Stories written by Marwaan Macan-Markar
Marwaan Macan-Markar is a Sri Lankan journalist who covered the South Asian nation's ethnic conflict for local newspapers before joining IPS in 1999. He was first posted as a correspondent at the agency's world desk in Mexico City and has since been based in Bangkok, covering Southeast Asia. He has reported from over 15 countries, writing from the frontlines of insurgencies, political upheavals, human rights violations, peace talks, natural disasters, climate change, economic development, new diseases such as bird flu and emerging trends in Islam, among other current issues.

Political Duels Collapse Into Sexist Squabbles

Supaa Prordeengam, a 48-year-old businesswoman, came to take part in the anti-government rallies that have been continuing in the Thai capital for nearly three months now. But disturbed by the sexist speeches emanating from the protest platforms, she said, “We need to be critical, not invade women’s rights.”

After Persecution, Rohingyas Face Erasure

An exiled leader of the Rohingyas, a persecuted Muslim minority in Myanmar, is raising the alarm from his London office about the fate of his community. He fears “ethnocide to remove all references to the Rohingyas” if the first census in 30 years goes ahead in the Southeast Asian nation.

Weather Forecasts Go Mobile in Thailand

It was another Monday afternoon in the remote Thai village of Baan Dong when an incoming text message lit up the black, dust-covered Nokia phone belonging to Eiem Sompeng.

In Vietnam, Rhino Horns Worth Their Weight in Gold

At first glance, the poster appears to be a typical advertisement for an African safari: a large rhinoceros set against a rugged, open terrain. Then you take a closer look and realise something is amiss.

Stories Sprout like Warnings in Japan’s Tsunami Wasteland

As a survivor of Japan’s deadliest tsunami in living memory, Shun Ito dedicates his mornings to evoking stories of heroism that helped to save lives in this port town that was decimated on that fateful March afternoon two years ago.

Fishing Labour Out of the Dark Ages

When Ko Mynt fled poverty in Myanmar for a job in neighbouring Thailand, the thought of labouring long hours in a shrimp peeling shed was far from his mind. So was this seaside town south of Bangkok. The 29-year-old had set his sights on employment in a garments factory.

Thai-EU FTA Raises Alarm for People With AIDS

Days before leaders of the European Union (EU) arrived in Norway to collect this year’s Nobel Peace prize, Thai public health activists sent a letter to the northern powerhouse, warning that the EU’s 2012 accolades face a credibility test in this Southeast Asian country.

Local Communities Stake Claim in Protecting Disaster-Prone Asia

From her half-built house, Ari Haryani takes a few steps to reach a freshly cemented path that snakes through the narrow, dusty walkways of this resettlement village. The path offers the 36-year-old a route to safety in case the nearby Mount Merapi, Indonesia’s most active volcano, erupts.

Drug-Resistant Malaria Pushes Rural Thailand to Shoulder Global Role

As Thailand braces itself to combat drug-resistant malaria, a spread of small, nondescript buildings scattered close to corn and rice fields along its hilly, western border are being cast into a bigger, international role.

Floods Dampen Thai Adaptation Plans

Thailand’s flood-management blueprint  received a jolt when the dykes in Sukhothai were breached by the rain-swollen Yom river last week, submerging large stretches of the former royal capital.

Microfinance Brings Hope to Myanmar’s Farmers

After decades of grinding poverty under successive military dictatorships, Myanmar’s rice farmers have a chance at a better future through rural reforms ushered in by the country’s quasi-civilian government. Microfinance is at the root of it.

Kyoto Protocol May End With the Year

As government negotiators from the world’s poorest countries ended a round of United Nations climate change talks in the Thai capital, they sounded a grave note about what appears imminent when they assemble in November in Doha – the reading of the last rites of the Kyoto Protocol.

Nearer the Church, Farther From MDGs

When Philippines President Benigno Aquino III delivered his annual state of the union address in July, he appealed to the country’s lawmakers to break a  deadlock on progressive birth control laws in this predominantly Catholic nation.

Study Damns Mekong Dams

Impoverished Laos is unlikely to cancel a Thai project to build a mega dam across the Mekong River at Xayaburi, despite warnings from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that it could devastate the region’s rich biodiversity.

An Unconventional Road to Peace

In a country where talk of a ceasefire brings representatives from 11 different armed ethnic groups to the table, Myanmar’s chief peace negotiator, Railway Minister Aung Min, is experimenting with an unusual solution to decades of separatist struggles.

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