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Articles that have appeared on the SARID website within the last year:

FRESHWATER: A FINITE BUT RENEWABLE RESOURCE, KB Sajjadur Rasheed, The Daily Star, Bangladesh - Water, a critical component of the ecological cycles, is theoretically a renewable resource, made continually available -- through the water cycle -- by the constant flow of solar energy to the earth, which evaporates water from the ocean and redistributes it back to the globe as precipitation. As the world population increased, the water demand continued to rise and the per capita availability of freshwater continued to decrease. About 70 percent of the earth's surface is covered with water, but only 2.53 percent of that is freshwater, the rest being saline. Again, most of this freshwater is locked in ice and snow in glaciers and ice sheets. Only 0.26 percent of all freshwater stock (about 90,000 cubic km of water in absolute terms) is globally available to us for use -- from rivers, lakes, soil moisture and groundwater; apparently the quantity is not so small for a world population of 6.4 billion. In reality, however, we (humankind) are living at the mercy of the water cycle, which acts as the bloodstream of the biosphere... Full Article

AFRICA'S LOST TRIBE, THE SIDDIS FACE POVERTY IN INDIA: AFP - It's a village like thousands in India -- a few corner shops and dusty lanes dissecting small, mud-and-brick houses into haphazard rows on the edge of lush fields. What sets Jambur apart are its inhabitants -- some 4,000 men, women and children of unmistakably African origin called Siddis, and virtually all of them poor. "They're the lost tribes of Africa," said Ashish Nandi, sociologist at New Delhi's Centre for Developing Societies. But the Siddis in this village 470 kilometres (290 miles) southwest of Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of the western state Gujarat, say they know nothing of their origins as descendants of African slaves... Full Article

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SOUTH ASIAN 'LEADERS OF TOMORROW' - The Asian Pacific Post, Canada: For the past several years, the South Asian Family Association (SAFA) has been proud to award $500 scholarship funds to South Asian students in the areas of academic excellence and exemplary community involvement. These awards are presented at the non-profit’s flagship community event, Sawan Mela, which will be held July 12, 2008 at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The application form and program guidelines are available at: The deadline for submission is on May 15. Any inquiries regarding these scholarships can be sent to

ACID ATTACKS ON RISE IN SOUTH ASIA, Disputes Lead to Crimes Against Women That Too Often Go Unpunished, Nick Schifrin, New Delhi, April 16, 2008 for ABC News - In Mahalakshmi's life, there is a day before and a day after. The day before was Jan. 10, 2001. Her brown hair was pulled back, her brown eyes saw what she remembers as a "pleasant day," a day when the doctor went to work at her clinic in Mysore, India, and returned home to her daughter. The day after, she lay in a hospital bed, where she would stay for the next month and a half. She had lost her left eye and her left ear and her body was badly burned after her former landlord, in a rage, poured a bucket of acid on her head. "For someone born normal at birth, and leading a normal life, all of a sudden you become a disabled person. It is difficult to accept," Mahalakshmi, who uses only one name, told ABC News... Full article

IS INDIA FACING A FOOD CRISIS? BBC News - Is India, the world's second most populous nation, facing a food crisis? This question is vexing policy makers and analysts alike even as creeping inflation - around 7% now - is sending jitters through the Congress party-led ruling coalition. To be sure, India has not yet experienced riots over rising food prices that have hit other countries like Zimbabwe or Argentina. But what is worrying everybody is that the current rise in inflation is driven by high food prices … Full Article

UNCHECKED CLIMATE CHANGE = 125 MILLION REFUGEES IN SOUTH ASIA: Greenpeace - 'Hope for the best, plan for the worst', is the mantra of emergency planners everywhere. But, for 125 million people living in the low lying areas of South Asia, when it comes to climate change there is no plan that will adequately address the worst consequences. A new Greenpeace report warns that left unchecked climate change could lead to global temperature increases of between 4-5°C, unleashing a barrage of impacts that will drive mass migration in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. ... Full Article

INDIA, PAKISTAN TO COOPERATE ON ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION : Daily Times, Pakistan - Pakistan and India agreed to increase cooperation for environment protection on Friday during a meeting between caretaker Environment, Local Governments and Rural Development Minister Syed Wajid Hussain Bokhari and Indian Minister of State for Environment and Forest Namo Narayan. A press release said both sides would follow decisions of the Technical Advisory Committee and share their experiences in lakes, rivers and vulture preservation to prevent degradation of environment in South Asia… Full Article

