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Lee Kuan Yew’s Legacy


Modern Singapore’s founder passed away at age 91 earlier this week.

Three Minute Words: China’s Passive-Agressive Internet


Can a country entry reap the benefits of the connected age while successfully tying down the Internet?

From the “You Can’t Make this Stuff up” File


Via NPR:  China Seizes Toilet Tissue Featuring Likeness Of Hong Kong Leader.

North Korean Internet Connections Collapse

North Korea

What does exist of North Korea’s connection to the Internet has largely collapsed in what may be an attack from outside sources: SAN FRANCISCO — North Korea’s already tenuous links to the Internet went completely dark on Monday after days of instability, in what Internet monitors described as one of the worst North Korean network […]

China Losing Patience With Pyongyang? Don’t Believe It Until You See It Happen

China North Korea

There are again reports of Chinese frustration with the Kim regime in North Korea, but change is unlikely to happen in the DPRK until Beijing is ready to let it happen.

Nobody Else In North Korea Can Be Named “Jong Un”

Kim Jong Un

If you live in North Korea, and if you do you’re not likely to be reading this blog post, don’t even think of naming your child  Jong-Un: SEOUL, South Korea — There is plenty that is off-limits to North Koreans. Televisions that receive anything other than government broadcasts. Traveling outside their hometowns without official permission. […]

China’s Coming Collapse?

China Flag and Skyline

A knowledgeable observer has a dim forecast.

Early Elections Called in Japan


Via the BBC:  Japan PM Shinzo Abe calls snap election in December Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called an early election, two years ahead of schedule. At a news briefing, he said he would dissolve parliament later this week and was also delaying a planned but unpopular increase in sales tax. Mr Abe was […]

Two Americans Released By North Korea After High Profile Visit

North Korean Flag

Good news for two released Americans, but no clue what’s motivating North Korea’s latest actions.

Oil Prices Have Been Falling For Months, And That’s Likely To Have Wide Repercussions


Quietly, oil prices have been falling for months now. That’s potentially a very big deal.

Kim Jong Un’s Absence Due To Foot Surgery, Report Claims

Kim Jong Un

Reports out of South Korea are claiming that Kim Jong Un’s month and a half long absence was due to foot surgery: SEOUL, South Korea — The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, whose prolonged absence from public view aroused rumors that he was ill or deposed, or both, was recovering from surgery on his left […]

North Korean Media Shows Kim Jong Un In Public For First Time In 40 Days

North Korea Military Parade

After an abcense of more than a month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been shown appearing in public by the country’s media: SEOUL, South Korea — The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, whose prolonged absence from public view generated speculation about his health and grip on power, has visited a housing project and […]

Where In The World Is Kim Jong Un?

Kim Jong Un

The mystery continues.

Government Cancels Hong Kong Talks As Popular Support For Protesters Wanes

Hong Kong Protests

The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong continue, and may intensify, after efforts at talks between the protesters and ruling authorities collapsed: HONG KONG — The standoff between Hong Kong’s government and pro-democracy protesters intensified Thursday as the democrats demanded that the city’s top official be impeached over a multimillion-dollar payment from an Australian company and […]

Something Afoot In North Korea?

North Korea Military Parade

Once again, there’s speculation that something is up in the world’s most closed society.

The U.S. Should Stay Quiet About The Protests In Hong Kong

Hong Kong Protests

In the current situation, speaking out forcefully as some are demanding can only do more harm than good.

Hong Kong Rocked With Protests As China Tries To Limit Political Rights

Hong Kong Protests

The streets of Hong Kong have been filled with protesters upset over China’s efforts to control the city’s political future.

Kim Jong Un Reportedly Ill, May Have Diabetes And Gout

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provides field guidance during his visit to the Wonsan Shoe Factory

North Korea’s young, reclusive leader may be ill, because even the North Korean press is acknowledging that something is wrong: That Kim Jong-un is carrying a few extra pounds has been obvious since he became North Korea’s leader in late 2011. But speculation that his increasing weight – apparently partly due to a weakness for […]

Chinese Airlines Rebrand ‘First Class’ as ‘Business Class’


A scandal erupted when the Chinese people learned their leaders were flying first class and staying in five-star hotels. Problem solved!

