Asia

Cyber Attack
3:02 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

White House Says Any Response To Sony Attack Needs To Be 'Proportional'

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:26 pm

The White House says the devastating cyber attack on Sony Pictures was done with "malicious intent" and was initiated by a "sophisticated actor" but it would not say if that actor was North Korea.

Spokesman Josh Earnest says the matter is still under investigation.

"Regardless of who is found to be responsible for this, the president considers it to be a serious national security matter," Earnest says.

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Pakistan
10:30 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Taliban Gunmen Storm School, Kill Dozens In Pakistan

A Pakistani girl, who was injured in a Taliban attack on a school, is rushed to a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Tuesday.
Mohammad Sajjad AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 2:21 pm

(This post was last updated at 2:07 p.m. ET.)

Taliban militants stormed a school in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, leaving scores of students dead.

Quoting Pakistani officials, multiple media outlets say the death toll is at least 140, including at least 80 students in grades 1 through 10.

A little before 8 p.m. local time, police announced that the operation had ended after the gunmen were killed. Security personnel, police official Abdullah Khan told the AFP, were now in the process of sweeping the rest of the building.

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China
6:42 am
Thu December 11, 2014

In Hong Kong, Police Clear Final 'Occupy' Protest Site

Hong Kong police arrest lawmaker and pro-democracy activist Leung Kwok-Hung during a sit-in Thursday as police clear the main protest site in the Admiralty district.
Alex Ogle AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 11:02 am

After months of acts of civil disobedience that at some points paralyzed Hong Kong, police cleared the final encampment of what's come to be known as the Umbrella Revolution.

Demonstrators had gathered on the streets of Hong Kong for two months. The protest site at Admiralty was, symbolically, the most important because it was closest to the government offices. In the end, it was also the last one standing.

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Background Checks
1:51 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Alleged Rape Of Passenger Raises Concerns About How Uber Runs Abroad

After a woman reported that she was raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi, protesters gathered outside a police station.
Anindito Mukherjee Reuters /Landov

Uber is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

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Sensitive Material
8:50 am
Wed December 10, 2014

New Haven Man Charged With Attempted Theft of Military Aircraft Documents

Credit lagereek/iStock / Thinkstock

An engineer who worked for defense contractor United Technologies in Connecticut has been charged with attempting to travel to China with stolen documents on the development of advanced titanium for U.S. military aircraft.

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China
6:49 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Officials Set To Dismantle Final 'Occupy' Camp In Hong Kong

Pro-democracy activists tents are seen Tuesday on the road outside Hong Kong's Government Complex.
Chris McGrath Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 12:24 pm

After two-months' worth of pro-democracy demonstrations that at times paralyzed Hong Kong, authorities are warning that they will clear protesters from a campsite blocking a main road near government headquarters on Thursday.

The Admiralty protest site is the last bastion of a protest movement that has come to be known as the Umbrella Revolution.

Reuters reports:

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Remembrance
5:48 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Connecticut Judge and POW John T. Downey Dies at 84

John T. Downey talking in New Britain following his release from China in 1973.
Bettman Corbis

Connecticut Judge John T. Downey has died. Downey was the longest-held captive of war in U.S. history.

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Body Parts
2:35 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

U.S. Tourists Accused Of Trying To Ship Human Parts Out Of Thailand

Policemen show pictures of body parts found in parcels as they address reporters in Bangkok on Monday. Thai police said two Americans who had tried to send the parts to the U.S. had fled the country.
Chaiwat Subprasom Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 8:00 pm

Preserved human parts — including an infant's head, a baby's foot and an adult heart — stolen from a medical museum in Thailand last month were discovered over the weekend in three boxes labeled as toys that were being shipped to Las Vegas.

Workers at DHL discovered five body parts when they X-rayed the boxes, then alerted the Thai police. They identified the man who shipped the boxes as Ryan McPherson, a 31-year-old American tourist, and questioned him and another American, Daniel Tanner, 33, about the packages.

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Climate Change
4:05 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

U.S. and China Announce Historic Climate Change Agreement

Flickr Creative Commons / why 137

A new agreement between China and the United States to reduce carbon emissions will send strong signals to the global community, according to a Wesleyan professor who has studied climate change for the Obama administration.