INDIAN SCHOOLS TRY TO DISMANTLE BARRIERS OF CASTE SYSTEM, Boston Globe - Not so long ago, in the back of a tin-roofed restaurant, Ramu, a teenage dishwasher, spent his nights chained to a radiator. That's how his employer kept him from running away. Ramu wanted to flee because his boss, who was from a higher, more privileged caste, constantly berated him for showing an interest in learning to read. The boss believed Ramu had to get used to a life of cleaning up after other people because as a Dalit, a member of India's lowest and most shunned caste, he could never amount to anything. Then a foreigner who ran a private school and home for Dalit children noticed Ramu. He enrolled him in classes. Ramu is now a star pupil with a voracious and ever-changing appetite for activities including yoga, photography, and film directing... Full Article

BANGLADESH GETS ITS FIRST BIOMASS PLANT, One World South Asia - The facility, located in an unelectrified town named Kapashia (Gazipur district), is part of a rural electrification project that aims to reach about 700,000 citizens through renewables. The green power plant, the first ever its kind in Bangladesh, is a 250 kW biomass gasification facility that generates renewable electricity from abundant agricultural residues such as rice husks. IDCOL provided concessionary loans and grants, sourced from IDA and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), for a total project costy of 25 million taka (€250,000) of which the World Bank provided 60%... Full Article

FOREIGN MINISTER HAILS REMOVAL OF GENDER BAR ON HOLDING PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Maldives - The Peoples Special Majlis (constitutional assembly) has taken the historic step of removing the gender bar from running for the Presidency of the Maldives during deliberations on revising the country's Constitution. Removing the gender bar was one of the keynote proposals presented by the President, H.E. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in 2004 when he initiated the process of constitutional reform. The removal of the gender bar is also a vital step towards honouring the Maldives' international commitments under UN human rights conventions. The decision to remove the bar came as the Special Majlis debates the Presidential chapter of the new Constitution. The success came despite a late attempt by a Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) Member, Mr. Hussain Ibrahim, to introduce an amendment to maintain the gender bar under the new Constitution. The amendment was rejected… Full Article

HE'S GOT CONNECTIONS, Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs, Wharton School of Business - For Iqbal Quadir, conventional success wasn't enough. Sure, he'd received an MBA at Wharton in 1987 and landed a job as an investment banker on Wall Street. Compared with millions of impoverished people in his native country of Bangladesh, he was a rich man. In 1992, he earned $250,000. But he wanted to use his skills to give something back to his homeland. His time at Wharton had taught him that business could be a tool for improving people's lives. "I learned that business allocates resources efficiently and disperses power," he says. "Historically, people got empowered through technologies like the metal farm plough, eyeglasses or clocks. An economically empowered population demanded checks and balances and improved governance. In effect, they promoted democracies and fairer economies." Quadir therefore decided to quit his job and try to bring modern telecommunications — "connectivity" is the term he prefers — to millions of poor people in his homeland... Full Article

PAKISTANS POVERTY RATE DECLINED BY FIVE PERCENT, Unique Pakistan - The World Bank is of the view that to end poverty in a generation, South Asian economies must sustain an economic growth rate of 8-10 percent a year. The World Bank Annual Report-2007 made available to the press the other day said Pakistan's poverty rate declined 5 percent in the first half of this decade. With growth has come an impressive reduction in poverty. "During the 1990s, poverty rates fell 7 percent in India, 9 percent in Bangladesh, and 11 percent in Nepal. Pakistan's poverty rate declined 5 percent in the first half of this decade. But to end poverty in a generation, South Asian economies must sustain an economic growth rate of 8-10 percent a year." The report says that rapid economic growth and progress in human development have raised the possibility that the region with the greatest number of poor people could end mass poverty within a generation. Following domestic reforms and external assistance, gross domestic product (GDP) in South Asia has grown at an average of nearly 6 percent a year for the past decade… Full Article

