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Kim Jong Un Orders North Korean Nukes Placed On ‘Standby’

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

More saber rattling from Pyongyang.

China, U.S. Agree On North Korea Sanctions That Are Unlikely To Accomplish Anything

North Korea Nukes

Can anything restrain the North Koreans besides direct action by China? That’s unclear, but the new round of sanctions pending at the U.N. seem unlikely to accomplish much of anything.

China’s Economy Appears To Be Slowing Significantly, And That Could Have A Huge Impact

A dealer analyses the shares index to investors (not pictured) at a securities company in Chengdu, in China's southwestern province of Sichuan, 27 August 2007. Chinese share prices closed 0.83 percent up 27 August to record a sixth straight day of gains after more listed companies reported strong earnings for the first half, dealers said. AFP PHOTO/ LIU Jin (Photo credit should read LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images)

China’s economy is still growing, but it’s most recently reported growth rate is slower than the nation has seen in quite some time.

Taiwan Elects First Female President

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Via the BBC:  Tsai Ing-wen elected Taiwan’s first female president Tsai Ing-wen has been elected Taiwan’s first female president. Ms Tsai, 59, leads the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that wants independence from China. In her victory speech, she vowed to preserve the status quo in relations with China, adding Beijing must respect Taiwan’s democracy and […]

U.S., South Korea Hint At Military Buildup In Response To Nuclear Test

South Korean U.S. Flags

The United States and South Korea are hinting at increased military cooperation in the wake of last week’s North Korean nuclear test.

Experts Cast Doubt On North Korean Claim That It Tested Hydrogen Bomb

North Korea Nukes

Experts are casting doubt on North Korea’s claim that it tested a thermonuclear device earlier this week.

North Korea Claims To Have Detonated Hydrogen Bomb In Nuclear Test

North Korea Nukes

The North Koreans claim to have made a major advance in their nuclear weapons program, but there are many reasons to be skeptical.

War on Christmas, Brunei Style

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Via the Sydney Morning Herald:  Brunei bans Christmas celebrations in public, including wearing Santa hats. Oil-rich Brunei has banned public celebrations of Christmas, including sending festive greetings and the wearing of Santa Claus hats. Muslims seen celebrating Christmas and non-Muslims found to be organising celebrations could face up to five years jail. However the country’s non-Muslims, […]

Kim Jong Un Claims North Korea Has Thermonuclear Weapons, But It Probably Doesn’t

North Korea Nukes

North Korea’s mercurial leader now claims to have thermonuclear weapons, but analysts are saying this is likely braggadocios nonsense.

Kim Young-Sam, President Who Led South Korea Out Of Military Rule, Dies At 87

South Korean Flag

Kim Young-Sam, the former President of South Korea whose time in office marked the beginning of that nation’s turn away from military rule, died early Sunday at the age of 87: SEOUL, South Korea — Kim Young-sam, the former president of South Korea who replaced the last of the country’s military leaders, purged politicized generals […]

Leaders Of China And Taiwan To Meet For First Time In 66 Years

Chinese Taiwanese Flags

For the first time since Chang Kai-Shek escaped across the Taiwan Strait, the leaders of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China will meet this weekend.

China Ends ‘One Child’ Policy Over Demographic Concerns

China Flag and Skyline

Thanks mostly to well-founded demographic concerns, China is ending the ‘One Child’ policy, but it is probably too late for them to avoid the consequences of the forty year program.

Taliban Capture Major Afghan City For First Time Since 9/11

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The Taliban dealt a major defeat to a numerically superior Afghan Army force, raising questions about just how well Afghanistan can defend itself on its own.

Stock Market Drop Leads Trump And Walker To Say Dumb Things About China

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

Yesterday’s stock market drop led some Republican candidates to say some particularly dumb things.

North Korea Setting Clocks Back A Half-Hour For Some Reason

North Korea

North Korea is going back in time, literally: SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea, a hermetic country stuck in the Cold War and obsessed with its long-dead founder, now wants to turn back time. By a half-hour. The government announced on Friday that it would create its own time zone — “Pyongyang time” — and […]

Chinese Courts Allow Blatant Ripoff of Air Jordan Brand

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China adds to its status as the honey badger of intellectual property law.

Afghan Army Not Doing So Well Against The Taliban

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The Afghan Army isn’t doing so well against the Taliban right now.

Meanwhile, China’s Stock Market Has Been Crashing For The Past Month

China Flag and Skyline

In the past month, the Chinese stock market has lost more than 1/3 of its value.

Putin Using Fear Of ISIS To Enhance Russian Influence In Central Asia

Vladimir Putin Sunglasses

A well-founded fear of ISIS seems to be drawing many of the former Soviet Republics in Central Asia closer to Moscow.

Meanwhile, In North Korea

North Korea Military Parade Weapons

North Korea now claims it has miniaturized nuclear warheads sufficienctly so that they can be placed on missiles. They also say they can launch missiles from submarines.

Top North Korean General Executed For ‘Showing Disrespect’ To Kim Jong Un

North Korean Flag

North Korea’s mercurial leader has apparently executed yet another high ranking official.

Kazakhstan Overwhelmingly “Re-Elects” Nursultan Nazrabayev

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Nursultan Nazarbayev has been the leader of Kazakhstan since it became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, and before that he had served in pretty much every high-level position in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic dating back to 1984. This weekend, he was overwhelmingly “elected” to his fifth term in office: Election officials in […]

China Warns U.S. About North Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal

North Korea Nukes

Chinese analysts are telling their American counterparts that North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is far more sophisticated than previously believed.

Lee Kuan Yew’s Legacy

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

Three Minute Words: China’s Passive-Agressive Internet

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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

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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

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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

Oil-prices

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’

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

Comparative Smog

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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

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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 […]

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