2008 news: The TOP 5 overlooked,
the TOP 5 overrated
Last updated 1-8-09 at 1:56 p.m.
By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
The top 5 overlooked
As editor of the Northwest Asian Weekly, one of the hardest aspects
of my job is deciding which stories are important to print and
which stories are better left in the bin. Unfortunately, the criteria
for picking stories is not always straightforward and easy.
I’ve tried to maintain a balance in picking stories that
you, our varied readers from many different backgrounds, would
want to read and the stories I thought you’d benefit from
To close out 2008, here my top stories of
last year that deserve a second look:
Taiwan gets a present from the United Statesnukes
What: On March 25, Air Force
Secretary Michael Wynne told
reporters “four non-nuclear
nose cone assemblies and their associated electrical components” had
been mistakenly shipped to
Taiwan, instead of the helicopter batteries Taipei had ordered.
Why this is important: The
United States stands in the middle of contentious China and Taiwan.
Though the United States publicly accepts that Taiwan and China
are part of the same territory, it continues to supply arms to
Taiwan in order for it to protect itself from any attempt at forcible
reunification by China.
Shipping the nuke parts that
should have been batteries to Taiwan could have potentially been
like arming a child with a gun to protect himself from a school
To top it all off, this embarrassing
incident for the United States was not just a one-time mistake.
It was actually a part of a string of incidents.
Image by NWAW staff
The war neither heard nor seen
What: In 2008, a survey reported
that an estimated 45,000 Congolese
were dying every month from war, disease, and malnutrition. A
total of 5.4 million victims died because of the Second Congo
Why this is important: Though
the war formally ended in 2003, instability and violence continue
to this day. The fatalities have surpassed any other modern war
since World War II. Though NWAW primarily covers news events from
Asian communities, I feel this deserves attention as it has been
underreported in the media.
Rape victims who have been successfully reintegrated into their
communities assemble in a “peace hut” near Walungu,
South Kivu in Democratic Republic of Congo on Sept. 13, 2006.
Photo by Leah Werchick/USAID
A government shunned aid during natural disaster
What: Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar (Burma) on May 2, killing
more than an estimated 146,000 people (double that of the Sichuan
Why this is important: Cyclone
Nargis is the worst natural
disaster in Burma’s recorded
history. Why haven’t we heard more about this? The reason
Firstly, the cyclone occurred
a scant 10 days before the
Sichuan earthquake, which ended
up overshadowing Cyclone Nargis
in the news. Secondly, the Burmese government’s official
death toll is grossly underreported to minimize political fallout.
Relief efforts were also disrupted due to political reasons
as the Burmese government initially resisted aid.
This is one of many homes that were destroyed by Cyclone Nargis
in the city of Yangon, Burma on May 5.
Photo provided by the U.S. Department of State
Christians persecuted in India
What: Christians, particularly those in seven Indian states — Madhya
Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Orissa, Karnataka,
and Andhra Pradesh — are victims of Hindu extremism.
Why this is important: Many have
theorized that anti-Christian
violent acts in India may have led to the Mumbai attacks in November.
Christian persecution is thought to be the result of the East’s
perception that Christianity is a Western religion even though
it has existed longer in the Middle East, Egypt, and India than
it has in Europe.
Women in Orissa, an Indian state, protest anti-Christian riots.
Photo provided by www.getreligion.org
Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, Robert L. Barr — who?
What: Third party and Independent
candidates are largely ignored in U.S. elections
Why this is important: The
existence of Third Party and
Independent candidates for the U.S. presidency speaks for our democracy — that the United States
is a free country in which leaders can choose any platform they
wish. Unfortunately, due to the way our political system works
and our nation’s history, it’s nearly impossible for
a third party to gain much
But does that mean the media
should completely ignore them and their stances?
The top 5 overrated
In 2008, we were inundated with too much news that shouldn’t
have been news. Yes, I know NWAW reported on most of these events — multiple
times, too. Yes, I realize the irony in reporting them again, right
now. Therefore, I won’t waste too many words on them.
1. Beijing scandals — gymnasts’ ages and little girls
2. North Korean Leader Jong-il Kim has a stroke — or does
3. Impending economic apocalypse
4. High gas prices
5. Sarah Palin ... Sarah Palin’s wardrobe ... Sarah Palin’s
family ... Sarah Palin’s Joe-the-Plumber. (end)
Time Magazine, Reuters, and BBCNews contributed to this report.
Stacy Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Miss Chinatown tries to break into Hong Kong
2. Husband and wife honored for philanthropy
3. New Asian American law school dean at UW?
4. Lawyer with local ties wins Trailblazers Award
Friday, Jan. 16 at 6-8:30 p.m.
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