News in Asia

Greetings and salutations. This week’s “News in Asia” is coming to you after getting a Christmas tree way late in the season. This is my first holiday season home in two years and I forgot how truly hectic it is. South Korea has an interesting take on the Christmas holiday. Christians are a sizeable minority in the country so you do see the more religious aspects of the season celebrated. Mostly though, the country has embraced the Westernized commercial aspects of the holiday. All the department stores are decorated and Santas are everywhere. The obvious difference in the way Christmas is celebrated is that Christmas Eve is what is called a couple’s holiday. Downtown Daegu was packed that night and everyone was eating out and in the bars. My high school girls would lament that they were spending Christmas with Kevin; meaning they were spending the night at home, watching Home Alone.

Anyway, enough stories. On to the news!

India

India’s Supreme Court overturned a 2009 ruling this week that decriminalized consensual same-sex relations between adults. Many prominent leaders have come out to condemn the ruling, which is also being denounced by international groups.

Pakistan

A worker who was a part of a polio vaccination team and two policemen were killed by a gunman earlier this week. Pakistan is one of only three countries where the disease is still a health issue.

Pakistani designers are starting to make a splash on the international fashion scene and are very eager to distance themselves from political talk.

Afghanistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai traveled to India Thursday for a four-day official visit. The U.S. is hoping that India will convince Karzai to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement treaty.

North Korea

The uncle of President Kim Jong Un has been executed for “acts of treachery.” Jang Song Taek was a senior military advisor and thought to be the second most powerful man in North Korea. Kim’s aunt seems to have survived the political purge.

Thailand

Even with massive anti-government protests taking place, the main opposition leader, Abhisit Vejjajiva, has been charged with murder. He is being held responsible for the deaths of a 43-year-old man and 14-year-old girl during a military crackdown against protests in 2010.

Bangladesh

The Islamist leader Abdul Kader Mullah was executed and then buried on Thursday. He was convicted of crimes committed during the 1971 war for independence.

Philippines

The death toll from Haiyan has been raised to just over 6,000.

General Asian News

A summit this Saturday between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) issued a joint statement that underscored the importance of, “ensuring civil aviation safety in accordance with international law amid growing regional tensions following China’s recent declaration of an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea.”

On Twitter

There is an awesome conversation about racism, feminism and intersectionality going on in the #Notyourasiansidekick hashtag.

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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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