South Asian - Bangladesh sets election for Jan. 7, ignoring opposition pleas

South Asia is a region located in the southern part of the Asian continent. The countries included in South Asia are India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Maldives. It is a region of vast diversity in terms of language, culture, religion, and geography. South Asia occupies 3.3% of the Earth’s land area and is home to approximately 1.8 billion people – nearly a quarter of the world’s population.

Geography and Climate
The geographic region of South Asia is composed of several sub-regions such as the Himalayan region, Indo-Gangetic Plain, Deccan Plateau, Thar Desert, and coastal regions. South Asia is surrounded by the Indian Ocean to the south, the Bay of Bengal to the east, the Arabian Sea to the west, and the Himalayan ranges to the north. The climate in the region is highly varied due to its vast size and varied landforms. Large parts of South Asia have a tropical monsoon climate characterized by heavy rainfall during the summer season.

South Asia has a rich history dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization, which began around 3300 BCE and spanned across parts of present-day Pakistan and India. The region has seen several dynasties and empires which have left their imprints on its culture and society. The Mauryan Empire, the Gupta Empire, and the Mughal Empire are some of the most notable ones. The British colonized most parts of South Asia during the 19th and early 20th centuries. This period saw significant social, political, and economic changes in the region.

Culture and Religion
South Asia is a region of diverse cultures and religions. The predominant religions in the region are Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, and Sikhism. The region is also home to several indigenous religions and belief systems. The culture in South Asia is a fusion of ancient traditions and modern influences. The region is known for its culinary diversity, textiles, music, dance, and art. Languages spoken in South Asia include Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Punjabi, Bengali, and Sinhala, among many others.

The economies of South Asian countries have grown significantly in the past few decades. The region is home to several emerging economies, such as India and Bangladesh. Agriculture, services, and manufacturing are the main sectors driving the region’s economy. The agricultural sector employs a significant proportion of the population and contributes to the region’s food security. Services, such as IT and business processing outsourcing, are driving the region’s growth in the 21st century.

Despite its economic growth, South Asia has several challenges to overcome. Poverty and income inequality remain significant problems in the region. The region is also vulnerable to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and landslides. Climate change is also posing a significant threat to the region’s agriculture, biodiversity, and water resources. Political instability and terrorism are also major challenges in the region.

South Asia is a region of vast diversity and complexity. Its rich history, diverse cultures and religions, and varied geography make it a unique part of the world. The region’s economies have grown significantly in the past few decades, but it still faces several challenges. Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts from policymakers, civil society organizations, and the private sector. Despite its challenges, South Asia remains one of the most dynamic regions in the world.

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Will RBI's green push help India meet climate change goals?

Deutsche Welle

23-05-11 15:39

India will need to spend an estimated $1.05tn by 2030 in order to be compliant with climate change norms, according to a report by the Reserve Bank of India. The government needs to introduce carbon pricing in line with international best practice, including carbon taxes, to help speed up and drive green finance and meet climate change goals, the report stated. It also proposed renewable energy expansion, domestic rare earth element mining, and support for adaptation and innovation. Last year, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that without drastic emissions reductions by 2030, India would be unable to prevent disasters.
Pakistan top court orders Imran Khan’s release after ‘invalid’ arrest

South China Morning Post

23-05-11 13:34

The arrest of former Prime Minister and anti-corruption campaigner Imran Khan in Pakistan has led to countrywide fatal protests, causing the government to call in the army to restore control. At least nine people have died, 2,000 have been arrested and hundreds of police officers are injured. The country is now under the control of troops, with schools closed, internet access and mobile phones cut and the military warning of a “severe reaction” to further violence. The move comes ahead of the general election due to be held this autumn, in which Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party is expected to do well.
Before Toronto murders, serial killer Bruce McArthur was labelled ‘very low risk,’ unsealed probation documents reveal

The Toronto Star

23-05-11 09:00

Bruce McArthur, the Canadian serial killer who targeted gay men, was assessed as a “stable” person and a “very low risk” by psychiatrists and probation officers before he began his killing spree, according to documents recently released following an access request by the Toronto Star. McArthur assaulted a man in 2001 and was handed a two-year conditional sentence, with three years of probation. He went on to kill eight men in the city’s Gay Village between 2010 and 2017. McArthur pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder in 2019 and was subsequently given a life sentence. In her ruling, Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, Jessica Kowalski, granted partial access to the records, indicating that releasing the records was “desirable for subjecting the activities of government agencies to public scrutiny”. McArthur’s probation file also includes a seven-page letter in which he details a difficult childhood on his family’s farm in Ontario and his troubled relationship with his sexuality.
In Malaysia, migrants say they are in limbo after promised jobs fall through


