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Aghanistan's war widows face desperation

Over 1.5 million young women have been widowed in Afghanistan owing to armed conflicts over the last two decades. Food, shelter and social protection are the most pressing needs for these women and their children with most of them lacking the economic means to earn a decent living.

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Loan waivers in offing for Indian farmers

A massive debt relief package for farmers is being finalised by India’s agriculture ministry. The scheme will provide debt relief to small and marginal farmers who own land up to two hectares and large farmers. The total outgoings over four years are expected to be around INR 700 billion.

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Food getting beyond reach for Bangladeshi poor

Bangladesh’s poor are increasingly finding it difficult to buy food. Increase in wages across sectors over last year is disproportionate to the overall rise in food prices, which have increased by 27% in last four months alone. Recurring floods and cyclones destroying standing crops have only added to the woes.

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UN's global campaign for safe hospitals

Hundreds of hospitals and heath facilities get destroyed every year by disasters. The UN has recently launched a global campaign to ensure that the needy are not left without vital care in the midst of an emergency.

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Bangladesh dolphins are not breathing easy

River dolphins of Bangladesh are facing a serious risk of extinction due to over-fishing, shortage of prey, pollution, etc. Efforts are now being made to protect them by monitoring salinity levels of rivers and preventing accidental killings of dolphins by fishermen.

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Indian schools suffer from lack of infrastructure

About 30% of schools in India are without permanent structures, about 14% have no drinking water facility and about 60% have no separate toilets for girls, according to the latest official figures. It is obvious that lack of infrastructure has impact on quality of education.

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Most of world’s stunted children live in India, says Lancet

India is home to 61 million stunted children – more than half the total number of kids under the age of five and 34% of the world’s young ones. The diminutive growth is attributed to malnutrition during pregnancy and first two years of birth, says The Lancet report, underlining the importance of ‘golden interval of intervention’.

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WSF supporters bring adverse effects of globalisation to the fore

On January 26, while India was busy celebrating its Republic Day, some at its commercial capital Mumbai were taking out processions to mark the World Social Forum’s Global Day of Action to insist that ‘Another World is Possible’.

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Bird flu panic in Bangladesh

Avian influenza or bird flu continues to spread in Bangladesh, with 84 poultry farms now affected. Health officials are worried over the lack of awareness among local people and are monitoring workers who took part in the culling.

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Prostitution: All in the name of tradition

While the men folk of north India’s nomadic Bedia tribe live a parasitic life, women of their community remain unmarried and are pushed into sex trade in the name of tradition. The men have refused to mend their ways for the simple reason that it frees them of the burden of earning.

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UN and the Afghan government urge for aid

Food crisis in Afghanistan is deepening by the day. Afghan government has expressed its inability to tackle the food insecurity on its own and has appealed together with the UN for US $ 80 million assistance to avert this humanitarian tragedy.

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Protests in Sri Lanka against remarks by UN official

UN Human Rights High Commissioner seemed to have rubbed some Sri Lankan nationalists the wrong way when she remarked in the wake of recent termination of ceasefire that human rights violators could face trial in international courts. People’s Liberation Front and other groups have taken umbrage at her comments and are fuming.

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New cyber law in Pakistan restricts free speech

Activists in Pakistan have come heavily on an ordinance to curb electronic crime. The government’s move of prohibiting the use of Internet and SMS is being seen as curtailment of freedom of expression and civil liberties. Pakistanis were extensively using blog sites to criticise the state of affairs in the country.

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Bird flu engulfs half of West Bengal

Almost half of West Bengal in eastern India is in the grip of bird flu. Anxiety is growing in Kolkata, which is perilously close to one of the affected districts. Resistance of farmers to culling due to inadequate compensation is further complicating the situation.

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March to link people to their struggles

Taking a leaf out of the Nandigram struggle against Special Economic Zones, several organisations across India are joining hands to press for people-centric approach in development. Starting January 26, the day when the country was declared a republic, they will march through various states bringing people on the ground together.

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Hunger and education do not go well together

For parents grappling with poverty, sending kids to school is difficult; for teachers it is hard to keep them at school when they are always hungry. Nepal is faced with a problem of children either not enrolling or dropping out due to widespread hunger.

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Go for integrated health strategies to save children, says UNICEF

More than 26,000 children die everyday in the world before they see their fifth birthday. Along with sub-Saharan Africa, India has been identified with high under-five mortality in UNICEF’s new report on the state of the world’s children. It calls for community-level integration of essential services to arrest this disturbing phenomenon.

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Link communities to resources for realisation of MDGs

A Dalit-centric policy framework can help the disadvantaged community to have a greater say in local and national programmes and their implementation, says a report released this month by the people’s campaign Wada Na Todo Abhiyan.

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ILO advocates labour reform to tackle poverty

International Labour Organisation’s new report says that ending poverty in South Asia will require labour market reforms coupled with economic progress. The report notes that instances of extreme poverty have impressively come down in the last decade but proportion of working poor continues to remain high in the region.

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Sri Lanka: Economy flourished during truce

The six-year long ceasefire between Sri Lankan government and Tamil tigers had seen the economy grow by an annual average of over 12% in the war-affected north-east. The Sinhala-dominated southern and western parts too had gained. It now remains to be seen where the current hostilities will lead the economy.

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