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Climate Change
7:30 am
Wed November 12, 2014

China And U.S., Titans Of Carbon Pollution, Move To Cut Gases

Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Obama, seen here during a ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, announced pledges to reduce greenhouse gases.
HUANG JINGWEN Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 12:30 pm

President Obama says the U.S. will sharply cut its emissions of greenhouse gases, announcing a new approach to climate change alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping. The plan also includes China's agreement to cap its emissions.

The two leaders' pledges are being called dramatic and ambitious — for the U.S., because Obama's earlier plans had called for a smaller cut in emissions, and for China, because the country had previously resisted calls for it to consider capping its emissions as it grows and modernizes.

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Foreign Policy
10:46 am
Tue November 11, 2014

In China, Dreaded Process Of Getting Visa To The U.S. May Get Easier

Chinese citizens wait to submit their visa applications at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in 2012. Wait times for interviews once could stretch to a month or more.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 6:41 pm

On Wednesday, the U.S. will begin offering Chinese tourists and business people multiple-entry visas valid for up to 10 years. The change, announced by President Obama in Beijing, is designed to help the American economy and build goodwill in China. China's Foreign Ministry says it will reciprocate.

The first impression most Chinese have of the U.S. government comes when they apply for a visa. For years, they've dreaded the process.

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China
8:11 am
Mon November 10, 2014

In China, Obama Touts Visa Deal, Progress On Free-Trade Pact

President Obama arrives at the Beijing airport Monday. Speaking at the APEC summit, the president unveiled a new deal to ease visa restrictions between the U.S. and China.
Lintao Zhang Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 10:25 am

The U.S. and China are easing visa rules for each other's citizens, in a reciprocal agreement that President Obama says will "benefit everyone from students, to tourists, to businesses large and small." Starting his eight-day visit to East Asia, the president also said "good progress" has recently been made for a free-trade agreement among Pacific Rim countries.

Obama and other leaders are visiting China for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, where the president announced the U.S. and China have agreed to expand their visas beyond the current one-year term.

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World
10:53 am
Sat November 8, 2014

Two Americans Held In North Korea Are Back On U.S. Soil

Matthew Miller, who had been held in North Korea since April, 2014, is greeted by two unidentified women after arriving Saturday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Sun November 9, 2014 5:11 am

Updated at 4:45 a.m. ET Sunday

Americans Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller, held for months in North Korea, received a joyful homecoming Saturday as their plane set down at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of Seattle.

Bae, 45, a Korean-American missionary and tour guide from Lynnwood, Wash., thanked family and supporters for not forgetting about him during his detention.

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China
9:56 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Hong Kong Students March On Chief Executive's Residence

Pro-democracy protesters carrying portraits of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying march to his residence in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Bobby Yip Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 11:27 am

Activists in Hong Kong, angered by what they perceive as little progress in talks on democratic reforms with the government, marched to the home of the territory's chief executive to demand his ouster.

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North Korea
2:18 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

American Freed After Months Of Detention In North Korea

Jeffrey Fowle, an American who had been detained in North Korea, spoke to The Associated Press last month in Pyongyang. Fowle was released by North Korean authorities and flown back to the U.S. on Tuesday.
Wong Maye-E AP

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 2:19 pm

Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET

Jeffrey Fowle, one of three Americans held by North Korea, has been released, the White House says.

Fowle, 56, who was detained in June, allegedly for leaving a Bible in his hotel room in North Korea, was home today after negotiators secured his release.

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Himalayan Mountains
10:56 am
Wed October 15, 2014

At Least 20 Trekkers Die In Blizzard, Avalanche In Nepal's Himalayas

A view of Machhapuchhre (center) and the Annapurna Himalaya from Gulmi, Nepal.
Sunil Sharma Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 12:47 am

At least a dozen trekkers have been killed in unseasonable blizzards and an avalanche in the foothills of Nepal's Himalayan mountain range.

NPR's Julie McCarthy, reporting from New Delhi, says locals and international tourists are among the dead. Rescuers say those killed include four Canadians, two Poles, an Israeli, an Indian and a Nepali.

The Wall Street Journal says:

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North Korea
10:18 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Kim Jong Un Makes First Public Appearance In More Than A Month

A photo released Monday by the Rodong Sinmun, newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walking with a cane as he visits a residential area in Pyongyang.
Rodong Sinmun EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 10:31 am

After 40 days of seclusion, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made a public appearance, an outing that could help quell rumors about his health and status. Kim visited a new housing complex, according to state media that released photos of the event — but without attaching a specific date to it.

