Weekday News Wrap: Friday, March 30, 2012

by An Hertogen

  • At their fourth summit in New Delhi, the BRICS leaders established a high level working group to examine the creation of their own development bank. One commentator questions the feasibility and argues that it may result in a dilution of influence at the World Bank. The BRICS’ Delhi Declaration confirms the primary role of the G20, which will be presided by Russia in 2013, to “facilitate enhanced macroeconomic coordination”, and calls for a reform of the IMF, the World Bank and the UN to make these organizations more representative.
  • The World Bank Board will conduct interviews with the three candidates for World Bank President between April 9-11; a decision is expected to be announced on April 11. Meanwhile the US is stepping up its lobbying efforts to gain support for its candidate Dr. Jim Young Kim.
  • The renovation of the UN Headquarters in New York is dealing with major cost overruns.
  • Australia has completed an assessment of the effectiveness of 42 multilateral organizations through which it distributes one third of its foreign aid budget. Although the World Bank scores highly, four UN agencies were amongst those scoring poorly.
  • In their fight to protect their right to consultations and free, prior and informed consent, under the Argentinian constitution and International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 169 concerning indigenous and tribal peoples, representatives of indigenous communities were heard by the Argentinian Supreme Court in a case about lithium mining under the salt flats the indigenous communities claim as their ancestral land.
  • France arrests 19 suspected Islamists in dawn raids across the country. Although those arrested are not directly linked to Mohamed Merah, the operation is part of a crackdown imposed in the aftermath of his killing spree between 11 and 19 March.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi alleges irregularities in the lead up to Sunday’s elections in Myanmar.
  • Israel closes of the West Bank in anticipation of the annual Land Day rallies.
  • Apple and its main manufacturer Foxconn have agreed on standards for wages and working conditions after an investigation by the Fair Labor Association, although some workers are reportedly unhappy about the limits on overtime.
  • The US is reportedly preparing a request for the establishment of a compliance panel to assess whether the EU has complied with the Appellate Body’s ruling in EC-Airbus which could lead to the authorization of retaliation measures.

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