News in Asia

Hello! Welcome to another edition of “News in Asia.” For all readers and unicorns in NYC and London, I hope Pride weekend was awesome! Orlando Pride doesn’t usually take place ’til fall, given the Florida summer, though Gay Days (which is separate from the official Pride celebrations) usually takes place late May/early June. I wrote this column months ago focusing on gay rights in Asia. Pride celebrations take place at various times of the year in different countries. The largest celebration is in Taiwan on the last Saturday in October with some 80,000 people in attendance.

Alright, onto the news. I’m going to get the bad stuff out of the way first because, well, it’s really bad. The following carries trigger warnings for violence against women and death. A 17-year-old girl and her husband were murdered in Pakistan’s Punjab region because the couple married without the consent of her family. Elsewhere in the region, a girl was set on fire by a man she refused to marry and later died of her injuries. I’m starting to get really sick of having to fill this column with stories of violence against women.

More bad news out of Pakistan this week: the country is facing a humanitarian crisis as people flee the North Waziristan region to avoid the massive ground offensive launched by the Pakistani government.

Wait, there is one more: A gunman killed one person when he fired on a passenger plane landing at the Peshawar airport. In the aftermath, Emirates and Etihad Airlines have canceled all flights to and from the airport.

Quartz magazine has released the results of a hackathon that reveals Google Maps changes the borders of disputed regions, depending on where the maps are accessed from.

Thousands are protesting the results of the Afghan presidential elections and are calling for the invalidation due to supposed fraudulent ballots.

The annual World Drug Report says the poppy fields in Afghanistan have expanded by 36%.

Even though the tragedy has dropped from the wider public consciousness, the investigation into what happened to Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 is still ongoing. A report released by Australian transportation officials theorizes that the plane kept flying until it ran out of fuel after the crew passed out from oxygen deprivation.

In the battle for hearts and minds via social media; India’s recently elected prime minister is beating President Obama. Narendra Modi’s Twitter account (@Narendra Modi) has slightly more followers than the official White House Twitter page.

North Korea launched two short range missiles right before a visit from the Chinese president to Seoul.

North Korea’s leader is apparently really worried and angry about how he may be portrayed in an upcoming film. This piece from Foreign Policy looks at how the film about two American journalists played by Seth Rogen and James Franco, who land an interview with the Kim Jong Un and are then recruited by the CIA to assassinate him. Given the ruthlessness of how Kim has consolidated his power, it’s easy to see how a film that centers around an assassination attempt would piss him off. Granted, I will be very surprised if the film isn’t a complete racist and misogynistic mess. The article also points out, Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, was famously lampooned in the movie 2004 movie Team America: World Police and there was never any response from North Korea on that film.

Finally, with South Korea’s 1-0 loss to Belgium, all Asian teams are out of the World Cup; however, the women’s teams of several nations could make a huge impact in the Women’s World Cup in 2015. Most are expected to be ranked in the top 10, including Japan who were the champions in 2011. This article talks a bit about why a country’s women’s team will dominate when the men’s teams falter.

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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