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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Little Islands, Big Games

NEED TO KNOW Little Islands, Big Games SOLOMON ISLANDS [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/3c7e70b3-a24d-4f3a-95d2-795b0355ebe6.png"] Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of the Solomon Islands distributed almost $2.5 million to 39 out of 50 lawmakers last year. Sogavare arguably wasn’t spending taxpayers’ money, however. He was doling out cash that China gave him specifically to...

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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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Two Diamonds

NEED TO KNOW Two Diamonds INDIA/ PAKISTAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/70dcc710-39f9-4d07-a37e-84a4eff885c5.png"] India and Pakistan had the rare experience of separating from one another at the same time they achieved independence from Britain, 75 years ago this month, on Aug. 15, 1947. Both countries appear to still be in search of themselves...

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Terror, Redux

NEED TO KNOW Terror, Redux AFGHANISTAN [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/2beac6fe-a680-4765-a2ff-d329629a897c.png"] On Monday, the Taliban marked the first anniversary of their takeover of Afghanistan with a national holiday, small victory parades and televised speeches boasting of their “great achievements” over the past year, the Associated Press reported. “We fulfilled the obligation of jihad...

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The Girls Next Door

NEED TO KNOW The Girls Next Door BANGLADESH [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/46a3120a-34a1-40f2-8221-240a899a0fd0.png"] Indian investigators recently busted an alleged human trafficking ring that was smuggling ethnic Rohingya girls into India from refugee camps in Bangladesh. It’s just the latest misfortune to befall members of this ethnic group who have been forced from their...

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The Bidding War

NEED TO KNOW The Bidding War CHINA [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/198e41ed-dcee-4398-8f9e-af928160f105.png"] American and Chinese ships and planes are more frequently encountering each other in the western Pacific Ocean, according to General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff during a recent visit to Indonesia. “The message is the...

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Huffing and Puffing

NEED TO KNOW Huffing and Puffing THAILAND [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/9aed0fb0-f5eb-4eda-ae64-69e423143eb5.png"] Thailand recently decriminalized marijuana, becoming the first country in Asia to embrace a new attitude toward the plant that the locals refer to as ganja. The Southeast Asian country will likely not become a pot-focused tourist haven anytime soon, however, the...

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The Trains To Nowhere

NEED TO KNOW The Trains To Nowhere LAOS [map url="https://mcusercontent.com/a2e22d7f24f6d1e3464d05be4/images/2c88ac81-3523-4a3b-b94d-88479d0a30a0.png"] When Sri Lanka defaulted on its debt in May, as the BBC reported, the resulting loss in confidence in the government led a mob to occupy the presidential palace and mansion. Photos in National Public Radio captured Sri Lankans...

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