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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his first Independence Day speech this past week. In the speech, he invited foreign manufacturers to make their products in India, condemned crimes against women and vowed to end caste and religious discrimination. He also called himself, the “Prime Servant,” instead of the Prime Minister. I have a feeling Modi is trying to change public perception of him after his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Modi will be a guest at the White House in September and while 300 Indo-American organizations are working together to give Modi a warm welcome, an online petition has been started by the US-based rights group, Sikh For Justice, asking the White House to cancel the event. The one article about the petition mentions that it’s reached one lakh signatures, which equals 100,000.
So Pope Francis rolls into South Korea and calls for “dialogue, instead of displays of force,” after North Korea fired off some rockets. It’s the pope’s first visit to Asia and he’ll beatify 124 Koreans who died in the 18th and 19th centuries and meeting high school students who survived the Sawol ferry disaster earlier in the year. There are over 5 million Catholics in South Korea ,or 10% of the population.
Next, Pope Francis heads to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, where all inns in Tacloban City are booked five months ahead of the visit.
Two convoys of anti-government protesters are marching from Lahore, Pakistan to the capital Islamabad.
Malaysia has declared August 22 an official day of mourning for victims of Flight MH17.
The Thai military government has moved to make commercial surrogacy a criminal offense after two cases have drawn international attention.
This is cool — Delhi University has begun acknowledging transgender students by adding a column for a third gender.
Pandas! Baby pandas!
Finally, in cool comic/cartoon news, Shahan Zaidi, who helped with the making of the award-winning Burqa Avenger, has created a new female superhero named Bloody Nasreen who fights traffickers and gangsters in Karachi. The new superhero is drawing controversy though because she’s drawn without a dupatta (scarf). Zaldi argues that the dupatta would interfere with our heroine fighting the bad guys.