Stories written by Neena Bhandari
Neena Bhandari is a Sydney-based foreign correspondent, writing for international news agencies IPS, SciDev.Net and other national and international publications. Neena first began contributing to IPS in 1991 while based in New Delhi and was the main contributor from London between 1998 and 2000. Since the 2000 Sydney Olympics, she has been reporting from Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific Island countries. She started her career with India's leading national daily, The Times of India, in 1985 and she has since worked in the United Kingdom and Australia, reporting on a range of issues from health and science, environment and development, trade and travel, to gender, human rights and indigenous issues. She has a master’s degree in political science and a bachelor’s degree in law, a diploma in environmental law, and a certificate in international humanitarian law from the Red Cross. | Web

Mining Benefits Fail to ‘Trickle Down’

With South-South trade on the rise and growth in emerging economies set to outstrip production in industrialised countries, the international mining sector has been quick to follow global trends.

Sacrificing the Reef for Industrial Development

Mining and port development coupled with decreasing water quality along Australia’s north-eastern coast are threatening the continent’s World Heritage-listed tourist drawcard, the Great Barrier Reef.

The Clock Is Ticking on Koala Conservation

Australia’s iconic marsupial is under threat. Formerly hunted almost to extinction for their woolly coats, koalas are now struggling to survive as habitat destruction caused by droughts and bushfires, land clearing for agriculture and logging, and mining and urban development conspire against this cuddly creature.

These Women Know Their Assailants

Lynette Edwards (not her real name) grew up watching her mother being beaten by her partner each night. In high school, Edwards began associating with bullies, thinking this would protect her from being abused; but when she turned 16, two male acquaintances raped her.

Young Asylum Seekers Arrive to ‘Nightmare’ Detention

When Hussain Akhlaqi (17) arrived on Australian shores 11 months ago from Indonesia, on a boat carrying over 100 other asylum seekers, he was immediately placed in the Christmas Island immigration detention centre. Ali Mohammadi (17) from Afghanistan, and Mujtaba Ahmadi (18) from Iran, also endured a risky journey by sea only to meet the same fate.

Rising Inequality Could be Asia’s Undoing

While developing Asian countries have experienced robust growth – lifting living standards and reducing poverty – increasing wealth is fuelling income disparities and inequality, posing a major threat to the region’s stability, warns the Asian Development Bank (ADB)'s flagship report released Wednesday.

Tourism Goes Indigenous

As today’s conscientious travellers seek authentic experiences with the people of the lands they visit, tourism can be a vehicle for preserving ancient cultures, while socially and economically empowering marginalised or remote indigenous communities.

Trans-Pacific Trade Pact Reveals U.S.’s Unbridled Corporate Agenda

The 11th round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) talks concluded in Melbourne Friday, with member states suggesting the negotiations had made significant progress but civil society groups reiterating concerns that the United States' corporate demands could undermine social, economic and environmental policies.

Laurie Humphreys, Eris Harrison, Maria (not in story) and Caroline Carroll. Credit: Neena Bhandari/IPS

‘Forgotten Australians’ Demand More Than Apologies

Laurie Humphreys was on the first ship after World War II that brought 150 British boys and girls, aged five to 14 years, to Australia in 1947. At 13, he was promised oranges and sunshine and an adventurous holiday, but reality was different.

Filmmaker Andrew Okpeaha MacLean whose film "On the Ice" stood out at Message Sticks Film Festival in Australia.  Credit: Maura Anderson

AUSTRALIA: Indigenous Say It on Film

From the Australian bush to Alaska’s Arctic wilderness, indigenous peoples’ stories and perspectives take centre stage at the Message Sticks Film Festival, the only annual event of its kind in Australia.

WIKILEAKS: Australians Call For Legislation to Protect Whistleblowers

Some Australians are convinced their government is sharing intelligence information with foreign powers about citizens implicated by documents released by Wikileaks.

DEVELOPMENT-AUSTRALIA: It’s Not Just About More, But Better, Aid

Australia’s foreign aid budget is likely to double by 2015, but civil society groups say this is far from enough if it is to keep to its "fair share" of commitments to poorer countries.

Ronni Kahn of OzHarvest, one of the many groups helping the hungry, says there is too much wasted food in Australia. Credit: Neena Bhandari/IPS

AUSTRALIA: Hunger Far from Unknown in A Land of Plenty

Devina Celeste, 50, waits in a queue of about 40 people at the neighbourhood centre in the Australian inner-city suburb of Newtown for the only hot meal she will get on this cold winter night.

HEALTH-ASIA: New Infectious Diseases a Challenge to MDG Success

While successful immunisation programmes worldwide have saved millions of lives, the threat of new infectious diseases and drug-resistant strains of existing diseases is posing a major challenge to governments, especially in developing regions like Asia, in meeting their commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

ENVIRONMENT: Australia Stands Firm on Anti-Whaling Move vs. Japan

Deep rift continues between pro and anti-whaling members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) as Australia Tuesday lodged legal action in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Japanese ‘scientific’ whaling, calling for a permanent end to all whaling in the Southern Ocean, an established whale sanctuary and a critical feeding ground for the mighty mammals.

AUSTRALIA: Debate Heats Up on Equal Representation for Women

Australia may be the land of the ‘fair go’, yet not all seems fair where equal representation of men and women is concerned.

AUSTRALIA: Sydney Festival Offers a Glimmer of Human Connectedness

In a world beset with conflict, natural disasters and economic crisis, the 2010 Sydney Festival has been a celebration of human connectedness, bringing together 1,500 artists from 30 countries, who are performing to an audience of a million over a period of three weeks, beginning on Jan. 9.

Q&A: ‘Nuclear Energy Is Not a Solution to Climate Change’

As the threat of nuclear weapons looms large over the very existence of life on earth, Dr Sue Wareham, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons’ (ICAN) Australian board member, is calling for a speedy abolition of these weapons and the rejection of nuclear power as a solution to climate change.

POLITICS-ASIA: Inter-religious Forum Calls for Nuclear Abolition

For the global religious community, the use of nuclear arms is an overwhelmingly important ethical issue for the human family. Thus, nothing less than the immediate abolition of such weapons is needed from the highest levels, said speakers at the Parliament of the World’s Religions currently underway in this Australian city.

Salvation Army's Paul Moulds: 'Young people are back into very difficult circumstances.' Credit: Paul Moulds

AUSTRALIA: Children, Youth Feel the Heat of the Financial Crisis

Once a week lunch order from the school canteen was something Emily and Damien’s children looked forward to, but since the global financial crisis began last year, little treats and outings are an absolute ‘No’.

Q&A: ‘MDGs Don’t Recognise Role of Human Rights in Poverty Fight’

As the number of people living in poverty swell to over two billion, Amnesty International Secretary-General Irene Khan makes a strong argument for human rights to be made central to development and eradication of poverty.

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