North Korea has confirmed only that Kim has been in "discomfort." The newly released photos show Kim using a cane, possibly confirming theories that he underwent ankle surgery. More than a month ago, he was seen limping as he walked.

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China
8:40 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Hong Kong Protest Sites Quieter After Weekend Of Arrests

A protester sits along the main street to the financial Central district outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong.
Carlos Barria Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 12:47 pm

The number of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong has dwindled today after a weekend that saw dozens of arrests and an angry backlash from business owners whose shops were shut down amid the demonstrations.

The South China Morning Post says: "Protest sites are quiet on Monday as some demonstrators leave for work, others remain and authorities keep their distance."

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Media
12:32 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

One System, Two Media: How China, Hong Kong Are Covering The Protests

People read newspapers placed along a street blocked by protesters outside the government headquarters building in Hong Kong on Wednesday. While Hong Kong media are covering the protests closely, media in mainland China have been mostly quiet.
Carlos Barria Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 1:40 pm

Hong Kong media are providing wall-to-wall coverage of the protests calling for the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, but in mainland China there has been little to no mention of the unrest.

The contrast is an illustration of the "one country, two systems" policy that has been in place since the former British colony reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.

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China
7:16 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Hong Kong Leader To Protesters: 'Stop Campaign Immediately'

Pro-democracy activists sleep, rest and walk on a street near the government headquarters Tuesday in Hong Kong. Students and activists, many of whom have been camped out since late Friday, spent a peaceful night singing as they blocked streets in Hong Kong in an unprecedented show of civil disobedience to push demands for genuine democratic reforms.
Wong Maye-E AP

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 10:34 am

Updated at 8:30 a.m. ET

Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying is appealing to pro-democracy demonstrators who've brought parts of the Asian financial hub to a standstill in recent days to halt their campaign "immediately" because, he says, Beijing won't accede to their demands. But protesters have promised to announce a new phase of civil disobedience if reforms aren't forthcoming.

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World
4:53 pm
Sat September 27, 2014

At U.N., India's Modi Discusses Pakistan, Terrorism, And Peace

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, speaks at the UN General Assembly in New York City Saturday. Addressing the question of peace talks with Pakistan, Modi said they must happen "without the shadow of terrorism."
John Angelillo UPI /Landov

Originally published on Sat September 27, 2014 5:22 pm

Saying his country is prepared to resume peace talks with Pakistan, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the U.N. General Assembly Saturday that the discussion must take place "without the shadow of terrorism."

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E-Commerce
3:21 am
Thu September 11, 2014

The Alibaba Effect: How China's eBay Transformed Village Economics

Handsome Zhang — that's his real name in Mandarin --€“ runs a shipping company, one of many supporting businesses spawned by East Wind village's furniture industry. The shipping business helped Zhang, 25, buy this Kia sports car.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 10:58 am

The Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba is poised this week for what could be one of the biggest IPOs in Wall Street history. One reason Alibaba has been so dominant in China is its business-to-consumer platform, Taobao, a sort of Chinese eBay.

Last year, Taobao and Alibaba's brand-name retail site, Tmall, drove nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in transactions.

Along the way, Taobao has even transformed village economies.

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Asia
5:55 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Nepal Struggles To Help Villages Washed Away In Floods

Families carry their belongings while moving to higher ground in the Bardia region of Nepal during the flooding on Aug. 15.
Bhabuk Yogi AP

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 8:26 am

In August, monsoon rains brought flooding and landslides to Nepal on a massive scale.

Three days of constant rains inundated valleys and huge swaths of land came tumbling down mountainsides in the western part of the country.

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Military Personnel
5:21 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Before Leaving Afghanistan, U.S. Troops Must Declutter

A construction excavator demolishes a B-hut at the huge Bagram Air Field north of Kabul. The military used the structures as bunks and offices during the 13-year war but is tearing them down as most of the military prepares to leave by year's end.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 7:29 pm

Sgt. 1st Class Tom Albert is with the Army's 2nd Engineers at the massive Bagram Air Field north of Kabul, and he's overseeing operation Clean Sweep here. It's a huge job, because American troops and equipment are scheduled to be out of Bagram and other bases by the end of the year.

