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  • A Friend in Need: Sino-Pak Ties
    August, 2011 By Sahiba Trivedi

    At present, there is intense speculation on whether Sino-Pak ties will be affected by the recent attacks in Kashgar, China that led to Chinese authorities announcing the perpetrators had been trained in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Such a public announcement is extremely rare, especially when considering the fact that Pakistan has been visibly touting the countries as being ‘all weather friends’ in recent months. China is concerned about its restive Xinjiang province and wants to arrest the growth of any terrorist or separatist movements, both within and outside its territories, which may challenge the Chinese state. Despite the terrorism angle to the Sino-Pak equation, bilateral ties are likely to remain unaffected, at least for the next few years.

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  • ‘Mobile’ Changes in the Arab World
    July, 2011 By Shivangi Muttoo

    A year ago, Souktel-a non governmental organization (NGO), announced that it would use an innovative ‘voice recognition’ mobile technology in Morocco to connect illiterate job seekers with prospective employers. The country is confronted with a difficult odd; the adult illiteracy in Morocco is among the highest in the world, and as a result there are a large number of illiterate job seekers. The ‘voice recognition’ mobile technology will enable the illiterate unemployed youth to upload their voice CVs or resumes and send them to employers. This is just one of the many recent examples to show that the use of mobile phones in Arab countries, as in the rest of the world, is no longer about just making calls but increasingly about utilizing mobile phone applications for positive societal changes. Mobile phones have now emerged as a new tool to facilitate socioeconomic development and for political mobilization in Arab countries. 

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  • Health on the Line
    July, 2011 By Anumita Raj

    Like much of India’s highly touted ‘potential’, the healthcare system is hampered by the stunning disparity in wealth that is evident in the country. It doesn’t matter that wealthy foreigners from other parts of the world now fly to India to be treated to some of the best possible medical care and some of the world’s most highly trained physicians. The fact of the matter is that hundreds of millions of people in India still go without the most basic healthcare because the system is either too far removed from them or too expensive for them. 

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  • When will ‘Political Will’ catch up with Technology?
    July, 2011 By Ekta Talwar

    Human beings as inventors and creators have reached a tipping point.  We are transitioning from dependence on oil to reliance on renewable resources and the paradigm-shifting potential of nanotechnology.  Unfortunately, USA and China are fueling their technological growth, in an increasing desperation, to maintain their superpower standing or to gain political negotiation power in the world. 

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  • An Orange, A Rose and A Tulip: Lessons from the North
    July, 2011 By Ambika Vishwanath

    On a recent visit to Ukraine, I landed in Kiev on the first day of the pre-trial hearing of a case against Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko; a woman who was one of the main leaders of the Orange Revolution of 2004. A member of the current opposition party, she was under investigation for abuse of power and corruption, though to many it seemed that the motivations of the trial were purely political. The charges brought against her are from the camp of current President Yanukovych; interestingly, the very man against whom the revolution of 2004 was against. The main boulevard leading to the Independence Square, home of the revolution in Ukraine, was filled with protestors hoping that this would not mark the end and failure of the famous Orange movement. The judge at the hearing subsequently ruled in favour of a trial, and now (early July 2011) Tymoshenko stands on trial; marking the death of Ukraine’s freedom movement for many. 

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  • Philanthropy in India
    June, 2011 By Anumita Raj

    In today’s day and age, charity is no longer just the immediate kindness we extend to one another. As the scope and scale of the problems in the world have grown, so too has the organized response to tackling them. The word philanthropy has come to denote an entire machinery, a whole infrastructure, comprised of donors, NGOs, corporate houses and more. 

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  • Jihad-Joe - Extremism Infiltrating Pakistan's Defence Forces
    June, 2011 By Gitanjali Bakshi

    A spate of attacks on Pakistan's navy has uncovered a possible infiltration of terrorism into the rank and file of the country's defence forces. Although not discussed much in the media, the attack on PNS Mehran was the third of a series of attacks on the Pakistani navy stationed in Karachi. Before Mehran there were two other attacks on naval buses - one on April 28th and the second two days later on the 30th. Why and how was the navy being attacked repeatedly within Karachi? According to Saleem Shahzad, Pakistan's Bureau Chief for Hong Kong-based Asia Times, the first two attacks were traced back to Al Qaeda. Shahzad claimed that certain naval officers were detained for their links to the terrorist organization and the bombings of three navy buses were “warning shots” to force the navy into a negotiation process. Shahzad claims that the extent of infiltration became concerning when AQ was able to track the whereabouts of these officers once they were brought in for questioning. When the negotiation process fell through and AQ chief Osama Bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad the last retaliatory shot on PNS Mehran was of a much larger scale.

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  • Big Problems – Big Solutions?
    June, 2011 By Sahiba Trivedi

    After years of experts talking about the environmental impacts of big dams, the Chinese government has finally admitted that there have been mistakes in the planning of the Three Gorges Dam. In May this year, the Chinese State Council acknowledged serious flaws in the dam. This may come a little too late and may prove to be hardly a consolation since the construction of other similar projects continues unabated. It is clear that for a lot of Chinese projects, geared to tackle the problem of severe water shortage facing China, the risk-benefit analysis has not been conducted comprehensively. As a result, in the next few years, instead of serving their purpose, these gigantic projects may actually end up worsening the situation.

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