Hello friends, and welcome back. This week’s edition is a mixed bag of natural disasters, shady politics and one or two spots of levity, so let’s get started.
There’s been horrendous flooding in India and Pakistan this past week in the Kashmir region, killing an estimated 457 people and leaving thousands stranded and needing rescue. Despite the intervention of the Indian military in rescue efforts, many living in the affected areas were angry at the slow response for aid.
So last week, I posted a story about the two Afghan candidates forming a unity government. Sounds great, right? Well, now one of the candidates has come out and said a unity government will never work.
In just generally awful news, a documentary focuses on the sexual exploitation of boys in Pakistan (trigger warning for sexual abuse).
This article in The Atlantic chronicles the lives of girls who are dressed as boys by their families because of the way Afghan society devalues girls and elevates the birthing of boys. Sometimes, a girl is dressed as a boy because girls cannot work, but boys can or to keep the girl safe while traveling à la Arya Stark.
It seems in India, the caste system follows you into death, but a new law states that crematoriums cannot discriminate based on caste. Previously in the city of Jaipur, only members of certain castes could hold funeral rituals.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is traveling to the U.S. to meet with President Obama at the end of the month, but Modi has already visited with the German Foreign Minister who, like the rest of the world at this point, wants to forge a partnership with Modi’s new government.
In China, the trial of a prominent human rights activist began this week.
Speaking of China, you remember how they’ve been bullying smaller countries like Vietnam and the Philippines over maritime rights and boundaries? In an answer to those aggressive tactics, the Filipino government is now displaying ancient maps that dispute China’s claimed historical right to the disputed waters.
I think it’s fairly good advice to say that one should just never go to North Korea as the government recently sentenced American Matthew Todd Miller to six years hard labor.
An investigation by the Dutch Safety Board says that Malaysian Airline Flight 17 was brought down by “high energy objects.”
Finally, for something pretty cool and beautiful, this video captures the beauty of 11 different cities in China, Japan and Southeast Asia over 35 days.