Headlines

Illiberal Democracy Rising

Indian democracy is quite often about the politics of visibility, the image most often replacing the substance. Political parties celebrate their leaders, both living and dead, in huge newspaper advertisements that cost an enormous amount. For leaders who have passed on, there is usually a remembrance on their birth and death anniversaries whereas in the case of serving politicians just about any occasion is an excuse to indulge in an extra splash of image building.

A Jarring Anomaly of Society

It is easy to miss stories about child domestic workers being tortured and killed. Easy because stories of children being killed have become eerily regular. It is May 28 and there is the report of 14-year-old Konika Rani being hacked to death by a drug addict with three of her classmates also grievously injured by him. There is also the horror of having to read about a six-year-old being left critically wounded after being raped by her neighbour. Next to this is the news of 11-year-old Hasina Akhter dying in hospital from the fatal wounds inflicted on her, presumably by her employers.

Achieving Universal Access to Energy; Africa Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

“It is unacceptable that 138 years after Thomas Edison developed the light bulb, hundreds of millions of people cannot have access to electricity to simply light up the bulb in Africa,” says Africa Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Akinwumi Adesina, mourning the gloomy statistics showing that over 645 million people in Africa lack access to electricity, while over 700 million are without clean energy for cooking.

When the UN Comes Under Heavy Fire

When heads of government and foreign ministers make their annual pilgrimage to the United Nations in September, it is rare to hear hard-hitting, headline-grabbing political statements from the podium.

A Balance Sheet for May 28

On this very day, exactly 18 years ago, riotous celebration erupted after Pakistan tested its nuclear weapons. Just 17 days earlier, India had experienced a similar moment. Then, one year later, Pakistan once again saw mass jubilation during the officially sponsored Youm-i-Takbir. But, in sharp contrast, today`s nuclear celebrations are barely audible. One hopes that this signals increased national maturity and sobriety.

The Price of Non-Governmental Growth

It is well known that since the 1980s, Bangladesh has made astonishing progress on a wide variety of development indicators such as reducing the prevalence of extreme hunger and poverty, increasing primary education enrolment rates, and reducing child and maternal mortality. This progress has been mirrored by an impressive record of sustained GDP growth, spanning decades. In contrast to these successes, the quality of our democratic institutions has languished to the point where they now threaten to undermine all these hard-won gains. This article argues that the provision of public goods and services by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has not only contributed to these successes, but also to this failure.

Latest Population Projection of 25 Million Poses Serious Challenges

The most recent population projections expect the Island’s population to reach 25 million by 2042 and 25.8 million by 2062. It is expected to stabilise around the mid 2060s at 25-26 million. This is a significant departure from earlier projections that expected population stability much earlier at around 23-24 million in the 2030s and to decline thereafter.

Menstrual Hygiene Gaps Continue to Keep Girls from School

Around the world girls are struggling to stay in school when their menstrual hygiene needs are forgotten or ignored, yet the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and education sectors have remained reluctant to address the issue.

New International Accord to Tackle Illegal Fishing

A new international accord to tackle illegal and under-reported fishing will come into force on June 5.

Malawi’s Drought Leaves Millions High and Dry

It’s Saturday, market day at the popular Bvumbwe market in Thyolo district. About 40 kilometers away in Chiradzulu district, a vegetable vendor and mother of five, Esnart Nthawa, 35, has woken up at three a.m. to prepare for the journey to the market.

Traditional Mexican Recipes Fight the Good Fight

In a clay pot, Araceli Márquez mixes tiny Mexican freshwater fish known as charales with herbs and a sauce made of chili peppers, green tomatoes and prickly pear cactus fruit, preparing a dish called mixmole.

UNFPA Funding Cuts Threaten Women’s Health in Poorer Nations

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA), which has played a key role in ensuring maternal health and promoting reproductive rights of millions of women world-wide, is expected to suffer over $140 million in funding cuts by Western donors this year.

Mapping Kashmir

This month the Indian ministry of home affairs released the draft of the proposed Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016. Still in its preliminary form, it has created a furore both at home and abroad.

A Disaster-in-Waiting

In a recent interview with BBC, India's minister of water resources Uma Bharti unveiled her government's massive plan to divert major rivers including the Ganges and Brahmaputra. According to the Guardian, the project is just waiting for a rubber stamp from the environment ministry of India. While we do not want to be alarmists, it is hard to ignore the fact that, if implemented, the project will rob Bangladesh, a riverine country, of her very lifelines.

Poorest Countries Have Progressed but Fragile Countries Lag Behind

The world's poorest countries are making development gains, yet challenges remain, particularly for so-called fragile countries affected by conflict or other disasters.

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