BANGLADESH 'FACING RICE CRISIS', BBC News - The chief of the Bangladesh army says the country is facing a catastrophe over rice supplies. General Moeen U Ahmed said that he was "very concerned" about the problem which he said must be redressed immediately. Many people have been hit hard by spiralling food prices, which in some cases have doubled over the last year. Rice is the staple diet of most Bangladeshis, but this year crops have been damaged by heavy monsoon rain... Full Article

CHILDREN IN AFGHANISTAN AT INCREASING RISK - UNICEF, UNICEF - Suicide bombings, attacks on schools and roadside bombs have put the lives of scores of young Afghans at increasing risk, and threaten to undercut important gains in girls' education, UNICEF said on Thursday. Increasingly bloody fighting between Taliban insurgents and Afghan and Western forces created a dilemma for many parents who worried about letting their children go to school, the U.N. agency said in a Child Alert report. "Girls are particularly affected by the insurgents' targeting of girls' schools and even of the pupils themselves," the report concluded … Full Article

HOW TO END THE GLOBAL FOOD SHORTAGE - Time Magazine - The world economy has run into a brick wall. Despite countless warnings in recent years about the need to address a looming hunger crisis in poor countries and a looming energy crisis worldwide, world leaders failed to think ahead. The result is a global food crisis. Wheat, corn and rice prices have more than doubled in the past two years, and oil prices have more than tripled since the start of 2004. These food-price increases combined with soaring energy costs will slow if not stop economic growth in many parts of the world… Full Article

MONSOON WARNING FOR BANGLADESHIS - Mark Dummett, BBC News, Bangladesh - Aid agencies say millions of Bangladeshis are still in dire need of help five months after Cyclone Sidr battered the country's coastline. The warning from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies comes weeks before the next monsoon is due. Cyclone Sidr was the worst storm to hit Bangladesh in a decade...Full Article

RENEWABLE ENERGY HOLDS PROMISING FUTURE IN INDIA - Anupam Tyagi, Renewable Energy World - According to the 11th New and Renewable Energy five-year plan recently proposed by the government of India, from 2008-2012 the renewable energy market in India will reach an estimated US $19 billion. Investments of US $15 billion will be required in order to add the approximately 15,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy to the present installed capacity. The government of India has planned a subsidy support system of approximately US $1 billion in government funds. This amounts to adding renewable energy capacity at 1 Watt per US $1, with potential subsidy support of US $0.07/Watt... Full Article... Full Article

MUSIC: SOUTH ASIAN SOUNDS, John Jurgensen, The Wall Street Journal - Globalization introduced the business culture of South Asia to the West. Now, a Silicon Valley Web site is trying to do the same for the region's music., launched by a former headhunter of Indian descent and her husband, a former London DJ, has become a clearinghouse for all sounds "Desi," the colloquial term for people and things with South Asian roots. The site's streaming radio shows include songs from Bollywood films, melodramatic Indian musicals marked by thunderous drums, surging strings and traditional vocals that slide like mercury. Another genre category, Urban Desi, features songs geared for clubs that are propelled by hypnotic vocals, indigenous drums, hip-hop beats and raps in English... Full Article

IS BANGLADESH INVESTORS' NEXT FRONTIER?, By Pooja Thakur Bloomberg News - Yawer Sayeed returned to his native Bangladesh from Australia to set up a money management company in 1999. After eight lean years, his business is booming. A military-backed government in place since January has lured investors by pledging to sell state enterprises and arresting about 150 former officials to fight corruption. The Dhaka Stock Exchange index in Bangladesh is at a 10-year high, up 75 this year, making it the top performer in Asia after China. "It's been a long haul," said Sayeed, chief executive at Asset & Investment Management Services of Bangladesh, the first and only private fund manager in the country. "It's a quantum leap in the mind-set of the government and bureaucracy that they're embracing privatization..." Full Article

INDIAN CHILDREN WORK DESPITE BAN, by Geeta Pandey BBC News, Delhi - A year after India banned children under 14 from working as domestic servants or in food stalls, millions continue to be employed, a study says. The study released by Save the Children says these children are routinely subjected to different forms of abuse and a lot still needs of be done. Many of the child workers are denied food, and are beaten up, burnt or sexually abused, the study says. According to official estimates, India has more than 12 million child workers. Of these, about 200,000 are estimated to be working as domestic servants and in teashops, restaurants, spas, hotels, resorts and other recreational centres - the areas from where they were banned last year... Full Article

