News in Asia

It’s been a heavy news week for the U.S. with major court decisions regarding the Voting Rights Act and gay rights and a filibuster to defeat an attack on access to safe abortions and reproductive healthcare in Texas. So, with all the focus on the U.S. media honed in domestically, I haven’t heard much in the mainstream media headlines on Asian news, but that certainly doesn’t mean that stuff isn’t happening.

The Pakistani Supreme Court adjourned that treason case against former president Pervez Musharraf indefinitely while at the same time, a four-member committee was formed to investigate allegations he subverted the  country’s constitution.

China’s state media has reported 35 deaths in violent clashes in the western Xinjiang province. The Chinese government has been labeling these clashes as “terrorist attacks” by the Muslim Uighur community. The Uighur in turn, accuse the government of trying to repress their culture language and religion. The Uighurs are Muslims who speak a Turkic language and they are not the first ethnic minority to accuse the Chinese government of trying to undermine and repress their culture. Human Rights Watch has released a report that the government has systematically uprooted ethnic Tibetans in forced rehousing and resettlement efforts. According to the report, more than two million Tibetans have been forcibly moved in the last seven years.

The U.S. has cut trade privileges with Bangladesh after a series of factory accidents and fires that have killed thousands. Though the government has stated that they have made great strides and improving working conditions in their factories, President Obama stated in his presidential order that Bangladesh had not taken the proper steps to give international workers’ rights to the country’s garment workers. How this move will affect the factory workers remains to be seen, though some have argued that pulling industries from developing nations does more harm than good.

As diplomats gather for the annual security summit, many express hope that North Korea and its neighbors can resume disarmament talks.

While strides have been made, AIDS activists continue to urge Asian governments to end discrimination against those infected with HIV. Many countries have concentrated epidemics due to certain groups and populations being under served. Drug users, gay men and the transgender are likely to face multiple societal obstacles in getting early treatment.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra became the first woman to head the kingdom’s defense ministry.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is on a two-day official visit to Pakistan and promised to work with the Pakistani government to help curb terrorism.

In an apparent happy ending to a horrible situation, Rimsha Masih, the Pakistani teenager falsely accused of blasphemy has found asylum with her family in Canada. Though the charges against her were dropped, her family was forced into hiding because of death threats.

Simon Cowell’s entertainment company is set to launch Afghanistan’s Got Talent because despite war and poverty, reality TV is something that can bring people together.

Lastly, a guy I met while living in Korea (and who became one of my best friends) studied Japanese and did a study abroad in Japan while in university and always lamented to me about how difficult a language it was to learn, particularly the written language. Now, with smart phones and tablets, it’s not necessary for students to spend hours memorizing characters now that their devices can do it for them.

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.

2 replies on “News in Asia”

I think it really gets down to something that can be a beautiful thing like religion or religious expression or faith of any stripe and it gets twisted. So, I equate it with Christian fundamentalists in the US who basically throw Jesus’ teachings out the window when faced with something that is different or threatens their bubble. Same with the Taliban and Islam. It’s really not so much about faith as it is power and groups (religious or otherwise) can react violently when their power I’d threatened.

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