23-05-11 07:42

Hundreds of South Asian migrant workers in Malaysia have expressed their feelings of hopelessness and deflation after being unable to find the jobs promised to them after paying up to thousands of dollars in fees. The workers feel that they are being held ransom by their recruiters, with many companies having taken workers' passports and doing little to find jobs for them. Many of the workers complain of being depressed and unable to pay off the debts they have accumulated in order to travel for work.
Hopes dim for extension of IMF relief amid Pakistan’s deepening political crisis

Japan Times

23-05-11 03:28

Pakistan's political turmoil is threatening the country’s hopes of extending its funding program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and avoiding a full-blown debt crisis, according to financial analysts. As supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan continue to clash with police over his arrest, there are fears that a renewal of the $6.5 billion IMF program due to expire in June will be delayed. More than 100 days have elapsed since the last IMF staff-level mission conducted to Pakistan, the longest such gap since 2008.
Indian rupee poised to halt three-day losing run on soft dollar


23-05-16 05:36

The Indian rupee has risen amid improved external data, set for its first gain in four sessions on a slightly down USD. The rupee was quoted at 82.19 against the US dollar, helped by India's improving external position, with its April services surplus at $13.9bn and its merchandise trade deficit dropping from $19.7bn in the previous month to $15.2bn. According to Capital Economics, if supported by lower import values on the back of softer domestic demand and relatively low commodity prices, it‘s expected this data will help to narrow India's current account deficit this year.
How is India looking at Pakistan's political crisis?

Deutsche Welle

23-05-16 12:24

Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, recent visit to India to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) conference, which yielded no talks with his Indian counterpart, has been described as a missed opportunity to improve the countries’ relations. Experts suggest due to ongoing political turmoil in Pakistan, the minister would have found it difficult to make significant progress in bilateral discussions and the lack of progress is less surprising than it first appears. The relationship between the two countries has been declining gradually over the past few years with few opportunities for dialogue.
‘At least a hundred’ feared dead after Cyclone Mocha

The Independent

23-05-16 12:11

Cyclone Mocha, the deadliest storm ever to hit Myanmar, is feared to have killed over 100 people. AFP news agency has quoted several local leaders in the western region of the country who have said the death toll stands at 41. However, many others are missing and feared dead, with activists raising concerns that relief efforts are being hampered in Myanmar because of government restrictions. At the same time, Cyclone Mocha has affected Bangladesh and northeast India, leading experts to highlight a rise in cyclonic activity in South Asian waters linked to rising ocean temperatures and global heating.
Pak­istan of­fi­cial gives Khan 24 hours to hand over riot sus­pects

Al Jazeera

23-05-17 11:43

Pakistan's former Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has been accused of sheltering terrorists linked to attacks on the army; however, leaders from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party denied the allegations. Punjab province’s information minister Amir Mir warned Khan he has 24 hours to hand the suspects over to the police or face action. The military court said the May 9 attacks against the army were "pre-planned" and ordered by Khan’s party leaders; he has since disowned those involved in arson. Authorities arrested nearly 5,000 of Khan's followers for protesting the corruption charges last week. Amnesty International and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan have criticised the idea of trials before military courts.
India Launches $2 Billion Drive to Woo Laptop Makers Like Apple


23-05-17 10:05

India has launched a $2bn incentive programme aimed at drawing manufacturers of laptops, tablets and other hardware to the country and strengthening its position as a global manufacturing hub. Prime Minister Narendra Modi capitalised on the success of Apple’s local assembly operations to pitch India’s new programme. China's trade war with the US and COVID-19 policies have prompted companies to weigh other options beyond China, with some looking towards India for investment.
Pakistan ex-PM Khan's bail extended; supporters face trial in military courts


23-05-17 09:38

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has had his protective bail extended until 31 May, due to violent protests following his arrest on 9 May. Lawyer Faisal Chaudhry said the extension was requested by Khan’s prosecutor. Thousands of Khan supporters have burnt and attacked public and government buildings including the army headquarters in response to the arrest. The military has claimed his party is responsible for ordering the attacks, leading to the Pakistani government moving some of those involved to military courts, which have been accused of conducting summary trials. Khan has disowned those involved, demanding an independent inquiry.
Vancouver police say woman assaulted on busy beach by man claiming to be masseuse

