News in Asia: Discounted Chocolate Edition

Happy Discounted Chocolate Day! For those who hate the day, this is the best part. So Valentine’s Day. Fake holiday? Pretty much. Sketchy origins dating back to the Roman Empire? Yep. But today means discounted chocolate so I’m here for it.

Even if your feelings about Valentine’s Day are less than enthusiastic, you can’t be any more down on the holiday than the president of Pakistan.

Clerics in Indonesia also banned celebration of the holiday.

Thailand is using the day to promote a campaign aimed at encouraging teenagers to not be ashamed to carry condoms.

The holiday has spread to other Asia-Pacific countries; people in Mainland China spend the most, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore. Women in South Korea and Sri Lanka spent more on Valentine’s Day than men.

For Korean women (and Japanese women), there is an easy explanation. On February 14th, women give gifts to men, mainly chocolate. Then on March 14th, the men return the favor on a day known as “White Day.”

In perhaps the ultimate “Single Awareness Day,” single Koreans gather on “Black Day,” dressed in black to eat jjajang myeon (noodles and black bean paste) and mourn their single status. As a sidenote: I’ve had jjajang myeon. It’s pretty delicious.

As for other news:

India’s Supreme Court has called for increased compensation for victims of sexual assault.

The British government is condemning the disappearance of prominent booksellers in Hong Kong, saying it breaches the handover treaty.

South Korea is suspending production at a joint North-South Korean industrial park.

Interesting story about Chinese students attending U.S. Christian high schools.

Death toll from the earthquake in Taiwan is expected to exceed 100.

India has blocked Facebook’s Free Basics Internet service, meant to bring free Internet to poor and under-served communities. Many said it threatened net neutrality by imposing a two-tiered system.

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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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