El Niño blamed for unprecedented drought in Vietnam

by IRIN News March 30, 2010

Vietnam is bracing for further forest fires because of the continuing drought.“The increase in forest fires is one of the most severe and visible impacts of the drought,” Pham Manh Cuong, a senior forest and environmental officer with the Vietnam...

Tom Albanese, Rio Tinto’s chief executive, after meeting Monday with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao at the Great Hall of the People. Pool Photo: Feng Li/Pool photograph

Rio Tinto executives in China admit taking bribes

by David Barboza New York Times March 22, 2010

SHANGHAI — China’s high-profile prosecution of executives of the British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto took a bizarre turn on Monday, as the executives, once accused of spying, confessed instead to accepting bribes from Chinese steel makers....

Workers loaded sugar for delivery last month at Hacienda Luisita, a Philippine plantation that is owned by the family of former President Corazon C. Aquino. Photo: Jes Aznar/New York Times

One sugar plantation–owned by the family of ex-President Aquino–illustrates the contentious path of land reform in the Philippines

by Norimitsu Onishi New York Times March 14, 2010

HACIENDA LUISITA, the Philippines — Like his father before him, Buenaventura Calaquian worked the sugar cane fields at Hacienda Luisita, a plantation owned by the family of former President Corazon C. Aquino. In the long-running, sometimes bloody b...

Almost eight out of 10 people without access to both clean water and safe toilets live in rural areas; most are in Southern Asia. Photo: UNICEF Cambodia

The World Bank and other donors must do more to combat growing water shortages and poor sanitation in developing countries

by World Bank Independent Evaluation Group March 7, 2010

(April 7. 2009) Faced with mounting shortages of water, a worsening trend in water pollution and growing damages from climate change, the international community must find additional ways to support countries in managing their water resources, the Wo...

Thai court seizes $1.4 billion from ex-premier

by Seth Mydans and Thomas Fuller New York Times February 26, 2010

BANGKOK — Thailand’s Supreme Court on Friday confiscated $1.4 billion in frozen assets from the nation’s fugitive former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, after finding him guilty of illegally concealing his ownership of a family company and ...

Amid starvation, runaway inflation, and food shortages in the Army, North Korea fires top economic officials, South Korean press reports

by Blaine Hardin Washington Post February 5, 2010

SEOUL -- Amid accounts of starvation, food shortages in the army and runaway inflation, senior economic officials in North Korea have been fired in recent days, according to reports in the South Korean media....