Asia-Pacific

Extremism Threatens Press Freedom

Pakistan continues to remain one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, where frequent attempts to restrict press freedom are commonplace and challenges to expanding media diversity and access to information abound.

UN Hails Myanmar’s Historic New Parliament

When U.Thant of Burma (now Myanmar) was elected UN Secretary-General back in November 1962, he was the first Asian to hold that post after Trygve Lie of Norway and Dag Hammarskjold of Sweden.The appointment was also a historic moment for Asia, which waited for 45 long years for the second Asian to hold that position: Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, the current UN Secretary-General, who was elected in January 2007.

TPP: Lessons from New Zealand

A new paper* on the implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement for New Zealand examines key economic issues likely to be impacted by this trade agreement. It is remarkable how little TPP brings to the table. NZ’s gross domestic product will grow by 47 per cent by 2030 without the TPP, or by 47.9 per cent with the TPP. Even that small benefit is an exaggeration, as the modelling makes dubious assumptions, and the real benefits will be even smaller. If the full costs are included, net economic benefits to the NZ economy are doubtful. The gains from tariff reductions are less than a quarter of the projected benefits according to official NZ government modelling. Although most of the projected benefits result from reducing non-tariff barriers (NTBs), the projections rely on inadequate and dubious information that does not even identify the NTBs that would be reduced by the TPP!

A Peaceful Decade but Pacific Islanders Warn Against Complacency

The Pacific Islands conjures pictures of swaying palm trees and unspoiled beaches. But, after civil wars and unrest since the 1980’s, experts in the region are clear that Pacific Islanders cannot afford to be complacent about the future, even after almost a decade of relative peace and stability. And preventing conflict goes beyond ensuring law and order.

Activists Accuse India of Violating UN Convention on Child Rights

Civil rights groups and child welfare activists have strongly protested against the enactment of a new Juvenile Justice Act by the Indian parliament, lowering the age of a legally defined juvenile for trial from 18 to 16- years old in heinous crimes cases.

TAIWAN: Polls Harken End of Nuclear Power

Taiwan may soon be the first nation in Asia to resolve to become a nuclear free nation after four decades of reliance on nuclear power.

India Needs to “Save its Daughters” Through Education and Gender Equality

Women constitute nearly half of the country's 1.25 billion people and gender equality -- whether in politics, economics, education or health -- is still a distant dream for most. This fact was driven home again sharply by the recently released United National Development Programme’s Human Development Report (HDR) 2015 which ranks India at a lowly 130 out of 155 countries in the Gender Inequality Index (GII). India trails behind most Asian countries, including lesser developed Bangladesh and Pakistan which rank 111 and 121 respectively, and fares not much ahead of war-ravaged Afghanistan at 152.

Credit Innovation has a Key Role in Bangladesh’s Climate Change Adaptation

Expected climate change makes improving agricultural practices even more important than many already suggest, according to a new study of Bangladesh, considered one of the most at-risk nations from rising temperatures.

Malnutrition a Silent Emergency in Papua New Guinea

High up in the mountainous interior of Papua New Guinea (PNG), the most populous Pacific Island state of 7.3 million people, rural lives are marked by strenuous work toiling land in rugged terrain with low access to basic services.

UN Discovery of Secret Detention Centre Revives Nightmares

Details of a secret detention center, where serious human rights abuses took place, deep inside the sprawling Tricomalee Naval base in the east of Sri Lanka are slowly emerging.

Cancer, Not Clashes, the Number One Killer in Kashmir

In an isolated ward of one of Kashmir’s largest government-run hospitals, 54-year-old Ashraf Ali Khan is finding it hard to sleep properly. His 15-year-old son, Asif, is sitting on a bench near the bed staring at his ailing father.

Another Himalayan Blunder

South Asian integration remains a distant dream as some member countries like Nepal resent India’s big brotherly dominance in the region. They perceive that they have no stakes in India’s rise as an economic power. Ensuring unrestricted market access perhaps would have made a big difference in this regard. Their resentment has only deepened as this hasn’t happened. Instead they have registered growing trade deficits with India! The on-going travails of the Himalayan kingdom vis-a-vis India exemplify the problematic nature of integration in a region that accounts for 44 per cent of the world’s poor and one-fourth of its’ population.

Earthquake Survivors Struggle Amid Fuel Shortages Due to Protests

At 40, Durga Rajak, co-owner of “Mailadai Hans ko Choila,” a popular eatery in Kathmandu, is learning to light a stove all over again. However, this time she is using diesel fuel instead of kerosene. She admits this is a risky job. “There is always the danger of a blast, so I must never pump the handle too fast or raise the flames too high,” she said.

Afghan Refugees’ Right To Stay in Pakistan May Expire

“We aren’t happy here but cannot go back to our country because the situation there was extremely bad,” Ghareeb Gul, Afghan refugees told IPS.

Beekeeping Helps Pakistan Farmers Cope with Crop Losses

Farmers in the rain-dependent district of Chakwal in Punjab province of Pakistan are finding relief in beekeeping as the groundnut crop suffers a blow from shifting rainfall patterns.

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