Stories written by Charundi Panagoda

Epidemic of Premature Births in Rich and Poor Nations Alike

Fifteen million babies, or more than one in 10 infants, are born prematurely each year. Over one million die soon after birth, or survive to face a lifetime of health complications, says a new report by the World Health Organisation and co- sponsors.

Q&A: Restructuring the Planet’s Food System

Thirty percent of food is wasted globally, while one billion people go hungry and another billion are obese.

Teddy Ruge Credit: Courtesy of Teddy Ruge

Q&A: Harnessing the African Information Renaissance

About 140 million Africans are now on the internet. With half of the population under age 15 and 70 percent of the population under 30, social media is becoming an important feature in the continent's development path.

Women even earn less than men in traditionally female professions like nursing and teaching. Credit: UN Photo/Martine Perret

U.S.: Only Four-Fifths of Men’s Pay for Women

Forty-seven years after the Equal Pay Act was signed into law, women in the United States are still struggling against wage discrimination in the workplace.

U.S. Still Importing Illegal Timber

Since 2008, over 20 U.S. companies have imported illegally logged timber worth millions from the Peruvian Amazon, charged a multi-year investigative report released Tuesday by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

Hunger advocates call on President Obama to pledge a commitment to global hunger at the G8 summit. Credit: ActionAid USA

Put Food Crisis on G8′s Plate, Group Urges

Days before the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, anti- poverty advocates staged their own egg hunt in Lafayette Park to urge President Obama to "find political will to end global hunger" during the upcoming G8 Summit at Camp David.

Banking “Leprechauns” Steal Irish Taxpayer Money

On the eve of St. Patrick's Day, activists dressed up as leprechauns appeared in front of the Embassy of Ireland to protest Irish taxpayer money being used to pay debts of the Anglo-Irish Bank and the Irish Nationwide Building Society (Anglo/INBS).

Activists rally in Rome in memory of David Kato, a Ugandan gay rights activist who was murdered on Jan. 26, 2011. Credit: Certi Diritti/CC BY 2.0

Evangelist Sued in U.S. for Inciting Anti-Gay Hatred in Uganda

A major U.S. civil rights group filed a federal lawsuit in Massachusetts Wednesday on behalf of a Ugandan gay rights organisation, the Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG), against a right-wing evangelist leader for inciting hatred against homosexuals that has led to increased violence against LGBT persons in the East African country.

U.S. Lags in Legalising Women’s Rights Treaty

The United States has fallen behind. Many other countries have already implemented it, but the United States still has yet to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which promotes women's rights as human rights.

Index Offers Improved Method to Gauge Women’s Progress

If an organisation wants to monitor how its projects in the developing world are affecting women in specific areas of female empowerment, it probably can't, as it lacks the proper tools. But a new system, the "Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index", is working to change that.

Global Gender Imbalance Poses Critical Problems for Women

In 2005, there were 163 million more men in Asia, more than the entire female population of the United States. Asia is now facing serious consequences from sex selection, a situation the West might have inadvertently helped create.

Paper Industry Decimating Indonesia’s Tigers

The survival of Sumatra's tigers, elephants, orangutans, rhinos, as well as indigenous communities, is threatened by the "world's fastest deforestation rate", caused by none other than the pulp and paper industry, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Despite Rhetoric, Women Still Sidelined in Development Funding

As U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro once put it, "Women hold the keys to unlocking the barriers to sustainable development."

Occupy DC Protesters Stay Put Amid Eviction Threats

Two days after some 400 people were arrested during a protest organised by Occupy Oakland on the U.S. west coast, members of Occupy DC say they have no plans to leave despite the threat of police action.

U.S.: Forced Marriages Still an Ugly Secret

Two years ago, 40-year-old Vidya Sri decided to leave the devastating marriage her parents had forced her into nearly two decades ago. Alone for the first time, she began an earnest quest for support groups, women's organisations or service providers who might help her in the healing process.