India’s plan for the world’s largest public healthcare system is a big idea, but is it doomed to failure?

by Rashmee

Posted on February 6, 2018 / The National


India has one of the largest railway networks in the world and now it wants to put in place the largest public healthcare system. It’s a worthy aspiration but so far, the February 1 announcement goes no further than that. No one knows how the grandly named  National Health Protection Scheme will be funded, structured, managed or … Continue reading “India’s plan for the world’s largest public healthcare system is a big idea, but is it doomed to failure?”

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Does today’s N-weapons reduction deadline matter for Trump’s America?

by Rashmee

Posted on February 5, 2018


  Today (February 5) falls a key deadline for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The Treaty, which came into force on February 5, 2011, limits the United States and Russia each to 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads on a maximum of 700 deployed launchers. By today, seven years from the day the Treaty became operational, each of … Continue reading “Does today’s N-weapons reduction deadline matter for Trump’s America?”

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Could bamboo literally be the green replacement for plastics?

by Rashmee

Posted on January 24, 2018


  The search for eminently biodegradeable products and materials to serve food, provide packaging and basically serve as an alternative to plastics has thrown up the following, so far: kulhar, the traditional unglazed clay cup from India bamboo a new plastics-free paperboard from southeast Finland, which would be suitable for disposable coffee cups and food … Continue reading “Could bamboo literally be the green replacement for plastics?”

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Plastic pollution is already a big problem. This year it just got bigger

by Rashmee

Posted on January 23, 2018 / The National


Here’s what the small Alpine town of Davos could be discussing today, but won’t. The use of traditional materials to replace plastic waste. More specifically, the annual meeting of global political and business elites could consider tangibles. For instance, the kulhar, the unglazed earthenware pots South Asians have been using as food containers for hundreds … Continue reading “Plastic pollution is already a big problem. This year it just got bigger”

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The tapestry of Macron’s active diplomacy – more than Bayeux and Britain

by Rashmee

Posted on January 20, 2018


They’re calling it gesture diplomacy, French president Emmanuel Macron’s instinctive use of ceremonial events, symbolic gifts, history-laden references and pageantry reminiscent of times past to deal with foreign countries. Consider this: Ahead of Mr Macron’s arrival in Britain on Thursday, January 18, it was made known that he would loan it the Bayeux tapestry. That would … Continue reading “The tapestry of Macron’s active diplomacy – more than Bayeux and Britain”

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UK’s plastic-wrapped cauliflower ‘steaks’ go to the heart of West’s waste problem

by Rashmee

Posted on January 15, 2018


I return to a UK aghast at the assidously plastic-wrapped cauliflower “steak” sold by Marks & Spencer for nearly five times the price of a whole head of the brassicaceous vegetable. This revulsion at needless plastic wrap (and yet more non-biodegradeable waste) comes at a particularly interesting moment in world consciousness. Britain is a rich … Continue reading “UK’s plastic-wrapped cauliflower ‘steaks’ go to the heart of West’s waste problem”

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Is the alternative to a US–led international order less international order?

by Rashmee

Posted on January 11, 2018


These days, prophets of doom are more likely to be the authors of political books rather than sages and philosophers. So it is with Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, whose book ‘A World in Disarray’ was published yesterday, January 10. The book’s subtitle builds on the gloomy tone of the title. … Continue reading “Is the alternative to a US–led international order less international order?”

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How Trump set the stage for more gripping drama in the US-Pakistan relationship

by Rashmee

Posted on January 10, 2018 / The National


Donald Trump’s first tweet of the year bashed Pakistani perfidy and had Indians cheering his perspicacity but it should really only be read for what it is: a snarling America First salute to 2018 and meaningless beyond a few weeks. Only the naïve would expect Mr Trump’s tweet — and Pakistan’s response of injured innocence — to have lasting … Continue reading “How Trump set the stage for more gripping drama in the US-Pakistan relationship”

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Reading a bowl of youpo noodles in #Tunis for evidence of China’s rise

by Rashmee

Posted on January 9, 2018


Does it say something about the new year that in the closing hours of 2017, one of the most comforting (and relatively cheap) meals in the Tunisian capital was offered by a Chinese restaurant? It is not a fancy place (in fact, it rejoices in the simple, clear name of “Chinese Restaurant”) but it offers … Continue reading “Reading a bowl of youpo noodles in #Tunis for evidence of China’s rise”

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India’s patchy record on pollution has led the country to crisis

by Rashmee

Posted on December 20, 2017 / The National


Until Monday, when the Gujarat elections results came in, the air over Delhi was thick with speculation. The Indian capital, always a political cauldron, hissed and bubbled. Was Narendra Modi on the point of that ultimate indignity, losing face in his home state? Would Mr Modi’s BJP cede ground after 22 years in its stronghold? … Continue reading “India’s patchy record on pollution has led the country to crisis”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, UK and US