News in Asia

So first, the bad news…

Police and protestors have been clashing in Thailand as an estimated 20,000 people participated in a rally to oust Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. During the rally, it was reported that police fired ten tear gas canisters into the crowd. According to Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay, this is the latest in a seemingly endless cycle of violence and then calm. "It seems that Thailand just goes through this cycle of a few years of calm… and then sooner or later the violence and the street protests start again. Some fear that we are entering a new wave of political unrest right now." 

An estimated 112 people were killed in a fire at a garment factory in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka. There are an estimated 4,000 garment factories in Bangladesh, many of which do not adhere to any proper safety standards. Garment exports from Bangladesh are estimated to be worth $20 billion and are mainly sent to the U.S. and Europe.

A bomb killed at least five people during a Shiite religious procession in Pakistan. The bombing, which the Taliban claimed responsibility for, is the fifth attack claimed by the Taliban in the last five days. The death toll for all the bombings has now reached 30 people. 

Now for the more neutral news:

The Washington Post has a piece on China's increasingly tense relationship with its Southeast Asia neighbors. China needs the ASEAN countries to expand its trade and economics, but the Chinese government has been increasingly aggressive over disputed islands in the South China Sea. Recent changes to the Chinese passport showing the entire South China Sea as Chinese territory did not go over well with their neighbors. 

Speaking of conflicts involving maritime territories, China landed its first fighter jet on an aircraft carrier. This has made China's neighbors very nervous, especially those countries who are embroiled in territorial disputes. It is feared that China will use its growing naval strength to bully its way into getting what it wants. 

The withdrawal of Independent presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo has shaken up the South Korean presidential race. Ahn called for support for the Democratic United Party (DUP)’s Moon Jae-in. Moon will now face Saenuri Party’s Park Geun-hye in the December 19 election.

In better news…

Speaking of South Korea, the video for South Korean rapper PSY's worldwide hit, "Gangnam Style" is now the most watched video of all time on YouTube. The honor was previously held by Justin Bieber's "Baby." You can watch it here, if you're not sick of it already, but trust me, none of you are as sick of it as I am. 

Finally, a Pakistani court has thrown out all charges against Rimsha Masih, the Christian girl charged with blasphemy after she was accused of burning the Quran. It is thought that the international condemnation surrounding the girl's arrest led to the dismissal of charges.

By 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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