Hello kittens! Hope your Galentine’s Day was awesome! Here is your latest news over the past week from Asia.
This could be filed under China news, but it’s regarding North Korea. During talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, China promised that it will take additional steps to ensure the denuclearization of North Korea. The talks weren’t completely agreeable; the U.S. and China disagreed on China’s aggressive territorial posturing.
There are so many natural disasters and climate-related catastrophes that I’m beginning to wonder if my Sunday school teacher was right about the apocalypse. A volcano eruption in east Java has forced tens of thousands to flee.
The decision by Penguin India to recall and destroy a book that was deemed by a religious group as offensive has drawn wide criticism. Wendy Doniger’s book, The Hindus: An Alternative History, has been legally challenged as being offensive to Hindus. Indian law makes it illegal to deliberately insult religious feelings through writing or speech. Many think that religious groups are stifling freedom of speech and the press.
U.S. ambassador to India Nancy Powell met Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. The two discussed trade issues between the U.S. and India, though the issue of Modi’s visa ban was reportedly not discussed. The ban was put in place for Modi’s alleged failure in protecting the rights of religious minorities in the state during 2002 riots. Now that Modi’s BJP party is ahead in all polls, the U.S. is starting to seek out a tentative partnership.
Police and government officials won a brief victory after pushing out protesters who have taken over a main boulevard in Bangkok for the past three months. There have been ongoing protests calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The U.S. is putting pressure on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement, pretty much like they have for the past several months. Karzai continues to all but say, “Fuck you” to the U.S. government. This time he’s released 65 Afghan militants. U.S. government officials declare that they may have no choice but to hunt them down. I’m gonna be honest and say I don’t know how I feel about this.
Work has been halted at a site once occupied by ancient Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and any reconstruction done without permission could endanger its status as a World Heritage site. The Taliban announced in early 2001 that two ancient giant Buddha statues in the valley in Bamiyan province were un-Islamic and must be destroyed.
In some good news, a charity walk in Manila to raise funds for victims of Typhoon Haiyan has broken a Guinness World Record. An estimated 175,509 people marched.
South Korean teenage short tracker Shim Suk-hee won the silver medal in the women’s 1,500m. The 17 year old finished behind China’s Zhou Yang who defended the Olympic gold medal she won in Vancouver.
Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu won the men’s figure skating gold despite falling twice during his long program. He is now the first Asian man to win a gold. Kazakhstan’s Denis Ten, the world silver medalist, won bronze.
Japan had its first medalist in snowboarding when Ayumu Hirano and Taku Hiraoka won the silver and bronze medals, respectively, for the men’s snowboard half-pipe.