Since the International Contact Group was formed in late 2009 to work with the Malaysian Facilitator in peace talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), I have traveled back and forth to Kuala Lumpur often.
On February 10, 36 people were killed in a stampede at the Allahabad railway station. Allahabad, located in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, is the second-oldest city in India and plays a central role in the Hindu scriptures. Most of those caught in the stampede were devotees traveling to attend the sacred Maha Kumbh Mela, a massive Hindu religious festival held every 12th year in Allahabad. While planning to travel to the festival ourselves, news of the stampede was concerning. Taking in the reports from our offices in Delhi, we became increasingly skeptical that the authorities could pull off an event of the Kumbh’s magnitude. We were surprised by what we found.
In Asia editor Alma Freeman recently caught up with author and social media expert Beth Kanter after a talk held at The Asia Foundation’s headquarters, organized by the Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy. Named one of the most influential women in technology by Fast Company
When the Afghan government quietly appointed Shah Bibi Saeedi to what may be the most dangerous job in Afghanistan, it was an easy decision: she was the only person who had dared to apply. On Saturday, the 44-year-old doctor became the new director of women’s affairs for the eastern province of Laghman.
Kiki, a registrations clerk at Cipinang Prison in Jakarta, glanced at his pile of paperwork with a degree of resignation. It was April 2009, and he was responding to three summons letters from the prosecutor’s office and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for 92 inmates to appear in court the next day.
Driving from the airport down the gridlocked streets of Yangon – with people of all ages going about their business in patterned longyis – it’s hard not to notice the dozens of billboards jutting out at eye level advertising web services and brand name mobile devices. Though mobile and internet penetration rates are still very low (no higher than four and two percent, respectively, of Burma’s 50 million people), senior leadership in the government, NGOs, and the private sector is increasingly focused on improving the country’s existing technology infrastructure. These collective efforts to loosen censorship laws, extend telecommunications licenses to foreign operators, and develop new legal frameworks for eGovernment and information and communications technology (ICT) are likely to not only ramp up mobile penetration rates, but also bring greater access to information for Burma’s citizens.