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A Kashmiri Leader’s Open Letter to Indian Voters

To the People of India, India’s elections have begun and you are exercising your right to vote to choose your new political representatives. Whoever you end up electing will be momentously placed to exercise real leadership and take difficult decisions that are needed to shape a better course for the future of India and for peace in South Asia.   …

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What Next After Historic Afghan Vote?

Voters in Afghanistan turned out in record numbers on April 5th to elect a new president and provincial councils. Estimates put the voter turnout at nearly 60 percent. The high turnout was significant for many reasons — the top being people coming out of their homes despite Taliban threat and the exclusion of Afghan refuges in Pakistan from the voting process. …

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Drone Proliferation Tests Arms Control

As the U.S. government winds up an interagency review of rules governing the export of large drones, the conflicting goals of nonproliferation and commerce are creating a new test of the 27-year-old Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).   Observers do not expect big changes to the MTCR, which seeks to prevent the proliferation of unmanned systems capable of delivering weapons …

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World’s Top Ten Billionaire Skyscraper Homes

  When it comes to the most luxurious apartments in top city centers, the only way is up.   At least that is the opinion of a number of property developers who are wooing the ultra wealthy with lavishly-appointed skyscrapers in the most prestigious of neighborhoods, where large-scale lateral square footage is nearly impossible to find.   As well as …

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Environmental Impact of China’s Dam Rush

China plans to increase its share of non-fossil energy to 11.4 percent of total energy consumption through an additional 160 gigawatts (160,000 megawatts) of installed hydropower capacity by 2015, along with ambitious expansions in renewables and nuclear. By 2020, China plans to have 430 gigawatts (430,000 megawatts) of installed hydropower capacity, more than Europe and the United States combined.   A bilingual interactive map published by the Wilson Center’s China …

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Singapore’s Impotent Immigration Policy

It appears counter-intuitive to suggest that a cosmopolitan hub like Singapore might have a problem with xenophobia.   Yet xenophobia has emerged as a major political concern in the city-state. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has routinely addressed the issue of immigration and foreign workers in his National Day Rally Speeches since 2009 — and in 2012 he openly warned Singaporeans to refrain …

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The Indian Muslim Myth

At election time in India, the mainstream media likes to predict that Muslims will turn out in overwhelmingly high numbers to vote, driven by their passion for the politics of identity. No empirical evidence is ever furnished to sustain this narrative. This has acquired the aura of truth in the last two decades as the Hindu ‘upper’ castes and middle …

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US Supreme Court’s Campaign Finance Jurisprudence

The U.S. Supreme Court on April 2nd issued yet another opinion striking down campaign finance laws as unconstitutional. In McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the court’s five conservative justices struck down the limits on aggregate contributions to federal candidates, national political parties, and political action committees, or PACs. The plurality opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts relied on a strikingly naïve view of …

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Ukraine Crisis Reigniting Europe’s Energy Security Dilemma

International relations is witnessing the revival of oil and gas geopolitics as a decisive issue on the global political agenda. Rising demand, swelling energy costs and the ever-growing scarcity of resources has ushered in a new wave of competition for raw materials and energy reserves.   Consequently, the European Union (EU) is attempting to systematically incorporate energy security into its …

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Concern Over Polling in Afghan Schools and Clinics

The recent spate of Taliban-led attacks against electoral targets in Afghanistan, with the presidential vote just days away, has increased concerns in the aid community about the use of schools and health clinics as polling stations.   According to UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), half of the 3,410 polling centers are in schools; 668 more schools are being used as polling …

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