Asia

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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Thailand
7:53 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Coup In Thailand: Military Seizes Control Of Country

Thai soldiers patrol after army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha announced that the armed forces were seizing power after months of political turmoil.
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 11:37 am

Thailand's army is now running the country. Two days after declaring martial law — and saying it wasn't staging a coup — the military has changed its mind, Thailand's army chief says.

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China
7:06 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Attack On Street Market In Northwest China Kills 31

A photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency shows police standing guard near a blast site in downtown Urumqi. Officials say 31 people died in the attack.
Cao Zhiheng AP

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 1:45 pm

A coordinated attack on an outdoor market in northwest China has left 31 people dead and dozens wounded, prompting promises of a vigorous government response. Bombs and cars were used to inflict damage on people at the market.

The Chinese government called the early morning attack in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, a "serious violent terrorist incident of a particularly vile nature," according to The Associated Press. Previous violent attacks have been blamed on the area's Muslim Uighur minority.

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Thailand
7:57 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Thai Army Declares Martial Law But Says It's No Coup

Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha (front) during a military parade in January. The army has declared martial law amid months of political unrest.
Apichart Weerawong AP

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 8:28 pm

Thailand's army has declared martial law less than two weeks after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was thrown out of office by the country's Constitutional Court.

The Associated Press reports:

"The army said in a statement that it had taken the action to 'keep peace and order,' and soldiers entered several private television stations that are sympathetic to protesters.

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History
12:35 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Long-Lost Wreck Off San Francisco Recalls Anti-Chinese History

The steamship City of Chester.
San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park K01.2.571PL

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:16 pm

Rewind to the year 1888: The 202-foot SS City of Chester, departing San Francisco harbor in thick fog, is nearly cut in two by the much larger liner Oceanic, arriving from Hong Kong. Within six minutes, the smaller ship disappears under the turbulent current near the site of the present-day Golden Gate Bridge, claiming 16 lives.

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North Korea
6:52 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

U.S. Says It's Monitoring For Possible North Korea Nuclear Test

South Korean protesters hold pictures of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a rally last week in Seoul. Recent satellite imagery indicates the possibility that Pyongyang is readying for a new nuclear test.
Lee Jin-man AP

The United States is urging North Korea to refrain from a new nuclear test amid indications of "heightened activity" at Pyongyang's Punggye-ri test site.

"We have certainly seen the press reports ... regarding possible increased activity in North Korea's nuclear test site," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "We are closely monitoring the situation on the Korean peninsula."

Reuters says:

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South Korea
3:26 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Captains Uncourageous: Abandoning Ship Long Seen As A Crime

The Costa Concordia ran aground off the Italian coast in 2012, killing 32 people. Its captain was accused of manslaughter and abandoning the 4,200 passengers and crew on the night of the wreck.
Andreas Solaro AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 4:30 pm

Cowardice comes in many forms, but there's a special sense of shame reserved for captains who abandon ship.

South Korean authorities have arrested Capt. Lee Jun-Seok, who was one of the first to flee from the ferry as it sank on Wednesday.

"I can't lift my face before the passengers and family members of those missing," Lee told reporters.

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Whales
2:18 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Japan Says It Will Temporarily Scale Back Whale Hunt

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi speaks in Tokyo on Friday. He says Japan will cut back on the number of whales it kills this year, but resume previous levels in 2015.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 3:12 pm

Japan says it will kill fewer whales when its seasonal Pacific hunt begins next week and will only observe whales in the Antarctic, after a U.N. court ordered it to stop taking the marine mammals from the Southern Ocean.

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Avalanche
8:56 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Tragedy Atop The World: Everest Avalanche Kills At Least 12

The sun shines on the peak of Mount Everest in this October 2011 photo. On Friday, an avalanche killed at least 12 Sherpas on the mountain.
Kevin Frayer AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 12:58 pm

At least 12 Sherpa guides died Friday on Nepal's side of Mount Everest when an avalanche buried them on the world's tallest mountain.

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South Korea
7:03 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Rescue Crews Dive For Hundreds Still Missing After Ferry Accident

Rescuers head toward the ferry Sewol off the southern coast of South Korea on Wednesday. It sank while on a trip to a resort island. Several hundred people, most of them high school students and teachers, are missing.
Yonhap News EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 12:12 pm

This post is being updated as news comes in.

Unsuccessful in their attempts to find the missing in a sunken ferry off the southern coast of South Korea overnight, rescue divers resumed their search at day break Thursday, Jason Strother reports from Seoul.

A day after the boat began to sink, the cause of the accident is unclear and less than half of the passengers who were on board have been rescued, Strother tells NPR's Newscast Desk.

Most of those unaccounted for are high school students who were on a trip to a resort island.