POOR CALCUTTA, Chitrita Banerji, The New York Times, US - One morning in January 1997, I walked into my office at a nonprofit group here after a visit to my hometown, Calcutta. A very senior colleague, whom I would have, until then, characterized as being the “sensitive” sort, greeted me: “Welcome back. And how is everyone in Calcutta — still starving and being looked after by Mother Teresa?” At first I thought this might be a bad attempt at humor, but I soon realized that my colleague was seriously inquiring about my city’s suffering humanity and its ministering angel — the only images Calcutta evoked for him and countless others in the West… Full Article

LAHORE’S MICROFINANCE MARKET GROWS, The International News, Pakistan - Pakistan with an estimated 20 million potential clients is among the largest microfinance markets in the world and a substantial portion of existing microfinance clients is located in Lahore, reveals a report. While micro-credit provision is expanding rapidly in Lahore, the total market coverage remained only 13 per cent, notes the report titled “The Dynamics of Microfinance Expansion in Lahore”. It was jointly prepared by Shore Bank International Ltd and Pakistan Microfinance Network to depict the behaviour of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and their clients... Full Article

ENERGY REVOLUTION = MONEY SAVED (Greenpeace) - US$180 billion. Per year. That's the massive amount of money the world could save by moving to a renewable energy future. The Future Investment report demonstrates that a safe renewable energy future would not only cut our global CO2 emissions from the electricity sector in half by 2030, it would also cost 10 times less than a ‘business as usual’ fossil-fuel future would. By shifting global investments to renewable energy (including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and bio energy), within the next 23 years, and away from dirty and dangerous coal and nuclear power, we can save a massive US$180 billion a year... Full Article

HELPING THE HOMELESS ON RAMADAN, By Michael Naughton, Boston Globe: Waves of people streamed in and out of the Tobin Community Center in Roxbury as part of the second annual National Humanitarian Day for the Homeless. During Ramadan, Muslims fast and are encouraged by their faith to assist the needy, volunteers at the center said yesterday. "We always try to be charitable, especially during this month. It helps all of us to fulfill that obligation, and we end up seeing a lot of smiles," said Mona Ahmad, a Saugus resident who also volunteered at last year's event. "We're fasting, but realize how very blessed we are because we have food we can eat and some don't ... " Full Article

INDIA JOB SCHEME 'DISAPPOINTING', By Soutik Biswas, BBC News, Delhi: India's most ambitious scheme ever to lift people out of poverty has met with largely disappointing results in its first year, studies suggest.  The $2.2bn scheme, which was launched by the Congress-led government in 200 districts, guarantees 100 days of work a year for every rural home.  It has been described as India's New Deal for the poor in a country where 70% of its people live in villages. Critics say the scheme squanders public money and builds wasteful assets. The National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme was launched in February last year to provide employment to millions of people in India's poorest villages to work on building local infrastructure like village roads, small dams, ponds and buildings ... Full Article

INDIA’S INTERNAL PARTITION, By Ramachandra Guha, The New York Times: ...As it happened, my first Muslim friend was a Pakistani I met in America. In the mid-1980s, the economist Tariq Banuri and I, both teaching at East Coast universities, were part of a colloquium on third-world development. Our bond was partly intellectual and partly linguistic, for we had grown up speaking Hindustani, that wonderful hybrid of Hindi and Urdu that was once the lingua franca of much of the Indian subcontinent. My hometown, Dehradun, and Tariq’s, Peshawar, lay at opposite ends of what was once a common cultural zone, fractured by the partition ... Full Article

AFTER 60 YEARS, WILL PAKISTAN BE REBORN? By Mohsin Hamid, The New York Times: ...In the 1960s, my mother’s family moved to Lahore, which had been the cultural and governmental center of Punjab Province before the region was ripped apart at independence. By then, Pakistan’s economy had begun to boom. My parents speak of cinemas showing the latest films, colleges producing idealistic graduates, and young couples walking along the banks of the River Ravi. Yet Pakistan’s true glory at that time was the southern port of Karachi, where my uncle, then a young banker, went to live. It was, he says, a vibrant and cosmopolitan city, a place of cafes and sea breezes and visiting international flight crews; it hummed with the energy and ingenuity of millions of former refugees who had come from India ... Full Article

