Asia

The saber rattling in the Korean Peninsula escalated Friday as the North threatened military action if South Korea does not stop blaring propaganda from speakers across the border by Saturday.

Reporting from Seoul, Haeryun Kang tells our Newscast unit that Pyongyang has put its frontline troops on a "semi-war state"

Haeryun reports:

As police searched for a man they believe is responsible for a blast that killed at least 20 people and injured 140 others on Monday, a second explosion hit Bangkok on Tuesday.

The second explosion was not deadly. According to the Bangkok Post, someone threw a pipe bomb off a bridge. The bomb hit a pillar and detonated, "sending up a large plume of water."

monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Thinkstock

Connecticut manufacturers are closely watching events in China as the country allows its currency to devalue. Government control of the yuan has for years been a point of contention for companies, who said it gives Chinese manufacturers an unfair advantage in export markets.

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET

The death toll from an industrial accident has risen to 50 in Tianjin, a port city in northeast China. Emergency crews are still working to locate missing people; 12 firefighters are among the dead, and more remain unaccounted for.

Updated 1:45 a.m. ET Thursday:

The death toll from the Tianjin warehouse explosions has risen to 44, according to China's official Xinhau News Agency.

Updated 10:50 p.m. ET

Huge explosions have rocked the port city of Tianjin in northeast China. Media reports say at least 17 people were killed and hundreds are injured. Two firefighters are missing.

In a span of minutes, two passenger trains traveling in opposite directions derailed in central India on Tuesday night, sending them into the mud along a riverbank. At least 24 people died; officials say that tracks near the river had been flooded by monsoon rains.

Images from the scene show the trains' cars and engines resting at odd angles near the bridge, with the tracks lying twisted and curved in the mud. More than 300 people survived the crashes, according to multiple reports.

Authorities on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean have found debris that may be from a missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

A source familiar with the investigation tells NPR's Geoff Brumfiel that the debris appears to have come from a large passenger aircraft, but it remains unclear whether it's from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished from radar on March 8, 2014.

Frankie Leon / Flickr Creative Commons

News about other countries tends to focus a lot more on what’s wrong with a place, than what’s going right.

Recently, reports about the earthquake in Nepal, kidnappings in Nigeria and Islamic extremism in Iran have dominated the news.

More than 3,400 people are now under quarantine in South Korea's fight to contain an outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome — a deadly virus that can cause severe pneumonia and organ failure.

So far, South Korea has reported 122 MERS cases. And the government is actively tracking the whereabouts of people possibly exposed to the virus.

Chung-ahm is a Buddhist monk who's quarantined in the Jangduk village in southern South Korea.

It's not often that the Dalai Lama calls out a fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

But that's what happened last week when he was asked about Aung San Suu Kyi, who has declined to speak out on the worsening plight of the Rohingya minority in her homeland of Myanmar.

The Senate voted 62-37 late Friday to grant President Obama additional trade powers, which the president plans to use in pushing through an extensive new agreement with a group of Asian countries.

The administration's Trans-Pacific Partnership has been opposed by labor groups and some Senate Democrats because of concerns that the deal could cost some U.S. workers their jobs.

Frankie Leon / Creative Commons

News about other countries tends to focus a lot more on what’s wrong with a place, than what’s going right.

Recently, reports about the earthquake in Nepal, kidnappings in Nigeria and Islamic extremism in Iran have dominated the news.

The spectacle of thousands of desperate Rohingya Muslim "boat people" being denied landfall in Southeast Asia has laid bare the region's religious and ethnic prejudices as well as its fears of being swamped by an influx of migrants.

A magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck Nepal on Tuesday, just over two weeks after a massive magnitude-7.8 quake killed more than 8,000 people.

The United States Geological Survey puts today's quake as close to the capital, Kathmandu, as the one two weeks ago.

The Senate could begin debate Tuesday on a bill that would give President Obama fast-track authority to complete a Pacific Rim trade agreement.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has become the president's signature trade initiative, but it is also very unpopular with Democrats.

Leading the charge from the left against the deal in Congress is Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts. She says the TPP could result in the watering down of Wall Street regulations put in place by the Dodd-Frank Act, after the 2008 financial crisis.

North Korea said on Saturday that it successfully launched an anti-ship cruise missile from a submarine — a development, if verified, that would mark a new technological achievement for Pyongyang.

KCNA, the official North Korean news agency, reports that leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the test form a surface vessel as "a ballistic missile surfaced from the sea and soared into the air, leaving a fiery trail of blaze."

