Asia Pacific Topics

Australia's highest court bans gay marriages

Dec 12, 2013

Australia's highest court bans gay marriages

Australia’s highest court struck down a landmark law on Thursday that had begun allowing the country’s first gay marriages, shattering the dreams of more than two dozen same-sex newlyweds whose marriages will now be annulled less than a week after their weddings. The federal ...

Australia's first gay weddings held in capital

Dec 7, 2013

Australia's first gay weddings held in capital

Gay and lesbian couples from around Australia joined in fragile marriages in Canberra on Saturday under the nation’s beleaguered same-sex union laws, which face a challenge in the courts within a week. The hastily arranged ceremonies held under blue summer skies were bitter-sweet occasions ...

China's 'beauty' drive against veils worsens Uighur tensions

Nov 25, 2013

China's 'beauty' drive against veils worsens Uighur tensions

A Chinese government worker in the ancient Silk Road oasis of Kashgar beckons two women to her street-side stand and logs their details under the gaze of a surveillance camera. Their offense: wearing veils. The “Project Beauty” campaign aims to discourage women from covering ...

China tycoon at home in his castles

Nov 16, 2013

China tycoon at home in his castles

by Tom Hancock

As the greatest urbanization drive in history swells China’s cities with ranks of look-alike apartment blocks, one culinary businessman is indulging his architectural appetite with a visual feast of extravagant, outlandish castles. “I don’t have any hobbies, except for planting trees and building castles,” ...

South Korean 'kimchi deficit' widens

Nov 16, 2013

South Korean 'kimchi deficit' widens

by Kim Dong-Hyun

It’s kimchi-making season in South Korea, with households across the country preparing and laying down stocks of the ubiquitous spicy side-dish for the coming winter. But many foreign visitors, including the most intrepid foodies, will probably leave without ever tasting a Korean-made version of ...

Beijing divorces soar thanks to property tax loophole

Oct 30, 2013

Beijing divorces soar thanks to property tax loophole

Beijing’s divorce rate has soared as couples seek to avoid a property tax imposed earlier this year by using a loophole for those whose marriages end, state media reported Tuesday. Nearly 40,000 couples divorced in the Chinese capital in the first nine months of ...

Language schools in H.K. pushing American accents

Oct 29, 2013

Language schools in H.K. pushing American accents

Standing at the front of the classroom in Hong Kong, 9-year-old Charlotte Yan recites a 2008 speech by then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — enunciating the words with a perfect American accent. “Make sure we have a president who puts our country ...

Oct 22, 2013

'Lifestyle' diseases new threat to Asia

Asia-Pacific countries face serious challenges from “lifestyle” diseases and aging populations even as they overcome more traditional illnesses, the World Health Organization’s regional director said Monday. Western Pacific WHO chief Shin Young-soo said such ailments, often arising from a change in diets and less ...

Chinese prison bars U.S. doctor from dissident

Oct 13, 2013

Chinese prison bars U.S. doctor from dissident

Moved by the plight and failing health of a Chinese dissident imprisoned for a few lines of poetry, a retired American doctor traveled from her quiet life in suburban Washington to the gates of his eastern China prison on Saturday and asked she be ...

As China targets graft, bribes abound in schools

| Oct 8, 2013

As China targets graft, bribes abound in schools

For years, Yang Jie’s friends warned her to save up for her daughter’s education. Not for tuition or textbooks, but for the bribes needed to get into the city’s better public schools. A strong-willed, self-made businesswoman, Yang largely ignored their advice. “Success in life,” ...