Singapore – Singapore will host a round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship, making it the home of Asia’s first street circuit (the only other street circuits are in Monaco and Valencia). More exciting is the fact that this will be the first night-time event in Formula One history!
Dili, Timor Leste – Asia-Pacific’s newest and poorest nation turns five, and the success of the country’s recent presidential election, won resoundingly by Nobel Peace Prize laureate José Ramos-Horta, has created optimism for a period of peace.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was hospitalised this week. The news was an added shock as it happened just a day after Internet rumors reported that current premier Abdullah Badawi himself had collapsed. The two have been engaged in a long and bitter public spat with Mahathir keeping up an increasingly frenetic schedule of bombarding his successor’s government with accusations of avarice, incompetence and treachery.
Sobsa, Bhutan – Bhutan, which measures national development in terms of Gross National Happiness rather than Gross National Product, battles the lure of the television, which first arrived to this tiny nation in 1999 and has since been blamed for destroying family life, bringing crime and juvenile delinquency to this peaceful land and undermining ancient traditions.
Mumbai, India – A horror show re-enacting the hanging of deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is drawing huge crowds in Mumbai. The House of Horrors is said to be “modelled on Halloween horror that is seen in the famous Madame Tussauds in England, the Disneyland in the US or Sentosa Island in Singapore”.
Tokyo, Japan – A teenage boy carrying a severed head walked into a Japanese police station Tuesday saying he killed his mother for “world peace”. Meanwhile, a three-year-old toddler was left in a baby hatch for unwanted newborns at a hospital in southern Japan the day it opened last week.
Jakarta, Indonesia – Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago of 17,000 islands, could lose about 2,000 islands by 2030 due to climate change. Island countries like Saint Lucia, Fiji and the Bahamas would likely disappear.
Yangon, Myanmar – The Myanmar junta has rounded up 50 activists trying to pray for the release of Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi. Meanwhile, the Moscow Times tells us Russia is offering to help Myanmar go nuclear, while the People’s Daily reports of record highs in Myanmar’s foreign trade.
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan – The world’s dwindling band of unreconstructed autocrats welcomed a new member into their fold today when Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov was sworn in as Turkmenistan’s new president after storming to a questionable election victory. The new president swears to “devote my life to following the course of Turkmenbashi the Great”.
Image of unknown Indonesian island from the Straits Times.