News in Asia

Hello and welcome back, my fellow unicorns. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve last written this column, so instead of trying to catch up with everything, I’m going to just give updates on the most recent news developments and reference prior news as it is necessary. Also, please be aware that this column has trigger warnings for rape and violence.

India

India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, is stepping down after the upcoming elections and has given a lengthy interview to the press, a rare occurrence. In the interview, he places the blame for the 2002 riots in Gujarat on prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and says that his election to the position of prime minister would be “disastrous.”

In another terrible example of why it’s dangerous to be born a girl in this world, a 16-year-old gang rape victim who was also set on fire has died from her injuries. The police are accused of dragging their feet with the investigation. Same old story and song.

Pakistan

Former President Pervez Musharraf has been hospitalized for heart problems and may need bypass surgery for three blocked vessels. Options for surgery overseas are being weighed, though some wonder if the former president is really ill since he is facing a multitude of charges.

Health officials think that polio could be eradicated in the country by the end of this year; however, the plans have hit several snags, including security concerns regarding the aid workers administering the vaccines.

Afghanistan

President Hamid Karzai is getting criticism from several US senators for releasing prisoners deemed dangerous by the US intelligence forces. It’s just the latest in a number of disagreements between the two countries and another delay in getting Karzai to sign a bilateral security agreement.

Six militant groups have joined peace talks after the murder of Yalda Waziri, a senior female official in the western city of Herat.

Cambodia

The country has been embroiled with protests for quite some time, with many calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Now, the PM has been cracking down on striking garment workers who are demanding that the minimum wage be doubled. Police have fired on protestors and three have reportedly been killed.

Hong Kong

Speaking of protests, thousands have been demonstrating in Hong Kong, demanding full autonomy from Beijing. There was the promise of direct elections in 2017, but the Chinese government still appears to be trying to influence the elections.

Myanmar

In contrast, this former dictatorial regime is moving more towards a democratic government, granting amnesty to a number of political prisoners.

Philippines

The survivors of the super typhoon in the Philippines really can’t catch a much needed break as news of the aftermath has virtually disappeared. The area hardest hit by Haiyan is experiencing ongoing rain as the wet season is setting in.

Any news I may have missed that has caught your eye?

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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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