Author: Shivani Ekkanath

Shivani is an Indian writer for The Borgen Project living in Singapore. Her hobbies are music, dance and writing. She loves reading about current affairs, political relations and other social issues.

DAMASCUS — Since 2014, Russia, Iran and Turkey have been key stakeholders in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria. More than 400,000 people died in Syria’s civil war and combat against ISIS, and as a result of the many international coalitions conducting air strikes, the lives of thousands hang in the balance. The recent Russian-brokered de-escalation deal now ensures the creation of safe zones and a cessation of hostilities in the predominantly civilian-populated areas in Syria. The comprehensive agreement, officially dubbed the Syria De-Escalation Deal, strongly enforces and fortifies both fronts involved. Syrian Prime Minister Bashar Al-…

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CARACAS — Venezuela, a South American country, is suffering from one of its worst economic upheavals in history. A sudden plunge in oil prices and financial mismanagement have left the economy beleaguered and the people deprived. The economic problem and humanitarian emergency have made headlines all over the world. Social issues are exacerbated as a result, the most disastrous being the health crisis in Venezuela. The lack of good healthcare and medical assistance in Venezuela is an especially grave issue because it is endangering the social welfare and imperiling the lives of thousands. Malnutrition and poor mental health are also…

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BRASILIA, Brazil — The Zika virus took the international community by surprise in 2015. The mosquito-borne virus infected more than 1.5 million individuals in more than 30 countries, and in Brazil, impacted tourism and participation in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Owing to a massive reduction in the cases of Zika in Brazil, there is a growing sense of optimism in combatting the disease. Finally, after more than 18 months, the Brazilian government decided to end the public state of emergency instituted prior to the Olympics. The Zika virus, which passes to unborn children through the mother’s placenta, causes birth defects…

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SEATTLE — An estimated 45.8 million people are plagued by some form of modern slavery among 191 source and 193 destination countries — both developing and developed. Unfortunately, slavery in supply chains is becoming one of the most widespread forms of modern slavery. The U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 on decent work and economic growth espouses that there must be immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor and end modern slavery and human trafficking. Yet, with more industrialization, globalization and economic growth, the poor are made increasingly vulnerable to exploitation. Moreover, slavery in supply chains is ubiquitous in sectors…

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BEIJING — The Five-Year Plan has been China’s primary national development plan since the inception of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. China’s economy has grown exponentially because of these strategic plans over the decades. Since the 1970s, China has attracted $1.7 trillion in foreign direct investment (FDI), and put more than $1.2 trillion into outward direct investment (ODI). The plan in its entirety aims to increase development — both social and economic. China’s Five-Year Plan is an agenda that outlines a number of economic policies, encompassing energy, taxation, unemployment, rural poverty, production, trade and more. However, China’s 13th…

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SANTIAGO — Chile is among South America’s most prosperous nations, with a growth rate of 2.1 percent and a flourishing youth population. The average real incomes of the people have been continuously rising for the past 25 years. Chile also earns a lot of export revenue from its copper industry and international trade. But in recent times, Chile has had to grapple with problems in the labor market, deficiency in infrastructure, redistribution of income, diversification and economic inequality. The plunge in copper prices has forced workers to adapt by increasing output and productivity. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation…

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NEW DELHI — Since the inception of the Make in India Initiative in September 2014, India has been reaping the benefits of an increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Direct Inward Investment. This is steadily helping establish India as a manufacturing hub. The Initiative is one of the major backbones of the burgeoning economy with 7.2 percent growth forecast for the 2017- 2018 fiscal period. India’s massive youth population is one of the major catalysts of the success of this landmark policy. The Make in India initiative marks a watershed for the Indian economy. Despite the mixed reception of…

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SEATTLE — Founded in 1950, World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization that is spearheading community-building efforts and grassroots initiatives in more than 98 countries. With strongholds in Asia and the Pacific, East Africa and South Africa, World Vision initiatives are empowering children all over the world to grow more self-sufficient. Recently, the Borgen Project was given the opportunity to interview with World Vision Singapore executive Elizabeth Lee and attend a talk on one of World Vision’s most pioneering initiatives: child sponsorship. World Vision has a very distinct five-sector approach that forms the bedrock of its outreach to various communities.…

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SEATTLE — The Aadhar Scheme in India is a biometric identification system, within which more than a billion Indian citizens are assigned a 12-digit number. This can be used for a wide range of welfare services like the provision of subsidies for food and fuel and a number of other financial services to the general populace. Fingerprint and eye scans are also taken to ensure the identity of the individuals and authenticity of data provided. With the primary objective of tackling long-standing and interminable issues like corruption, bribery, financial mismanagement and identity theft, the inception of the Aadhar scheme in…

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LIMA, Peru — The unpredictable nature of the El Nino climate cycle results in very erratic and sporadic weather patterns in many regions around the world. The recent period of flooding in Peru has been an especially critical outcome of El Nino. Consequently, authorities communicated that the flooding in March 2017 was the most severe since 1998. About half the country is in a declared state of emergency currently. Individuals in many rural communities in the 24 predominantly affected regions in Peru have been adversely impacted by the flooding. The provision of aid may prove difficult given that rural poverty…

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