Aug. 12th, 2011

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I.H.T. SPECIAL REPORT: SMART CITIES
An Urban Jungle for the 21st Century



SINGAPORE — The math is impressive. In the last 25 years, the population of Singapore has nearly doubled, to more than five million. Over the same period, its green cover — planted areas that appear green on satellite photos, from parks to rooftops — has increased from a little more than a third of the city-state’s area to nearly half.

But it is not enough. In Singapore’s next “green road map,” its 10-year development plan, the country aims to go from being “a garden city” to “a city in a garden.” “The difference might sound very small,” says Poon Hong Yuen, the chief executive of the country’s National Parks Board, “but it’s a bit like saying my house has a garden and my house is in the middle of a garden. What it means is having pervasive greenery, as well as biodiversity, including wildlife, all around you.”


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From the NYT
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Q&A
'Men Have Failed Zambia, Now Is the Time for a Woman' Ephraim Nsingo interviews Zambia’s female presidential candidate EDITH NAWAKWI



LUSAKA, Aug 10, 2011 (IPS) - In Zambia’s highly patriarchal society Edith Nawakwi, 52, has broken a few records on the political scene over the last two decades. And she broke another one on Sunday by being the only female candidate to file for nomination to run for president in Zambia’s upcoming elections.

All candidates are required to file nomination papers with the country’s Supreme Court to get legal confirmation that they are standing as a presidential candidate. Come election day on Sept. 20, about 17 candidates will battle it out to lead the country. Nawakwi is well-known in Zambian politics. In 1997 she became the first woman in southern Africa to be appointed as a minister of finance. The former member of the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) left it in 2001 when she and other officials opposed then President Fredrick Chiluba’s bid for a third term.

They formed the Forum for Democratic Development (FDD) and Nawakwi was elected as the party’s first vice president. In 2005 she became the first Zambian woman to lead a political party when she was elected president of the FDD.

Excerpts from the interview follow.

Q: You have just filed for nomination as a presidential candidate. What was going through your mind?

A: As I went to file my nomination, as I walked up to the Chief Justice, I asked myself ‘Why am I doing this?’ I was (asking) myself ‘am I equal to the task?’ But when I looked at my supporters and their excitement, it helped me appreciate the trust. I believe Zambia is ready for a woman to be president. Only a woman can bring about real change in this country. MORE

Sigh

Aug. 12th, 2011 01:01 am
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'New' Iraq a Nightmare for Women, Minority Groups


UNITED NATIONS, Aug 9, 2011 (IPS) - A United Nations report on Iraq says the human rights situation there remains fragile, and huge development challenges loom as the country transitions out of a near decade-long conflict.

Torture and poor judicial practices are widespread, says the report, released Monday by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

The report claims the 2,953 civilian deaths it attributed to violence in 2010 were mostly carried out by insurgent and terrorist groups.

It stressed that minorities, women and children suffered disproportionately from these abuses.


While there have been improvements in some areas of human rights, many challenges remain and some areas were actually worse off in 2010 than previous war-torn years.

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