Asia-Pacific

Violence: Unending Woes of Indian Women

The statistics are chilling. As many as 2.24 million crimes against women were reported over the past decade: 26 crimes against women are reported every hour, or one complaint every two minutes. As chilling as these statistics are, they don’t reflect the gory details.

Climate-Smart Agriculture in Vanuatu: Learning to Grow

It’s been dry in Isavai on the island of Aniwa for last couple of years – ever since Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through Vanuatu in March 2015, leaving an El Nino-induced drought in its wake. A dry phase is bad news for farmers anywhere, but in Aniwa, where there is no constant water source and the only water supply comes almost exclusively from harvesting rain into tanks, it’s disastrous.

Taxi Company Empowers Women on Mumbai’s Bustling Streets

Jahhavi Kshsarter pulls out on to the Western Express Highway, careful to avoid the swarm of cars, lorries and motorbikes zipping past. She is one of 65 women employed by an all-female taxi company in Mumbai.

Coping with Foreign Direct Investment

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is increasingly touted as the elixir for economic growth. While not against FDI, the mid-2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) for financing development also cautioned that it “is concentrated in a few sectors in many developing countries and often bypasses countries most in need, and international capital flows are often short-term oriented”.

Beyond Piketty: on income inequality

Have demonetisation and the GST aggravated income inequality? With the Gujarat State elections barely a few weeks away, the debate on the Indian economy has become increasingly polarised. While the official view of demonetisation unleashed in November 2016 elevates it to a moral and ethical imperative, the chaos caused by the goods and services tax (GST) launched on July 1, 2017, is dismissed as a short-run transitional hiccup. Both policies, it is asserted, are guaranteed to yield long-term benefits, unmindful of large-scale hardships, loss of livelihoods, closure of small and medium enterprises and slowdown of agriculture. Critics of course reject these claims lock, stock and barrel. Lack of robust evidence is as much a problem for the official proponents of these policies as it is for the critics. Hence the debate continues unabated with frequent hostile overtones.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Stepping Forward to Lead on Indigenous Rights

When nine women farmers from the Kendeng community in Central Java encased their feet in cement blocks last year, many indigenous advocates understood how that felt. Dressed in their traditional clothing, these women protested outside the State Palace in Jakarta to block a proposed cement plant that would pollute the rivers flowing through their villages. Their livelihoods as farmers were under threat, as was their cultural heritage.

Land Settlement Empowers: Bangladesh Sets an Example

History was made for 400 landless families in the remote char lands of Noakhali district. On 4th October, they all received land titles from the government for which they had waited for over two decades. In Bangladesh, as in other countries, the title is a permanent legal ownership document.

Will EU & US Part Ways on Iran Nuclear Deal?

The Iran nuclear deal has demonstrated that diplomacy can triumph in nuclear non-proliferation: dialogue, rather than military action, can convince states to forgo pursuing nuclear weapons. The European Union has long played an instrumental role in the multilateral diplomacy that produced the historic deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Rohingya Refugee Women Bring Stories of Unspeakable Violence

Yasmin, 26, holds her 10-day-old baby, who she gave birth to in a crowded refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, a southeastern district bordering Myanmar.

US Call for Suspending Arms Sales to Myanmar Faces Road Block in Security Council

When US Ambassador Nikki Haley called for a virtual arms embargo against the repressive and much-maligned military regime in Myanmar, she took a passing shot at two of her fellow veto-wielding, permanent members of the Security Council – namely China and Russia – who are primary arms suppliers to the increasingly politically-isolated nation.

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