Twixt the Bear and the Dragon

NEED TO KNOW Twixt the Bear and the Dragon MONGOLIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/d44c27c0-8811-4785-9bf7-c8eb1cb78277.png"] In Mongolia, Dulamsuren Demberel worries about her family’s budget. The price of coal has increased by 40 percent in recent months as post-pandemic inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have roiled energy markets. Nomadic herders like...

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The Forever Pandemic

NEED TO KNOW The Forever Pandemic CHINA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/198e41ed-dcee-4398-8f9e-af928160f105.png"] China recently lifted mandatory quarantining for visitors, ending three years of travel restrictions designed to prevent Covid infections. The move was the latest easing of anti-Covid measures in the country, which was rocked last month by protests against lockdowns, as...

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The Balancing Act

We were unable to deliver your newsletter Friday due to a technical issue with our email delivery platform. We apologize for the inconvenience! [featurecontent] NEED TO KNOW The Balancing Act KAZAKHSTAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/d52e63cf-06bb-47d0-b573-377bff5ae37c.png"] Kazakhstan recently memorialized the first anniversary of Bloody January, the term for the four days of civil unrest...

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A Difficult Hand

NEED TO KNOW A Difficult Hand PHILIPPINES [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/76f74898-7b3b-4fc1-b7d7-88cadfea2fdf.png"] Controversially tough-on-crime Rodrigo Duterte is no longer president of the Philippines. But, in an echo of protests that occurred when Duterte was in power between June 2016 and June 2022, demonstrators recently took to the streets of the Filipino capital,...

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Taunting the Bull

[featurecontent] NEED TO KNOW Taunting the Bull PAKISTAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/eaf17bc7-6468-493e-bfe1-86954ffb120a.png"] Pakistani and Indian diplomats recently traded barbs over who is a sponsor of terrorism, the Associated Press wrote. The kerfuffle was important because, as the Council on Foreign Relations explained, the two South Asian countries are nuclear powers that have...

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Bidding on Paradise

[featurecontent2] NEED TO KNOW Bidding on Paradise INDONESIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/ec0c6f24-24ad-434b-bf1d-56e472da6e67.png"] Indonesia wants to auction off development rights for more than 100 islands spread out over 25,000 acres that offer some of the most biodiverse areas of the planet. The New York arm of auction house Sotheby’s was planning to accept bids...

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Give War a Chance

NEED TO KNOW Give War a Chance JAPAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/ab764327-df98-4918-badd-17c2c79d5685.png"] Japan is planning on increasing defense spending to two percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) over the next five years. That might not seem like a lot in relative terms but it would be double what the country...

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Roadblocks for a Generation

NEED TO KNOW Roadblocks for a Generation TAIWAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/dab1143a-8514-4f63-8098-bd36050d9680.png"] While Taiwan debates expanding its democracy, observers are debating whether China will be soon launching a takeover attempt against the country, which Chinese leaders view as a renegade province. Taiwanese voters head to the polls on Nov. 26 to vote...

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The Little Country That Could

New Zealand Map

NEED TO KNOW The Little Country That Could NEW ZEALAND [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/35e498e9-3807-40bd-bf6c-8c9506c3b2cf.png"] Few people on Earth enjoy clear night skies. Light pollution obscures the skies over where 80 percent of the planet’s population lives. In New Zealand, however, National Geographic reported, the country is on track to become one...

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Rock, Meet Hard Place

NEED TO KNOW Rock, Meet Hard Place NEPAL [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/a519ab91-7b87-4ef0-a6df-573c03bc0303.png"] Nepali soldiers were recently searching for survivors after an earthquake struck the western region of Doti. At least six people died in the 5.6-magnitude quake, a tragedy but nonetheless relatively good news in a country where nearly 9,000 perished...

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Out With the Old

NEED TO KNOW Out With the Old KAZAKHSTAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/d52e63cf-06bb-47d0-b573-377bff5ae37c.png"] The president of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, appears to be enacting a series of reforms that promise to reorganize the country’s politics and its economy as former Soviet republics navigate the instability following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On the political front,...

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No Country for Old Men

NEED TO KNOW No Country for Old Men MALAYSIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/053b35ef-03dc-4aeb-b916-fe602f4772eb.jpg"] Will the biggest group of young voters in Malaysian history decide whether or not a nonagenarian will become the Southeast Asian country’s prime minister? That’s the lingering question in Malaysia these days following a recent announcement by the country’s...

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Remaking the Wall

NEED TO KNOW Remaking the Wall CHINA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/198e41ed-dcee-4398-8f9e-af928160f105.png"] Chinese Communist Party Congresses are usually scripted affairs that befit totalitarian states. Delegates are expected to reach decisions that leaders have already prescribed. Surprises are discouraged. So the bizarre episode where a functionary escorted the 79-year-old former president of China, Hu...

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The Fifth Estate

NEED TO KNOW The Fifth Estate SOUTH KOREA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/96aac4ab-2540-4b79-8f3f-2a21e22e27fe.png"] More than 90 percent of smartphone users in South Korea use the Kakao suite of apps to do everything from instant messaging and banking to watching videos and locating nearby beauty salons. When a data center fire recently caused...

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

NEED TO KNOW R-E-S-P-E-C-T CENTRAL ASIA/ RUSSIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/2e2ef13c-a42d-db72-25cb-edaa084a6043.png"] Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are clashing on their border. Kazakhstan is poised for a “color revolution”. Uzbekistan is welcoming Russians fleeing conscription while its neighbors are wondering how to cope with the sheer numbers of these new arrivals. For years, Russia was...

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Pushing and Pulling

NEED TO KNOW Pushing and Pulling NORTH KOREA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/081c0373-fb17-4e7d-af63-346faaef42b7.png"] North Korea recently fired an intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan, one of five such launches in the region over a week-long period despite the crippling sanctions against the autocratic Asian country. The missile fell harmlessly into the Pacific Ocean,...

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A Good Day

NEED TO KNOW A Good Day CHINA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/198e41ed-dcee-4398-8f9e-af928160f105.png"] While Russian President Vladimir Putin suffers international condemnation and internal dissent, US President Joe Biden faces a test in the upcoming midterm elections, and major European leaders are either new or lack significant power globally, Chinese President Xi Jinping, 69,...

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Treading Water

NEED TO KNOW Treading Water PAKISTAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/eaf17bc7-6468-493e-bfe1-86954ffb120a.png"] Record floods have turned lowland farms in Pakistan into lakes, highlighting the fragility of an unstable developing nation in the era of climate change. “We are living on an island now,” farmer Muhammad Jaffar said in an interview with the New...

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Choosing Forgiveness

NEED TO KNOW Choosing Forgiveness INDONESIA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/ec0c6f24-24ad-434b-bf1d-56e472da6e67.png"] Indonesian officials are considering granting early release to Hisyam bin Alizein, also known as Umar Patek, the leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaida-linked terrorist group that killed 202 people in a bombing at a tourist spot in Bali in 2002. The officials...

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Door Fees

NEED TO KNOW Door Fees SINGAPORE [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/7975032b-ee5e-4c38-bc1f-27c01a1778c5.png"] In the 2013 novel (and 2018 hit film) “Crazy Rich Asians,” the ingénue travels to Singapore and realizes that her boyfriend is so fabulously wealthy that their backgrounds might be too different for them to share a life together. Spoiler alert –...

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