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Kudiyattam
10:45 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Indian Actors Dust Off Ancient Sanskrit Drama at Yale

Kudiyattam is the last surviving form of classic Sanskrit theater.
sreenisreedharan Creative Commons

A troupe of actors from Kerala, India will perform an ancient, traditional drama known as Kudiyattam this weekend in New Haven.

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Tweet It Out
11:12 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Feathers Fly As Top Turkish Officials Square Off Over Twitter Ban

Dado Ruvic Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:03 pm

A move by embattled Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to shut down Twitter in Turkey looks to be backfiring. The hashtag #TwitterblockedinTurkey quickly spread upon news of the ban, and the country's own president tweeted his disdain.

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Flight 370
8:23 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Last Words From Cockpit May Be Clue To Jet's Disappearance

Multi-lingual cards about missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 line a wall at a mall in Kuala Lumpur.
Rahman Roslan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 10:51 am

We're updating this post as new information comes in.

There's still no sign of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 or the 239 people on board.

The plane went missing March 8, less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on what was supposed to be about a six-hour flight to Beijing.

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Missing Flight
11:11 am
Sun March 16, 2014

Flight 370: Investigators Seek Help, Motive For Jet's Disappearance

Relatives of Chinese passengers from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 met officials at a Beijing hotel Sunday. The flight disappeared from radar more than a week ago.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 11:47 am

Malaysian officials are asking more than a dozen nations to help find the jetliner that went missing last weekend. The search area for the Boeing 777 was widely expanded Saturday; investigators are now looking for potential motives among the plane's crew and passengers to disrupt the flight.

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Flight 370
7:05 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Prime Minister: 'Deliberate Action' Disabled Missing Jet's Systems

A woman reads messages for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Saturday.
Lai Seng Sin AP

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 8:51 am

Malaysia's prime minister says he is now certain that someone disabled the communication systems on the passenger jet that disappeared last week with 239 people aboard.

The missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flew more than six and a half hours after its last communication with air traffic control, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a news conference early Saturday.

"These movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane," he said.

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Air Traffic
6:12 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Boeing 777 Pilots: It's Not Easy To Disable Onboard Communications

In this photo released by Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, a patrol vessel of Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency searches for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane off Tok Bali Beach in Kelantan, Malaysia, on Sunday.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 7:48 pm

Commercial aviation pilots tell NPR that they would have no idea how to disable all the systems designed to automatically communicate with ground stations, though they could probably figure it out from checklists and other documentation available aboard an aircraft.

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Sky Mystery
7:21 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Missing Jet Reportedly Kept Sending Signals For 5 1/2 Hours

At Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Friday, a woman writes on a banner full of messages about the 239 missing passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Edgar Su Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 12:14 pm

Update at 10:20 a.m. ET: After Flight MH370 Disappeared, It Kept Telling Satellites 'I'm Awake':

Communications satellites continued to receive signals from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane for at least 5 1/2 hours after it disappeared over the Gulf of Thailand, a source familiar with the investigation tells NPR's Frank Langfitt.

Frank, reporting from Shanghai, writes that:

"Flight MH370's last known communication came after 1 o'clock last Saturday morning, local time, according to Malaysian officials.

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Flight 370
7:37 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Officials Dispute Report That Malaysian Jet Kept Flying For Hours

The Malaysian air force, with help from about a dozen other nations, continues to search the seas on both sides of the Malay Peninsula for any sign of Flight 370.
Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 7:49 pm

This post is being updated.

Just a few hours after a stunning report from The Wall Street Journal — headlined "U.S. Investigators Suspect Missing Airplane Flew On For Hours" — the Malaysian officials in charge of the investigation say that story's central premise isn't true.

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Missing Aircraft
8:36 am
Sun March 9, 2014

'Trying To Make Sense' Of Malaysian Jetliner's Disappearance

A relative of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines flight is escorted from a Beijing hotel room for loved ones of the passengers on Sunday.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 5:13 pm

This post is being updated throughout the day Sunday.

After a second day of frantic searching failed to uncover the fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, ships and aircraft are combing over parts of the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea where the jetliner is suspected of crashing with 239 people aboard more than 48 hours ago.

Vietnamese officials say search planes have spotted an object that could be debris from the jet — but darkness fell in Asia hours ago, complicating any attempts to verify or expand on that claim.

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China
2:03 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

Knife Gang Attacks China Rail Station, Killing Dozens

Picture taken by mobile phone on Saturday shows luggage scattered inside the Kunming Railway Station in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province.
Lin Yiguang Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 11:02 pm

This post was updated at 9:20 p.m. ET.

A gang of 10 knife-wielding men killed at least 29 people and wounded 130 others at a train station in southern China in what the government is describing as a "violent terror attack," Xinhua News Agency reports.

Four of the assailants were also killed by police, reports the Associated Press. One suspect was arrested.

