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Asia's old communities vanishing amid rapid growth

  • decrepit: Authorities often say that clearing of old city quarters is justified because living conditions among the often decrepit structures are unsanitary.
  • clearance: City authorities said the clearance was necessary because earthquakes could topple the old houses.
  • permanence: Scholars note that a basic Buddhist tenet views the world as a place of constant change, and thus the faithful tend to downgrade the notion of permanence.
  • renovate: Many Buddhists also believe donating to build a new pagoda or shrine, rather than renovating old ones, will earn greater merit for the giver.
  • giver: Many Buddhists also believe donating to build a new pagoda or shrine, rather than renovating old ones, will earn greater merit for the giver.

Jihadist offensive forces Christian exodus

  • writ: The onslaught saw the Sunni extremist Islamic State extend its writ over northern Iraq and move within striking distance of autonomous Kurdistan, in one of the most dramatic developments of the two month-old conflict.
  • archbishop: Qaraqosh, Tal Kayf, Bartella and Karamlesh have been emptied of their original population and are now under the control of the militants," Joseph Thomas, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniyah, told AFP.
  • convoy: I heard some gunshots last night and, when I looked outside, I saw a military convoy from the Islamic State... shouting' Allahu Akbar ' ( God is greatest).
  • emigrate: Pope Francis urged the international community to protect Iraq's Christians, who have emigrated en masse over the past decade as a result of successive waves of violence.
  • denomination: Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako, who heads Iraq's largest Christian denomination, said the overnight offensive had displaced 100,000 Christians.

Iraq's top cleric calls for deal on PM by Tuesday

  • grisly: The rights group based its findings on satellite imagery and grisly photos released by the militants, corroborating earlier accounts of the alleged massacre and saying the actual toll could be far higher.
  • corroborate: The rights group based its findings on satellite imagery and grisly photos released by the militants, corroborating earlier accounts of the alleged massacre and saying the actual toll could be far higher.
  • brief: He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.
  • melt: The news from Tikrit and Beiji suggested that Iraq's military was starting to regain its footing after melting away in the face of a lightning advance by Sunni militants earlier this month, which saw insurgents capture Iraq's second largest city Mosul and carve out a self-styled Islamic state astride the Iraqi-Syrian border.
  • lightning: The news from Tikrit and Beiji suggested that Iraq's military was starting to regain its footing after melting away in the face of a lightning advance by Sunni militants earlier this month, which saw insurgents capture Iraq's second largest city Mosul and carve out a self-styled Islamic state astride the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Jihadi groups around the world

  • reclusive: His successor, an uncharismatic and reclusive Egyptian surgeon called Ayman Zawahiri, is still at large, issuing occasional statements online but criticised by jihadists for being increasingly irrelevant to today's fast-moving events.
  • evaporate: The list below is by no means comprehensive but these are some of the drivers explaining why al-Qaeda's global appeal has yet to evaporate.
  • tenuous: From the Sahara to the southern Philippines there are local, national and regional grievances that have given rise to jihadist organisations, often with tenuous or even non-existent links to al-Qaeda's central leadership..
  • insult: Many recruits to global jihadism are prompted by a sense that their religion has been discriminated against, oppressed or insulted.

Thai Army Targets Hearts and Minds with Stickers, Selfies

  • kiss: A soldier smiles awkwardly as a woman hands him a flower and kisses his cheek.
  • light-hearted: Terrestrial television has been dominated by light-hearted images of a supportive public donating snacks to troops and posing with them for “selfie” photos.
  • striped: Soap operas are filling a void left by now-banned debates on current affairs and the NCPO has its striped logo displayed in the corner of the screen.
  • nameless: It's too rigid and will have to change, ” said a professor at a Bangkok university, who asked to remain nameless as the junta had summoned some academics after they spoke to journalists.
  • subsidy: The first thing it did was to start making long-overdue payments for rice sold to the state in a subsidy scheme that went badly wrong, hoping perhaps to win over hundreds of thousands of farmers, the support base of the ousted government.

The sacred and sensuous in Indian art

  • fresco: Along with the frescoes of Pompeii, Ajanta represents the greatest picture gallery to survive from the ancient world and the most comprehensive depiction of civilised classical life that we have.
  • languish: Here among handsome princes and nobles, dark-skinned princesses languish love-lorn, while heavy-breasted dancing girls and courtesans are shown nude but for their jewels and girdles, draped temptingly amid palace gardens and court buildings.
  • jewel: Here among handsome princes and nobles, dark-skinned princesses languish love-lorn, while heavy-breasted dancing girls and courtesans are shown nude but for their jewels and girdles, draped temptingly amid palace gardens and court buildings.
  • sensual: As the great Indian art historian Vidya Dehejia puts it," the idea that such sensual images might generate irreverent thoughts did not seem to arise; rather the established associations appear to have been with accentuated growth, prosperity and auspiciousness.
  • austere: In the Christian world, this was the middle of Lent, the season of self-discipline and self-deprivation, but here I was in the middle of a celibate monastic community which had voluntarily chosen to live the austere ascetic path in small rock-cut cells, and yet was making a deliberate decision to cover the walls of its religious buildings with images of attractively voluptuous women.

Al-Qaida-linked group ramps up regional violence

  • calamity: For moderates in the Middle East, the renewed assertiveness of the extremists is increasingly taking on the aspect of a regional calamity.
  • aggravate: Now the reverberations of the Syria war are being felt on Arab streets, particularly Iraq and Lebanon, and are aggravating Sunni-Shi ite tensions across the Arab Middle East.
  • conflagration: The al-Qaida-linked group that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has made no secret of its desire to turn Syria's civil war into a regional conflagration that would allow it to take firmer root.
  • audacious: Even as its fighters were busy seizing territory in Syria, it has been dramatically escalating its operations inside Iraq, carrying out mass-casualty attacks and staging a series of audacious prison breaks that freed more than 500 inmates.
  • recapture: This triggered fierce clashes with Iraqi special forces and government-allied Sunni tribes trying to recapture the strategic territory.

Viewpoint: What does Pyongyang want?

  • bilateral: Following the abrupt cancellation last week of planned talks in Seoul between the two Koreas- what would have been the first formal bilateral ministerial negotiations since 2007- it remains unclear what the prospects are for an improvement in ties.
  • belligerent: However, the North's unusually belligerent rhetoric, and its high profile deployment of its military assets in March and April, suggests a more intentionally provocative stance.
  • martial: The visual impact and theatrical presentation of the nation united-in-arms also bolsters Kim Jong-un's political and reputational authority in the eyes of ordinary North Koreans, by directly associating him with the martial and guerrilla traditions of his father, and most notably his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, the nation's founder.
  • secondly: Secondly, deliberately raising the prospect of war on the peninsula may be, in the view of Andrei Lankov, a noted Seoul-based North Korea watcher, a form of extortion.
  • phlegmatic: However, this approach seems to have failed, judging from the confident, self-assured manner in which the new South Korean President Park Geun-hye has managed the current crisis- a phlegmatic approach which mirrors the calm resilience of the populace in the face of the North's repeated provocations.