The Toronto Star

23-05-17 16:00

A woman who was sunbathing at English Bay on Sunday evening was sexually assaulted by a man allegedly claiming to be a massage therapist. The suspect is described as a South Asian man with a medium build, aged in his 30s, who was wearing a black hat, sunglasses, beige cargo shorts, and a white and blue striped shirt. His picture cannot be released as investigations continue. Police officers would like to speak to those attending the event that might have seen him massaging others at the beach.
How this Toronto mall is transforming a former Sears into an East Asian food destination

The Toronto Star

23-05-18 09:00

Fairview Mall in North York, Canada, is transforming into an Asian food destination, with seven ​​​​new food outlets opening, each serving Asian cuisine. The change has been brought about by the proliferation of online shopping, which has had an impact on traditional retail malls. The transformation was ignited when T&T, a Loblaws-owned Chinese supermarket opened in the former Sears space, the first of the new food spots to sign on in 2019. CEO of T&T, Tina Lee, said a lot of retail developers ask how to repurpose a defunct department store, many are deciding on new food outlets as they become increasingly popular. Other recent food outlets in the building include Lucullus, which sells Chinese baked goods, and Fuwa Fuwa, which serves Japanese-style souffle pancakes. The success of T&T has encouraged other Asian food outlets to rent space there too. It is hoped that despite the move to online shopping, the growing Asian food presence will encourage more visitors to physical retail malls.
Pakistan's anti-graft agency summons Imran Khan for questioning


23-05-18 06:47

Pakistan's anti-corruption agency, the National Accountability Bureau, has called former prime minister Imran Khan for questioning into graft charges that led to his arrest on 9 May. It is unclear whether Khan, who denies the charges, will respond to the summons. Pakistan's worst-ever economic crisis has been worsened by the recent wave of political instability in the country following Khan's arrest on the charges. His wife, Bushra Bibi, was also granted bail until 23 May.
Myanmar’s military imported $1bn in arms since coup, UN expert says

The Independent

23-05-18 11:50

The Myanmar military has imported over $1bn worth of weapons largely from China and Russia since the February 2021 coup, according to a report by the UN. While the military has been increasingly turning to airstrikes and heavy weapons against internal opposition, Tom Andrews, the UN independent investigator on human rights in Myanmar, notes the weapons shipments continue to flow despite overwhelming evidence of atrocities and war crimes committed by the military. Andrews warns that if Singapore exits the arms trade, the Myanmar military will be significantly impacted.
Im­ran Khan says Pak­istan gov’t, army ‘scared I will win elec­tion’

Al Jazeera

23-05-18 09:49

Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, has claimed that his PTI top advisers have been arrested to prevent him from running in the upcoming general election. In an article for Al Jazeera, Khan remarks that hundreds of cases have been filed against him to remove him from electoral contention. The former cricket star also claims that over 100 of his close advisers have been arrested, with seven of them tortured to force false confessions. He accuses Pakistan's military establishment of orchestrating the crackdown and is especially critical of current army general Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Bangladesh on hot seat to meet IMF loan targets

Nikkei Asia

23-05-19 02:44

Bangladesh is under increasing pressure to meet targets set in its loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with review dates rapidly approaching. The South Asian nation is believed to have already missed the minimum foreign reserve criteria for March, set by the IMF when it approved a $4.7bn loan in January. An IMF staff mission visited the country in late April to early May, but has been unable to confirm that June targets will be achieved.
Why Australia allowing India to gloss over anti-Muslim tirade is unwise

South China Morning Post

23-05-19 02:00

India has been accused of suppressing academic freedom due to interference from Prime Minister Modi's government, suggesting the country is not the democracy it's portrayed to be. One Australian researcher and former director of the Australia India Institute claimed it had become a "government-supported think tank" and that academic freedom had been stifled on discussions around the country's caste and class issues. Subsequent drops in India's academic freedom ranking caused New Delhi to denounce the assessment, while the Australian government chose to stay silent on the issue while promoting closer commercial ties with India. Critics suggest that it highlights the challenges associated with countries balancing the promotion of democratic values against economic links, particularly when autocratic regimes set themselves up as primary suppliers of fast-growing markets such as India.
Pakistan police to search Imran Khan's home - official


23-05-19 07:30

Pakistani police are due to search the home of former prime minister Imran Khan in Lahore after accusing his supporters of attacking and vandalising government and military buildings, according to Amir Mir, the information minister of Punjab province. The raid could lead to further violence in the country, which is currently tackling political and economic instability. Khan has denied accusations that he has sheltered those involved in the unrest.