Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s April 15-16 visit to Kazakhstan marked an important step forward in India’s ties with the rising Central Asian nation. Relations between the two countries have gained momentum since January 2009, when Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev was the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations. India and Kazakhstan established diplomatic relations in February 1992, with then-Indian Prime Minister Narasimha Rao paying a visit to Kazakhstan in 1993. Prior to his 2009 visit, Nazarbayev had visited India in 1996 and 2002. In a positive development, Singh and Nazarbayev signed a “Joint Action Plan” on furthering the strategic […]

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After visiting the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke at a conference in Kyiv as a part of the international Nuclear Safety Summit. He warned that the world is becoming increasingly vulnerable to nuclear disaster.

BEIJING — Much has been written about China’s huge investment in alternative energy sources. China spends twice as much as the U.S. on clean energy, and critics of U.S. energy policy have claimed that Beijing is “steaming ahead” in the field. Beneath the headline figures, however, a more complex picture emerges, in which China is struggling to translate capital investment into tangible benefits. To begin with, it is worth noting that the reason for China’s superior spending on alternative energy is that its energy needs are far more acute than those of the U.S. and other major economies. China is […]

In March, a few international media outlets quietly reported that Mongolia and the U.S. had been holding informal discussions on a proposal that would have Mongolia serve as a regional depository of spent nuclear fuel. The arrangement would allow South Korea and Taiwan, which the U.S. supplies with nuclear rods, to dispose of their spent fuel, resolving what has become an increasingly thorny problem for the U.S. News of the story spread quickly in the Mongolian press, and public opinion came out decidedly against the proposal. The Japanese nuclear crisis in Fukushima has compounded opposition in Mongolia to nuclear energy. […]

With last month’s approval by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of a safeguards plan, China is set to construct the Chasma-3 and Chasma-4 nuclear reactors in Pakistan. By supplying the two new nuclear power plants, however, China will be in direct contravention of its nonproliferation commitments. Under the 1992 revised guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a global export-control body that China joined in 2004, transfer of nuclear technology and material from a NSG member state can only take place under the provisions of full-scope safeguards. These safeguards require that all nuclear facilities in the state receiving nuclear […]

This is the second of a two-part series examining diversification efforts by Latin American drug-trafficking networks. Part I examined the FARC’s illegal gold-mining operations in Colombia. Part II examines Mexican drug traffickers’ use of oil-tapping to generate revenues. Mexico’s crime syndicates are well-known as exporters of heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines, importers of firearms, and perpetrators of violence. Their business has produced bloody internecine turf wars, with rival gangs battling it out for control over distribution routes mainly within the drug-producing states of northern Mexico. But over the past five years the drug trade has been squeezed between the pincers of […]

The United States spends around $40 billion to $50 billion per year to protect the free flow of oil from the Persian Gulf to the global economy, more than the entire defense budgets of all but a few countries. China, by comparison, spends virtually nothing on Gulf security, while pursuing its strategy of building political and economic relations with oil-rich countries in order to secure oil for its growing economy. This is nowhere more apparent than in China’s relations with Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil power. Beijing’s focus on the Persian Gulf began in earnest in 1978, when it […]

On Sunday, Guido Westerwelle announced his resignation as German vice chancellor and leader of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government. Endless disputes had already bogged down Merkel’s second administration even before it stumbled in its response to Japan’s tsunami-triggered nuclear crisis and its vote on the U.N. resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. Last week, however, the bill came due, and the coalition was trounced in two crucial state elections. Since then, with the FDP in open revolt, the coalition government has been in utter chaos, and the fate of its […]

With energy market observers focused on the Middle Eastern uprisings and the Japanese catastrophe, the entrance on March 21 of the German company Wintershall into the consortium backing the South Stream pipeline came as a great surprise. Inaugurated in 2007 as a 50-50 joint venture between Russian giant Gazprom and Italy’s ENI, the project aims to transport up to 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year from the eastern shore of the Black Sea to the consuming markets of Eastern, Central and Southern Europe. According to the memorandum of understanding signed in Moscow, Wintershall will acquire a […]

U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to carry on with a trip to Latin America even as he was launching a military campaign in Libya is a testament to that region’s rising global profile. In Brazil, Peru and Colombia, pragmatic new leaders are attempting to lock in the domestic gains of their predecessors. Others are stumbling, with Mexico still seized by a bloody fight with drug trafficking and the leaders of Ecuador and Bolivia facing a loss of popular support. In this special report, World Politics Review examines the emerging shape of Latin America through articles published in the past six […]