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Thursday, 11 January, 2001, 11:48 GMT
The World in 2001
The beginning of a new year is a time to reflect and to predict what the new year might bring.
The year 2000 has left many of the burning issues unresolved: There's still no peace in the Middle East or in African countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone or Angola.
Floods and droughts and have led to renewed concerns about the impact of global warming.
World markets saw shares plunge, especially in the previously booming technology sector. Economic prospects for the new year seem much bleaker than a year ago.
Which of the world's problems needs the most urgent attention? And what do you think are the prospects for 2001?
BBC correspondents around the world have been taking your questions and comments live on World Service Radio's Talking Point ON AIR programme.
I do not ask for much in 2001. I just hope there will be a new Oasis album this year.
I am writing from the perspective of Africa. I hope the IMF, World Bank and other international donors will give debt relief to the continent.
People should forget all the negativism. Work hard and live your lives. Also, take responsibility for what you do.
Russ Black, Los Angeles, CA, USA
With George W. Bush as the new president, he will finally bring morality to this country and allow God back into people's lives by being an example of trust and humble leadership.
I believe that industrialised nations will move away from democracy and republics to governance by bureaucracy.
The single biggest issue for 2001:
When are Britain's licensing hours
going to be extended?
Michael Katter, Dallas, Texas, USA
For the new millennium,
I hope that every individual
on earth will realise personal
freedom and respect the
personal freedom of
A Space Odyssey?
I hope that the Russian Empire frees itself from the "democrats" and lives in peace with itself. Great Eurasia has to unite!
The new millennium has arrived. Let it not be the last millennium of humanity. Let EVERY tribe existing on earth greet the fourth millennium in happiness.
A. Peters, Leicester
The most major problem affecting the world is AIDS. I hope the issue of this disease will come first before others.
All of us adults need to look at the children of the world. Are we doing the best we can to take care of them? The answer is clearly NO! We adults are too busy running after money, power etc, to really stop and listen to our children.
It will be a year of divide and conciliation for mutual benefits along the divisions! A year that will kick-off some serious thoughts. Especially, if the US economy slows down.
Hoping for a better world with equal opportunity for everyone!
I hope other developed countries will follow the example set by Norway and help end conflicts around the world.
Zeeshan Ali, Karachi/ Pakistan
It will be the same as every other year. A few people trying their hardest in the face of greed and ignorance, but achieving little. It will continue like this until something drastic happens. Russia reminds me of the early 1920's in Germany. What is going to happen with all the desperation?
Time is passing by, the world won't change, so live your life and do your best by your fellow human beings.
John Corbally, San Francisco, CA (From Birmingham, UK)
In the year 2001 I'm hoping Somalia will end its ongoing civil war and agree to a kind of government that will take care of all the people.
Overpopulation will be an insurmountable problem in this new millennium.
More than six billion people taxiing non-renewable sources of energy, raw materials and natural resources.
As a consequence, flora, fauna and ecological systems obliteration will continue unabated.
What will our ecological legacy leave generations to come?
The technological fix is a myth. Maybe, it is time to seriously think about population control once more.
Dennis Neo, Singapore
First World countries should continue to help Third World countries. We all breathe the same air.
Please reassess the Western double standards of on the one hand talking of human rights and on the other accepting hordes of ill begotten gains from dubious so-called leaders of Third World and African states in particular. Isn't it time that such gains were returned back to the rightful poor suffering? Please make this your theme for the 2001.
Ali Round, Medway, England
I think in the year 2000 life will continue as it always has. Being that we are having the coldest winter on record in the US, I'm all for this global warming that all the chicken-littles are going on about and hope they can send more of it this way....I'm freezing!
The world is finished. Soon mankind will be extinct. The Earth cannot sustain us, and soon we will all be dead either through war, famine or a slow death through environmental destruction. It is too late for this planet. It is all over but the shouting and soon no one will be around to hear. How we survived the 20th century is a mystery. We shall not live out the 21st.
It seems that there is a tendency amongst the developed nations to ignore the problems that developing countries find themselves in, until these problems become threats to their own comfort. Let's not forget the Balkans and how important it is to have stability in this troublesome region of Europe. Crime, poverty and corruption reign here and those who suffer are not necessarily those who would like things to be the way they are.
I think people need to spend a little less time thinking about themselves and a lot more time thinking about others. It's not really fair to blame governments for problems whose roots lie in the fact that we have all become a lot more selfish and self-centred.
