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RECENT AFFAIRS: Articles that have appeared on the SARID website within the last three months:

To Afghanistan, With Wind, By Eloise Gibson, The New Zealand Herald - An isolated Afghanistan valley is home to that country's first wind farm, courtesy of a team of Timaru engineers. Tony Woods, of the sustainable development firm Empower, and his team spent a year in the Panjshir valley, pulling apart American-made turbines, hauling them up steep, dizzying, gravel roads, then putting them back together above the snow line.... full artilele

Silencing India: Can Technology Solve the Nation's Noise Pollution?, by Sramana Mitra, Forbes -  My new year begins with a talk on Jan. 2 at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur's entrepreneurship week conference. As I speak to the young aspiring entrepreneurs at one of India's premier technical schools, I will urge them to look for the mute button on that remote control to silence India. I will urge them to look for solutions to India's looming water crisis. I will urge them to think of green housing and lifestyles that are not so dependent on cars... full article

Gilani Seeks Scientists’ Help to Overcome Food, Energy Crises - Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday urged the country’s engineers and scientists to help overcome the current energy and food crises through innovative solutions. “Engineers and scientists can help provide ingenious solutions to overcome these issues. In fact, they must remain in forefront to resolve such critical national matters,” he said... full article

ECODESIGN - A Manual for Ecological Design, Book by Ken Yeang Published by Wiley-Academy, 2006 - Author demonstrates how to produce and maintain ecosystem-like structures and systems whose content and outputs not only integrate benignly with the natural environment, but whose built form and systems function with sensitivity to the locality's ecology as well in relation to global biospheric processes... more about this one and related books

Harvard University Unveils New Green Housing Center, by Mairi Beautyman -- Interior Design: Harvard University graduate students have a new green housing complex to call their home away from home. Designed by architect Kyu Sung Woo, the 115,000 square foot six-story 10 Akron Street project is expected to land a high LEED rating for its sustainable design from the U.S. Green Building Council. Located on the scenic Charles River... full article

Featured Video: Deeper Shades of Green, a series of video podcasts for the PBS series e2 design. Each podcast takes you beyond the episodes and deeper into the world of sustainable design. This episode focuses on remarkable thinkers and designers of our time: Ken Yeang, Werner Sobek and William McDonough, who are challenging society and environmental design philosophically, psychologically, technically, aesthetically, politically, and culturally... video

Sustainable Development Partnerships (SDP) - SDP invites you to consider participating in or creating public-private partnerships to promote sustainable development around the world. These partnerships, which combine the resources of governments, international organizations, civil society, academia, and the private sector, are successfully promoting economic growth, social development and environmental stewardship in the developed and developing world... website link

Poetic Licence: Low-cost Cities: an Innovative New Concept for Urban Development, by Kaleem Omar, Daily Times Pakistan (November 24, 2002): The concept has emerged out of an e-mail discussion on new approaches for the development of urban communities conducted by Anjuman Mimaran, a Lahore-based association of architects, town planners and other design professionals In recent years, there has been a lot of talk in Pakistan and other developing countries about low-cost housing as an answer to the growing housing shortage... full article

Green Builder Targets Middle Class With $225,000 Homes, by Wendy Bounds, Wall Streer Journal: Last Friday, the seventh annual GreenBuild Expo wrapped up in Boston. The stock market swooned that week but such woes seemed lost on the buoyant crowd of builders and vendors...One of the more cautiously optimistic on hand was builder Clark Wilson from Austin, Texas. His 18-month old company Green Builders Inc. is targeting a sector often written off in green housing: the middle class... full article

Window of Opportunity in Affordable Housing - Though at a nascent stage still, ‘affordable housing’ in India holds great potential and could redefine the contours of Indian real estate, M. Murali, The Hindu Business Line -  The classic response to a ‘demand slowdown’ is to cut prices in the short term, lower profits, and encourage demand to retain the market share. But if there is no scope for price reduction, another strategy would be to identify the market segment... full article

Malaysian Firm to Construct Low-cost Houses for Nairobi Slums, Afrique en ligne: Kenyan authorities have inaugurated a Malaysian low-cost housing construction project in Nairobi's largest informal settlement, Kibera slums, to address a growing housing crisis which has gripped the country and often blamed for the city's bad image as an insecure place. Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga launched the construction project in Kibera Thursday, promising that the government was in the process of launching similar i n itiatives across the country to address a growing housing crisis in Nairobi and other towns... full article

New Delhi Builds Low-cost Housing for its Middle Class - The national capital will soon have a low-cost mass housing project for the middle class, the Minister for Urban Development, Jaipal Reddy. "The Delhi Development Authority will soon come up with exclusive low-cost apartments and residential complexes for the middle class," the Minister said at a news conference last week. 'We are already in the process of identifying large plots in the city to cater to the increasing demand of the middle class,' Reddy said. ( - The Delhi Development Authority)

MALDIVES STILL BEST FOR BUSINESS IN SOUTH ASIA, Emily Reed, MinivanNews - The Maldives has been ranked as the easiest place in to do business in South Asia for the third consecutive year, according to the annual report "Doing Business" from the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The country ranks ninth out of 32 Small Island Developing States (SIDS), of which two thirds "rank in top half on the ease of doing business," the World Bank found... Full Article

