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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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Middle class sheds inhibition to buy subsidised rice

Not just the poor, it is also the middle class in Bangladesh who can be found standing in queues to buy subsidised rice. The sharp rise in prices of rice and other food commodities have left people below poverty line spending as much as 70% of their earnings in buying food items.

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Indian villages are new tourist hotspots

Who had ever heard the names of villages like Purushwadi and Kohane in Maharashtra? But they are now hotspots for rural tourism enthusiasts. If it is opening a new horizon for the villagers, then urbanites too are learning a thing or two about India’s villages.

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UN warns of violence ahead of Nepal polls

Campaign is in full swing for the historic April 10 Constituent Assembly polls in Nepal. In its final assessment report, the UN has urged political groups to refrain from violent and intimidating tactics. The report also says that there have been attempts to buy votes using state resources

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UN to stay in Afghanistan, says Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary-General has assured Afghanistan that his agency will not move out of the country as long as development needs of the strive-torn nation are not met. He warned that the cost of disengagement would be far greater than the cost of engagement and underlined the need for continued effort by international community.

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Indian women to defend frontiers

India's Border Security Force will recruit women guards in a combat role along its borders with Pakistan in the west and Bangladesh in the east, the most common points for militant entries. To begin with, women guards will take on frisking duties and monitor human trafficking and drug smuggling.

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Cry for my beloved country

When recently Bhutan took its first steps towards democracy, the international community and media showered praise on its monarch. But for those living in exile for past 17 years and more, will this herald a new chapter in their lives and will they be able to return to the land that they consider their own?

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Tracking maternal mortality the low-cost way

Researchers from India and the United Kingdom have developed an inexpensive surveillance system for measuring maternal mortality, which could eventually guide policymakers in protecting maternal health.

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Rural job scheme excludes single women

Participation of Indian women in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is an important intervention towards their empowerment. A recent survey of the scheme in western India reveals that single women have been denied its benefits due to conventional definition of male-headed households that treat them as dependents, says journalist Kiran Bhatty.

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Muslim women challenge patriarchal marriage code

Tired of living in a world governed by marriage laws formulated and implemented by men, Muslim women in India have come out with their own Nikahnama. It recognises their right to seek divorce and other entitlements so that they are the masters of their own destiny.

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Muslims demand more resource allocation

A budgetary allocation for the welfare of minorities in the union budget for the financial year 2008-09 is far short of expectations, say Muslim organisations, who recently held a demonstration in the Indian capital to demand a better deal from the government.

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Include women in governance agenda: Women's Charter Against Poverty

To mark the International Women's Day, Indian anti-poverty network Wada Na Todo Abhiyan has released a report highlighting the recommendations of the Women's Tribunal Against Poverty held in October last year. The charter against poverty reinforces the demand for women's access to power, resources and services.

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