"BEIJING — The Chinese state news media on Monday published aggressive reports on what they described as the sickening and dangerous air pollution in Beijing and other parts of northern China, indicating that popular anger over air quality had reached a level where Communist Party propaganda officials felt that they had to allow the officially sanctioned press to address the growing concerns of ordinary citizens."
"BEIJING — One Friday more than two years ago, an air-quality monitoring device atop the United States Embassy in Beijing recorded data so horrifying that someone in the embassy called the level of pollution 'Crazy Bad' in an infamous Twitter post. That day the Air Quality Index, which uses standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, had crept above 500, which was supposed to be the top of the scale."
"Every night, hundreds of cancer patients from the farming region of southern Punjab huddle together with their families in an overnight train journey to the nearest cancer hospital, 220 miles away. ... The patients travel from the fertile farming areas of the northern state of Punjab, a region that reports an alarmingly high use of pesticides."
"The capital's initiative to rid the city of polluting vehicles has taken 458,000 old cars off the road, and the government is providing more benefits to local motorists to encourage them to scrap aging vehicles."
"HONG KONG — China began service Wednesday morning on the world’s longest high-speed rail line, covering a distance in eight hours that is about equal to that from New York to Key West, Florida, or from London across Europe to Belgrade."
As one city in Japan's radiation-stricken Fukushima prefecture starts serving local rice in school lunches, the long debate over the safety of Fukushima rice seems to be as much a matter of marketing as of science.
"Blocked roads and severed communications in the southern Philippines frustrated rescuers on Wednesday as teams searched for hundreds of people missing after the strongest typhoon this year killed at least 283 people."
"Korea counts on nuclear energy for 30 percent of its electrical power, but critics are now demanding that the government rethink plans to build more."
"BEIJING — A week of protests against the planned expansion of a petrochemical plant in the port city of Ningbo turned violent on Friday and Saturday when demonstrators attacked police cars and tossed bricks and water bottles at officers, according to accounts from participants posted on the Internet."