Comparative Smog


Via the LAT,  Beijing’s smog makes Los Angeles air look good: In the American Lung Assn.’s 2014 national State of the Air survey, the L.A.-Long Beach area ranked worst in terms of ozone concentrations and third worst in terms of particulates as measured by the standard known as PM2.5, which captures particles so small they […]

Fighting over Mosul Dam


Via the BBC:  Iraq crisis: Military claims control of Mosul dam Iraqi military spokesman Lt-Gen Qassim Atta told state TV the dam – Iraq’s largest – had been "fully cleansed". Troops had been backed by a joint air patrol, he added, without specifying if there had been any US air strikes. However, journalists in the […]

North Korea Is Telling Its Citizens That Their Team Is In The World Cup Final

North Korea Military Parade

North Korea is telling its people that their men’s national team is in the World Cup Final: We’ve known for a long time now that supreme leader Kim Jong-un controls the flow of information to his people, with the television channels only reporting positive stuff about the country. But in a report posted on YouTube, […]

Japan Relaxes Constitutional Bar Limiting Military To Self-Defense

Japan navy

Nearly seventy years after the end of World War Two, Japan has approved a change to its Constitution that was imposed in the post-war era largely to prevent the rise of a militaristic Japan: Japan’s cabinet has agreed on a proposal to end a ban on its military fighting abroad, a major shift away from […]

Is The Next Crimea In Northern Kazakhstan?

Russian Kazakhstan Flags

While the world watches Ukraine, Central Asia could also be an area where Russia may seek to expand its territory.

Why Is Thailand’s Military Coup A “Coup,” But Egypt’s Wasn’t?

Thai Coup

Diplomatic word games.

Thailand’s Army Stages Military Coup

Thai Coup

Another civilian government falls in Thailand.

Thai Military Imposes Martial Law

Thai Martial Law

The military in Thailand has imposed martial law in the wake of a series of protests from supporters of a deposed Prime Minister: BANGKOK — Citing a century-old law, the head of Thailand’s Army declared what he described as nationwide martial law early Tuesday and urged protesters who have paralyzed the government and blocked elections […]

North Korea Acknowledges Pyongyang Building Collapse That May Have Killed Hundreds


In a highly unusual move, the North Korean government is publicly admitting to what seems to be a serious construction disaster: SEOUL, South Korea — A 23-story apartment building that may have housed more than 90 families collapsed in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, last week, a South Korean government official said on Sunday, after […]

Hindu Nationalists Win Big In India

India Flag Map

The world’s most populous democracy recently completed an election process that lasted nearly two months, and it’s resulted in some big political changes; NEW DELHI — The Indian National Congress, which has headed India’s government for nearly all the country’s post-Independence history, conceded defeat to the opposition leader Narendra Modi on Friday, as voters rendered […]

China’s Plan For The Collapse Of North Korea


China sends a message to Kim Jong Un.

Is China Number One?


The USA’s 142-year streak as the world’s largest economy is ending.

North Korea On The Verge Of Collapse? Don’t Count On It

North Korea Military Parade

Predicting the end of the DPRK is a fool’s errand.

Status of Afghan Elections


Via the BBC:  Afghan poll: Abdullah slightly ahead as count continues Partial results from the Afghan presidential vote show former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah slightly ahead of Ashraf Ghani. With about 500,000 votes in 26 provinces counted, Dr Abdullah has 41.9% with Mr Ghani on 37.6%. [...] The partial results gave another main contender and […]

Afghans to the Polls


Via the BBC:  Afghanistan election: Millions vote in presidential poll Eight candidates are seeking to succeed Hamid Karzai, who is barred by the constitution from seeking a third consecutive term as president. [...] Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) secretary Ziaul Haq Amarkhel said seven million people had voted by 17:00 local time, when the polls had […]

Only Nixon Could Go to China–Because Nobody Else Wanted To


The opening to China was entirely Richard Nixon’s idea. Henry Kissinger opposed it vehemently.

