Asia-Pacific

The Birth of a Dictator

The government had an almost paranoid fear of protests. A square kilometer around the Supreme Court was barricaded and off limits to the public. In faraway provinces, roadblocks were erected to stop demonstrators. Some opposition members were under temporary house arrest. But it turned out to be unnecessary. Nobody dared to protest.

Girls in Afghanistan—and Everywhere Else—Need Toilets

"I never come here, just because of boys," Atifa says, pointing at the door of the stall. "They're opening the door." Atifa, a sixth grader in Kabul, Afghanistan, attends a school of 650 girls. Since they study in tents in a vacant lot, the only toilets the girls have access to are on the far side of the boys' school next door. The school is one of a very few for girls in the area, so some students walk over an hour each way to get there.

The Mekong, Dammed to Die

In Laos, the lush forests are alive with the whines of drills that pierce the air. On the Mekong, a giant concrete wall rises slowly above the trees. The Don Sahong dam is a strong symbol, not only for a power-hungry Asia but also for what critics fear is a disaster in the making.

The Harsh Plight of 152 Million Child Labourers

While trillions of dollars are being spent on exploring remote galaxies, Planet Earth is still home to harsh realities that could be easily –and much less expensively—resolved. One of them is that worldwide 152 million children are currently victims of child labour.

Yolanda (Haiyan): Remembrance, Reflection and Responsibility

In the arcane world of natural disasters, names matter a great deal—not only because of history and science, but because people need them in order to remember or mourn what and whom they have lost.

Big Hearts in a Small Village

Johora, 60, came to the IOM-supported community clinic in Kutupalong, Ukhiya sub-district, with Shajeda, her 20-year-old daughter-in-law, who is in her eighth month of pregnancy and expecting her first child.

Emerging Markets at Risk Again

Emerging market governments often draw lessons from previous financial crises – or at least claim to do so – to prevent their recurrence. However, such preventive measures are typically designed to address the causes of the last crisis, not the next one. Hence, some measures adopted may inadvertently become new sources of instability and crisis.

Conservation Agriculture: Zambia’s Double-edged Sword against Climate Change and Hunger

As governments gather in Bonn, Germany for the next two weeks to hammer out a blueprint for implementation of the global climate change treaty signed in Paris in 2015, a major focus will be on emissions reductions to keep the global average temperature increase to well below 2°C by 2020.

Climate Change Summit a Step Further, Yes… But Where To?

The UN Climate Change Summit in Bonn is a step further, most experts say. Fine, but towards what?

The Roots of Exodus: Why Are People Compelled to Leave their Homes?

Facts are facts, and one of them is that while everybody talks about the growing forced movement of people --be they migrants or refugees—decision-makers haven’t seriously acted on the root causes of why millions of humans are compelled to leave their homes.

Adolescent Health Congress Skirts Issue of Abuse, Trafficking

Twenty-year-old Gogontlejang Phaladi of Mahalapye, Botswana is grateful she was never sent to a so-called “hyena” like scores of girls in neighboring Malawi were.

Stopping Child Marriage Forever

The mother moved in like a tigress to save her cub. In 2015, when her 13-year-old daughter Shumi Akhter was about to be married off, Panna Begum pleaded with her husband, Dulal Mia, to cancel the marriage he’d arranged for their daughter.

Kashmir’s Farmland Plowed Under in Wave of Urbanization

In central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, 40-year-old Javaid Ahmad Hurra remembers vividly how his small hamlet used to be lush and green when he was a child. It is now subtly turning into a concrete jungle, with cement structures dominating the scenery.

Developing World Faces Challenge of Large Ageing Population

Experts on population ageing converged in Seoul this week to discuss how to make reaching one's "golden years" a happy and sustainable process across the world.

Myanmar’s Democracy Feels Strain of Religious Fault Lines

I try to hold on tight as my driver navigates his motorbike over a bumpy and muddy track. His helmet is decorated with a swastika and an eagle, part of an ill-inspired fashion trend called Nazi chic. It's symbolic for a country where hate and racism seen to have become normalized.

Why 1997 Asian Crisis Lessons Lost

Various different, and sometimes contradictory lessons have been drawn from the 1997-1998 East Asian crises. Rapid or V-shaped recoveries and renewed growth in most developing countries in the new century also served to postpone the urgency of far-reaching reforms. The crises’ complex ideological, political and policy implications have also made it difficult to draw lessons from the crises.

Rohingya Crisis Stokes Fears of Myanmar’s Muslims

In a quiet street, the sound of children's voices can be heard from an open window. They are reciting verses of the Koran in unison. The small Islamic school lays hidden in a walled neighborhood where only Muslims live. This is an island of tranquility in Mandalay, the second-largest city of predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.

Lack of International Action on Rohingya Crisis Called a “Disgrace”

As the crisis in Myanmar reaches unprecedented levels, frustration is at its peak as the international community remains slow to respond and act cohesively.

What Do You Really Eat When You Order a Steak, Fish or Chicken Filet?

The world is running out of antibiotics to combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) warned while announcing the World Antibiotic Awareness Week on 13-19 November.

New Villages Bloom in the Shadow of a Mountain’s Wrath

Repeated volcanic eruptions of Mount Sinabung since 2010 have displaced thousands of people, leaving villages around the mountain deserted, with volcanic ash, lava and mud covering the soil, trees and empty houses.

How to Change the Future of Migration

The world is on the move. More people have been forced to flee their homes than at any time since the Second World War due to increased conflict and political instability, hunger, poverty, and an increase in extreme weather events linked to climate change.

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