Assignment Asia

Protecting Endangered Wildlife

This edition of Assignment Asia takes you to the seas of the Philippines and the forests of Indonesia to highlight issues concerning the region's fragile wildlife. Whale shark tourism is a growing industry in the Philippines. It attracts thousands of visitors and generates millions of dollars in income every year. But environmentalists criticize the practice, saying excessive interaction with humans and the feeding of whale sharks are harming the endangered species. Reporter Barnaby Lo travels to Oslob and Donsol, two coastal towns with different ways of giving people close encounters with the gentle giants of the sea. The name "orangutan" literally means person of the forest. Yet in Indonesia, orangutans have lost their homes to deforestation over the years, and many have fallen victim to poachers. Faced with this problem, a nonprofit group has been rescuing orangutans and giving them refuge before releasing them into the wild. Reporter Silkina Ahluwalia goes to East Kalimantan on Borneo island, where rescued orangutans are having a new lease on life.

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Operation: Drug War

Since President Rodrigo Duterte took office and declared a war on drugs, hundreds of people have been killed in that "war." Authorities say most of the victims were killed by unknown assailants or have died in firefights with local police. Reporter Barnaby Lo takes viewers inside the brutal drug war in the Philippines, which has raised international concern over human rights violations and extrajudicial killings.

  • 2018-07-22T15:30:00-07:00
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Advocates

This episode of Assignment Asia puts the spotlight on advocates, people who play key roles in addressing some of the region's most pressing challenges. The threat of radicalism looms large in Indonesia, where authorities say thousands of young people had been recruited by extremist groups as of 2016. But in East Java, an Islamic boarding school has joined the fight against extremism using the Muslim concept of jihad. Reporter Silkina Ahluwalia meets one man who started a program called "jihadpreneur," which teaches its students to wage jihad not through violence but by doing business.

Drifting and Dancing In Strife - Torn Iraq

In a country plagued by conflict and poverty, it's difficult - if not impossible - for sports and the arts to thrive. But in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, some are escaping their dire situation by pursuing their passion right in the midst of strife. Reporter Stephanie Freid tells the story of Iraqi drifters and fans who spend their Fridays in Baghdad's empty parking lots to experience the thrill of the motorsport and momentarily forget the violence that too frequently rocks the city.

Coping with a Changing Climate

The poorest countries in the world are also the most vulnerable to climate change. But some developing countries are already taking steps to confront it and mitigate its impact. In Bangladesh, climate refugees - people displaced from their communities by natural disasters - have poured into the capital Dhaka, crowding its already congested slums. Yet far from merely suffering, the country is working to become more resilient. Reporter Rian Maelzer travels to areas in Bangladesh that experience some of the worst effects of climate change.

Ancient Cultures in a Modern World

Asia is home to some of the world's oldest cultures and ethnic groups. But in modern times many of them are on the verge of fading. In South Korea, female divers called the haenyeo have been scouring the seas for food for more than 1,000 years. Yet today's sea women are ageing, and there's a dearth of new divers. Reporter Jack Barton travels to Jeju Island to meet some of its oldest haenyeo and looked into efforts to stop their tradition from dying. Seafaring tribes long inhabited the waters of Thailand and its neighbors, Myanmar and Malaysia.