Jez, sydney, australia
The problem of global warming will reach critical proportions in 2001 and beyond unless we can raise awareness of environmental issues in rapidly developing countries. States like China and India, with their vast populations and relentless thirst for wealth, must be helped and encouraged to develop in a more environmentally- friendly way.
I think that Western world underestimates the negative tendencies that take place in countries of the former Soviet Union.
Living in Ukraine I can clearly feel a slow but definite turn back of the society to times of despotism, lies, and despair. Taking into consideration the size, population and geographical position of countries like Ukraine, Byelorussia (not speaking of Russia), I am sure these changes will have a long-lasting consequence on the general situation in the world.
George W. Bush will be praised as the next Reagan for taking the helm of a leaderless nation. The regime in China will threaten Taiwan in a last-ditch effort to retain their capitalist/communist/totalitarian power. The main focus in the Middle East will shift from Israel to the oil pipelines coming out of former USSR republics and their threat to OPEC.. Scientists will continue the bitter debate over global warming with no conclusive evidence other than their own hot air increasing world temperatures.
I sincerely hope the criminal sanctions imposed on poor people of Iraq by the UN (read US) will finally be lifted in 2001!
I think all the nations should work on the peace deal in Israel. Little kids and innocent people are being killed which is a very sad thing.
Ertugrul Cepni, Istanbul, Turkey
I hope for Peace around the world as I do every year but as a journalist I fear I will be reporting from areas of conflict in Northern Ireland and the Middle East this year. However as Martha Gelhorn once commented there is no need for war man has the ability to reason without resorting to violence!
I hope the Iranian People will support their President, and unite behind him to become a peaceful and poweful country.
There will be more religious violence around the world. Especially in the Middle East and South East Asian countries. The Western political leaders as usual will spend their time talking about peace, signing agreements, travelling to and fro, but everything will be in vain.
Michael Perch, King of Prussia, USA
Free trade is free for those who can afford it. Under WTO and free trade agreements a country has the right to impose economic sanctions if its products are being discriminated by another country. For example, Guatemala would in theory have the ability to prohibit American or EU imports if it had legitimate ground that they violate free trade agreements resulting in "unfair" competition. Everybody can see how much the US or the EU would be hurt if Guatemala cut US imports. Free trade can bring great benefits to all but the imbalance of power within WTO between richer and poorer countries will make the first richer and the latter poorer.
Kevin Hutchens, Scotland
I am Iranian and hope that there will be peace in Iran and that we can get rid of old fashioned hard-liners who don't want the country to move forward.
To change our global pessimism and replace it with a vision of the world we want it to be.
Steven Mun, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
We've been seeing a lot of "globalisation" in recent years. Hopefully, 2001 will see an increase in "global conscience" as well.
Hopefully, after the Florida court judgement, the tobacco
business will go into a gradual decline. This will specially benefit
developing countries and the poor who do not have the resources required to treat the resulting diseases.
The coming year will belong to biotechnology and an internet-driven shrinking world. Information technology will further revolutionise our way of life, which will bring in problems threatening individual privacy, private information and a need to protect all of that.
I don't see a prompt end to violent political conflicts, regional disputes, hunger and poverty this year, BUT I would love to be proven wrong.
Tim, Metz, France
Regarding culture and politics, the over-reliance on US assistance by the developing countries should stop. It should not be a big deal whether the US president is Republican or Democrat.
Regarding the environment: reduce global warming by stepping up on forestation, reducing disposal of industrial wastes into rivers and by the provision of better dumpsites.
The global issue must be tolerance (or people's lack of it). In particular, learning to live with different cultures, different religions, or just different races. We will never have world peace until we learn to accept (and appreciate) differences. We'll never all be the same (luckily!), but we share the same planet and we'll need to get on with our neighbours if we are to thrive here. We'll achieve this through education and contact. Luckily we have a great tool for communication (Internet) and we need to exploit it more by finding more ways to deliver data to the poorer regions of the world. With that in place, think of how difficult it would be for dictators to "fool" their countrymen into participating in wars.
I sincerely hope for the right to defend myself against violence using whatever force I deem necessary. The right to raise my children to be upstanding citizens without do-gooders and liberals claiming I am somehow violating their rights. The right to live my life my way without being told I'm bigoted for whatever reason. And finally for the doomsayers to stick their heads back in the sand where they belong and shut up about global warming. In case you didn't notice, there's no evidence for it.
I agree with the statement of
Mr. Zulfiqar Ali, Pakistan/USA and also love to wish
and pray that may God bless us this
year 2001 onwards with a peaceful life
on Earth creating love not hate, peace not war.
