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Asia (/ˈʒə/ (listen), also UK: /ˈʃə/) is a continent which is part of Eurasia. It is the largest continent in the world by both land area and population and shares the landmass of Afro-Eurasia with Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Its 4.7 billion people constitute roughly 60% of the world's population, having more people than all other continents combined.

In general terms, Asia is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the north by the Arctic Ocean. The border of Asia with Europe is a historical and cultural construct, as there is no clear physical and geographical separation between them. It is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East–West cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. A commonly accepted division places Asia to the east of the Suez Canal separating it from Africa; and to the east of the Turkish Straits, the Ural Mountains and Ural River, and to the south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian and Black seas, separating it from Europe.

China and India alternated in being the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1,800 CE. China was a major economic power and attracted many to the east, and for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, attracting European commerce, exploration and colonialism. The accidental discovery of a trans-Atlantic route from Europe to America by Columbus while in search for a route to India demonstrates this deep fascination. The Silk Road became the main east–west trading route in the Asian hinterlands while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route. Asia has exhibited economic dynamism (particularly East Asia) as well as robust population growth during the 20th century, but overall population growth has since fallen. Asia was the birthplace of most of the world's mainstream religions including Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, as well as many other religions. (Full article...)

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Temples and pagodas in Bagan

Bagan (Burmese: ပုဂံ; MLCTS: pu.gam, IPA: [bəɡàɰ̃]; formerly Pagan) is an ancient city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Mandalay Region of Myanmar. From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Bagan Kingdom, the first kingdom that unified the regions that would later constitute Myanmar. During the kingdom's height between the 11th and 13th centuries, more than 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas survive.

The Bagan Archaeological Zone is a main attraction for the country's nascent tourism industry. (Full article...)
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Sri Lanka (UK: /sri ˈlæŋkə, ʃr -/, US: /- ˈlɑːŋkə/ (listen); Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ලංකා, romanized: Śrī Laṅkā (IPA: [ʃriː laŋkaː]); Tamil: இலங்கை, romanized: Ilaṅkai (IPA: [ilaŋɡaj])), formerly known as Ceylon and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia. It lies in the Indian Ocean, southwest of the Bay of Bengal, and southeast of the Arabian Sea; it is separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. Sri Lanka shares a maritime border with India and Maldives. Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is its legislative capital, and Colombo is its largest city and financial centre.

Sri Lanka has a population of around 22 million (2020) and is a multinational state, home to diverse cultures, languages, and ethnicities. The Sinhalese are the majority of the nation's population. The Tamils, who are a large minority group, have also played an influential role in the island's history. Other long established groups include the Moors, the Burghers, the Malays, the Chinese, and the indigenous Vedda. (Full article...)

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Soegijapranata Nasional 8 Nov 1960 p1.jpg
Soegijapranata in 1960

Albertus Soegijapranata, SJ (Indonesian: [alˈbərtʊs suˈɡijapraˈnata]; Perfected Spelling: Albertus Sugiyapranata; 25 November 1896 – 22 July 1963), better known by his birth name Soegija, was a Jesuit priest who became the Apostolic Vicar of Semarang and later its archbishop. He was the first native Indonesian bishop and known for his pro-nationalistic stance, often expressed as "100% Catholic 100% Indonesian".

Soegija was born in Surakarta, Dutch East Indies, to a Muslim courtier and his wife. The family moved to nearby Yogyakarta when Soegija was still young; there he began his education. Known as a bright child, around 1909 he was asked by Father Frans van Lith to enter Xaverius College, a Jesuit school in Muntilan, where Soegija slowly became interested in Catholicism. He was baptised on 24 December 1910. After graduating from Xaverius in 1915 and spending a year as a teacher there, Soegija spent two years at the on-site seminary before going to the Netherlands in 1919. He began his two-year novitiate with the Society of Jesus in September 1920 in Grave, and finished his juniorate there in 1923. After three years studying philosophy at Berchmann College in Oudenbosch, he was sent back to Muntilan as a teacher for a further two years. In 1928, he returned to the Netherlands to study theology at Maastricht, where he was ordained by Bishop of Roermond Laurentius Schrijnen on 15 August 1931; Soegija then added the word "pranata" to the back of his name. He was then sent back to the Indies to preach and became a parochial vicar at the parish in Kidul Loji, Yogyakarta, and in 1934 he was given his own parish in Bintaran. There he focused on creating a sense of Catholicism within the native community, emphasising the need for strong bonds between Catholic families. Soegijapranata was consecrated as the vicar apostolic of the newly established Apostolic Vicariate of Semarang in 1940. (Full article...)

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The following are images from various Asia-related articles on Wikipedia.

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The Burj Khalifa (/ˈbɜːr kəˈlfə/; Arabic: برج خليفة, Arabic pronunciation: [bʊrd͡ʒ xaˈliːfa], Khalifa Tower), known as the Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration in 2010, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is known for being the world's tallest building. With a total height of 829.8 m (2,722 ft, or just over half a mile) and a roof height (excluding antenna, but including a 242.6 m spire) of 828 m (2,717 ft), the Burj Khalifa has been the tallest structure and building in the world since its topping out in 2009, supplanting Taipei 101, the previous holder of that status. (Full article...)

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Updated: 1:33, 20 March 2022

In the news

7 February 2023 – Crime in Japan
Two of four Japanese gang leaders based in the Philippines are deported on suspicion of ordering around 2,300 robberies and phone fraud activities with a total value of ¥3.5 billion (US$26.4 million) in Japan. (AFP via The Manila Times)
7 February 2023 – Nduga hostage crisis
The Free Papua Movement led by Egianus Kogoya burn and take 15 passengers of Susi Air plane on Paro Airport, Nduga Regency in Highland Papua, Indonesia. (SCNOW)
7 February 2023 – 2023 Solomon Islands protests
Police use tear gas to disperse protesters after the governor of Malaita province, Daniel Suidani, is removed in a no-confidence vote. Suidani was one of the strongest critics of the government's approach to China. (The Guardian)
6 February 2023 – Israeli–Palestinian conflict
Five Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades members are killed, three others are injured, and eight members are arrested during a raid by Israeli soldiers and subsequent gunbattle at a refugee camp near Jericho, in the West Bank. (BBC News)
6 February 2023 – 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquake
At least 5,434 people are killed in Turkey and more than 1,832 others are killed in Syria as a magnitude 7.8 earthquake strikes Gaziantep Province, Turkey. (AFP via RFI)(Reuters)
A second earthquake of magnitude 7.5 occurs in Kahramanmaraş, Turkey, nine hours after the first earthquake. (Bloomberg)

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150pxThe city of Beirut, Lebanon, in the last third of the 19th century.
Credit: Félix Bonfils (1831–1885)

This image by the firm of Maison Bonfils depicts the city of Beirut, Lebanon, sometime in the last third of the 19th century. Maison Bonfils was the extraordinarily prolific venture of the French photographer Félix Bonfils (1831–85), his wife Marie-Lydie Cabanis Bonfils (1837–1918), and their son, Adrien Bonfils (1861–1928). The Bonfils moved to Beirut in 1867 and, over the next five decades, their firm produced one of the world's most important bodies of photographic work about the Middle East. Maison Bonfils was known for landscape photographs, panoramas, biblical scenes, and posed “ethnographic” portraits.



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