If there is one new global leader who captured public imagination in the last year, it is India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi; 365 days on, how has he performed?
The fall of the critically important city of Ramadi to Islamic State terrorists, the widening humanitarian crisis throughout the country involving millions of displaced persons and the continuing pressures on a still-fragile central government in Baghdad bode ill for Iraq's future stability and security. These setbacks for the beleaguered Baghdad government equally shadow Washington where the Obama administration appears in denial over the depth of this crisis.
Although I write on general trends and try not to predict the future, one has to admit that we have never had a period when data is all over the place and the future is truly murky. Just over 150 years ago, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln said, "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew."
Shortly after announcing it had canceled United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's planned visit to the country this week, North Korea declared it had the ability to miniaturize nuclear weapons, which is a step toward building nuclear missiles.
The symbolic gesture of Chinese leader Xi Jinping meeting Narendra Modi in Xian, making the Indian prime minister the first world leader to be hosted outside Beijing, underlined the tenacity of historical links between the two peoples. These links embody the Silk Road that connected China and India through trade, scholarship and cultural affinity in an era of soft borders, long before the advent of nation-states and their jealousies and rivalries.
A crisis engulfing Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants and asylum seekers is currently plaguing Southeast Asia.
Data released by the South Korea National Tax Service this week drew attention again to a wide gender wage gap in the country and the need to bring more South Korean women into the workforce.
Shelter remains the top priority for the more than 2.8 million people in Nepal, according to U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), who no longer have a roof over their heads.
Sino-American relations are poised to worsen despite another summit meeting between the two leaders being planned for September, with Xi Jinping having accepted Barak Obama's invitation of a state visit.
Society has been seduced to enter a world in which wealth, and the status attached to it, are equated with success and happiness. If we consider its toll on our natural environment and its longer term unsustainability, this very notion of universalizing affluence becomes highly suspect.