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The not-so-friendly skies

Top News: A plane carrying a large load of weapons from North Korea was forced to land in Bangkok after the United States tipped off Thai authorities about the illicit transfer of weapons currently banned under U.N. sanctions.

Analysis: What's in Kim Jong Il's wallet?

ATLANTA — North Korea’s reported surprise move this week to all but wipe out middle-class savings via a currency revaluation scheme is aimed at forcing millions of people who had grown dependent on private markets to return to jobs in the comatose state economic sector. Don’t bet on instant success because there’s not a lot to go back to.

Kim Jong Il, you're under arrest

Concerned citizens want the notorious leader of North Korea tried at the ICC.

South Korea pledges sharp carbon cuts

Top News: United State President Barack Obama announced during his trip to South Korea that America’s nuclear special envoy will visit Pyongyang Dec. 8 for bilateral talks with North Korea in an effort to resolve the current deadlock in nuclear talks.

Will Korean manhwa replace manga?

SEOUL, South Korea — In his bag, Park Jae Dong always carries a fine-point ink brush. The mellow, aging artist speaks in few words, preferring to communicate through Korean cartoons, or manhwa, which have gained such popularity across Asia in recent years. When his fans approach him, he pulls out the brush — smirking, like it's a new idea each time — and strokes little streams furiously onto cardboard, arriving at an impromptu self-caricature with his signature below. Tough work for a national icon.

The ethical dilemma in your holiday stocking

[Editor’s note: Silicon Sweatshops is a five-part investigation of the supply chains that produce many of the world’s most popular technology products, from Apple iPhones, to Nokia cell phones, Dell keyboards and more.

Why white skin is all the rage in Asia

HSINCHU, Taiwan — Walking along a rushing stream in Hsinchu, Hilda Chu balanced an umbrella in one hand and textbooks in the other. Her skin was ghostly white. “I try hard to make my skin white,” said Chu, 18, a student at National Tsing Hua University. “If my skin is lighter, I will be happier because I think I look good. It makes my emotion better, yes.” She's hardly alone. Asians spend an estimated $18 billion a year to appear pale.

It wasn't me!

Top News: North and South Korean vessels exchanged fire in disputed waters west of the Korean Peninsula — the first naval skirmish in seven years — after the North crossed an UN-designated maritime border. One casualty and two injured were reported, and the North Korean ship, which the South Korean military said opened fire on its patrol boat, retreated engulfed in flames.

What do you think about Silicon Sweatshops?

BOSTON — Like all great dramas, an investigation of complex and murky supply chains across Asia offers no clear rights or wrongs. Yes, some high-tech workers are treated unfairly. And yes, most companies are trying to do something about the problem.

Obama in Japan: Reassuring an old friend

TOKYO, Japan — It was a speech that managed to lift the gloom on a wet, windswept morning. Speaking to a packed concert hall in Tokyo on Saturday, the U.S. president, Barack Obama, assured his hosts that the estrangement of the Bush era was over. Japan and the U.S., he declared, are “equal partners.”
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