For Big Financial Institutions, Profit Trumps Women’s Rights

This year, for the first time, the World Bank dedicated its 2012 annual flagship World Development Report to women as indispensable players in the global economy and launched a media campaign to "think equal".

To Women’s Rights, Financial Institutions Pay Lip Service Only

On day seven of "the 16 days of activism to end violence against women" campaign, women's rights organisations around the world are asking what the biggest international financial institutions (IFIs) are really doing to protect women's rights, which are under daily assault.

Pak Border Post Attack a Big Loss for U.S. War Policy

The U.S. military and the Barack Obama administration have been thrown into confusion by the attack on two Pakistani military posts near the border with Afghanistan Saturday morning, even as the attacks provoked the Pakistani government and military leadership into much stronger opposition to U.S. policy in the region.

BURMA: Realpolitik and Rights Compete for Clinton’s Attention

Hillary Clinton's historic trip this week to Burma – the first by a U.S. secretary of state since 1955 – will likely mix geo- strategic realpolitik with Washington's more idealistic interest in promoting economic and political reforms in a country that it has tried to ostracise for most of the past two decades.

U.S.: States Seek Drug Tests for Welfare Recipients

At least 36 states across the U.S. are proposing laws that would require applicants for and recipients of a variety of public aid programs to undergo drug testing in which they would have to provide a urine sample. Several states, including Arizona, Florida, Indiana and Missouri, have already passed such laws.

LATIN AMERICA: Female Condoms in Short Supply

In spite of the growing spread of HIV/AIDS among women in Latin America and the Caribbean, the female condom, which could put them in charge of their health, is not readily available.

Syrian Leader Survives on Unrelenting Russian-Chinese Support

Bashar al-Assad, Syria's beleaguered president, has openly defied the Western world, succeeded in splitting the United Nations Security Council and fractured the League of Arab States - even as it imposed unprecedented economic sanctions against his embattled country.

Iran’s Growing Isolation a Dubious Win for the West

Scenes from Tehran Tuesday of bearded Iranian youth swarming over the walls of the British embassy evoked memories of the 1979-81 hostage crisis that created the image of Iran as a pariah state.

Not Everyone on Board with Mesoamerica Development Plan

Ten years after its launch under a different name, the Mesoamerica Project, which involves major investments in energy, telecommunications, housing, health and other areas, is moving ahead slowly and continues to face scepticism that it will have a real impact against poverty.

Water: A Victim of Climate Change

The Southern Africa Development Community wants water to be tabled as a standalone item on climate change negotiations – describing it as too important to leave on the periphery.

Political Will – and Money – Needed for Disaster Management

Managing the impact of increased disasters due to climate change will only be possible if such efforts are led by local communities, say non-governmental organisations working in climate change.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Kashmiri Farmers Left High and Dry

Sammad Sheikh of Tangchekh village in north Kashmir cannot understand why the rice fields that his family cultivated for generations are drying up.

Observing Deforestation from Space

Global climate change can now be observed from space. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) launched a new technology that can survey the world’s forests via satellites and provide a more accurate, global picture of common threats to the environment, such as deforestation, degradation or illegal logging.

Pakistan Calls NATO Raid ‘Act of Aggression’

The Pakistani military has called the NATO cross-border air attack on a military checkpoint that killed 24 soldiers a deliberate act of aggression.

TAJIKISTAN: President Taking a Press Beating in Dushanbe

Following a diplomatic faux pas that enraged Russia, the knives seem to be out for Tajikistan's long-time president, Imomali Rahmon.

Q&A: “Brazil’s Foreign Aid Must Include Respect for Human Rights”

Amnesty International in Brazil will focus on the violence that plagues the favelas or shantytowns of this southern Brazilian city and the impact of construction work in preparation for the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, to check that human rights are being respected.

Lessons for Africa at Busan Aid Forum

There are many inspiring stories that delegates from Africa attending the ongoing Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness can take home to provide insights to their respective countries on making the transformation to middle-income economies.

COLOMBIA: Worse than Fiction

A teenage love story is the fictional plot device in a new Colombian film, Silence in Paradise, about the all-too-real phenomenon of the "false positives" – the euphemism used to describe army killings of young civilians passed off as guerrilla casualties.

Business as Development Tool

The idea of business as an effective development tool is gaining ground at Busan where hundreds of experts are gathered to charter a new chapter in global aid amidst growing political and economic uncertainty among donors.

EGYPT: ‘Army On Its Way Out’

Egyptians in Cairo and Alexandria went to the polls on Monday in the first parliamentary elections since the January 25 protest movement drove former president Hosni Mubarak from a 30-year grip on power.

CLIMATE CHANGE-AFRICA: Farming By Phone

Francis Mburu used to keep indigenous cattle in Entasopia village in the semi- arid Kajiado region, 160 kilometres southwest of Nairobi. However, increasing temperatures and frequent droughts in Kenya have made this difficult in recent years.

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