Political Turmoil in Nepal
At the end of May, Nepal's political consensus unraveled as rival parties failed to agree on a new constitution and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai dissolved the legislature. Opponents denounced the move as a power play and have called on Bhattarai to step down. What do recent events mean for democracy in Nepal and geopolitics in the region? We're joined by Ashok Gurung, Senior Director of the India China Institute at The New School.
Ashok Gurung is Senior Director of the India China Institute at the New School. An educator, researcher, and policy analyst, he has over twenty-five years of international development experience. He holds an MA in International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
Fair Standards for Money Transfers
For workers who regularly send money to family members abroad, the experience can be both harrowing and infuriating. Western Union and MoneyGram, which account for a combined 22% of the market, charge hefty fees and offer unfavorable exchange rates, leaving those who rely on such services with few alternatives. We speak with Francis Calpotura, founder and director of the Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action in Oakland, CA, which is leading a campaign for fair standards in the industry.
Muppets Undercover: USAID Cuts Off Funding for Pakistani 'Sesame Street'
Last week, the US State Department announced that it was shutting down a Pakistani-produced, USAID-funded version of "Sesame Street" amid allegations of fraud and corruption. The show featured an Urdu-speaking Elmo and a handful of Pakistani characters, including Haseen-O-Jameel, a crocodile who has a way with words. But why was USAID funding the beloved children's television show in the first place? We'll speak with scholars Arun Kundnani and Saadia Toor about this tactic, in which the US attempts to win "hearts and minds" abroad as a way to increase pro-American sentiment and decrease the threat of extremism.
Arun Kundnani is a former fellow at the Open Society Institute and was previously editor of the journal Race & Class. He is currently writing a book on the politics of anti-extremism.
Saadia Toor is Associate Professor of Sociology at the College of Staten Island, CUNY, and a member of Pakistan Solidarity Network, a New York City based group which is invested in challenging the mainstream media discourse on Pakistan. She has also been a member of the Women's Action Forum, Pakistan's largest feminist organization, and the Mazdoor-Kissan (Worker-Peasant) Party. Her book State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan was recently released by Pluto Press.
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