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Exclusive reports, features and analysis on political and social events from across the Asian continent. Every Monday at 5.45 pm Paris time.

Latest update : 2017-10-26

Taiwan tackles dangerous betel nut addiction

Around one-tenth of the world's population chews betel nuts. The stimulant is hugely popular in Asia: it is used as a pick-me-up like coffee, but is also a symbol of love and a cure for indigestion or impotence. But these perceived benefits may be outweighed by the costs. Betel nuts are carcinogenic: in fact, around nine out of 10 oral cancer patients in Taiwan have a habit of chewing them.

Also, be it a nuclear threat from North Korea, or a natural disaster like an earthquake or tsunami, some people in Japan are preparing for the worst. Sales of nuclear shelters, air purifiers and gas masks are soaring in the country.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, the price of rubber continues to soar due to a shortage in supply. While that's bad news for motorists, Thailand's rubber farmers are raking in the profits.

Finally, we head to Indonesia, where the province of Papua has shown an uncanny ability to produce great football players. Is it cultural, the high altitude, or something in the water? Either way, its people have earned a reputation they are proud of.

By Jeanne LAVENANT , Stéphanie CHEVAL , Gaëlle ESSOO


2018-02-05 China

China's 'Great Green Wall': Country battles large-scale desertification

Decades ago, China began building a so-called "Great Green Wall" to halt desertification. Despite this, some 3,000 square kilometres of land are lost every year, ravaging...

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2018-01-22 Hong Kong

Why Hong Kong produces 200,000 tons of electronic waste per year

Where do your computers, tablets and smartphones go to die? Electronic waste is an environmental problem throughout Asia, but nowhere more so than in Hong Kong. For a long time...

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2018-01-13 unemployment

Fighting unemployment: Millions of Indians face layoffs amid shrinking job market

For several years now, India has been selling its wares as one of Asia's biggest economies. But despite the government's claims that things are getting rosier, there's been no...

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2017-12-18 Funeral

Japan offers world's first drive-through funerals

In Japan, paying your final respects to your nearest and dearest needn't be a long, drawn-out affair. You can now bid your last farewells to loved ones without ever unbuckling...

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2017-12-04 North Korea

North Korea: Global sanctions hit Pyongyang’s ‘experiment in capitalism’

In North Korea, the port city of Rason has a special status as an economic zone. Attracting foreign businesses in manufacturing, tourism and transportation, some even speculate...

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