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Asia

57 articles
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Man on Fire

The story of one Tibetan’s protest.

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The Swingers’ Guide To Islam

A Javanese shrine where Muslim pilgrims seeking good fortune must peform a ritual: find a stranger, have sex with them.

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At Home at the End of Google Earth

Separated from his older brother at a train, five-year-old Saroo Munshi Khan found himself lost in the slums of Calcutta. In his 20s, living in Australia, he began his search for his birth home armed with nothing but hazy memories and Google Earth.

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Factory Girls

On the rise of K-pop.

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Ultimate Retreat to French Polynesia

Exploring remote atolls in the South Pacific.

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Take a Number

Why people keep dying on Mount Everest.

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Paddled

An American enrolls in a Beijing ping-pong school. A series of humiliations ensue.

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Lieutenant Accused of Murdering 109 Civilians

Revealing the murder of 109 Vietnamese civilians during a 1968 search-and-destroy mission on a rumored Viet Gong stronghold, often referred to in military circles as Pinkville, actually the village of My Lai.

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Death of a Hostess

Twenty-one-year-old Briton Lucie Blackman came to Tokyo and found work in the Roppongi district hostess bars, where businessmen come to flirt with paid companions, and Western women draw a premium fee. Two months later, she disappeared. She would be found underneath a bathtub in a beachside cave.

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Graduation Day

The 2011 Tohoku Japan earthquake and tsunami, as experienced by eight schoolchildren.

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The Defeated

Inside the lives of Sri Lanka’s Tamils as they emerge from a multi-decade war that defined and nearly destroyed them.

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In the Land of the Dear Leader

The author travels to North Korea in the years after Kim Jong Il’s succession. He also gets a haircut:

But suddenly the whole chair starts vibrating and I find myself surrendering to her, as she begins to knead the acupressure points on my forehead and neck. Next it's ginseng unguent all over my face. Gobs of pomade smelling like bubble gum go on my hair. Then, like a true daughter of the revolution, she upholsters her blow dryer and begins combing in the pomade and sculpting my now subdued hair. The pungent aroma of heated pomade, like fat frying in a pan, fills the room. My stylist gives my hair a little twist with the comb. It feels like she's making a Dairy Queen curl on top. Then she fries it in place with the dryer. Another dab of pomade. More mincing motions with the comb. Another blast of hot air. Suddenly I feel a moist breeze around my ears. She's taken out a can of imported aerosol spray and is cementing her creation in place. She's delicately patting my new coiffure now the way a baker taps a loaf of bread to see if it's springy to the touch. She murmurs something. I'm breathless with expectation. I open my eyes and gaze into the mirror. Magnifique! It looks like I have a loofah sponge on my head! I am reborn -- a cross between Elvis and a 1950s Bulgarian hydrology expert! At last I have become a true son of Pyongyang!

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From Pakistan to Afghanistan, U.S. Finds Convoy of Chaos

What happened when Pakistan shut down the vitally important Karachi to Kabul trucking line.

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No Ordinary Counterfeit

Alarmingly sophisticated imitations of American currency have turned up all over the world and the false-paper trail leads to North Korea.

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Alone In the Dark

On the “horrible weirdness” of Kim Jung Il’s Korea.

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The Place to Disappear

On Bangkok’s Khao San Road.

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Barack and Hamid's Excellent Adventure

On the occasion of Hamid Karzai’s visit to the White House, a fever dream tour of the Afghanistan war through the eyes of the leaders who gave birth to its narrative.

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The Ally From Hell

Inside the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan:

The U.S. government has lied to itself, and to its citizens, about the nature and actions of successive Pakistani governments. Pakistani behavior over the past 20 years has rendered the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism effectively meaningless.

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The Man Who Sailed His House

Two days after the Japanese tsunami, after the waves had left their destruction, as rescue workers searched the ruins, news came of an almost surreal survival: Miles out at sea, a man was found, alone, riding on nothing but the roof of his house.
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Come to Happyland

Tourism in Burma? A journey through Asia’s most anesthetized state.

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The Journalist and the Spies

The death of the journalist who exposed dark secrets about Islamic extremism in Pakistan’s military.

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The Killing Fields

Skyrocketing prices for yarchagumba, a rare fungus prized as an aphrodisiac, has led to Nepali villagers to turf wars—and possibly murder.

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Land of Shadows

On the future of Myanmar.

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Cisco's Big Bet on New Songdo: Creating Cities From Scratch

On the development of South Korea’s New Songdo and Cisco’s plans to build smart cities which will “offer cities as a service, bundling urban necessities – water, power, traffic, telephony – into a single, Internet-enabled utility, taking a little extra off the top of every resident’s bill.” The demand for such cities is enormous:

China doesn't need cool, green, smart cities. It needs cities, period -- 500 New Songdos at the very least. One hundred of those will each house a million or more transplanted peasants. In fact, while humanity has been building cities for 9,000 years, that was apparently just a warm-up for the next 40. As of now, we're officially an urban species. More than half of us -- 3.3 billion people -- live in a city. Our numbers are projected to nearly double by 2050, adding roughly a New Songdo a day; the United Nations predicts the vast majority will flood smaller cities in Africa and Asia.

