Stories written by Kalinga Seneviratne

Community Resilience Tops U.N.’s Disaster Relief Agenda

The Bangkok Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia and the Pacific adopted at the close of the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference On Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) here today emphasised community-based solutions, and reflects a growing global desire to focus more on grassroots actions in the face of catastrophic climate change.

When Faith Meets Disaster Management

A consortium of faith-based organisations (FBOs) made a declaration at a side event Wednesday at the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference On Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR), to let the United Nations know that they stand ready to commit themselves to building resilient communities across Asia in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Ghost of the LTTE Flickers in Malaysia

The recent arrest and deportation from Malaysia of three Sri Lankan Tamils on U.N. refugee status, under suspicion of trying to revive the disbanded Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has raised questions about regional security and minority politics.

Triple Summit in Singapore Puts Urban Planning on the Map

With over 20,000 international participants, a triple summit wrapping up today in Singapore is generating an abundance of ideas on sustainable cities.

Obama Visit Raises New Questions

U.S. President Barack Obama’s weeklong visit to Asia was meant to reassure allies in the region of American support and re-engagement. But it raised Chinese hackles and failed to dispel doubts over his administration’s ‘pivot to Asia’ strategy.

Myanmar Ethnic Strife Spills Over to Malaysia

Two Myanmar Buddhist politicians who were visiting Malaysia narrowly escaped a late night assassination attempt outside a leading shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur this month. The incident has raised fears of an overseas spillover of the religious violence that has engulfed their state of Rakhine in recent years.


Thai Protests Challenge ‘Corrupt’ Democracy

Street demonstrations in the Thai capital reflect the disillusionment of growing middle classes across Asia that see multi-party democracy as a playground for the corrupt rather than a process that elects lawmakers to serve society and the nation.

Giving Villages the Technology They Want

Mobile broadband services are seen as a key tool of development communication the world over, but people in rural Asia and Africa say telecom companies should cater to their needs and not simply impose technology on them.

The Asia-Africa Link Is IT

Only 16 percent of Africa’s population of over a billion is online. But as Internet and mobile phone connectivity grows rapidly, the continent wants to join forces with Asian powerhouses to change its digital landscape.

Little Islands Take On Australian Dominance

A new Pacific islands forum will seek to challenge the dominance of Australia and New Zealand in a regional body. The new grouping’s approach is being billed the ‘Pacific Way’, and also the ‘green and blue’ way for its commitment to environmentally sustainable oceans as well as land.

Community Theatre Confronts Gender Stereotypes

The play opens with a man and his mother waiting impatiently at the dining table in the family home. A woman rushes in after a busy day at the office with takeaway dinner packets, followed by her son and daughter who walk in expecting their mother to serve them a meal.

Australian Politicians Woo Sydney’s “Other Half”

With a population of over 1.2 million people spread across 14 government districts, the suburbs of western Sydney have long been perceived as the impoverished “other half” of Australia’s economic, financial and political hub, serving as a de facto port of entry for incoming migrant workers.

Australian Retailers Feel Heat of Bangladesh Tragedy

Australia’s largest textile workers’ union and activist groups are up in arms that the country’s leading retail chains, who source most of their fashion labels from Bangladesh, are refusing to sign a legally binding accord that will help to improve labour and safety standards in Bangladeshi garment factories.

Foreigners Take Centre Stage in Election Race

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s comments about foreigners taking Australian jobs in a speech made last week in Rooty Hill, the working-class heartland of Sydney’s western suburbs, has brought issues of immigration, asylum and race back into election campaigning.

First Strike in Quarter Century Exposes Treatment of Migrant Labour in Singapore

The first workers strike in 26 years in this affluent Southeast Asian city-state has triggered some soul-searching about the treatment of migrant labour and the low wages they are paid.

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