For those in the provinces, having greater say in the key issues of local administration remains a distant dream. For instance, they cannot vote for their governors, as is done in Bangkok.
Fifty years ago this spring, one of the most influential books of the twentieth century was published. Written for the Club of Rome by Donella Meadows and colleagues at MIT, The Limits to Growth used new computer models to forecast an uncontrollable collapse in the global population and economy if prevailing patterns of environmental resource use and pollution continued. Exponential economic growth could not go on forever; at some point in the next 100 years, it would inevitably run up against Earth's finite environmental limits.
It's finally time for Shanghai residents to breathe easier and feel a greater sense of freedom. After nearly two months of lockdown, the commercial hub of 25 million started to allow more people to go out to buy groceries for the first time last Thursday after a fifth straight day of no new Covid-19 infections outside quarantine areas.
For many months there had been a large green road sign near the entrance to my local mall in eastern Bangkok which read "Entrace", the second "n" having gone missing in action. It was a minor thing and I was resigned to seeing it for years to come. However, I am pleased to report the rogue "n" has surprisingly been located and now the mall has a proper "Entrance" again. Congratulations to the eagle-eyed official who spotted the missing "n".
Global food prices are soaring. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's Food Price Index -- which covers a basket of basic food commodities (cereals, meat, dairy, vegetable oils, and sugar) -- reached an all-time high of 159.7 in March, up from 141.1 the previous month. While it declined slightly in April, to 158.5, ongoing developments -- not least Russia's war in Ukraine -- are set to keep driving prices to new highs, with devastating implications for global hunger.