Stories written by Neena Bhandari
Neena Bhandari is a Sydney-based foreign correspondent, writing for international news agencies IPS, SciDev.Net and other national and international publications. Neena first began contributing to IPS in 1991 while based in New Delhi and was the main contributor from London between 1998 and 2000. Since the 2000 Sydney Olympics, she has been reporting from Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific Island countries. She started her career with India's leading national daily, The Times of India, in 1985 and she has since worked in the United Kingdom and Australia, reporting on a range of issues from health and science, environment and development, trade and travel, to gender, human rights and indigenous issues. She has a master’s degree in political science and a bachelor’s degree in law, a diploma in environmental law, and a certificate in international humanitarian law from the Red Cross. | Web

WIKILEAKS: Australians Call For Legislation to Protect Whistleblowers

Some Australians are convinced their government is sharing intelligence information with foreign powers about citizens implicated by documents released by Wikileaks.

DEVELOPMENT-AUSTRALIA: It’s Not Just About More, But Better, Aid

Australia’s foreign aid budget is likely to double by 2015, but civil society groups say this is far from enough if it is to keep to its "fair share" of commitments to poorer countries.

Ronni Kahn of OzHarvest, one of the many groups helping the hungry, says there is too much wasted food in Australia. Credit: Neena Bhandari/IPS

AUSTRALIA: Hunger Far from Unknown in A Land of Plenty

Devina Celeste, 50, waits in a queue of about 40 people at the neighbourhood centre in the Australian inner-city suburb of Newtown for the only hot meal she will get on this cold winter night.

HEALTH-ASIA: New Infectious Diseases a Challenge to MDG Success

While successful immunisation programmes worldwide have saved millions of lives, the threat of new infectious diseases and drug-resistant strains of existing diseases is posing a major challenge to governments, especially in developing regions like Asia, in meeting their commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

ENVIRONMENT: Australia Stands Firm on Anti-Whaling Move vs. Japan

Deep rift continues between pro and anti-whaling members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) as Australia Tuesday lodged legal action in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Japanese ‘scientific’ whaling, calling for a permanent end to all whaling in the Southern Ocean, an established whale sanctuary and a critical feeding ground for the mighty mammals.

AUSTRALIA: Debate Heats Up on Equal Representation for Women

Australia may be the land of the ‘fair go’, yet not all seems fair where equal representation of men and women is concerned.

AUSTRALIA: Sydney Festival Offers a Glimmer of Human Connectedness

In a world beset with conflict, natural disasters and economic crisis, the 2010 Sydney Festival has been a celebration of human connectedness, bringing together 1,500 artists from 30 countries, who are performing to an audience of a million over a period of three weeks, beginning on Jan. 9.

Q&A: ‘Nuclear Energy Is Not a Solution to Climate Change’

As the threat of nuclear weapons looms large over the very existence of life on earth, Dr Sue Wareham, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons’ (ICAN) Australian board member, is calling for a speedy abolition of these weapons and the rejection of nuclear power as a solution to climate change.

POLITICS-ASIA: Inter-religious Forum Calls for Nuclear Abolition

For the global religious community, the use of nuclear arms is an overwhelmingly important ethical issue for the human family. Thus, nothing less than the immediate abolition of such weapons is needed from the highest levels, said speakers at the Parliament of the World’s Religions currently underway in this Australian city.

Salvation Army's Paul Moulds: 'Young people are back into very difficult circumstances.' Credit: Paul Moulds

AUSTRALIA: Children, Youth Feel the Heat of the Financial Crisis

Once a week lunch order from the school canteen was something Emily and Damien’s children looked forward to, but since the global financial crisis began last year, little treats and outings are an absolute ‘No’.

Q&A: ‘MDGs Don’t Recognise Role of Human Rights in Poverty Fight’

As the number of people living in poverty swell to over two billion, Amnesty International Secretary-General Irene Khan makes a strong argument for human rights to be made central to development and eradication of poverty.

ENVIRONMENT-AUSTRALIA: Toxic Contaminants: The Other Scourge

As the world focuses on the impact of climate change, little attention is being paid to yet another environmental bane: increasing contamination of air, water and soil.

RIGHTS-AUSTRALIA: ‘Many Child Abuse Cases Remain Unreported’

Geoff Bahnert, 46, had been holding on to a secret until he decided it was time to speak out to ease the agony and pain of keeping it: As a child he was sexually abused, first by his female babysitter and then by an old man involved with his baseball club. All along he thought it was his fault and no one would believe him if he told his story.

CLIMATE CHANGE: 75 Million Environmental Refugees to Plague Asia-Pacific

Pacific Islanders, aiming to secure their very survival, are calling for immediate commitments from the developed world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45 percent by 2020.

CULTURE-AUSTRALIA: Film on ‘Slavery’ Ignites Controversy

‘Stolen’, an Australian documentary film that premiered at the Sydney Film Festival last month, has ignited a controversy with its claims on slavery in the refugee camps of Western Sahara. The main protagonist has denounced the film for her portrayal as a 'slave’, but the filmmakers say they stand by their version of the story "one hundred per cent".

RIGHTS-AUSTRALIA: Uplifting Aboriginals, a Matter of “Urgent National Significance”

In this remote Aboriginal town, 420 km south-west of Darwin, Northern Territory’s capital, third world living conditions still prevail despite the Australian government’s efforts to improve life for its oldest inhabitants.

AUSTRALIA: Attacks Expose Ills Of A Much-Touted Education System

The modern façade of its cities, cost-effectiveness and its high standards of education make Australia an attractive destination for foreign students. But the recent spate of attacks on Indian students has exposed the many ills afflicting the Australian education system, threatening its lucrative markets.

AUSTRALIA: Climate Change – Further Threat to Aboriginals

Climate change will further marginalise Australia’s Aboriginal communities, forcing them out of their traditional lands, destroying their culture and significantly affecting their access to water resources, indigenous rights advocates warn.

 Alme Jacub with daughter Asmat Ashraf.  Credit: ANS WESTRA

NEW ZEALAND: Asian Muslims Tell Their Own Stories

A new book and accompanying exhibit provide rare insight into the lives of Asian Muslims, who have become an intrinsic part of New Zealand's diverse community since the first Muslim Chinese gold miners landed on its distant shores 130 years ago.

HEALTH-AUSTRALIA: Vaccine Therapies Need Boost – Scientists

While millions of children’s lives have been saved as a result of a successful worldwide campaign to boost vaccination programmes, governments across the world are failing in following through on their commitments to health aid and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

CLIMATE CHANGE: New Value For Old Forests

Newly sensitised to the dangers of climate change, researchers around the world are making progress in helping to protect old growth forests that are threatened by fires, urban development and logging.

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