The countries where women have more bank accounts than men

  • 13 June 2018
  • From the section India
A customer enters a branch of the Security Bank in Manila on January 14, 2016 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Women have accounts in Philippines to remit money and manage household finances

There are just six countries in the world where more women than men have bank accounts - Argentina, Georgia, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, and the Philippines.

This according to the World Bank's latest Global Findex report on how adults in more than 140 countries access accounts, make payments, save, borrow and manage risk. More than 500 million adults - or 69% of the adults, up from 51% in 2011 - have a "bank account" at a brick-and-mortar bank or a mobile money provider today.

But women, according to the report, continue to lag behind men: 65% of them have an account compared to 72% of men, a gap of seven percentage points that has remained unchanged since 2011.

This is despite the shrinking of the gender gap in many countries. In India, for example, 83% of men and 77% of women have a bank account - the gender gap in India has declined to 6 percentage points from 20 in 2014.

So how are these six disparate countries in Europe, South America and Asia bucking the gender trend? Leora Klapper, lead economist at the World Bank, offers some clues.

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How Shelley's Indian 'disciple' changed copyright law

  • 31 May 2018
  • From the section India
Subramania Bharati and his wife Chellama
Image caption Subramania Bharati, who wrote in the Tamil language, was a literary colossus

In March 1949, the government in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu acquired the work of one of India's greatest poets. It was the first time in the world that the state had taken over the copyright of a writer and put his writings in the public domain.

Subramania Bharati, who wrote in the Tamil language, was a literary colossus. Influenced by the Romantic poets, the radical poet used the pen-name "Shelley-dasan", meaning disciple of Shelly. Much later, inspired by Walt Whitman, he wrote prose poems, possibly for the first time in an Indian language. He was also interested in haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry form.

Read full article How Shelley's Indian 'disciple' changed copyright law

Inequality in India can be seen from outer space

  • 27 May 2018
  • From the section India
India night lights Image copyright NASA
Image caption Most of India is dark at night because there is little economic activity going on

Are night lights on earth captured by satellites from outer space a good way to measure inequality?

Economists Praveen Chakravarty and Vivek Dehejia certainly believe so. They acquired images grabbed by satellites from the US Air Force Defence Meteorological Satellite Programme. These satellites circle the earth 14 times a day and record lights from the earth's surface at night with sensors. They superimposed a map depicting India's districts on their images, allowing them to develop a unique data set of luminosity values, by district and over time.

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Why bribes usually don't buy votes for politicians

  • 22 May 2018
  • From the section India
A general view showing BJP supporter wearing a mask of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seen during the Bhartya Janta Party (BJP) public rally meeting ahead of Karnataka Assembly Election, in Bangalore, India, 08 May 2018. Image copyright EPA
Image caption Elections in India have become intensely competitive

What prompts a voter in India to cast her ballot in favour of a candidate? Typically, her choice would be influenced by the candidate's identity, ideology, caste, performance or ethnicity.

Cash bribes to voters are also widely thought to influence the voting choices of the poorest and most vulnerable voters. Days before the recent polls in the southern state of Karnataka, authorities uncovered cash and "other inducements" worth more than $20m (£14.85m) in what was described as a "record-breaking" haul. One report claimed that workers had been transferring money to bank accounts of voters who had promised to vote for their candidate, and even pledged to pay more later if their candidate won.

Read full article Why bribes usually don't buy votes for politicians

Why did an Indian minister just go to North Korea?

  • 17 May 2018
  • From the section India
VK Singh Image copyright AFP
Image caption VK Singh is a junior foreign minister and former Indian army chief

On Thursday, India revealed that it had sent a minister to North Korea for the first time in two decades.

The last time an Indian minister visited North Korea was in September 1998. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, information and broadcasting minister of the then ruling BJP-led alliance, had flown to Pyongyang to attend a film festival.

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Why India's Narendra Modi remains star BJP vote-catcher

  • 15 May 2018
  • From the section India
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) public rally meeting ahead of Karnataka Assembly Election, in Bangalore, India, 08 May 2018 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Narendra Modi remains the BJP's biggest vote catcher

Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist BJP continues to expand its political footprint relentlessly. His party has emerged as the single-largest in the southern state of Karnataka, and has staked its claim to run what would be its 21st of India's 29 states.

Two other parties - Congress and the regional Janata Dal (Secular) - provided a last-minute twist by announcing a post-poll alliance which they say gives them a rightful claim to power. Between them they mopped up 114 seats, to the BJP's 104. The governor now has to take a call on who to ask to form a government.

Read full article Why India's Narendra Modi remains star BJP vote-catcher

The Simpsons: Not all Indians think Apu is a racist stereotype

  • 9 May 2018
  • From the section India
The character Apu from The Simpsons Image copyright Alamy
Image caption Apu has been seen on The Simpsons since 1990

Why is a goofy Indian convenience store owner in a satirical TV series suddenly raising the hackles of some Indian-Americans, nearly three decades after he was introduced as a character?

In The Simpsons, Bengal-born Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is an indefatigable immigrant who talks in a mocking sing-song way. He topped his class of "seven million students" in a college in India before moving to the dystopian fictional town of Springfield, peopled by misfits and oddballs and powered by a polluting nuclear plant owned by a heartless cynic.

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The tragic lives of India's mistreated captive elephants

  • 24 April 2018
  • From the section India
Rajeshwari is dead
Image caption Rajeshwari died days after an animal lover sought the court's permission to put her down

For more than a month, Rajeshwari, a 42-year-old temple elephant in India, lay desultorily on a patch of sand, her forelimb and femur broken and her body ravaged by sores.

An animal lover went to the court, seeking to put her down. The court said the pachyderm could be "euthanised" after the vets examined her. On Saturday afternoon, she died anyway.

Read full article The tragic lives of India's mistreated captive elephants

Is India running out of cash again?

  • 19 April 2018
  • From the section India
A man shows a “no cash” slip near SBI ATMs in Patna on April 17, 2018. Most of the ATMs have run out of cash in the city Image copyright Press Trust of India
Image caption ATMs in many parts of India have run out of cash

This week, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, a farmer pawned his wife's jewellery to a moneylender to raise money for his daughter's wedding. He said he had been visiting the bank for two days to pick up his money, but had been turned away because they had run out of cash.

There's a depressing sense of deja vu about similar stories pouring in of long queues of depositors outside depleted cash machines in at least five states - Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

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Why India's rape crisis shows no signs of abating

  • 17 April 2018
  • From the section India
girl holds a placard during a protest against the rape of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, near Jammu, in Kochi, India April 15, 2018. Image copyright Reuters

The police in India are looking for the rapists of a girl who has no face, name, home or number.

She was possibly between nine and 11 years old, and her mutilated corpse was found in a bush recently near a playground in western Gujarat state's bustling Surat city, known the world over for its diamond polishing industry. Her battered body bore 86 injury marks. The autopsy surgeon believes that the injuries "seem to have been caused over a period ranging from one week to a day prior to the recovery of the body".

Read full article Why India's rape crisis shows no signs of abating