Magazine article New Internationalist

South Asia: The Unreported Year 2003

Magazine article New Internationalist

South Asia: The Unreported Year 2003

Article excerpt

[Map Not Transcribed]

JANUARY

INDIA: India signs a $2.8-billion deal with Russia to lease four long-range bombers and two nuclear-capable submarines, fuelling the continuing tension between India and Pakistan.

BANGLADESH: Using a folded sari to filter drinking water can halve the number of cases of cholera, researchers from the University of Maryland say. Tests covering 133,000 people demonstrated that cholera cases fell by 48 per cent.

FEBRUARY

NEPAL: Maoist rebels and the Nepali Government agree to a ceasefire to end nearly seven years of violence that has killed more than 7,000 people.

PAKISTAN: Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl, is executed by kidnappers as a scapegoat for his government's foreign policy.

MARCH

AFGHANISTAN: Opium cultivation reaches record levels - bringing more money to the economy than overseas aid.

APRIL

INDIA: The largest polio epidemic in recent years results in a campaign to vaccinate over 80 million children in six days. Eighty-three per cent of all new polio cases are found in India, one of only seven countries to remain affected by the disease.

MAY

BANGLADESH: Since following UN advice to dig deeper wells 12 years ago, 15,000 serious cases of arsenic poisoning have been identified. Up to 150 million people from Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Nepal, Pakistan, China and Cambodia have been drinking arsenic-contaminated groundwater for up to 20 years. The World Health Organization describes it as the 'largest mass poisoning of a population in history'.

KASHMIR: India's Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, makes his 'last decisive' attempt to bring peace to the subcontinent, offering to extend the 'hand of friendship' to Pakistan. Commentators remain sceptical.

INDIA: Farmers plant India's first approved crop of biotech giant Monsanto's genetically engineered Bt cotton. It is subsequently declared a failure.

JUNE

AFGHANISTAN: Taliban activity revives. A car bomber blows up a military bus, killing 4 German peacekeepers and injuring 31 soldiers. Taliban supporters regroup in the south and the east carrying out numerous attacks on military bases.

SRI LANKA: Extreme flash floods and landslides kill 249 people in the country's worst natural disaster for 50 years. …

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