A Japanese politician on Friday apologized to women forcibly drafted into military brothels during World War II after his comments about them being a military necessity sparked outrage.
Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto issued the apology hours after he was due to meet two former "comfort women", but the elderly South Korean women cancelled over fears of becoming political pawns in a long-running row that has stoked tensions between Tokyo and Seoul.Full Story
Turkey's parliament on Friday passed a controversial law restricting the consumption and advertising of alcohol in the predominantly Muslim country.
The law prohibits alcoholic beverage companies from sponsoring events and restricts the places where such drinks can be consumed. It also bans the sale of alcoholic drinks between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.Full Story
With two cars, foreign holidays and a cook for their apartment, one Beijing family epitomises the new middle class created by China's decades of rapid economic growth -- and its resulting worries.
Li Na, 42, a caterer at the capital's zoo, and her husband Chi Shubo, 48, who works for a state-owned investment company, have seen their fortunes transformed since she arrived in Beijing 20 years ago from Shandong, a coastal province.Full Story
The massive circular structure appears to be an archaeologists dream: a recently discovered antiquity that could reveal secrets of ancient life in the Middle East and is just waiting to be excavated.
It's thousands of years old — a conical, manmade behemoth weighing hundreds of tons, practically begging to be explored.Full Story
The eagerly-awaited English translation of Haruki Murakami's latest novel could hit bookstores next year, a Japanese newspaper has reported.
"Shikisai wo Motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to Kare no Junrei no Toshi (Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage)" was released last month in Japanese, with the publisher ordering a million copies in the first week.Full Story
U.S. writer Lydia Davis, best known for her unconventionally short stories, on Wednesday claimed the prestigious Man Booker International Prize at a London ceremony.
The New York based author beat off competition from the nine other authors who made the shortlist to win the award, which honors "achievement in fiction on the world stage".Full Story
Revered Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, author of the widely praised novel "Things Fall Apart," will be buried in his small hometown on Thursday in a ceremony expected to draw crowds of mourners.
Achebe, who died in the United States in March aged 82, is viewed as an iconic figure in Nigeria and abroad and his death lead to tributes worldwide.Full Story
In France, there's a brewing debate over whether to speak anglais in universite.
The National Assembly on Wednesday was taking up an education reform bill that would allow public universities to hold some courses — like science or economics classes — in English, a plan that has alarmed language purists and the political far-right alike.Full Story
Spain's oldest flamenco festival will visit India in 2014, retracing the origins of the classic Spanish musical form, organizers said Wednesday.
The Cante de las Minas festival plans its first overseas event in March in Jodhpur, in Rajasthan state -- considered the home of the migrant gypsies from whom southern Spain's flamenco culture sprang.Full Story
The first Art Basel fair to be hosted by Hong Kong boasts a prestigious array of international art, highlighting the city's new role as a global arts hub amid an explosion of personal wealth in mainland China.
The four-day annual show is the world's premier art fair and has until now only been held in Switzerland and the United States.Full Story