11 March 2016

Each week on the Policy File we round up some essential weekend policy reading from around the web. This week we look at International Women’s Day, safety concerns for tourists in Thailand, cyber attacks, and the perils of populist politicians. 

It was International Women’s Day on 8 March with important women’s issues around the globe taking centre stage. On DevPolicy Blog Mary Jack Kaviamu looks at the long journey to political acceptance for women in the Pacific, while Logea Nao discusses the challenges of ending family and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea.

The Week explores the terrifying reality of how Islamic State uses women to create an ‘unborn army’, while The Economist looks at male power over female actions in Saudi Arabia, and reports how the country has taken a step back in protecting women’s rights. Melinda Gates, meanwhile, looks at why women are more likely to be impoverished than men.

Thailand is among the world’s top tourist destinations, hosting nearly 30 million visitors last year, a rise of nearly 6 million. But from civil unrest to terrorism and increasing threats against visitors, the country has a struggle on its hands to maintain its reputation as a safe tourist destination, writes David Beirman on Policy Forum.

Shawn W Crispin on The Diplomat asks if Islamic State is a phantom threat to Thailand, and whether instead attention should be focused on its neigbours. On New Mandala, Christine E Gray takes a look at Thai politics and the role of Thaksin Shinawatra and the Crown Prince in shaking up old politics and old elites.

North Korea this week announced it had successfully made nuclear warheads for ballistic missiles, sparking further concern for the region. Alastair Gale at The Wall Street Journal says if true, it would represent a clear threat to the United States. John Carlson says the international community must take a stand against North Korea’s nuclear program, while Ramesh Thakur says arms control may be the only realistic option in stopping the rogue state.

In 2014 Japan suffered an estimated 12.8 billion cyber-attacks, up from 7.8 billion in 2012 and substantially greater than the estimated 300 million when monitoring began in 2005. And they are not alone – countries throughout the region are in the firing line for cyber threats. Scott Shackelford looks at the region’s policy responses to cybersecurity regulation, while Arun Mohan Sukumar at The Hindu says India’s digital capabilities lag significantly behind regional and global players. John Nugent at Forbes, meanwhile, gives the low-down on the top cyber security trends to watch in 2016.

With Donald Trump winning primary after primary in the United States, key thinkers across the region are questioning the power of populist leadership. Policy Forum editor-in-chief Quentin Grafton looks at whether perceived political authenticity leads to good policy solutions, while John Hewson says leaders that sweep to power on popularity can struggle to keep voters happy. On The Week Shikha Dalmia turns to India and asks whether Narendra Modi is becoming “just another thin-skinned, populist despot?”

This week Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova announced she had failed a drug test at the Australian Open after medication she had taken for 10 years was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances. Kavitha A Davidson from the Chicago Tribune says that as technology and drug policy evolve, so, too, must our view of doping. While others suggest policy is policy and there are no exceptions when it comes to drugs and competition.

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Hayward, K. (2016). The Policy File - Policy Forum. [online] Policy Forum. Available at: http://www.policyforum.net/the-policy-file-11-mar-16/