Christmas -- once banned in China -- has exploded in the atheist nation in recent years, with marketeers using everything from saxophones and Smurfs to steam trains to get shoppers to open their wallets.
A decade after towering waves wrenched her newborn baby from her arms, Mi Htay remains haunted by memories of the children she lost in the tsunami whose bodies, like hundreds of other Myanmar migrants in Thailand, were never identified.
Grinning widely, Tran Quang Thieu brandishes the day's haul: 10 kilos of rats caught in rice paddies near Hanoi. A menace to Vietnam's rice crop, the vermin are regularly trapped -- and sometimes eaten.
Year after year, the opposition coalition made up of PAS, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and DAP has exposed its inability to come across as a truly united front within the fabric of cooperation touted by the three political allies.
As baker Lin Hsiao-an sits hoping for more customers to save her beloved but shrinking business she rails against Taiwan's leaders for the slowing economy that has turned many angry voters against the government ahead of presidential elections.