“IFAD” STARTS A GLOBAL INITIATIVE TO REDUCE THE COST OF REMITTANCES SERVICES (Sarid) - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in cooperation with the European Commission, Luxembourg, the UN Capital Development Fund, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor and the Inter-American Development Bank, has launched a global initiative to try to reduce the cost of remittances services, where workers living in foreign countries send money back to their families, to rural households ... Full Article

INDIA'S MODEL DEMOCRACY, By Mukul Kesavan, BBC News: ...Pluralist nationalism in the 19th century was invented as an answer to the specific challenges of contemporary colonialism. It was founded on the claim that the anti-colonial Indian National Congress could speak for the nation-in-the-making because its membership included representatives of all of India's human species. The challenge of representing India to a hostile colonial state and then the trauma of Partition committed the republican state to pluralist democracy. Pluralism, a stratagem born of weakness (the early nationalist elite had no other way of demonstrating that they represented anyone but themselves), became the cornerstone of Indian political practice ... Full Artile

EUROPEAN UNION AIDS NEPAL FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY (Agencies) -The European Union (EU) will supporting Nepal with 15 million euros ($US 20 million) for implementation of the Renewable Energy Project that will provide solar energy to nearly 300 villages in 21 remote districts in Nepal, noted The Kathmandu Post last week. The project aims to create renewable energy infrastructure in rural areas in order to facilitate income generation, sustainable growth and delivery of social services, thus alleviating poverty in this South Asian country, said a press release issued by EU several days ago (,, Kathmandu Post).

BANGLADESH GETS $100 MILLION LOAN FOR EDUCATION (Reuters, India) - The World Bank has approved a $100 million loan, its third, to help Bangladesh in its efforts to reform its education sector. The loan is meant for an education sector project focused on improving quality and access in the country's secondary education system, a World Bank statement said on Saturday. Gross primary enrolment rates in Bangladesh are around 90 percent, and the secondary enrolment rate has more than doubled to 57 percent over the past two decades ... Full Article

AFGHANISTAN JOINS WORLD'S LARGEST REGIONAL ORGANIZATION (Radio Free Afghanistan) - The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) completed its 14th summit today in New Delhi with pledges of greater cooperation between member states, despite some doubts whether those promises will materialize into concrete action. South Asian leaders meeting at the SAARC summit urged the regional economic group today to move beyond words and start taking action toward its goals ... Full Article

CHEAPER, MORE EFFICIENT SOLAR CELLS (MIT Technology Review) - Much more efficient solar cells may soon be possible as a result of technology that more efficiently captures and uses light. StarSolar, a startup based in Cambridge, MA, aims to capture and use photons that ordinarily pass through solar cells without generating electricity. The company, which is licensing technology developed at MIT, claims that its designs could make it possible to cut the cost of solar cells in half while maintaining high efficiency. This would make solar power about as cheap as electricity from the electric grid ... Full Article

IS A SOUTH ASIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT SAILING DOWN? (Khaleej Times) - The hoped for trade cooperation in South Asia remains a dream, six decades down the line. Even the much trumpeted South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), by some accounts, seems to be sailing down to the sea — the Indian Ocean, unless the region’s leaders cooperate ... Full Article

COLLECTIVE EFFORTS STRESSED TO ERADICATE POVERTY (Daily Times) - Speakers at a seminar organised by the South Asia for Human Rights on Friday stressed the need for greater cooperation among South Asian countries to improve the humanitarian conditions in the region. Speaking on the occasion, journalist Kuldip Nayar said South Asian states should make collective efforts to eradicate poverty in the region ... Full Article

INDIA'S POOR CAN JOIN THE CALL-CENTRE REVOLUTION (Guardian Unlimited) - Although the glancing relationship - and glaring contrast - between the rich and poor Indias has struck onlookers for decades, the rise to world prominence of the country's IT industry has given it new poignancy. Some go as far as to argue that up till now the financial benefits of India's remarkable IT success have been felt as much by foreign companies and their shareholders as by Indians, apart from a wealthy few ... Full Article

