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  • Pakistan's Backbone
    April, 2012 By Anumita Raj

    In the past few weeks, the crippling power crisis has led to riots in parts of Pakistan. At the same time, the USD 10 million bounty on founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Hafiz Saeed, announced by the US government has caught the attention of the people of Pakistan, and become the focus of various politicians. Amid these larger concerns, it is easy to gloss over the predicament of various state-run institutions of Pakistan, many of whom have been beset by economic woes and plagued by news of corruption scandals. Indeed, even the national media has often given less importance to this news over the past months when compared to political machinations and foreign policy issues. Most of the institutions form the very backbone of Pakistan’s domestic infrastructure. Despite Pakistan’s hardy nature which has seemingly survived various disasters in the past, the complete collapse of anyone of these institutions could send the country into a tailspin that it may not be able to recover from. 

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  • Water Footprint: The Next Big Thing
    March, 2012 By Ilmas Futehally

    I knew the statistics earlier. One cup of coffee requires 140 litres of water to produce- if it is grown, processed and brewed in the most efficient way. One cup of tea requires 35 litres of water to produce. But little did I know that soon, we will have all the data of water usage for all or most products. A number of diverse groups around the world are working on developing the Water Footprint, and the methodology used is just as diverse. Which one will become “the” methodology and “the” water footprint is yet to be seen.

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  • The Iran Quagmire
    March, 2012 By Ambika Vishwanath

    In 2009, when Iran held its last round of national elections, it resulted in wide protests, detentions and the house arrest of two presidential candidates. Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is widely believed to have stolen the presidency. At the time of writing this article, Iran would have gone through another round of elections, giving the country a chance to elect a new parliament. The outcome of the elections will take some time to be known, but given the dearth of reformists on the ballot, it will only be a battle between the conservatives. A battle between supporters of President Ahmedinejad, and those who feel he has lost favour with the Ayatollah. It is also these elections that should determine the course of action of the international community with regards to the nuclear debate. The decision to go nuclear is more political than military and a new parliament will influence that decision, which ultimately rests with the Ayatollah. 

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  • The ‘Defence’ of Pakistan
    March, 2012 By Sahiba Trivedi

    By all indications, the recently formed Difa-e-Pakistan (Defence of Pakistan) Council likely has some friends in high places. The success of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council’s (DPC) rallies across Pakistan, and brazen announcements of forthcoming rallies and attendees, many of whom belong to ‘defunct’ or banned organizations, lend credence to the theory that the DPC has the backing of powerful forces in Pakistan. 

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  • Thailand: Growing emphasis on E- Governance
    March, 2012 By Jot Prakash Kaur

    Thailand has been implementing policies and programs to promote use of information and communication technology (ICT) as a tool for better administration, transparency and accountability of government departments and increase the effectiveness of various development programs. The successful implementation of ICT in government departments (e-governance) has the potential to positively impact the lives of millions of poor citizens living across Thailand in the long run. 

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  • Near and Present Danger
    February, 2012 By Sahiba Trivedi

    Climate change is no longer a distant threat; its affects are very visible today - erratic weather patterns, global warming, greater extreme weather events and natural disasters, and erratic rainfall. Countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia are the most affected by climate change. Natural disasters like flooding, droughts and cyclones have increased in frequency in this region and the situation is likely to get worse in the future.

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  • A Crisis of Power in Pakistan
    February, 2012 By Anumita Raj

    If asked, even the most casual reader of the newspaper would be able to answer the following question: what are amongst the most pressing issues in Pakistan at present? Included in the list are likely to be the fissure between the civilian government and the establishment, the overwhelming presence of terror networks within the country, the rampant corruption, the failing economy and the disintegrating relationship with the United States. What the casual reader might miss is an issue that those outside of Pakistan may not be privy to: an almost paralyzing lack of electricity within the country. 

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  • Emerging Africa: China’s Trade based approach
    February, 2012 By Ekta Talwar

    The 18th African Summit recently held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia saw the inauguration of an African Union Conference Centre in Addis Ababa – a USD 200 million gift from China marking the Africa-China economic and strategic relationship in stone. To understand the motivations behind China’s generous gift to the African Union one must take a closer look at Africa’s current economic scenario.

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