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Ambassadors
8:32 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Chinese Paper Calls Outgoing U.S. Envoy 'Yellow-Skinned, White-Hearted Banana Man'

The Chinese media may not like him, but Gary Locke, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to China, was praised by ordinary Chinese.
Kin Cheung AP

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 12:05 pm

Gary Locke may have won over ordinary Chinese with his conduct in the country, but not everyone was impressed with the first Chinese-American to serve as the U.S. envoy to China.

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Missile Tests
7:52 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Once Again, North Korea Fires Missiles To Send Message

In Pyongyang, North Korea, last July, this short-range missile was among the military hardware on parade.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:43 am

"North Korea fired four projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles off its southeast coast Thursday," South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reports, citing a "South Korean defense ministry official" as its source.

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China
3:25 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Chinese Flock To The Countryside For A More Authentic New Year

Chinese blacksmiths in Nuanquan (Warm Spring) Town perform a folk custom called "making trees and flowers." They throw ladles of molten iron onto a wall, creating showers of sparks. The centuries-old custom originated with blacksmiths too poor to afford fireworks. In recent years, urban tourists have flocked to this once obscure town over the Chinese New Year holiday to enjoy local folk customs.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 12:35 pm

China goes back to work Friday after a weeklong holiday marking the Year of the Horse. Traditionally, celebrations continue through the first month of the Lunar New Year.

As in years past, some 800 million viewers tuned in this year to the state TV New Year's gala program to watch Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, French actress and singer Sophie Marceau, and other entertainers.

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Pakistan
2:22 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

In Pakistan, Another Bhutto Joins The Risky Family Business

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (left), son of assassinated Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, arrives for a festival at Moenjodaro in southern Pakistan on Feb. 1. The event was seen as a political coming-out party for Bhutto, whose family has prominently featured in Pakistani politics for decades.
Waqar Hussein EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 10:23 pm

His grandfather was hanged by a military dictator. His mother was assassinated. One of his uncles was slain by the police. Another died in a mysterious poisoning.

His father spent eight years in jail, yet later served a full term as president of Pakistan.

The Bhutto family history is a roller coaster ride, veering from prison, exile and corruption scandals to wealth, fame and power.

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The Two-Way
8:13 am
Sun January 19, 2014

Dozens Injured By Blast At Anti-Government Rally In Thailand

Police examine the scene of an explosion at a anti-government protest site on Sunday in Bangkok, Thailand.
Ed Wray Getty Images

At least 28 people were injured when a blast went off during an anti-government rally in Bangkok, Thailand on Sunday.

The Wall Street Journal reports the attack raises fear that the political crisis in the country is worsening. The paper adds:

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North Korea
9:39 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Dennis Rodman Defends North Korean 'Basketball Diplomacy'

Former U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Monday.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 11:48 am

In a combative interview from North Korea, former NBA star Dennis Rodman defended his "basketball diplomacy" in the repressive country and seemed to imply that he believes American businessman Kenneth Bae, sentenced to 15 years' hard labor for allegedly trying to overthrow the Kim Jong Un regime, is guilty.

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Snow Art
2:41 pm
Sun December 22, 2013

Something Cool: Photos Of Huge Snow Sculptures In China

People pose beside a large snow sculpture at the 26th Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Sun Island Park on Sunday in Harbin, China.
Hong Wu Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 5:38 pm

The 26th Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo is in full swing in China. Known as the largest festival of its kind the world, it's always pretty spectacular.

We thought we'd round up some pictures to give you a sense of the wonder:

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Fish Imports
2:49 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Battle Of The Bottom Feeder: U.S., Vietnam In Catfish Fight

Freshly caught catfish wriggle in large nets in Doddsville, Miss.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 1:17 pm

Bill Battle peers through the window of a pickup truck at his catfish farm, Pride of the Pond, near Tunica, Miss. The land is pancake-flat, broken up by massive ponds, some holding up to 100,000 pounds of catfish.

Cormorants fly low over the ponds, keeping an eye out for whiskered, smooth-skinned fish. Battle keeps a shotgun in the front seat; business is hard enough without the birds cutting into his profit.

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Space
10:35 am
Sat December 14, 2013

State TV: Chinese Spacecraft Makes Soft Landing On The Moon

Staff members make preparations for Chang'e-3's soft-landing on the moon at the Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, on Saturday.
Li Xin Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 9:01 am

A Chinese spacecraft made a soft landing on the surface of the moon on Saturday, China's state television is reporting.

Televised images showed the control room at the Aerospace Control Center in Beijing erupted into applause at about 8:10 a.m. ET. Almost immediately, the lander started to deploy its solar panels and began running a systems check.

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News
8:28 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Colonel Killed in Action to Receive Full Military Burial Friday

Col. Francis J. McGouldrick, Jr.
Credit via Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

The remains of an Air Force colonel from New Haven missing during the Vietnam War have been identified and will be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery, according to the Department of Defense. 

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