Sunday, April 24, 2011

Are Palestinians 'ready' for statehood?

Under the 1933 Montevideo Convention,  the closest thing in international law to a codified definition of what it means to be a country, an entity must have the following things to qualify for statehood:
 (a) a permanent population; 
(b) a defined  territory;
(c) government; and 
(d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
A, c, and d definitely apply to the Palestinian territories. B depends on your definition of "defined," but a theoretical Palestinian state certainly wouldn't be the only one in the world with some unresolved border disputes. So if the Palestinian Authority were to declare itself an independent state, as it plans to in the next few years, would it meet the criteria?
A new U.N. study says yes, the Palestinians qualify for statehood, but also to suggest yet another set of criteria for the process, crediting the PA with achieving sufficient progress in the following areas over recent years:
1. governance, rule of law & human rights;
2. livelihoods & productive sectors;
3. education & culture;
4. health;
5. social protection; and
6. infrastructure & water
Applying this set of qualifications to Palestinian statehood raises the question of what aspiring states not currently recognized by the U.N. would pass the bar: Taiwan certainly, perhaps Northern Cyprus too. A better question: what currently-recognized states wouldn't make the cut. There are more than a handful of U.N. member states with lower standards of governance, economic development, and healthcare than the Palestinian Territories.
The U.N. has welcomed South Sudan's vote for independence, but is there any chance that one of the world's least developed regions would make the cut for sovereignty if it had to demonstrate the kind of economic and political progress seen on the West Bank in recent years?
source: FP 

Yemen leader Saleh agrees to step down under Gulf plan

President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen has agreed to step down under a 30-day transition plan aimed at ending violent unrest over his 32-year rule.

read here

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Iran Eager to own an RS satellite Soon

Iran intends to design and build a remote sensing (RS) satellite jointly with Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) member states, according to Head of Iranian Space Agency (ISA) Hamid Fazeli. He said, "Iranian scientists have always taken part in APSCO meetings. Designing and building a RS satellite is one of the fields for cooperation."

"We plan to gain a larger share in building the satellite," Fazeli added. Iran has recently sent the first life-capsule into orbit. The launch aimed at testing the function of programming systems and subsystems. In addition, Kavoshgar 4, carrying the capsule, and three other satellites were unveiled by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in February.

The Islamic Republic launched its first domestically-built satellite, Omid (hope), into orbit in 2009. The Omid data-processing satellite was designed to circle the Earth 15 times every 24 hours and to transmit data via two frequency bands and eight antennas to an Iranian space station.

Iran is one of the 24 founding members of the United Nations' Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which was set up in 1959.