By Marwaan Macan-Markar
BATAM, Indonesia, Sep 18 (Asian Eye) - Until civil society activists from across the world gathered here for a three-day meeting, this Indonesian island had attracted attention for two other reasons -- HIV/AIDS and Singaporean business.
Batam has one of the highest rates of the pandemic in Indonesia. A few billboards on the side of roads warning about the dangers of HIV/AIDS elaborate this point. Yet it has not stopped a thriving activity of karaoke bars and massage parlours in some quarters.
By Marwaan Macan-Markar
BATAM, Indonesia, Sep 17 (IPS) - Civil society organisations gathered on this island, ahead of the annual meeting of the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in neighbouring Singapore, have launched a 'global charter' demanding transparency from the finance institutions.
TEHRAN, Sep 5 (IPS) - Nothing could be more misleading than the stereotyped image of life in Iran, as projected by the western media, as one of bearded men throwing stones at embassies and women peering out of slits in heavy, black veils.
At closer range, the lives of Iranians offer a far more colourful and vivid picture, although the establishment is doing its best to make the public conform to the image that already exists in the minds of foreigners.
KYOTO, Aug 29 (IPS) - While delegates to the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP) keep highlighting the value of religion in resolving conflicts, the discussions at the 8th assembly, underway here, are decidedly political.
But, with many high-profile figures from the troubled Middle East such as Jordan's Prince El Hassan bin Talal, Chief Rabbi David Rosen from Israel and former Iranian president Seyed Mohammad Khatami present for the four-day meet, it is considered natural for discussions, particularly informal ones, to veer towards the political.
SINGAPORE, Aug 24 (IPS) - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has warned that Singaporeans will either have to produce more babies or they would have to welcome more migrants to sustain economic growth and living standards.
Giving his National Day speech, Sunday, Lee pointed out that at current birth rates Singapore will need an extra 14,000 babies each year to ensure that there are enough people to sustain the economy.
A slew of policies introduced two years ago to boost birth rates, such as longer maternity leave and infant care subsidies, have had no visible effects
BANGKOK, Aug 11 (IPS) - When the Thai government accepted men who have sex with men (MSM) as a vulnerable community in the country's fight against AIDS, earlier this year, it gave them hope of being covered under HIV prevention programmes.
It was an unprecedented gesture, bringing to an end over two decades of silence, since governments in Bangkok had chosen to ignore the spread of the killer disease among the country's homosexuals and bisexuals. ''That was the first time that MSM were identified as the most at risk
NARAYANGHAT, Aug 9 (IPS) - Nearly four months after successfully pushing the fight against royal dictatorship, community radio stations in Nepal are at the forefront of another revolution -- turning the airwaves into an educational medium for constitutional reforms.
BANGKOK, Jul 31 (IPS) - It was inevitable: Singapore had to bare the police state soul that lurks behind its modern steel-and-glass buildings and elegant shopping emporia. And who better to have as partner in crime than the World Bank.
The occasion was the announcement by a senior police official in the affluent city-state that street protests and demonstrations, during the mid-September meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), have been banned.
KATHMANDU, Jul 21 (IPS) - Four months ago he was the one figure in Nepal everyone turned to for a solution to political deadlock. Today King Gyanendra is reduced to a shadow, although a persistent one, hovering over a delicate peace process being carried out by the government and Maoist rebels.
Analysis by Praful Bidwai
NEW DELHI, Jul 19 (IPS) - After securing sympathy and support for fighting terrorism from the G-8 grouping of the world's wealthiest countries in St. Petersburg, the Indian government is coming under pressure to harden its response to last week's Mumbai serial bombings, which killed 200 people.