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Pakistan launches campaign against measles

Thousands of children in Pakistan succumb to measles every year. All these deaths can be easily prevented with effective immunisation. The government has launched a comprehensive campaign against the disease, which will help protect 63 million children in the country.

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Marching in defence of seed sovereignty

An 18-day march by Indian farmers ended on April 12 at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial in New Delhi. The march was organised by Navdanya Trust to spread awareness on seed and food sovereignty currently facing the onslaught of multinational companies.

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No safe drinking water for all in India yet

Figures compiled by WaterAid disprove the government's claims of providing safe drinking water to over 90% of population. India has yet to do more to reach the Millennium Development Goals in this sector as millions continue to suffer from contaminated water-borne diseases.

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Do not rely on market economy for development: Amartya Sen

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Wednesday said market economy was here to stay but could not be relied upon for developmental tasks.

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Tremendous potential for agriculture in Afghanistan

With its fertile land and abundant rivers, a long-term investment in agricultural infrastructure from donors can make Afghanistan self-sufficient in food, says a UN official. Up to 70% of Afghans are suffering from acute food insecurity due to poverty, drought and years of conflict.

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Attacks on NGOs rise sharply in Afghanistan

There has been a sharp rise in attacks on NGOs by Taliban rebels and criminals in Afghanistan from January to March this year, says a report. This dangerous situation is forcing international aid organisations to recruit locals to change their profile and refrain from visibility.

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Treating nature with reverence

Celebrated Indian wildlife filmmaker Mike Pandey feels that corporate groups should fund documentaries as part of their social responsibilities, which can be used to sensitise urban audiences on the need to preserve nature. He is of the view that most of the policies on environment protection in India remain on paper.

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Braille-equipped voting machines and ramps in Indian state elections

Bowing to the demands of people with disabilities in India, Karnataka’s Election Commission has decided to build ramps at all polling booths and provide Braille-equipped voting machines in the upcoming assembly elections. But this is the fulfillment of just one demand out of many.

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Rise in violence against Pakistani women, says report

A report by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) reveals a spurt in atrocities committed against women in Pakistan. The report highlights a general apathy towards women’s rights in the country noting more than 4,000 registered cases of violence during the past year.

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After 43 years, India-Bangladesh friendship train on track

To bring their bilateral relations back on track, India and Bangladesh flagged off the Maitree (Friendship) Express on April 14, 2008 after more than four decades, coinciding with the Bangla new year. The two countries had suspended cross-border passenger rail service after the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

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Pakistan tables bill to remove media restrictions

As a first legislative step towards getting rid of the remnants of Emergency, the new Pakistani government has tabled a bill in the national assembly seeking to revoke the draconian gag imposed on the country’s electronic media. A separate bill is also round the corner that will undo the restrictions on print media.

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Nepal Maoists in commanding position

That they would be a force to reckon with, nobody denied. But they would do well in the polls has come as a surprise. The results declared so far in Nepal’s Constituent Assembly elections indicate that ensuring a simple majority for the Maoists is now almost a certainty.

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Computerised designs make it tough for Chirala weavers

With the arrival of computer-aided designs, the traditional Chirala saree weavers in southern India have been forced out of business. Despite straining themselves for hours to compete with the computerised mass production, upholders of this unique art are living in abject poverty with no support coming from the state government.

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Indian apex court upholds validity of reservation

In a landmark judgment, Indiareme Court has upheld the law that provides reservation in admissions in central government educational institutions to backward castes. With this the share of reserved seats will be close to 50%. However, the affluent sections from the disadvantaged groups will not be able to gain the preferential treatment.

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Polling in Nepal begins

Nepals historic poll began early this morning. About 17.6 million eligible voters will have a choice to elect a Constituent Assembly that will decide the fate of the 240-year old Shah dynasty in the country.

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Indian citizens write to PM to protect social sector interests

Prominent citizens of India have written to the Prime Minister urging him to reconsider the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Bill, 2006. The proposed law gives authorities the arbitrary power to refuse or cancel registration of organisations, which may put NGOs critical of government policies at risk.

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Most Indians spending from pockets on health

Despite India’s ambitious National Rural Health Mission in action, rural health services remain poor, lack infrastructure, staff and essential medicines. At a recent meet at the capital, policymakers, experts, activists and the media examined the lacunae and discussed future strategies.

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Protracted struggle forces ADB to pull out of Phulbari

Asian Development Bank withdrawing from controversial Phulbari coal mining project in Bangladesh is being seen as a major victory for human rights movement. Drawing inspiration from this success, national and international civil society groups are now urging other financial institutions to pull the rug from under the British mining company.

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Limited human movement on Indo-Nepal border

Nepal has sealed its border with India ahead of polling for security reasons. At least 20 people are reported to have died in election-related violence, including yesterday’s killing of a candidate from a prominent party. Final preparations are on with poll officials reaching 21,000 polling stations dotting the country.

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End of a violent campaign in Nepal

Cadres of Maoists and other political parties in Nepal continued to clash with each other until the last day of campaigning. Over 200 poll-related incidents of violence in the last one month have been recorded. It is now to be seen how peacefully the elections take place on April 10.

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