What about trying forgiveness, understanding, compassion and love?
Sadly the world will continue to be an unequal and unfair world in 2001 with no justice for the 'little' people (the 'unpeople' as John Pilger calls them). Double standards will continue to be applied. Murder by cruise missile will be treated differently from murder by car bomb. The media empires of this world will continue their biased reporting to maintain the corporate rule of the world. Democracy will take another step closer to death. Arabs, Muslims and anyone else the West does not like will continue to die at the hands of Western state terror while some Westerners will die at the hands of non-Western terror groups. That's 2001 for you.
At the start of the 21st century, I hope that every environmental talk in the world being discussed will be solved in the right direction after COP6 was over without any concrete deal to ease the tension of conflicts between developing and developed countries and also between poor and rich forest countries. I feel that the time might have come to induce new ideas into COP7 such as the right of CO2 absorption instead of emission. I wish all participants of this forum a prosperous future!
Jaimie Bradley, Seattle, USA
Having looked at most of the concerns and issues around the world, I believe that peace the main issue around the world. I strongly believe that we will come into contact with life from outer space. This will probably be the biggest find known to mankind.
2001 will bring more spin from politicians, more broken promises, and more disempowerment of voters. Parliament will lose more of what little respect the public has left for it. There will be more direct action such as the fuel protests. People no longer want to vote - they want to be heard, and politicians are not listening.
The major issue for 2001 will continue to be the Middle East. Unfortunately so, as there are concerns in other areas that are equally important or more important.
This includes the growing gap between the "haves" and "have-nots", the trafficking of humans, global warming and the conflicts in Indonesia, various countries in Africa and Kashmir amongst others.
Birbal Chungkham, Manipur (India), currently in US
The issue of inequality is one which continues to plague humanity and will do until there is a united and revolutionary initiative to change such a cold and threatening fact. Inequality in humanity causes the most pain and suffering and leads, directly or indirectly, to all other problems. It is inequality which has been at the top of the priority agenda, that has been for thousands of years and remains so now. On the day that everyone is free and equal in dignity and rights, opportunity and social position I shall look upon a world without problems. A leak must be blocked at its source, inequality is a fundamental leak in the plumbing of human society and it is equality which we must aim for in order to prevent all other problems, be they wars, racial conflict, poverty or disease. It is not simply an unrealistic goal, it concerns the future of humanity.
Phil Jeremy, London, UK
We will probably see a continuation of the mega-corp mergers we saw in 2000. Coupled with an economic slowdown, this will probably bring about more layoffs in the name of higher profits. With Bush at the helm of the United States, his outmoded and wrongheaded foreign policy (especially with respect to "National Missile Defence") may lead to the alienation and antagonising of other world powers and possibly a new arms race. No doubt just what Bush's corporate pals in the arms industry want.
Selva Appasawmy, Mauritius
The return of Capital Punishment. Criminals being persecuted and not the victims. Police being given power back to stop and search people without being accused of racism. Parents being able to bring their kids up and discipline them the way they think is best without social workers and do-gooders butting in. Finally an end to the malevolent evil that is capitalism.
I believe that the restoration of democracy in the United States should be a prime goal in 2001. The archaic Electoral College must be removed, so that in future the person who wins the most votes, and thus the only real mandate, actually becomes the President!
Aimable, Kigali, Rwanda
I think that the most burning
issues in 2001 will be hunger
and poverty in the world, the
unrest that they will surely cause
and what to do about decaying
morals in the West. I don't
expect much for 2001, with the
prospect of a Republican
A major issue in 2001 that needs to be addressed is the ongoing unrest in Southern Uruguay. The political situation there doesn't make the headlines much over here, but it will come to a head very soon, if the government cannot appease the farmers.
Andrew Reid, London, UK
We must solve the urgent problem of declining morals worldwide. The internet and media generally is becoming saturated with pornography, placing our children at risk. We must put personal freedom aside to solve this issue before it becomes too widespread to deal with.
In the year 2001, I believe that there are two important issues relating to the world today. One of them is, of course, the unrest in the Middle East, where thousands of people have been dying every year. The second most dangerous issue is Kashmir, which could spark a nuclear conflict anytime between India and Pakistan if the two sides do not resolve their differences.
Of course there are a lot of other issues too, like the civil wars and famine in Africa and the sectarian violence in Indonisia...
Disclaimer: The BBC will use as many of your questions as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
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