News in Asia

Hello, friends. It’s news time!

The U.S. drone strike program is causing tension on the international front (big surprise). A drone strike targeting an Islamic seminary in Pakistan killed a senior member of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network. Five people were reported killed.

In response to the drone strike, Pakistani leaders are questioning the United States’ intentions towards Pakistan with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, stating that the U.S. is “unreliable” and does not want peace.

As this is taking place, Afghan president Hamid Karzai wants to delay signing the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) until after the Afghan elections in 2014. The move would throw relations into turmoil, according to the U.S. The BSA would lay the groundwork for relations after U.S. troops withdraw from the country.

A U.S. Korean war veteran has been detained by the North Korean government. 85-year-old Merrill Newman was pulled off his return flight, minutes before take-off.

In a win for human rights in China, the high court ruled that torture could no longer be used as a tool to extract confessions from suspects.

In a loss for human rights, it’s reported that Iran has been forcibly deporting thousands of Afghan refugees without warning.

The last known Afghan Jew may be forced to leave the country if the security situation in the country continues to deteriorate.

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has inaugurated the country’s first ever state-owned bank for women in the western city of Mumbai. Only 26% of women have some kind of account with a formal banking institution.

Three people were wounded in a bombing at a polling station in Nepal.

The survivors of Typhoon Haiyan rejoiced at the news of boxing icon Manny Pacquiao’s victory against American Brandon Rios. To them, it offered a brief respite from the devastation. The death toll from the typhoon has exceeded 5,000.

An underwater volcano has produced a new island south of Japan. Though the new island may erode quickly, scientists say there is a chance it could become permanent. A government official stated, “If it becomes a full-fledged island, we would be happy to have more territory.”

Speaking of claiming territory, China is stepping up its claim to disputed islands and waters by taking a more aggressive air defense strategy, one that is being heavily criticized by the U.S. Given the story about U.S. drone strikes above, I don’t know how much room the U.S. has to criticize.

Finally, a story of how the growing popularity of cricket starting in the 1990s has paid off with the Afghan cricket team earning a spot in the World Cup tournament in 2015. For more on the game of cricket, I point you to Karo’s wonderful column on the sport.

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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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