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By Walden Bello
The Aquino administration has very good press these days—outside the country. In two major international publications, the Philippines under President Aquino has been the toast and talk of the town. In early February, Keith Bradsher recently gave a heads up in a much-read New York Times piece where he wrote: “Political analysts say that his administration has fought and reduced the corruption that played a role in holding the Philippines back. In one practical measure of that change, the country has been able to pave more roads per 100 million pesos in spending (about $2.2 million) than before — when funds were lost to corrupt officials and incompetence — finally addressing an impediment to commerce.”
By Naomi Wolf
Sometimes countries suddenly take a mighty leap forward, forcing everyone else to take notice. On one critical issue—sexual harassment and rape—India has moved far into the lead. Following a number of brutal rapes that became notorious worldwide, Indian women are pushing back in radical, innovative, and transformational ways.
By Juan L. Mercado
Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen posed a simple question in his new book, “An Uncertain Glory.” Where do more than 600 million Indians defecate? asked this Cambridge and Harvard professor. “Half of all Indians have no toilet.” That triggered an international uproar.
By Conrado de Quiros
It brought to mind again something I saw in Bangladesh in the mid-1990s. We were in a village that was struggling to crawl up to the 20th century, never mind the 21st. The village prided itself with an elementary school that drew kids from neighboring villages. Most of the living quarters there were just small huts made of thatch and mud and stone, except for the principal’s which stood on hollow blocks. Useful, one of our guides said with a laugh, for when he beat up his wife. Apparently, wife-beating was fairly common there. The hollow blocks helped mute the sounds of violence and keening, which allowed the principal to keep up his high standing in the neighborhood.
By Walden Bello
Women’s rights have been in the forefront of international concern over the last few weeks.
IT IS with great sadness and foreboding that we watch the news from Syria. The civil war has already claimed over 44,000 lives, and even though it seems to be entering its final phases it looks set to consume many more. The latest developments are worrying, precisely because they show steady but incremental rebel advances; [...]
By Davinder Kumar
Five-year-old Aliya thinks it is some kind of a game she must soon master to be a winner. From the time she wakes up till she goes to bed, Aliya watches her mother and all girls and women in her neighborhood consumed in a frantic race. They all make beedis—the traditional hand-rolled Indian cigarettes.
By Amando Doronila
AGRA, INDIA—Agra, once the capital of the Mughal Empire during the 16th and early 18th centuries, is one and a half hours by express train from New Delhi. Around 10,000 tourists visit Agra not to see the ruins of the red sandstone fortresses built by the Mughal emperors but to make a pilgrimage to Taj Mahal, India’s most famous architectural wonder, in a land where magnificent temples and edifices abound to remind visitors about the rich civilization of a country that is slowly but surely lifting itself into an industrialized society.
By Jaswant Singh
Like monsoon flurries, recent events in the Indian subcontinent have sent conflicting signals. Has Indian diplomacy finally awakened after its long summer siesta, or is this just an illusion?
By Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
In the news in India and all over the world is anticorruption activist Anna Hazare who began a hunger strike that led to similar protests in India. The latest issue of Time magazine carries a half-page photo of him with the caption, “Why does Delhi fear this man? Anticorruption activist Anna Hazare is surrounded by [...]
By Shashi Tharoor
NEW DELHI—Every year, during India’s rainy season, there is, equally predictably, a “monsoon session” of Parliament. And, every year, there seems to be increasing debate about which is stormier—the weather or the legislature. Consider the current session, which began on Aug. 1. The opening day was adjourned, in keeping with traditional practice, to mourn the [...]
By Rafael Juan Alfredo M. Luz
TWO YEARS ago, Dharavi was the setting for “Slumdog Millionaire,” the movie that won the Oscar for Best Picture. It is a 175-hectare slum in the heart of Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in India. But despite the horrible living conditions there, it has over 10,000 registered and unregistered businesses. This slum of one million inhabitants produces [...]