The U.S. and Afghanistan are still trying to work out a deal that would allow nearly 10,000 military personnel to stay, but even that would be just a fraction of the force that's been here for the past 13 years.

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Afghanistan
11:18 am
Thu August 7, 2014

The Murky Motives Of The Afghan Soldier Who Shot A U.S. General

U.S. Maj. Gen. Harold Greene was visiting an Afghan military training academy Tuesday when he was shot dead by an Afghan soldier, who was subsequently killed. Afghan troops who knew the attacker say he disliked the Taliban and they aren't sure what his motive was.
U.S. Army Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 12:08 pm

The Afghan soldier who fatally shot a U.S. major general on Tuesday had no sympathy for the Taliban, and his motives for the shooting are far from clear, according to his fellow soldiers.

Afghan officials have identified the attacker as Rafiqullah, who, like many Afghans, goes by one name. He opened fire on a delegation of NATO officials who were visiting the Marshal Fahim Military Academy outside Kabul. He killed Maj. Gen. Harold Greene and wounded 15 other NATO service members who were visiting the compound. Four Afghans were also wounded.

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World Cup
12:34 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Want Time Off To Watch The World Cup? China Has Just What The Doctor Ordered

A fake doctor's note we bought for $33 from an online store on Taobao, the eBay of China.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 6:57 pm

Need time off from work to watch the World Cup? If you're in China, no problem. Online stores there are providing fake doctor's notes — even extensive falsified medical records — to get you days of sick leave so you can enjoy your favorite teams.

The service may be particularly appealing, given the time difference with World Cup host Brazil. China is 11 hours ahead of Rio. So if you want to catch opening matches, you have to start watching at midnight, Shanghai time.

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Commercial Whaling
7:04 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Japan Says It Wants To Resume Larger Annual Whale Hunt

The Japanese whaling ship Yushin Maru leaves Shimonoseki port in Yamaguchi Prefecture, southwestern Japan, last month. Japan's prime minister says he wants to expand whaling operations after they were temporarily scaled back.
Kyodo/Landov

Japan, which earlier this year said it would scale back what it has described as "research whaling," is signaling that it wants to go back to a larger hunt.

"I want to aim for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

Japan, which is a signatory to a 1986 International Whaling Commission moratorium, has nonetheless continued to hunt cetaceans using a loophole in the ban that allows taking some whales for scientific purposes.

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Pakistan
7:35 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Karachi's Airport Reopens, One Day After Terrorist Attack

Smoke rises above Jinnah International Airport Monday morning, following a five-hour firefight between security forces and militants. The facility was open for business Monday afternoon.
Shakil Adil AP

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 11:43 am

One day after it was the scene of a terrorist assault that left at least 23 people dead, the largest airport in Pakistan reopened for business Monday afternoon.

Gunmen who were reportedly disguised as security guards attacked Karachi's international airport in the middle of the night Sunday, and several explosions were heard in the fighting that followed.

The 10 attackers are among the dead at Jinnah International Airport, officials say. Several airport workers and at least 10 members of the security force also were killed, according to Pakistani media.

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World
12:40 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

North Korea Says It Has Detained Another U.S. Tourist

A propaganda painting is seen outside the People's Palace of Culture in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2011. North Korean state media reported Friday that the nation has detained a U.S. tourist.
Feng Li Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 12:39 pm

North Korea said Friday that it has detained an American tourist, which if confirmed would bring the number of U.S. citizens known to be held there to three.

A dispatch from the official Korean Central News Agency states that Jeffrey Edward Fowle entered the country on April 29, according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap.

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World
3:36 am
Mon June 2, 2014

For One Soldier At Tiananmen, A Day 'Never Forgotten'

Artist and former soldier Chen Guang stands with one of his paintings last year that depicts the scene when he helped clear Tiananmen Square as a soldier.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 3:15 pm

Hour after hour passed as Chen Guang stood, gun trembling in his hands, behind the doors of Beijing's Great Hall of the people, waiting for the order to clear Tiananmen Square of its student protesters.

It was 1989, and Chen was a 17-year-old soldier from a small town whose life was changed by his role in the bloody crackdown. His account offers a sharply different perspective of the events of June 3 and 4, 1989, when martial law troops fought their way into the center of Beijing, killing hundreds of people, mainly on approach roads into the square.

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