WATERS IN INDIA RECEDE, BUT OFFICIALS WARN FLOOD DANGER STILL HIGH, (AFP) - Some villagers began trying to return to their flooded homes in eastern India on Saturday as waters slowly receded, but officials warned the move was risky with a month of heavy rains still left. Almost 900,000 people have been evacuated to higher ground since flood defence walls broke upstream in Nepal almost three weeks ago, shifting the flow of the Kosi river away from its normal course and east onto farmland... Full Article

ARTS AND CULTURE - MANAL DOWAYAN: CREATIVE REPRESENTATIVE FOR HER HERITAGE, by Salma Shakir, Arab News - Manal Dowayan does not just shoot a picture when she looks through her viewfinder. She shares her culture, her heritage and her ideals with the rest of the world. She chooses her subjects very carefully in order to depict something that is very Saudi; her images are of subjective identities and acceptances and yet her portrayals have a distinctively universal appeal. Her photographs exposed in black and white... Full Article

YOUNG 'BIHARIS' ARE BD CITIZENS, SAYS COURT - The DAWN, Pakistan: Bangladesh's High Court ruled on Sunday that the children of Urdu-speaking "Bihari" Muslims awaiting repatriation to Pakistan for 37 years would be granted Bangladeshi citizenship. "The children who were minor in 1971 or born after the independence of Bangladesh are citizens of Bangladesh," the High Court said in a ruling over a petition by a group of Bihari Muslims pleading for Bangladeshi citizenship. "They are also eligible to be enrolled as voters in Bangladesh... FullArticle

UN WARNS OF IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON SOUTH ASIA, UN News Centre - "Climate is a crucial factor in formulating sustainable development strategies, and therefore has an overarching and cross-cutting role in the efforts to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals [MDGs]," said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, referring to the eight anti-poverty targets world leaders pledged to achieve by 2015. "It is essential to help countries reduce climate-induced risks that might oppose the achievement of MDGs... Full Article

ENGLISH WRITING BY PAKISTANI WOMEN, Khademul Islam, The Daily Star, Dhaka - Pakistani writing in English is something we in Bangladesh are not generally aware of. There are several possible reasons for it. One is the troubled history between Bangladesh and Pakistan, which has over the decades seemingly hardened, tragically enough, a cultural divide that was the basis for the 1971 split, and has institutionalized a natural disinclination to enquire too closely at what Pakistani Anglophone writers are up to. Another reason is far more material... Full Article

MICROFINANCE COMMERCIALISATION WARNING, by Tom Burgis, Financial Times, London - The world's biggest banks risk creating a subprime-style crisis for millions of the planet's poorest people if they continue to plough money into the booming microfinance sector, Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel laureate pioneer of microcredit, warned on Monday. In a broadside against the increasing commercialisation of microfinance, Mr Yunus said overseas investors only served to introduce foreign exchange risks and should stay out of the sector... Full Article

SOUTH ASIANS FACE FUEL PRICE RISE, BBC News - Bangladesh and Pakistan have both sharply raised fuel prices again as the cost of crude oil continues to soar. Diesel and kerosene are up by 37.5% a litre in Bangladesh, while the price of a cylinder of cooking gas is up by 66%. In Pakistan, natural gas prices rose by up to 31% on Monday, a day after petrol and diesel prices went up by 10%. Rising fuel costs are contributing to higher food prices around the world. Millions of the poorest people in South Asia have been badly hit... Full Article

SOUTH ASIA BRACES FOR CLIMATE CHANGE FALLOUT, Inam Ahmed, The Daily Star, Bangladesh - Imagine the baby born today in Dhaka. The likelihood is that she will see her birthplace sloshing under water by the time she is at the end of her lifespan. Bangladesh itself will then reduce to 20 percent of its present size. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts 35 million could flee Bangladesh 's flooded delta by 2050. Maldives , Sri Lanka, India , Pakistan or Nepal will not be much better off than Bangladesh, if not worse... Full Article

RENEWABLE ENERGY IS "GREEN GOLD RUSH" - UN REPORT: Michael Szabo, Reuters - In what is being called a "green gold rush," global investment in renewable energy surged some 60 percent to $148 billion in 2007, a UN agency said on Tuesday. Buoyed by soaring fossil-fuel prices and concerns over the carbon dioxide emissions that fuel global warming, investment in clean energy from sources like wind, solar and biofuels last year rose three times faster… Full Article

TOP PAKISTANI BAND TO ROCK FOR PEACE IN KASHMIR, Reuters - Strife-torn Indian Kashmir is set to rock to the beat of music, not bombs, this weekend as the renowned Pakistani band Junoon performs for the region's biggest musical event in nearly two decades in a bid for peace. Junoon, arguably one of South Asia's hottest rock bands, will play on Sunday on the banks of Lake Dal with towering snow-capped Himalayan peaks and ancient Sufi shrines as its backdrop... Full Article

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