Asia-Pacific

Afghanistan Turns a Political Corner

The Afghanistan presidential election is turning out to be a tale of two narratives. The more positive and democratic one could be winning the day.

U.N. Visa Denials Appendage of U.S. Foreign Policy

The United States has rarely, if ever, denied a visa to a head of state seeking to visit the United Nations to address the 193-member General Assembly, the highest policy making body in the organisation.

Uzbekistan’s Dying Aral Sea Resurrected as Tourist Attraction

"I’m going for a swim," says Pelle Bendz, a 52-year-old Swede, as he rummages in the jeep for his bathing trunks. The other tourists look at him, bewildered. What’s left of the Aral Sea is reputed to be a toxic stew, contaminated by pesticides and other chemicals.

Conflict Fuels Child Labour in India

Early in the morning, 14-year-old Sumari Varda puts on her blue school uniform but heads for the village pond to fetch water. “I miss school. I wish I could go back,” she whispers, scared of being heard by her employer.

Russians Blend Loyalty to Nazarbayev with Pro-Kremlin Sentiments

On a hillside in northeastern Kazakhstan, south of the Russian border, a simple and stark slogan looms over the city of Oskemen: “Kazakhstan,” reads the message in giant white letters arrayed across the green slope.

World Cuts Back Military Spending, But Not Asia

For the second year in a row, the world is spending a little less on the military. Asia, however, has failed to get the memo. The region is spending more at a time when many others are spending less.

Taliban Screens a New Silence

Mushfiq Wali, a 22-year-old shoemaker in northern Pakistan, loves watching films in the local Pashto language. But he says the Taliban are a killjoy: their bomb attacks have led to the closure of movie theatres, again. “They don’t spare anything that brings happiness.”

The Iranian Nuclear Weapons Programme That Wasn’t

When U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Carmen M. Ortiz unsealed the indictment of a Chinese citizen in the UK for violating the embargo against Iran, she made what appeared to be a new U.S. accusation of an Iran nuclear weapons programme.

Tajikistan’s Government Distances Itself from Labour Migrants

Labour migrants make up Tajikistan’s economic lifeline, but that’s a fact the Central Asian country’s leadership doesn’t seem eager to acknowledge.

U.N. Non-Committal over U.S. Visa Refusal to Iranian Envoy

When New York City was picked as the location for the United Nations many moons ago, the politically-important decision was followed by the 1947 U.S.-U.N. Headquarters Agreement which obligated Washington to facilitate - not hinder - the smooth functioning of the world body.

Ukraine Crisis Cements Astana in Russia’s Orbit

The Crimea crisis is putting pressure on Kazakhstan’s long-standing, multi-vectored foreign policy, which has sought to balance the competing interests of Russia, China and the United States in Central Asia.

Taliban Provokes New Hunger for Education

Following scattered defiance of the Taliban earlier, a new wave of students is now heading for education in schools and colleges across the troubled north of Pakistan.

Political Web Spun for ‘Youngistan’

As India votes in its 16th general election Apr. 7-May 12, the youth, comprising nearly half the country’s 814 million voters, could prove decisive. And the internet is being used increasingly to target youth in the world’s largest democratic exercise.

Misgivings Rise Over Afghan Poll

“If Abdullah will become president, the will of [the] Afghan people will be respected. Otherwise – especially if Zalmai Rassoul will be indicated as the winner – a new conflict will start and our country will become more insecure.” The remark by Abdullah Abdullah supporter Qazi Sadullah Abu Aman is typical of the uncertainties and accusations rising as election day draws close on Saturday.

Philippines Invokes Law to Fight Chinese Muscle

After a year of futile diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the South China Sea disputes, the Philippines has risked permanent estrangement with China by pressing ahead with an unprecedented arbitration case before a United Nations court at The Hague, while ironing out a new security pact with the U.S.

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