CROWD CONTROLS (Boston Globe) - After the 1997 Asian crash, economist Joseph Stiglitz began to ask whether the IMF's laissez-faire policy was flawed, and whether capital market controls might be called for. With the latest sell-off, Stiglitz may be winning the argument. When the Shanghai stock index dropped 9 percent on Feb. 27, touching off sharp slides in markets across the globe, many were quick to recall the Asian financial crisis ... Full Article

SOUTH ASIA UNIVERSITY BECOMES A REALITY (Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka) - The proposed South Asia University will start its first academic term in August, 2009 at New Delhi in India, opening education opportunities for 200-250 Sri Lankan students as well. The university will be established on an earlier proposal by Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to the SAARC summit as a move to promote regional co-operation ... Full Article

A BILLION SOUTH ASIANS LIVE ON LESS THAN $2 A DAY (The DAWN, Pakistan) - The number of people living on $2 a day has grown to over one billion in South Asia in recent years from 821 million in 1981. This demonstrates how little the latest macro economic growth has trickled down to the poor in this “poorest region of the world”.  South Asia’s share in the global income is just 7 per cent while one-fifth of the world’s population and 43 per cent of the world’s poor live here, the “Human Development in South Asia 2006” report prepared by the Mahbub ul Haq Development Centre says ... Full Article

250,000 LOW-COST HOUSES PLANNED IN PAKISTAN (Dawn, Pakistan) - The government will construct 250,000 low-cost housing units to provide cheap accommodation facility to the low-income group. The Minister of State for Finance, Omar Ayub Khan, said in his budget speech on Saturday that low-cost housing scheme would be started in collaboration with the provincial and district governments for which the House Building Finance Corporation would provide soft loans. He said under the scheme an estimated number of 250,000 units would be constructed in the next five years ... Full Article

WORK TO BEGIN ON WORLD'S BIGGEST SOLAR POWER PLANT (Boston Globe) - South Korea plans to break ground for the world's biggest solar power plant today as it tries to diversify its power sources and use cleaner energy. The $170 million plant, along with the world's largest tidal power plant already under construction off the country's west coast, is part of an aggressive effort to seek new and renewable energy sources amid rising global concern about reducing the emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases ... Full Article

"GLOBAL WARMING TO DEVASTATE INDIAN COAST" (Reuters) - Towns and cities along India's eastern coast will be devastated with global warming intensifying cyclones and rising sea levels eroding vast stretches of the shoreline, a climate official said on Friday. Experts warn that as temperatures rise, the Indian subcontinent -- home to about one-sixth of humanity -- will be badly hit with more frequent and more severe natural disasters such as floods and storms and more disease and hunger ... Full Article

PRINCETON TO INTRODUCE SOUTH ASIAN STUDIES PROGRAM (Daily Princetonian) - Following pressure from students to increase its course offerings focusing on South Asia, Princeton University plans to add a certificate in South Asian studies to its curriculum as part of a broader push to expand its ethnic studies programs in previously underrepresented regions. The certificate program, which will fall under the auspices of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS), is awaiting final approval by a faculty vote on May 14 ... Full Article

THE YEAR IN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY REVIEW (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Technology Review) - A look back at advances in renewable energy technologies during 2006: Reducing costs of converting wood chips and switch grass to fuels; mainstreaming hybrid plug-in cars; making long-life lithium-ion batteries that don't explode; and developing better production methods to get cheap energy from the sun. Unfortunately, much energy policy is geared towards coal as a cheap source ... Full Article

RECYCLED RUBBER TYRES COULD CLEAN WATER (New Scientist) - An environmental engineer claims that old rubber tyres can filter water four times faster than conventional systems, but scale up and leaching of toxic matter need to be examined more. The suggestion is interesting and plausible, says Sean Moran, an environmental engineer who runs Expertise Limited in the UK. “But I can see there being a lot of difficulties taking it from lab stage to full scale” ... Full Article

WILL POVERTY ALLEVIATION REMAIN A FAR CRY IN SOUTH ASIA? (The Daily Star, Bangladesh) - Euphoria over the Nobel peace award for Bangladesh must not lead to the impression that milk and honey would flow for the poor since still much needs to be done in the area of rural development and poverty alleviation. In fact, the poverty that is discernible is simply the tip of the iceberg and much deeper problems lie beneath. It is important that such problems be identified more accurately and concerted drives are launched to resolve them as far as possible with greater success ... Full Story

