earlier, China´s officials often were the cause for headlines regarding their rampant and luxurious lifestyle, but Prime Minister Xi Jinping admonished this statesmen to be a role model and behave accordingly - violation of this "moral code" will be punished.
If you want to read more about this topic, check out the introductory paper about Corruption in China (only in German language available).
India´s social burden is not a secret, neither to the ones living in India nor the people abroad. Inflation, corruption, poverty, raising social gap and inequality are terms which have been frequently used by the media to link India to its current social and economic status. But the far reach of the social problems have been hardly observed in detail.
Currently the Indian government spends US$400 million for sanitation (1/60 of the expenses for job creation and food security) - in a country where more than half of the population, approximately 620 million people, do no have a toilet; in a country where HIV, AIDS and Malaria spreads faster than anywhere else in the world; in a country where there are more kids malnourished than in the poorest countries in the world.
Hence, once more it is to say that economic growth is not the key for India´s future. India will only have a chance to grow once the government managed to erase the huge social burden of malnourishment and poor education.
Graduating from College is a desiderate goal, but once reached the final year the pressure to handle assignments, applications, extracurricular activities and test preparations simultaneously, can be overwhelming. The final-year-student at Delhi University, Siddhi Goel, found the right words to describe this emotional roller coaster ride during the last few months of undergraduate studies and inspires for more.
The contention among the big economies. Even though Germany´s economic position within Europe and its global economic relations are good, it cannot rest on its laurels. Sino-German ties, despite minor uproars, have been flourishing exceedingly well in the last decades and brought huge trading opportunities to especially the small- and middle-sized companies. But the recent events, such as the oil pipeline from Russia to China and various other political activities, clarify the obvious - Europe loses more and more significance in the global economic interplay. In order to curtail the current erosion of European influence in China, Germany actively courts for Chinese attention. China is already Germany´s third largest export partner, after France and the Netherlands, and hence is of high importance for the country´s well-being.
Apart from an economic discourse, Ms. Merkel and Prime Minister Li Keqiang will most probably also have discussions about the Ukraine crisis and the current state of human rights in China on their agenda.
There are women in Asia who made it - who made a career in business, politics or academia, but the number is still significantly small. In order to change that, these well-established women have to take action and set the ground rules for a better environment for all the other aspired women.
The newly elected 16th Lok Sabha in India includes 6 female ministers - all of them in crucial positions to bring forward policies in favor of women rights and with the power to actually implement them. It is on them to have the courage to fight for a better and more equal gender development and to bring upon a new course in India´s social policy-making, because the economic, political and social potential of an uplifted female population in India cannot be underestimated but rather has to be seen as the crucial key factor for change.