In many ways, 2010 is a year you may want to relegate to the filing cabinet quickly. It began with a massive earthquake in Haiti and wound down with North Korea once again being an enfant terrible – bizarrely trying to conduct diplomacy through brinkmanship. In between came Toyota recalls and egg scares, pat downs at airports and unyielding unemployment numbers, too little money in the Irish treasury and too many bedbugs in American sheets. Oil gushed from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico for three months, mocking the best intentions of man and technology to stop it, while ash from a volcano in Iceland darkened Europe temporarily as much as its balance sheets. Yet not all was gloomy. The winter Olympics in Canada and the World Cup in South Africa dazzled with their displays of athletic prowess and national pride, becoming hearths around which the world gathered. In Switzerland, the world's largest atom smasher hurled two protons into each other at unfathomable speeds. Then came the year's most poignant moment – the heroic and improbable rescue of 33 miners from the clutches of the Chilean earth. There were many transitions, too – the return of the Republicans in Washington and the Tories in Britain, the scaling back of one war (Iraq) and the escalation of another (Afghanistan), the fall of some powers (Greece) and rise of others (China, Germany, Lady Gaga). To get the new year off to the right start, we decided to ask various thinkers for one idea each to make the world a better place in 2011. We plumbed poets and political figures, physicists and financiers, theologians and novelists. Some of the ideas are provocative, others quixotic. Some you will agree with, others you won't. But in the modest quest to stir a discussion – from academic salons to living rooms to government corridors – we offer these 25 ideas.
Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Friday for his long and nonviolent struggle for human rights in his country. Here is a list of the past 10 Nobel Peace Prize winners and why the committee chose them.
Liu Xiaobo, a pro-democracy activist, won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Friday for his decades of non-violent struggle for human rights in China. Beijing was not impressed. Mr. Liu is currently in a Chinese prison serving out an 11-year sentence as the lead author of Chapter 08, a manifesto calling for free speech and multi-party elections. The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the richest and most prestigious awards in the world. The prize includes a $1.5 million award. But how much do you really know about the Nobel Peace Prize? Take our 15-question quiz.
Talk of the Millennium Development Goals at the UN General Assembly this week’s brought home one very clear fact: Western thinking about development is elite-driven.
Lending to the poor has proved so profitable in India that microfinance institutions saw their loan portfolio jump from $252 million to $2.5 billion in two years, raising fears of a subprime-like microfinance bubble.
Earthtalk: Little payments can jump-start a business and lead to greener communities.