A terrific New York Times story by Gardiner Harris, “Borrowed Time on Disappearing Land: Facing Rising Seas, Bangladesh Confronts the Crisis of Climate Change”, complete with fabulous photos and a video, tells the tragic future faced by millions living in the Bangladesh delta and lowlands because of rising sea levels from global warming. You can read the whole story here.
Category Archives: South Asia
A front page article, “Falling Economic Tide in India is Exposing its Chronic Troubles”, in the New York Times on September 4, 2013 calls attention not only to the recent economic slowdown in the world’s second largest country but also to what many analysts say are serious structural problems (Read the complete article here).
Here are some choice paragraphs from the article, followed by several other recent articles about India’s economic problems.
From the New York Times: India had seemed tantalizingly close to embarking on the same dash for economic growth that has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in China and across East Asia.
Its economy now stands in disarray, with the prospect of worse to come in the next few months.The economic decline has laid bare chronic problems, little remarked upon during the recent boom. An antiquated infrastructure, a sclerotic job market, exorbitant real estate costs and bloated state-owned enterprises never allowed manufacturing, especially manufacturing for export, to grow strong.
The rupee fell further and faster in August against the dollar than any of the world’s 77 other internationally traded currencies as investors in affluent countries took their money home for higher returns. It was down 20 percent since May, a period in which the stock market followed suit and fell almost 8 percent.
The real estate market is teetering after soaring to vertiginous heights over the last few years. Cranes on Mumbai’s skyline perch nearly immobilized as developers struggle for cash.
The price increases threaten to worsen consumer price inflation — already among the highest in Asia at an annual rate of almost 10 percent — and widen the country’s already large international trade deficit and government budget deficit.
The root of the problem is India’s failure to create a vibrant industrial base with the strength to export. As Western buyers scour Asia for alternatives to increasingly expensive Chinese factories, India and its enfeebled manufacturing sector are mostly ignored.
Other informative articles on India’s economic issues:
The Daily Star (Indian newspaper), September 5, 2013, “India’s Economy Continues Slowdown” (article here)
BBC Business News, August 30, 2013, “India’s GDP shows continuing slowdown” (article here)
In a Washington Post article titled “40 Maps That Explain the World” (which, in my mind, don’t, but nevertheless is sill work a look here) the writer posted this rather striking illustration of the Asian-centered population cluster. What do you think—is it an accurate portrayal? Here are the data from the US Census Bureau included in the circle, which when added up constitute 51.4% of the world’s population:
South Korea: 48,955,203
North Korea: 24,720,407
Sri Lanka: 21,675,648
From the New York Times, April 1, 2013 (not an April Fool’s joke). See the whole story here
Outdoor air pollution contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths in China in 2010, nearly 40 percent of the global total, according to a new summary of data from a scientific study on leading causes of death worldwide. What the researchers called “ambient particulate matter pollution” was the fourth-leading risk factor for deaths in China in 2010, behind dietary risks, high blood pressure and smoking. Air pollution ranked seventh on the worldwide list of risk factors, contributing to 3.2 million deaths in 2010.
By comparison with China, India, which also has densely populated cities grappling with similar levels of pollution, had 620,000 premature deaths in 2010 because of outdoor air pollution, the study found. That was deemed to be the sixth most common killer in South Asia. The study was led by an institute at the University of Washington and several partner universities and institutions, including the World Health Organization.
Last month, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, based in Paris, warned that “urban air pollution is set to become the top environmental cause of mortality worldwide by 2050, ahead of dirty water and lack of sanitation.” It estimated that up to 3.6 million people could end up dying prematurely from air pollution each year, mostly in China and India.
Chinese officials have made some progress in disclosing crucial air pollution statistics. Official news reports have said 74 cities are now required to release data on levels of particulate matter 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller, which penetrate the body’s tissues most deeply. For years, Chinese officials had been collecting the data but refusing to release it, until they came under pressure from Chinese who saw that the United States Embassy in Beijing was measuring the levels hourly and posting the data in a Twitter feed, @BeijingAir.