Presenting the countries I read about this past week!


  • Is China being a bit of an overachiever with their high-speed rail? The Economist takes a look at how these super fast trains are connecting the country.
  • Zhou Youguang, the linguist who invented the pinyin writing system, passed away at 111 years old. This man had quite the life! Read all about it at the LA Times.
  • NPR has the full translated text of a poem written by a Chinese surgeon about the country’s smog problem. In an interesting twist, it’s told from the perspective of lung cancer.
  • This is perhaps one of my favorite news stories that I read this week. The Silk Road is back! According to The Guardian, the first train has made its trek from China to the UK. Yiwu to London is 7,456 miles in 16 days! The markets in Yiwu are described as a giant bazaar with traders from all over the world.

Ivory Coast

  • People who live in Ivory Coast don’t have much access to libraries, and therefore not much access to reading. But women DO visit the hair salon a lot! So why not bring the libraries to the salons? Read a book and get your hair done too, from Gulf News.

South Korea

  • Their president has a knack for not doing anything right. Here’s the latest… a blacklist of artists! Express through your art, be it writing or a painting or a statement, that she doesn’t like? BOOM! On the list! Read on at the New York Times.
  • Ban Ki-moon, the UN’s recent former secretary general, returns home to South Korea. They need a new president. Will it be him?


  • All good things! This small German city recruits Syrian refugees.
  • Fake news, not just an American thing. Germany investigates.
  • Did you know that Germany has a worst word of the year? A panel of judges reflects on the year and words that were bad for the country. For 2016 that word was Volksverräter, people’s traitor. The Local explains.


  • Fake news strikes again! And it’s a worsening problem for Indonesia.
  • Indonesia’s military chief thinks that Chinese refugees should get eaten by sharks.
  • PINK BEACH – That is all.