News in Asia

Well, the news in the U.S. has almost exclusively focused on the current government shutdown, so let’s see what’s going on in another part of the world, shall we?

Ironically, the biggest news item in the last 24 hours has to do with just that subject. The government shutdown has put a kink in U.S. foreign policy with President Obama cancelling a trip to Asia and pulling out of two different summits. Obama was scheduled to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Indonesia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Brunei. Press Secretary Jay Carney stated:

This completely avoidable shutdown is setting back our ability to create jobs through promotion of U.S. exports and advance U.S. leadership and interests in the largest emerging region in the world.

Internet rights groups are in an uproar over the Pakistani government’s move to ban Skype and other messaging apps like Viber and WhatsApp for three months for security purposes.

In other news out of Pakistan, the Taliban in that country launched an attack on a rival militant commander. According to the article, such infighting is rare, but not without precedent.

Afghanistan qualified for the World Cup of cricket by defeating Kenya by seven wickets.

The man who allegedly brought al Qaeda to Afghanistan is running for president.

Forget cancer, roadside bombs are the number one killer in Afghanistan.

Four NATO soldiers were also killed in Afghanistan.

In even more depressing news, child marriage is on the rise in Malaysia.

The Japanese government is considering financially supporting local events for people seeking marriage partners since the birth rate has dropped significantly in the last few years.

The World Wildlife Fund has called an emergency meeting as a result of Laos’ decision to build a second dam on the Mekong River.

Many humanitarian aid groups are appealing for help for millions of people affected by monsoon flooding in Southeast Asia.

Sectarian violence has erupted in Myanmar between Buddhists and the country’s Muslim minority.

The top judge of Indonesia’s Constitutional Court has been arrested for allegedly taking bribes.

Al Jazeera has a story and accompanying video on the Iraqi and Afghan interpreters who are awaiting visas to the United States. Many have gone into hiding. It’s a story that I have mentioned in previous columns, but it bears repeating.

Finally, in a news story that sounds more like the plot of a B-horror movie, 28 people in China have died after being swarmed by giant hornets. Crews have been mobilized in order to remove the hornet nest.

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Stephens

Florida girl, would-be world traveler and semi-permanent expat. Her main strategy of life is to throw out the nets and hope something useful comes back, but many times it's just an old shoe. She also really, really hates winter and people who are consistently late.

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