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Asia

Jackson Mitchell

An elder from a remote village in Nepal visited a Hartford high school last week to meet with students who helped create solar and wind systems that are powering secluded parts of his country.

Further unraveling a project that's been a sign of cooperation, North Korea has ordered all South Koreans to leave a jointly run industrial complex, after South Korea announced it would suspend work there in retaliation for Pyongyang's recent missile launch and nuclear test.

North Korea was also freezing all assets related to the Kaesong Industrial Complex and cutting two communications hotlines between the neighboring countries.

From Seoul, reporter Haeryun Kang tells our Newscast unit:

North Korean state media said Friday that the country has detained a U.S. student from the University of Virginia for "anti-republic activities."

The state-run agency, KCNA, said the student, Otto Frederick Warmbier, entered North Korea as a tourist but "with a goal to wreck the foundation of state unity ... under the manipulation of the U.S. government."

The U.S. Embassy in Seoul said it was aware of the report.

The University of Virginia's website lists an undergraduate with that name at the McIntire School of Commerce, the university's business school.

Security forces are now in control of a university in Pakistan, hours after militants stormed the campus firing on students and teachers. Officials are still tallying the casualties; so far, at least 20 people are reported dead.

The four attackers died in the gun battle that followed the attack, according to local reports. No clear claim of responsibility has been made; an initial claim that attributed the violence to Pakistan's Taliban has been cast into doubt.

NPR's Philip Reeves reports:

Attackers set off explosions inside or near a Starbucks in a busy shopping area in Indonesia's capital city Thursday, killing at least seven people — including five attackers — and injuring more than a dozen others, according to police and officials. In the hours since the assault, people in Jakarta have taken to Twitter to declare, "We Are Not Afraid."

Another sharp fall forced China's stock market to close less than 30 minutes after trading began Thursday, setting up another rough day for investors. In the first half-hour of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones index fell by more than 1.2 percent — and that was after clawing back 90 points of an initial drop.

After trading in China was halted automatically the second time this week, officials said Thursday that they're suspending the "circuit breaker" that shuts down the market if a key index falls by 7 percent.

With North Korea announcing it conducted a nuclear test of a hydrogen bomb, China, India, Russia and other nations are condemning the move. The U.S. says it has yet to verify the claim, but it also reiterated its stance that North Korea can't be allowed to become a nuclear state.

North Korea announced on state television that it tested its first hydrogen bomb. The announcement followed a magnitude 5.1 earthquake that shook near the rogue nation's nuclear test site, Punggye-ri, at 10 a.m. local time.

The hydrogen bomb test was "an act of self defense" against foreign threats, the announcement from the North said. "We've joined the rank of nations with nuclear weapons. We won't use the nuclear weapon as long as there's no invasion of our autonomy."

The South Korean labor leader holed up in a Buddhist temple to avoid arrest has turned himself in on charges of organizing illegal rallies, ending a 24-day standoff with police. Officers had planned to raid Seoul's top temple, Jogyesa, on Wednesday afternoon, but postponed a move to forcefully enter the temple after negotiations with the head of the Buddhist Jogye order.

China's President Xi Jinping has condemned the Islamic State for killing a Chinese man held hostage by the extremist group. But in keeping with China's long-standing policy of not intervening in distant conflicts, he did not specify what action, if any, China might take.

Updated on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 3 a.m. ET.

The USS Lassen has sailed within 12 nautical miles of the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The Pentagon says the guided missile destroyer passed by the Subi Reef on Tuesday morning local time, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports.

The move, which the Obama administration has billed as exercising the right to freely navigate international waters, is being characterized as a challenge to China's claim of control over the area.

The company that makes Legos has landed at the center of a social-media firestorm after Chinese artist Ai Weiwei complained that it refused to supply a bulk order of the toy bricks for his art.

Ai said he wanted to use the bricks for an exhibition on free speech at Australia's National Gallery of Victoria. The museum attempted to place an order but was told by the company that it "cannot approve the use of Legos for political works."

"We've been refused, and the reason is Lego will not support political art, which is very frustrating," Ai said in an interview with NPR.

Editor's Note: In some cities, transportation of the future may resemble the transportation of the past. From Washington, D.C., to Guangzhou, China, cities are looking to streetcars. NPR's Franklyn Cater looks at the struggles to revive them in Washington, while Anthony Kuhn examines the new technology that's up and running in Guangzhou.

New streetcars glide along tracks set into a grassy strip along the Pearl River in southern Guangzhou city. The first tramline covers five miles in the city's up-and-coming Haizhu district.

The U.S. Army / Creative Commons

A new memoir from British Middle East expert Emma Sky provides an insider’s take on the Iraq war. This hour, we talk to Sky about her book called The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro is calling on the Obama administration to release the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, now that Pacific nations have reached an agreement in principle on the pact.

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