Amusing Headline of the Day


Via the BBC:  Synthetic lingerie ban in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. From the video clip: “Why are you afraid of panties?” she shouts.

Kim Jong Un’s Uncle Executed By Dogs?

Jang Song Removal 2

If a report out of a Singapore newspaper is to be believed, the execution of Jang Soong Thaek, uncle to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was particularly brutal: BEIJING — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s powerful uncle was stripped naked, thrown into a cage, and eaten alive by a pack of ravenous dogs, […]

Shrinking Japan


Via the BBC:  Japan’s population falls ‘by record 244,000′ in 2013 Japan’s population declined by a record 244,000 people in 2013, according to health ministry estimates. The ministry said an estimated 1,031,000 babies were born last year – down some 6,000 from the previous year. Meanwhile, the number of people that died last year was […]

Kim Jong Un Ordering Executions While Drunk?

Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un seems to share his father’s taste for alcohol.

North Korea Threatens The South, Again

North and South Korea

The North Koreans are back to their old tricks.

China on the Moon


Via the BBC:  China lands Jade Rabbit robot rover on Moon China says it has successfully landed a craft carrying a robotic rover on the surface of the Moon, the first soft landing there for 37 years. On Saturday afternoon (GMT), a landing module used thrusters to touch down, marking the latest step in China’s […]

Despicable Human Scum Jang Song Thaek, Traitor for All Ages, Worse Than Dog, Executed With Warmest Paternal Love


Last evening, word broke that Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong Un’s uncle, had been executed. The official statement of the Korean Central News Agency provides further insights: Upon hearing the report on the enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the service personnel and people throughout the […]

North Korea Says Kim Jong Un’s Uncle Has Been Executed

Jang Song Removal 2

Well, that didn’t take long.

Indian Supreme Court Criminalizes Homosexual Acts


Via the Times of India:  Supreme Court makes homosexuality a crime again The Supreme Court on Wednesday dealt a cruel blow to lakhs of homosexuals, many of whom had started living together after the Delhi high court decriminalized same-sex relationships four years ago, by making it a crime again, even if it is consensual and […]

Internal Events In North Korea May Be Making China Nervous

Jang Song Removal

The recent surprising removal of a top North Korean official from office, and the fact that it was done in such a public manner, may be unnerving North Korea’s benefactors in China: BEIJING — North Koreans had long known Jang Song-thaek as the No. 2 figure in their country, the revered uncle and mentor of […]

North Korea Confirms Removal Of Top Official

Jang Song Removal

In a rare move, the North Korean government is talking openly about the removal of a top regime official: SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea confirmed on Monday that Jang Song-thaek, the uncle of Kim Jong-un, the country’s top leader, had been stripped of all titles of power and expelled from the ruling Workers’ Party […]

South Koreans Expand Air Defense Zone In Challenge To China

China Japan South Korea Flags

The ongoing client in the seas and skies in the Western Pacific took a new turn when South Korea announced an expansion of its own air defense zone: SEOUL, South Korea — Defying both China and Japan, South Korea announced on Sunday that it was expanding its air patrol zone for the first time in […]

U.S. War Veteran Freed By North Korea


Merrill Newman, the 85 year old U.S. Korean War veteran who was taken off a plane in Pyongyang in late October and held by North Korea for more than a month, has been freed and is back on his way to the United States: HONG KONG — An American veteran who had been held captive […]

Biden: U.S. Won’t Recognize China’s New Air Defense Zone

Chinese and U.S. flags fly along Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House in Washington

The U.S. position on China’s new air defense zone is exceedingly clear. The question is where it goes from here.

North Korea’s Gulags


Amnesty International has just released a new report titled “NORTH KOREA: NEW SATELLITE IMAGES SHOW CONTINUED INVESTMENT IN THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF REPRESSION.” It’s available in both HTML and PDF formats at the link. Their press release provides a good synopsis. A former security official at kwanliso 16 – the largest political prison camp in North […]

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