DON’T FORGET SOUTH ASIA: Harvard should dedicate resources to the modern study of this region (The Harvard Crimson) - The study of modern South Asia — its politics, economics, culture, and history — has become a profoundly important academic endeavor, especially in light of the region’s growing influence in the international arena ... Full Article

PAKISTAN WILLING TO DROP KASHMIR CLAIM (Boston Globe) - President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Tuesday that Pakistan is willing to give up its claim to Kashmir if India reciprocates and agrees to self-governance in the disputed Himalayan region that they have fought over for decades. The comments, in an interview aired by India's NDTV network, were among Musharraf's strongest yet to encourage a settlement in the bitter, 58-year dispute since the South Asian rivals began peace talks nearly three years ago ... Full Article

SURVIVING THE PAKISTAN EARTHQUAKE (Fritz Institute) - A report assessing the beneficiary perceptions of aid effectiveness suggests that one year after the devastating earthquake, the level of self-sufficiency among the affected has dropped significantly. Dissatisfaction with the aid received stemmed from a perceived lack of equity and a perceived lack of understanding of the discomfort of the affected by the providers of assistance. Consultation with beneficiaries to align goods and services with needs, and more transparent distribution processes would greatly enhance beneficiary satisfaction ... Full Article

PRESTIGIOUS AWARD FOR PAKISTANI ORGANISATION (Dawn, Pakistan) - A Pakistani organisation has won the World Habitat Award-2006 for its efforts to improve housing conditions. Princess Zahra received the award in Naples on Monday on behalf of the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services (AKPBS), says a press release issued here. It is the second time that a Pakistani organisation has won the prestigious award ... Full Article

CLEANING UP WATER WITH NANOMAGNETS (MIT Technology Review) - It may seem an unlikely way to clean up drinking water, but scientists at Rice University, in Houston, have found that nanoparticles of rust can be used to remove arsenic with a simple wave of a magnet ... Full Article

FEMALE AFGHAN MINISTER PUSHES FOR RIGHTS (Washington Post) - Ghazanfar, the fourth female minister since the fall of the Taliban, was appointed by President Hamid Karzai in August. But like her predecessors, she is up against provincial warlords who continue to refuse women and girls the right to education and even to leave their homes ... Full Article

CANADIAN MINISTER VISITS AFGHANISTAN, PROMISES MORE AID (Sarid) - Josée Verner, Canadian Minister of International Cooperation, announced today that Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), will provide nearly $5 million for emergency food aid for tens of thousands of families in Kandahar Province. The minister also announced nearly $6 million to finance reconstruction and repair of roads and bridges in Kandahar, as well as to help build rural community services such as clinics and agricultural supports for Afghan farmers and villagers ... Full Article

HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW SOUTH ASIA (Sarid) - “India is the world’s second fastest growing economy and boasts one of the world’s most dynamic and innovative business communities,” said Thomas A. Stewart, editor and managing director of Harvard Business Review.  "We’re delighted by this partnership and the chance to bring HBR’s blend of practical wisdom and scholarly acumen to a growing and increasingly influential South Asian audience ... ” Full Article

SNOW ADDS TO MISERY OF QUAKE SURVIVORS (Dawn, Pakistan) - Residents of the areas devastated by the October 8 earthquake began to experience a harsh winter on Sunday as snow fell somewhat early in parts of the NWFP and Azad Kashmir. Receiving first snow of the season, the Lowari Pass that connects Chitral with the rest of the country was closed to vehicular traffic. Dozens of Chitral-bound vehicles were stranded in Upper Dir where up to one foot snow was recorded ... Full Article

ICE-MELT ISOLATES REMOTE COMMUNITIES IN CANADA (Reuters) - Aboriginal communities in Ontario's far north are becoming increasingly isolated as rising temperatures melt their winter route to the outside world and impede their access to supplies. "The ice doesn't have its solid blue color any more," said Stan Beardy, the grand chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which represents Ontario's remote First Nations. "It's more like Styrofoam now, really brittle" ... Full Article

FEWER GROOMS FOR KASHMIRI WOMEN (BBC News) - Seventeen years of insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir have left a distinct mark not only on the region's politics, but also on its social and cultural fabric. And it is most noticeable in a slow, but gradual, change in the life of Kashmiri women as new trends are emerging ... Full Article




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