Asia-Pacific

What India Needs To Do To Achieve Net-Zero Status by 2070

The recent IPCC report that came out in the month of March 2022 says that, by the end of the century, the temperature rise is likely to be 2 to 3.7 degrees if global emissions, as they stand today, are not curtailed. In fact, according to the report, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions need to come down by 45 percent globally (compared with 2005) by the end of 2030.

Former Child Labourer, now Lawyer, Passes Light of Freedom to Others

Amar Lai’s first memories are working alongside his parents and siblings in a quarry, breaking rocks. He was aged four. Now chatting to Lai, a confident 25-year-old human rights lawyer, it is hard to believe he was once a child labourer.

From Child Laborer to Activist, Tara Banjara Asks World to Pledge to End the Scourge

Tara Banjara was four and a half years old when her parents put her to work on the roads, cleaning the garbage and rubble out of potholes to prepare for construction in Nemdi village, Rajasthan, India. She worked in the wind, cold, and rain with her mother, day in and day out, year in and year out. She would return home shattered, too exhausted to eat before falling asleep each night.

Pakistan’s Campaign to Contain Polio in Face of Vaccine Hesitancy

Pakistan's North Waziristan district authorities have launched an aggressive vaccination drive after a polio case surfaced after 15 polio-free months in the country. The disease was detected in a 15-month-old toddler about 15 kilometers away from the Afghanistan border. This area was considered a Taliban militant’s hub until 2014.

Sri Lanka: Debt Crisis, Neocolonialism and Geopolitical Rivalry

Sri Lanka is in the throes of an unprecedented economic crisis. Faced with a shortage of foreign exchange and defaulting on its foreign debt repayment, the country is unable to pay for its food, fuel, medicine, and other basic necessities. Notwithstanding the austerities that would be entailed, a bail out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been accepted as the only way out of the dire economic situation.

Rural India Has a Diabetes Problem – What Is Causing it?

At a healthcare clinic in Thodathara, a village in the Thavanampalle mandal near Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, Dr Vijay Kumar calls in his next patient. “He is the most disciplined man I know,” Dr Kumar says with a hint of pride.

In Sri Lanka, Things Fall Apart

When I ended last month’s column hoping that April would not prove to be hapless Sri Lanka’s ‘cruellest month’ (in the words TS Eliot), I hardly anticipated the current turn of events.

Sri Lanka: Economic Meltdown Sparks Mass Protests

Economic crisis has provoked a great wave of protests in Sri Lanka. People are demanding the resignation of the president, blamed for high-handed and unaccountable decision making, exemplified by his introduction of an agricultural fertiliser ban in 2021 that has resulted in a food crisis. People don’t just want the president’s removal: they want a change in the political balance of power so that future presidents are subjected to proper checks and balances. Hope comes from the wide-reaching and diverse protest movement that has put aside past differences to demand change.

Pacific Community-Led Health Missions Arrive with Critical Support to Tonga and Kiribati Grappling with COVID-19 Surges

Before the pandemic emerged in 2020, health services in many Pacific Island countries were under-resourced, under-funded and under-staffed. Now following recent outbreaks of COVID-19, advancing the capacity and development of health and medical services in vulnerable nations, such as Tonga and Kiribati, is increasingly urgent.

Omicron-led Surge Tests China’s Zero Covid Policy

When the Covid- 19 pandemic first broke out in Wuhan in 2020, no one imagined that it would wreak havoc on such a large scale. With over 6.2 million lives lost, countless infected and new variants emerging, the pandemic is still raging all around the world.

Politics in Pakistan: The Captain’s Crisis!


 

 
“O, Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring….”
Walt Whitman

INDIA: Healthcare Inequities Exposed by COVID-19 Pandemic

Public health specialists say that an ongoing wrangle between the Indian government and the World Health Organization (WHO) over the COVID-19 death toll in this country is symptomatic of a long-ailing public health delivery system.

Digital Mentorship: The Key to Women’s Labour Force Participation in India?

Today, approximately 19 million young women are accessing post-secondary or tertiary education in India. Yet, such education has not translated into expected gains in female labour force participation. Only 34 percent of women in India with post-secondary education are active in the labour force, compared to 81 percent of men.

Afghan Moms Receive a Fresh Start in the United States

It was a long, harrowing road for Freshta and Shabaneh, two mothers (their names are pseudonyms) who fled Kabul, Afghanistan, late last summer before eventually settling in the southern New Jersey township of Hamilton.

Chronicle of a Tragedy Unfolded

The Karnataka court’s verdict to uphold the hijab ban has intensified the protest in the state. The row has been typically perceived by many as manufactured by the politicians pointing to the culture of politics in the state. While the jury is still out there on this, evidence on how state’s local culture constructs and deconstructs religious identity allows drawing conclusions with some definitiveness. The culture of state’s politics is one side of the coin. Considering its flip side – politics of culture, particularly of the religious cultural identity, is just as relevant.

Criminality in Politics Does Not Bode Well for Democracy’s Future

A trend of declining trust in governments and politicians can turn into a threat beyond some point. John Adams, an astute political philosopher and second president of the US, was emphatic: “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself." This has been a subject of intense debate, with recent but mixed evidence. Is this an overly pessimistic view?

The Myth of Development by Privatisation

Oxfam’s report ‘Inequality Kills 2022’ and its India supplement (hereafter referred to as the report) revealed some shocking facts about the growing gap between the rich and poor. India, which has the third highest number of billionaires in the world, endured one of the longest-lasting COVID-induced lockdowns in 2020. Yet, the same year, the top 10 percent of India held close to 45 percent of the country’s total national wealth.

Pakistan’s Historic Court Ruling: ‘Rome Has Spoken, the Case Is Finished!’

Pakistan’s impossibly debonair and incredibly urbane cricketing star turned politician, Imran Khan, is a man of a myriad parts. Where English is spoken and cricket is played, he remains a hero. Time was when leading his team in many a Test match he caused blood to rapidly pulsate through Pakistani veins. In a nation buffeted by the vicissitudes of misfortune and thirsting for pride, he had fulfilled his people’s dream by winning them the ultimate prize in cricket, the World Cup. But then he switched games and went into politics. The fates, with him for a while, eventually withdrew their favour. He gambled with a tactic that was no more than a political stunt. Alas it failed, and the Courts in his country refused him relief. But this essay is not so much about him. It about the Courts that finally caused his fall. It is also about the role the judicial organ of the State has played along the inscrutable path of Pakistan’s constitutional and political destiny.

Sri Lankan Economic Crisis Inflicted by Self-Serving Elite

Once deemed a basic human needs success story, Sri Lanka (SL) is now in its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948. Nonetheless, SL’s ‘moment of truth’ now offers lessons for other developing countries.

Climate Risk Insurance in Pacific Small Island Developing States: Possibilities, Challenges and Vulnerabilities

The World Bank lists Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu as Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS). . Some listings also include the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau. In September 2019, these countries had a combined population of 2.3 million spread over hundreds of islands spread over an area roughly equivalent to 15% of the surface area of the earth. Of these, the most populated country – Fiji – has a population of 900,000. The World Bank’s World Development Indicators reveal that annual per capita GDP of these islands fell from $4,340 in 2018 to $3,768 in 2020. It has probably fallen further during the pandemic.

Tackling the Pandemic of Inequality in Asia and the Pacific

After two years of human devastation, the world is learning to live with COVID-19 while trying to balance the protection of public health and livelihoods. For countries in Asia and the Pacific, this is challenging not only because national coffers are heavily strained by record public spending to mitigate pandemic suffering, but also due to deeper structural economic issues.

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