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From Beijng to Tokyo, from Seoul to New Delhi, LinkAsia takes viewers into media about Asia – from Asia – offering unfiltered insight into one of the most diverse, fast-paced regions of the globe.

 

The LinkAsia blog features in-depth analysis from expert contributors and LinkAsia producers, as well as transcripts from NHK Japan reports.

 

LinkAsia airs Fridays at 9:30pm ET/6:30pm PT on Link TV, and is available online at LinkAsia.org.

LinkAsia News Brief

Rape Culture in India
 
 

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Burma's Anti-Muslim Riots: A Buddhist Dilemma

 
 

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Thai Monks Face Obesity Epidemic
(LinkAsia: October 12, 2012)
Yul Kwon:
Buddhists in Thailand are asked to be generous and share food with Monks. But it seems they're too generous. It's now estimated that almost of half of Thai monks are obese. Here's NHK with more on the Monks' efforts to slim down.

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NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: October 10, 2012

Reporter:
Thailand's monks are seeking solution. The problem comes from their diet. They urgently need to lose weight. Pairat is a 41 year old monk at a Buddhist temple in the suburbs of Bangkok. His morning routine involves making rounds of the neighborhood to ask for alms. He receives offers of food at nearly every stop. The alms used to be mainly simple homemade dishes, but that's changing as Thailand becomes richer. Higher calorie items such as sweets or meat prepared outside the home are an offer. By tradition monks are supposed to eat everything they receive. But there's just too much. Over 13 years Pairat gained 50 kilograms. He suffers from hypertension and diabetes.

Pairat:
People would be disappointed if I didn't eat. What else can I do but eat as much as I can.

Reporter:
On weekends even more dishes arrive. Followers deliver an assortment of meat, fried food and other delicacies to the temple. They believe the food will reach their ancestors and other deceased relatives when eaten by monks. A recent survey showed nearly half of the country's monks are overweight. A hospital for monks in Bangkok launched a program in May to fight obesity. It's designed overweight monks shed weight. Pairat signed up for the course. Thai monks are prohibited from exercising by their religious tenets. Even jogging or aerobics is forbidden, so they're encouraged to stretch to lose weight.

Supaporn Wangroongsarb:
Monks have a duty to start to diet. Many of them suffer from diabetes. So they can't carry out their religious duties properly.

Reporter:
Pairat tries to avoid meat and fried foods, choosing vegetables and rice. After every meal he goes into a private room and stretches out collecting alms he wears a pedometer. His goal is to walk 3 kilometers instead of 1 kilometer he used to cover.

Pairat:
I want to continue religious activity as long as possible.

Reporter:
Monks face a growing challenge to stay trim while accepting generosity with a full heart. Nathaka Karnchanasest, NHK World, Bangkok.
 
 

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Japan's Perspective on an Iranian Oil Embargo

 

(LinkAsia: January 27, 2012)

Yul Kwon:

The European Union is increasing the pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear program. It’s joining the US and the UK in the latest round of sanctions, which includes an embargo on Iranian oil. Japanese broadcaster NHK has our top story.

 

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NHK World NEWSLINE

Airdate: January 23, 2012

 

Reporter:

The EU ministers made their decision at a meeting in Brussels. Their sanctions came in line with similar measures that were approved last month in the United States. The ministers agreed to freeze the assets of Iran’s central bank. They want to cut off the main source of revenue for the government. The EU is the second-largest importer of Iranian oil. It accounts for nearly 20 percent of the total. Sources close to the talks say the ministers are focusing on how Iran will react to the decision, including the possible closure of the Strait of Hormuz. The strait is the only waterway to the open ocean for many areas around the Persian Gulf. NHK World’s Go Sawahata has just been there. He reports that it’s still busy, at least for now.

 

Go Sawahata (Reporter):

I reached the Strait of Hormuz by sailing up the coast of Oman. The Persian Gulf was busy with oil tankers from all over the world. Oman has military facilities near the Strait of Hormuz. Omani boats were on patrol. Iran conducted huge naval exercises in the area late last month. Iran has also just launched its latest missiles in a show of its military clout. The United States has deployed a second aircraft carrier in the area. Countries along the gulf have built up their military forces in case of tension with Iran. The United Arab Emirates signed a contract last month to buy the latest US missile interceptors. Saudi Arabia signed a deal to buy more F-15 fighters from the United States.

 

Theodore Karasik (Institute of Near East and Gulf Military Analysis):

They’re increasingly buying more arms, as well as their recent experience in Libya, has taught them how to use air power effectively. So this is a nice combination of attributes to face off against Iran.

 

Go Sawahata:

The big question is how Gulf States will export their oil if the Strait of Hormuz is closed. The UAE is building a pipeline to bypass the strait. But the pipeline won’t be finished for at least six months.

 

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan (UAE Foreign Minister):

I’ll do everything I can to keep oil production going.

 

Go Sawahata:

Ninety percent of Japan’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz. Japanese businesses are keeping a close eye on developments. This Japanese company is involved with production of oil in the UAE for export to Japan. Even if the Strait of Hormuz stays open, any more military tension will hit the company’s business.

 

Katsujiro Kida (Japan Oil Development):

Closure of the strait would create a situation beyond any company’s control. An accidental incident could trigger something that nobody wants to happen.

 

Go Sawahata:

Tension between the West and Iran over Iranian nuclear program is at a critical level. There are fears of a regional war. The fate of the central artery for global oil transport is at stake. 

 

 
 

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