New York University student Joo Won-moon, who's a South Korean citizen, says he's healthy and being treated well in North Korean custody, according to an interview he gave CNN on Tuesday.

Joo, 21, acknowledged he crossed the border into North Korea illegally, out of hopes for a "great event" to help strengthen ties between diplomatic rivals North and South Korea.

Swayambhunath — also known as the Monkey Temple, for its holy, furry dwellers that swing from the rosewood trees — is one of the oldest and most sacred Buddhist sites in Nepal's Kathmandu Valley, an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus as well as Buddhists. It was also one of the worst damaged by last month's earthquake.

There hasn't been much to cheer about in Nepal this week as it copes with a devastating earthquake — but cheers and applause broke out in Kathmandu Thursday after a teenager was pulled alive from a collapsed building.

For five days, the teenager was covered in the rubble of a seven-story building hit by Saturday's powerful quake. Rescue workers who got him out included an American disaster response team that arrived in Nepal this week.

SIM Central and Southeast Asia / Creative Commons

The death toll from the earthquake that rocked Nepal over the weekend has surpassed 5,000 people. The quake and its aftershocks toppled homes and historical buildings, and caused a deadly avalanche at Mount Everest that killed at least 18 climbers.

Updated at 8:55 a.m. ET

More than 5,000 people are confirmed dead from Saturday's earthquake just outside Kathmandu, Nepal. Nearly 11,000 more were injured, according to Nepal's National Emergency Operation Center.

From Kathmandu, NPR's Kirk Siegler reports that strong tremors are continuing:

Updated at noon ET.

Nepal's devastating earthquake that hit Saturday is now blamed for at least 4,000 deaths. Reconstruction is estimated to cost billions. International aid efforts are underway, but aftershocks are rattling survivors' nerves and making the recovery even more challenging.

Rescue crews and aid groups are working to reach survivors — but their efforts are being hampered by the stricken areas' remote locations. Roads that are drivable are clogged with traffic.

Robert D. Ward / Public Domain

Former general and CIA director David Petraeus will not go to jail for leaking classified information to his biographer and mistress. Last week, he was sentenced to two years probation and a fine. Meanwhile, other leakers without the stars or stature are spending years behind bars. There are other discrepancies in military justice too. This hour, we talk to journalist Peter Maass from The Intercept.

Also we check in on local Nepalese residents who are grappling with this weekend's earthquake in their home country.

Updated at 11:10 p.m. ET

The desperate search for survivors continues Sunday in Nepal. Strong aftershocks woke thousands of Nepalese who were forced to spend the cold night outdoors.

Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority -- the body that runs the Mohegan Sun casino -- has entered a partnership to to develop an entertainment resort at a South Korean airport. The MTGA says it will work with the Incheon International Airport Corporation to build what they're describing as a gateway entertainment city.

Nepal, a country of 25 million, is struggling out of poverty after a decadelong civil war. Squabbling politicians have paralyzed government, and high unemployment means 1,500 youth leave every day for jobs in Malaysia and the Middle East.

So, as the United Nations International Day of Happiness dawns, Nepalis may seem on the surface to have reason to be unhappy.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

A century ago, in April 1915, an event began that’s come to be known as the Armenian Genocide. One scholar believes that massacre should remind us of the long-term implications of events playing out in our own time. 

It’s thought that up to 1.5 million people may have been massacred or expelled from their homes in the Ottoman Empire during the worst atrocity of World War I. For almost a century, Turkey has denied the enormity of the event, but that may be changing. 

Thomas de Waal works for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Recently, he returned to Turkey with a group American Armenians -- descendants of those who fled the genocide in the early 20th century. 

Mathleu Thouvenin / Creative Commons

As top-tier universities in the United States have worked to overcome reputations for serving only the children of the American elite, there is now a push to do the same amongst international applicants looking to study in the U.S.  

Updated at 8:25 a.m. ET

President Obama announced Sunday that the U.S. and India have made progress on civilian nuclear trade. In a joint news conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Obama said the countries had agreed to more cooperation in other areas as well, including defense and climate change.

Ou Ning used to hate the countryside.

He had a comfortable life in Beijing where he worked as an artist. Yet in 2013, the 45-year-old packed his bags and traded his apartment for a centuries-old house in Bishan, a small village in China's Huizhou region. He brought with him his mother, younger brother, nephew, his then-fiancé and her son.

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