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Wikipedia: Ananda Mahidol

In 1935, a nine-year-old living in Switzerland became the King of Thailand. He would return to his homeland a decade later, and within six months he would be found shot to death in his bed. Though three servants were executed for the crime, a mystery endures.

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The Double Game

The unintended consequences of American funding in Pakistan.

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Atomic: How Manny Pacquiao Got To Congress

Manny Pacquiao, possibly the greatest boxer of his era and still in his fighting prime, on the campaign trail for a congressional seat in the remote, untamed Southern province of the Phillipines that spawned him.

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After the Tsunami: Nothing to Do but Start Again

On the unlikely survival (for the second time) of Kamaishi, Japan.

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The Coming Storm

What overcrowded and swelling Bangladesh can tell us about how the planet’s population, more than 1/3 of which live within 62 miles of a shoreline, will react to rising sea levels.

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Trouble at Sheikh Villa

Sheikh Amer Hassan’s parties were notoriously debauched, evidence of a growing permissiveness in Karachi high society. His murder by a pair of young brothers surprised few.

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Shooting an Elephant

“It was a tiny incident in itself, but it gave me a better glimpse than I had had before of the real nature of imperialism–the real motives for which despotic governments act.” Memories of a British soldier in Burma.

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Aftershocks

On the ground in post-disaster Japan.

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For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question

A first-person account of the author’s time spent volunteering with a group of Burmese activists in Thailand, who turn out to be not Korean but in fact Karen, members of Burma’s persecuted ethnic minority. In the course of her time there, they show her videos of their risky forays across the border, and she shows them MySpace.

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North Korea’s Digital Underground

The perilous routes through which information—video footage, secret documents, radio broadcasts—flow in and out of North Korea through its porous borders with China.

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The Afghan Connection

Money from relatives abroad, the lifeline for many Afghani's, moves primarily through small hawala
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Jihadists in Paradise

A ragtag band of pirate-Jihadists grab Americans from a diving resort in the Phillipines and lead them on an odyssey through the jungles of an archipelago with the competing interests of the Phillipines’ Navy and Army, the U.S. Military, and the C.I.A. thwarting their rescue.

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Master of Play

A profile of video game artist Shigeru Miyamoto, the man behind Super Mario Bros.

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If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be the Taliban

At tourism’s wildest frontier; guided tours of Afghanistan.

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Amakusa: Islands of Dread

The history of a Japanese archipelago and its inhabitants, through rebellions and famine, a 20th century exodus for prostitution work across Asia, and finally depopulation and isolation.

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Disneyland with the Death Penalty

William Gibson’s controversial take on the sanitized wonderland that is Singapore.

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If You Knew Sushi

A stroll through Tokyo’s Tsukiji, the world’s largest seafood market, and the mecca of the global sushi trade.

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Studio Kabul

On the set of Afghanistan’s first soap opera and at home with its cast.

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The Anarchic Republic of Pakistan

“There is perhaps no other political-military elite in the world whose aspirations for great-power regional status, whose desire to overextend and outmatch itself with meager resources, so outstrips reality as that of Pakistan.”

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After the Fall

A trip to interview former South Vietnamese premiere Ky on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the reunification of Vietnam ends with government surveillance, partying, and confusion.

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The Billion-Dollar Shack

A reporter heads to Nauru, a tiny island nation in the Pacific, to track down the hub of a worldwide money-laundering operation—a shack filled with computers, air-conditioners, and little else.

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A Life Revealed

Seventeen years after taking the iconic "Afghan Girl" photograph for National Geographic, Steve McCurry went back to find her.

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Thoughts on Thailand

What exactly is going on politically in Thailand?

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The Networker

Saad Mohseni, Afghanistan’s first media mogul and a business partner of Rupert Murdoch, produces everything from nightly news broadcasts to the controversial Afghan version of American Idol.

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The Liberation of Tam Minh Pham

In 1970, he was plucked from Saigon to attend West Point. He got his degree and went home to fight, but instead spent six years in a reeducation camp. Then, somehow, he ended up teaching high school in D.C.

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He Didn’t Stop Believin’

In need of a new lead singer, Journey settled on an unknown 40-year-old from the Philippines whose clips they found online. Arnel Pineda was perfect: just a small-town boy, living in a lonely world.

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The Land of Perpetual Revolution

What’s really happening in Kyrgyzstan.

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Let’s Die Together

The rise of anonymous group suicide in Japan.

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Sinatra Song Often Strikes Deadly Chord

Karaoke renditions of ‘My Way’ have led to murders in the Phillipines.

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The Death of a Civil Servant

An uneasy friendship forms in colonial Ceylon between the future husband of Virgina Woolf and a socially repulsive police magistrate.

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China Storms Africa

China is securing sub-Saharan Africa’s natural resources at a staggering rate. With the buying spree comes contracts, workers, and of course, politics. (Part 1 of a 6 part series, rest here)