Society

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Jakarta’s Slum-Dwellers Resist Attempts to Clean Rivers

Jakarta’s governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, has kicked off a firestorm with his attempts to clean up slums along the notoriously polluted Ciliwung River, with more than 2,200 National Police officers and the In...
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The Guangzhou-Lhasa Train

China’s vaunted high-speed train covers almost 4500 km from Shanghai to Lhasa in just 48 hours, one of the fastest long-distance train journeys in the world, hauling 863 passengers across the roof of the world....
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Record Dengue Outbreak Fans Fears in Malaysia

Malaysia is facing its largest dengue outbreak ever, with 201 deaths so far in 2015, with the number of fatalities rising sharply. There were 215 deaths in the whole of 2014, with 92 in 2013, and 35 in 2012.  In addition to the increased number of cases, doct...
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Jakarta Educators Finally Freed in Sex Abuse Case

Two Jakarta-based educators who were found guilty in April in a bizarre case charging them with repeatedly abusing kindergarten students sexually were freed on appeal Friday, August 14, by the Jakarta high cour...
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Singapore’s Teenage Rebel

Then he started telling us how he was never ashamed, when he was in some kind of trouble or something, to get right down his knees and pray to God. He told us we should always pray to God—talk to Him and all—...
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Religious Tolerance Makes a Comeback in Indonesia

Indonesia seems to be making welcome moves to rein in Islamic radicals, with President Joko Widodo calling on the country's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, to promote “moderate Islamic values” to counter violent militants. A few days later, on...
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Religion and Vietnam’s Party State

Vietnam’s state supervision of religion is considerably less oppressive than it was during the years of "building socialism" and propagating atheism as the approved belief system.  But that doesn’t mean free ...
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China Pushes the World Aside to get Winter Games

The decision of the International Olympic Committee to award the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing appears to have been made on the basis of politics rather than reality, with the IOC turning down what demonstrab...
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Philippines Drags Feet on Renewable Energy

Although the Philippines has enacted a series of strong laws to mitigate climate change since 2010, including a disaster risk reduction act, a climate change act, a renewable energy act and a survival fund since the perils of climate change began to manifest t...
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On Rights, US, Viets Still Talk Past Each Other

Human rights – chiefly political and religious freedoms – have been on the American agenda since Washington and Hanoi resumed direct dialogue about a quarter of a century ago. Though bilateral ties have grown...