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  • The Cost of Conflict
    December 2007 By Ilmas Futehally

    In the course of my travels and interactions with people at all levels, the questions that I have been asked most frequently is - have you really managed to make an impact on policy decisions? How do you know that your research reaches the decision makers and is taken seriously by them? Are the right people reading your reports? A look at the response that the SFG series on cost of conflict has evoked answers questions very cogently.

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  • Forgotten Spots in World Affairs
    December, 2007 By Jessyca Keil

    In today’s world, globalization alleviates information gaps to an increasing degree and renders it possible for something that happens in one part of the world to appear on TV five minutes later in another part of the world. However, there are still some parts of the world that the media does not cover and hardly anybody knows about them. These are the blind spots in world affairs and the Western Sahara can definitely count as one of those blind spots. Being a former Spanish colony, and subsequently annexed by Morocco, the country’s status has been under dispute for decades.

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  • Beyond Climate Change
    November 2007 By Sundeep Waslekar

    A car priced at 2000 Euros is about to appear on India’s roads very soon. India has about 40 million households in its bike economy – people who can afford to ride a motorbike. Most of them can afford to purchase a small car at 2000 Euro, albeit some of them with loan from a bank. Even if one fourth of them decide to purchase the new car, there will be 10 million new cars in the market. This is 10 times the number of cars that come on the roads every year at present.

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  • Will Pakistan Survive?
    November 2007 By Sundeep Waslekar

    The decision by General Musharrf to force the Martial Law on Pakistan poses two serious questions. Is it the beginning of the end of the Musharraf regime? Or is it the beginning of the end of Pakistan? These two questions offer stark alternatives. If General Musharraf survives in power, he will dissolve Pakistan. If, on the other hand, he is removed from the scene, there is a good prospect for Pakistan to rejuvenate itself as a nation. The choice is crystal clear –either the axis between the military and extremists will survive or the Pakistani nation will survive. It will not be possible for the two to co-exist for more than a few years.

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  • Beyond Biology
    November 2007 By Ilmas Futehally

    Three disparate things that I read recently made me sit up and take another look at the threat that biotechnology poses to the future of humankind. The first was an announcement made by scientists of the J Craig Venter Institute on their work on genome transplantation that enabled them to transform one kind of bacteria to another type.... 

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  • Pathway to Change in Myanmar?
    November, 2007 By Jan Zalewski

    The brutal crackdown of the Burmese military regime on protesting civilians and monks in September 2007 has at last brought international attention to a country which has been ruled and brought to the verge of collapse by the longest-serving military dictatorship in the world. 

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  • Can Our Science Make Us God?
    September 2007 By Sundeep Waslekar

    A few years ago, I received a letter from a group of scientists belonging to the well-known Mensa association of high IQ persons. They wanted Strategic Foresight Group to develop scenarios on results of the particle collider experiment. Since I did not have a physicist and a mathematician in our team, I did not respond to the Mensa group. In any case, I knew nothing about the particle collider experiment. Now that I have learnt something about it, I have misplaced the Mensa letter. (I hope the scientists write back if they happen to read this column.) I believe that a scenario building exercise about the results of this experiment would be extremely exciting.

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  • Tracking Turkey’s Transformation
    September 2007 By Ilmas Futehally

    In recent months Turkey has been quite a bit in the news- often for the wrong reasons. I visited Istanbul and Ankara after a gap of two and a half years and I got a different view of dynamics within the country from than that which is often portrayed in the international press.

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