Malaysian authorities on Sunday ordered most of the country's schools shut for two days because of possible health risks posed by the thick haze from Indonesian forest fires. "The haze that is happening is beyond our control," said Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid. Close to half of Malaysia's 52 pollutant monitoring stations around the country registered "unhealthy" air quality on Sunday.
A new list of the best Asian films of all time was published this week, as the region's increasingly vibrant cinema scene celebrated another bonanza in Busan. The 20th anniversary of the Busan International Film Festival, in South Korea, marked its milestone with a poll of noted Asian filmmakers and international critics of Asian film, who were all asked for their top ten. Hou's breakthrough work "A City Of Sadness" was ranked fifth-best of all time on a list that was topped by Japanese master auteur Yasujiro Ozu's seminal family drama "Tokyo Story" from 1953.
Ex-Soviet Kyrgyzstan headed to the polls on Sunday for a hotly-contested parliamentary vote, but the results are unlikely to change the country's firmly pro-Russian trajectory. Polling stations across the majority-Muslim Central Asian country of six million opened at 0200 GMT, the election commission said, as 14 parties and more than 2,000 candidates battle for seats in the 120-member legislature. The Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK), affiliated to current President Almazbek Atambayev, is expected to do well in the poll, but can only take a maximum of 65 seats due to a stipulation in the country's constitution.
By Michelle Martin BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe needed to protect its external frontiers as it faces the greatest influx off refugees since World War Two - a crisis that she said was "testing Europe's mettle". Hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe this year from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, many fleeing war or poverty. Speaking in a weekly video podcast released on Saturday, Merkel said Europe needed to contribute to dealing with this global challenge.