With a combined population of over 1.7 billion, which includes some of the world’s poorest but also a sizeable middle class with a growing spending capacity, South Asia is a policymaker’s nightmare.
The camp should not have been difficult to find. We were told to drive straight on the road that leads north away from the town of Puttalam, 140 kilometres from Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, and we would come upon the settlement of internally displaced people.
The eve of the much anticipated Sinhala and Tamil New Year, celebrated across the island of Sri Lanka in mid-April to mark the end of the harvest season, was marred by a series of attacks, reminding everyone that “peace” does not mean a lack of violence.
Soon after the deadly tsunami struck Kesennuma city in the Miyagi Prefecture in Northern Japan on Mar. 11, 2011, 59-year-old Naoko Utsumi found herself on the rooftop of a community centre with only one line of communication to the outside world – the email option on her mobile phone.
Sri Lanka has paused for breath after the extreme weather conditions last year that many associate with climate change.
The sea is all that 40-year-old Arul Das has mastered. From looking at the clouds or from the direction of the wind, this fisher from northern Jaffna can predict the condition of the sea fairly accurately.
Lahandapurege Ariyawathie feels she got off lightly - if returning home with 24 nails embedded in your body is lucky.
It has now become an annual affair. When the Geneva based UN Human Rights Council readies itself for the first of its annual regular sessions in February, the government in Sri Lanka gets ready to ward off yet another attempt to scrutinise its rights record.
The year was 1998 and porters at the wholesale vegetable market in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo had gone on strike, virtually suspending vegetable distribution in the city and its suburbs.
During the dry season, when dirt roads are cracked from the relentless heat, the sight of women walking miles, balancing pots of water on their heads, is common in rural Sri Lanka.
Wild elephants are usually the primary attraction in the remote shrub jungles of Udawalawe, about 180 kilometres southeast of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo. But this Christmas season, the massive Udawalawe dam stole the limelight from the lumbering beasts.
The landscape in northern Sri Lanka’s former war zone can change abruptly from the ordinary to the surreal.
Sita Tamang’s husband went missing sometime in 2004, two years before Nepal’s civil war came to an end. A native of Dharan, a town about 600 kilometres southeast of Kathmandu, Tamang waited seven years after his disappearance before she tried to claim compensation offered by the government after a 2006 peace deal ended this country’s bloodshed.
Somali pirates on the southwest Indian Ocean have become one of the biggest security risks for commercial maritime shipping over the last several years. But even as piracy gave rise to international furore, an unlikely benefactor emerged: bluefin tuna stocks in the Indian Ocean.
The tour guide’s voice echoes around the dark, musty room, three stories underground. Fifty visitors – among them mothers holding infants, youths snapping pictures on mobile phones and grandparents leaning against the walls – are crammed into the narrow stairwell that leads down into the chamber, listening attentively to his every word.