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.

Laos’s Rural Women Await Midwives

A year after the Laotian government launched a safe pregnancy programme news of this initiative,  involving the dispatch of teams of midwives across the country, is yet to reach women in the remote  communities.

Death Stalks Pregnant Women in East Myanmar

From a wooden, weather-beaten building on the edge of this border town, Mahn Mahn charts dangerous missions deep Myanmar (also Burma) for the 2,000-odd health workers under his wing.

Corporations See Green in Biodiversity

The gentle hills on the edge of this remote town are lush with tropical fruit trees that yield fine wines  for the Broadchem Corporation and also give the agro company a green label.   

Asia Sees Red Over ‘Green Economy’

The just-ended United Nations sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro has exposed the discomfort that many developing Asian countries have over buzz words like ‘green economy’ and ‘green growth’ in development diplomacy.

Ethnic Cleansing of Muslim Minority in Myanmar?

Reports of sectarian violence in western Myanmar have exposed the plight of 800,000 Muslim Rohingya, a persecuted minority that a regional human rights body described in 2006 as facing a "slow-burning genocide".

Saving the Mangroves Front

On a humid islet covered with mangroves, Lucena Duman and her neighbours have found a route out of poverty. They work as conservationists and tour guides in this isolated corner of the Philippines.

Harsh Internet Laws Silence Thai Netizens

When Thai police raided the headquarters of the popular alternative news portal ‘Prachatai’ and arrested its executive director, Chiranuch Premchaiporn, back in 2009, the 46-year-old media worker was completely in the dark about her crime.

A mourner holds a picture of Ampol "Akong" Tangnoppakul at a protest outside the Thai criminal court. Credit: Marwaan Macan-Markar/IPS

Thai Criminal Court in Line of Fire

From its imposing 14-storey building, Thailand’s criminal court hands down verdicts that rarely trigger a backlash. Those condemned to long imprisonment include Thais who supposedly violated the draconian lese majeste censorship law that protects this Southeast Asian country's monarchy.

Malaria Adds to Myanmar’s Woes

Political reforms unfolding in Myanmar (or Burma) are giving health workers a chance to address a resurgence of drug-resistant falciparum malaria in the war-torn ethnic minority enclaves along the country’s eastern borders.

Vietnam Clamps Down on Bloggers

A pioneer of citizens’ journalism in Vietnam is risking 20 years in jail for defending Internet freedom and exposing the draconian censorship laws in this communist party-ruled country.

Sea Level Rise Threatens Mekong Rice

With Vietnam’s fertile Mekong delta threatened by rising sea levels and salt water ingress, the country’s future as a major rice exporter depends critically on research underway in the Philippines.

Myanmar Turns ASEAN’s Democracy Beacon

Long Southeast Asia’s black sheep, Myanmar is enjoying an image change following its landmark Apr. 1 by-elections. Tongues are now wagging about the region’s new beacon of hope for democratic change.

Will Climate Refugees Get Promised Aid?

With extreme weather pounding countries across a wide arc in the Asia-Pacific region, questions hover over entitlements for millions of people displaced by climate change, pledged under the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other sources.

Suu Kyi as Lawmaker

Following her historic victory in Sunday’s by-elections Aung San Suu Kyi takes on a new role as opposition lawmaker, after a 22-year existence as Myanmar’s most famous political prisoner.

Myanmar ‘Reforms’ Elude Kachin Refugees

For thousands of ethnic Kachins who fled fighting between government troops and rebels and survived a bitter winter in the refugee camps that dot northern Myanmar (or Burma), another test of survival looms – gale force winds.

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