Brendan Brady reports on politics, human rights, business, religion, culture and environmental issues in Asia and the Pacific. He works in print, video, photography and radio.
IRIN
East Timor: Observers Divided Over Oil Fund Investment

East Timor: Observers Divided Over Oil Fund Investment

A new bill allowing more diversified investments by Timor-Leste's multi-billion dollar oil and natural gas sovereign fund, which underwrites the lion's share of the country's expenditure, has divided opinion, with some saying the step is necessary to maintain current levels of development spending and others calling the move risky.
East Timor: Regulating Land Ownership "Key to Stability"

East Timor: Regulating Land Ownership “Key to Stability”

From 1975 to 1999, Timor-Leste was ruled by the Indonesian army, which frequently confiscated land and forcibly relocated communities to break up resistance networks. When Timor-Leste achieved independence in 1999, most of the land was occupied without official title deeds.
East Timor: Communities Left in Dark Over Controversial Power Plant

East Timor: Communities Left in Dark Over Controversial Power Plant

A cornerstone of the government's development plan is a promise to electrify every home in Timor-Leste within just a few years. But communities living in the shadow of the power plant supposed to jumpstart this transformation know little or nothing about its impact.
East Timor: Occupation-era Crimes Forgiven, Not Forgotten

East Timor: Occupation-era Crimes Forgiven, Not Forgotten

Some 180,000 people in Timor-Leste were killed during the Indonesian occupation from 1975 to 1999. More than a decade after Timor-Leste achieved independence from its much more powerful neighbour, accountability for the mass crimes of Indonesia remains contentious.
East Timor: Women Slow to Adopt Safer Birth Practices

East Timor: Women Slow to Adopt Safer Birth Practices

Babies are plentiful in Timor Leste - almost seven per woman on average - and so too are health problems in a country where chronic malnutrition is rampant and access to effective healthcare remains a luxury.
Nepal: UN Peace Mission Ends Amid Political Deadlock

Nepal: UN Peace Mission Ends Amid Political Deadlock

A UN mission established to monitor Nepal’s post-civil war transition will end on 15 January amid concerns the country’s fragile peace process could unravel. The country has functioned with only a caretaker government for more than six months, and progress on drafting a new constitution has stalled.
Nepal: Resettlement of Bhutanese refugees gathers momentum

Nepal: Resettlement of Bhutanese refugees gathers momentum

When most of Bhutan’s ethnic-Nepali minority fled their country in the early 1990s, most assumed they would eventually return. But nearly two decades on, this refugee population, which once numbered more than 110,000, has all but abandoned hope of repatriation.
Nepal: Political Stalemate Threatens Foreign Aid

Nepal: Political Stalemate Threatens Foreign Aid

As the deadlock has taken its toll on the country, it has also worn away the patience of foreign donors, who continue to warn that their ability to deliver aid could soon be curtailed if the leadership vacuum continues.
Nepal: Keeping watch for traffickers

Nepal: Keeping watch for traffickers

The daily flow of Nepalis over the border to India is relentless, as they come by car, motorcycle, rickshaw and horse-drawn carriage, but mostly on foot, through the main gate at the border city of Nepalganj. Not all the migrants are legitimate, however, and there are lookouts to prevent traffickers’ false promises from being realized....
Nepal: Migrant Workers' Wives Talk Sex

Nepal: Migrant Workers’ Wives Talk Sex

Away from their wives for long periods, some male migrant workers turn to brothels. Nearly half of all new HIV cases in Nepal are recorded among people living in highway districts, which are home to high numbers of migratory workers.