If you are reading this article, consider yourself one of the lucky ones; lucky enough to have received an education, or to be secure in the knowledge that your child will receive one. Lucky enough to be literate in a world where – more often than not – the ability to read and write can mean the difference between a decent life and abject poverty.
First the centre of the silk route, then the epicenter of bloody conflicts, Afghanistan’s history can be charted through many diverse chapters, the most recent of which opened with the election of President Ashraf Ghani in September 2014.
On Apr. 6, 2013, Nadia Sharmeen, a crime reporter, was assigned to cover a rally organised by Hefazat-e-Islam, an association of fundamentalist Islamic groups in Bangladesh whose demands included a call to revoke the proposed National Women Development Policy.
Nearly half of the four billion people who reside in the Asia-Pacific region are women. They comprise two-thirds of the region’s poor, with millions either confined to their homes or pushed into the informal labour market where they work without any safeguards for paltry daily wages. Millions more become victims of trafficking and are forced into prostitution or sexual slavery.
The cradle of some of the world’s most ancient civilizations, home to four out of the planet’s six billion people, and a battleground for the earth’s remaining resources, Asia and the Pacific are poised to play a defining role in international affairs in the coming decade.
Scenes from the brutal shooting of 12 journalists with the French satirical weekly ‘Charlie Hebdo’ have monopolised headlines worldwide ever since two men opened fire in the magazine’s Paris office on Jan. 7.
When the initial results started trickling in a little after midnight on Jan. 9, it still wasn’t clear exactly which way the country would swing: had Sri Lanka’s 15 million eligible voters thrown in their lot with incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa for a third term? Or would the desire for change put common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the helm?
Addressing the 193 member states of the General Assembly on Thursday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for sweeping changes that would set the world on the path of sustainable development.
While millions around the world are celebrating the dawn of a new year and the promise of change, hundreds of thousands of Syrian children have little reason to hope that 2015 will bring better days.
In pure numbers, the past few decades have been marked by destruction: over the last 40 years, Earth has lost 52 percent of its wild animals; nearly 17 percent of the world’s forests have been felled in the last half-century; freshwater ecosystems have witnessed a 75-percent decline in animal populations since 1970; and nearly 95 percent of coral reefs are today threatened by pollution, coastal development and overfishing.
A mud path winds its up way uphill, offering views on either side of row after row of dense bushes and eventually giving way to a cluster of humble homes, surrounded by ragged, playful children.
They say there is a war on and its target is the deadly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Amidst an exodus of some 100,000 people from the conflict-torn eastern Ukraine, ongoing fighting in the urban strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk between Ukrainian soldiers and separatist rebels, and talk of more sanctions against Russia, it is hard to focus on the more subtle changes taking place in this eastern European nation.
Thousands of New Yorkers took to the streets in multiple protests this past week against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, which has left at least 1,049 Palestinians dead and over 6,000 injured since Jul. 8.
Peruse a few reports on global military expenditure and you will not be able to shake the image of the planet as one massive army camp, patrolled by heavily weaponised guards in a plethora of uniforms.
Before an audience of over a thousand people in the historic Apollo Theatre in West Harlem, UN Women launched a major global campaign Thursday to mark the 20th
anniversary of the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women.
Try to imagine an expanse of barren land, stretching for miles, with no trace of greenery, not a single bough to cast a sliver of shade, or a trickle of water to moisten the parched earth. Now imagine that desert expanding by 12 million hectares a year. Why? Because it’s already happening.
Holy men and their holy books have etched a trail of tears and blood in the annals of human history. From the depths of peaceful temples, mobs have been dispatched with flaming torches; from steeples and minarets messages of hatred have floated down upon pious heads bent in prayer. For too long religion has incited violence and fueled conflict.
How much does a forest cost? What’s the true economic value of an ocean? Can you pay for an alpine forest or a glacial meadow? And – more importantly – will such calculus save the planet, or subordinate a rapidly collapsing natural world to market forces?
Such stigma now surrounds the word ‘terrorist’ that most recoil from it, or anyone associated with it, as though from a thing contagious; as though, by simple association, one could land in that black hole where civil liberties are suspended in the name of national security.
The sun is just setting as the group huddles closer together, their faces barely visible in the gathering dusk. Simple, hand-made signs read: ‘Stand for Justice’.