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Hot emerging markets? The curious case of the Philippines and Mexico

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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.”

Posted: March 22nd, 2014 in Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

India’s women on the march

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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.

Posted: February 1st, 2014 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

‘Absurd paradox’

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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.

Posted: July 26th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The villain

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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.

Posted: January 1st, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Women’s rights: Turning point in India, triumph in Manila

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Women’s rights have been in the forefront of international concern over the last few weeks.

Posted: December 28th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Viewpoints | Read More »

The defenseless

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; [...]

Posted: December 27th, 2012 in Editor's Pick,Editorial | Read More »

India’s tobacco girls

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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.

Posted: June 14th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The secrets of Taj Mahal

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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.

Posted: December 23rd, 2011 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

India’s neighborhood watch

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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?

Posted: August 31st, 2011 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Hazare in Gandhi’s footsteps

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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 [...]

Posted: August 25th, 2011 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

India’s functioning anarchy

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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 [...]

Posted: August 18th, 2011 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

A walk thru Dharavi

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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 [...]

Posted: July 28th, 2011 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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