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Asia (/ˈʒə, ˈʃə/ (audio speaker iconlisten)) is a landmass variously described as part of Eurasia or as Earth's largest and most populous continent in its own right, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe, and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with Africa and Europe. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Its 4.5 billion people () constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.

In general terms, Asia is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the north by the Arctic Ocean. The border of Asia with Europe is a historical and cultural construct, as there is no clear physical and geographical separation between them. It is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East–West cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The most commonly accepted boundaries place Asia to the east of the Suez Canal separating it from Africa; and to the east of the Turkish Straits, the Ural Mountains and Ural River, and to the south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian and Black Seas, separating it from Europe.

China and India alternated in being the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1800 CE. China was a major economic power and attracted many to the east, and for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, attracting European commerce, exploration and colonialism. The accidental discovery of a trans-Atlantic route from Europe to America by Columbus while in search for a route to India demonstrates this deep fascination. The Silk Road became the main east–west trading route in the Asian hinterlands while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route. Asia has exhibited economic dynamism (particularly East Asia) as well as robust population growth during the 20th century, but overall population growth has since fallen. Asia was the birthplace of most of the world's mainstream religions including Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, as well as many other religions. (Full article...)

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Nathu La, a mountain pass in the Himalayas on the Indo-China Border.jpg

Nathu La (Tibetan: རྣ་ཐོས་ལ་, Wylie: Rna thos la, THL: Na tö la) is a mountain pass in the Dongkya Range of the Himalayas between China's Yadong County in Tibet, and the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal in Bengal, South Asia. The pass, at 4,310 m (14,140 ft), connects the towns of Kalimpong and Gangtok to the villages and towns of the lower Chumbi Valley.

The pass was surveyed by J. W. Edgar in 1873, who described the pass as being used for trade by Tibetans. Francis Younghusband used the pass in 1903-1904, a diplomatic British delegation to Lhasa in 1936-37, and Ernst Schäfer in 1938–1939. In the 1950s, trade in the Kingdom of Sikkim utilized this pass. Diplomatically sealed by China and India after the 1962 Sino-Indian War, the pass saw skirmishes between the two countries in coming years, including the clashes in 1967 which resulted in fatalities on both sides. Nathu La has often been compared to Jelep La, a mountain pass situated at a distance of 3 miles (4.8 km). (Full article...)
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Syria (Arabic: سُورِيَا or سُورِيَة, Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic: ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, romanizedal-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a country in Western Asia. It borders the Merranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east and southeast, Jordan to the south, and Israel and Lebanon to the southwest. Cyprus lies to the west across the Merranean Sea. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including the majority Syrian Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Assyrians, Armenians, Circassians, Mandaeans, and Greeks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Isma'ilis, Mandaeans, Shiites, Salafis, and Yazidis. The capital and largest city of Syria is Damascus. Arabs are the largest ethnic group, and Sunnis are the largest religious group.

Syria is a unitary republic consisting of 14 governorates and is the only country that politically espouses Ba'athism. It is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement; it was suspended from the Arab League in November 2011 and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and self-suspended from the Union for the Merranean. (Full article...)

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Tengku Amir Hamzah (February 1911 – 20 March 1946) was an Indonesian poet and National Hero of Indonesia. Born into a Malay aristocratic family in the Sultanate of Langkat in North Sumatra, he was educated in both Sumatra and Java. While attending senior high school in Surakarta around 1930, Amir became involved with the nationalist movement and fell in love with a Javanese schoolmate, Ilik Sundari. Even after Amir continued his studies in legal school in Batavia (now Jakarta) the two remained close, only separating in 1937 when Amir was recalled to Sumatra to marry the sultan's daughter and take on responsibilities of the court. Though unhappy with his marriage, he fulfilled his courtly duties. After Indonesia proclaimed its independence in 1945, he served as the government's representative in Langkat. The following year he was killed in a social revolution led by the PESINDO (Pemuda Republik Indonesia), and buried in a mass grave.

Amir began writing poetry while still a teenager: though his works are undated, the earliest are thought to have been written when he first travelled to Java. Drawing influences from his own Malay culture and Islam, as well as from Christianity and Eastern literature, Amir wrote 50 poems, 18 pieces of lyrical prose, and numerous other works, including several translations. In 1932 he co-founded the literary magazine Poedjangga Baroe. After his return to Sumatra, he stopped writing. Most of his poems were published in two collections, Nyanyi Sunyi (1937) and Buah Rindu (1941), first in Poedjangga Baroe then as stand-alone books. (Full article...)

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The following are images from various Asia-related articles on Wikipedia.

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Utamaro's Ase o fuku onna ("Woman wiping sweat"), an example of bijinga (literally, "pictures of beautiful people"), a central theme of the ukiyo-e genre of Japanese art. Nearly all ukiyo-e artists produced bijinga, but a few, including Utamaro, Suzuki Harunobu, Toyohara Chikanobu, and Torii Kiyonaga, are widely regarded as the greatest innovators and masters of the form.

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Updated: 1:33, 18 January 2022

In the news

17 January 2022 – Spillover of the Yemeni Civil War
2022 Abu Dhabi attack
Three people are killed in a suspected drone attack on petrol tanks at a major oil storage facility near Abu Dhabi International Airport, United Arab Emirates. The Yemen-based Houthis claims responsibility for the attack, saying that they launched "five ballistic missiles and a large number of drones". (Hindustan Times) (CNN)
17 January 2022 – Capital of Indonesia
The Minister of National Development Planning Suharso Monoarfa reveals that the name of the new Indonesian capital will be Nusantara. Nusantara is a term that has been used to describe the Indonesian Archipelago. (VOI)
17 January 2022 – 2022 Afghanistan earthquake
At least 26 people are killed by a magnitude 5.3 earthquake in Qadis, Badghis Province, Afghanistan. (Al Jazeera)
17 January 2022 – Canada–China relations, COVID-19 pandemic in mainland China
The South China Morning Post reports that Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, stated that the first patient infected with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant in Beijing received a letter mailed from Canada on January 7 and does not rule out the possibility that the patient was infected via contact with the letter. (South China Morning Post) (CBC)
Leader of the Official Opposition of Canada Erin O'Toole responds to the report, calling it "comical". (National Post)

Updated: 1:33, 18 January 2022

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150pxPanoramic view of Buriganga River from the bridge, Old Dhaka.
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The Buriganga River flows past the southwest outskirts of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Its average depth is 7.6 metres (25 ft) and its maximum depth is 18 metres (58 ft).



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