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Year in Pictures: Asia 2013
31 December 2013
Last updated at 00:31
Images of events from the Asian region that made the headlines in 2013.
Thousands of protesters marched in the streets of India’s capital, Delhi, in January as the trial of the men accused of brutally gang raping a 23-year-old medical student who later died began. The case caused outrage across the country. The five men, who pleaded not guilty, were tried in a special fast-track court. Four were eventually found guilty in September and another was charged in a juvenile court. One defendant killed himself in detention.
Park Geun-hye became South Korea's first woman president in February, days after North Korea conducted its third nuclear test. Ms Park, 61, is the daughter of former strongman Park Chung-hee, who ruled for almost two decades. Months into her presidency, she has had to contend with a shutdown of the inter-Korean Kaesong industrial zone, a domestic spy scandal and a purge inside North Korea.
Tensions escalated on the Korean peninsula after Pyongyang's February nuclear test. The move elicited fresh sanctions from the United Nations, a move even backed by Pyongyang's close ally China. Rhetoric out of North Korea increased - with attacks threatened on US, Japanese and South Korean targets - but then subsided somewhat.
In April Bangladesh was hit by disaster, with more than 1,1,00 people killed in the collapse of a multi-storey factory building, Rana Plaza. The incident sparked global outrage, prompting calls for better working conditions in the country's garment industry. In November, the UN said sweeping reforms were needed in the sector.
In May, Malaysia went to the polls. Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition scraped into office - but it was the worst-ever result for the BN. The opposition, headed by Anwar Ibrahim, accused the coalition of electoral fraud and staged protests. Foreign and domestic observers described the election as flawed.
Elections were also held in Pakistan in May which saw the rise of former cricketer Imran Khan's PTI party. He frantically campaigned despite fracturing his spine in a fall at a rally just days before the vote. The election was won convincingly by the Pakistan Muslim League of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Thick haze from Indonesia, blamed on illegal slash-and-burn fires, enveloped neighbour Singapore for days in June. The smog also caused record levels of air pollution in nearby Malaysia. The incident strained diplomatic relations between the three countries, as the Pollutant Standards Index reached levels where prolonged exposure was considered potentially "life-threatening" for vulnerable people.
In August, all eyes were on the trial of Bo Xilai, the former Chinese Communist Party chief in Chongqing. Bo was removed from office in 2012 amid a scandal which saw his wife convicted of a British businessman's murder. He was eventually found guilty of corruption, bribery and abuse of power, and sentenced to life imprisonment after an unexpectedly colourful trial.
Tony Abbott (R) was sworn in as prime minister of Australia in September after his Liberal-National coalition threw Labor out of office. Labor leader and then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (C) called the election after defeating Julia Gillard in a leadership challenge. But the coalition ended up crushing Labor, in a win widely attributed to public irritation at Labor infighting. Both Mr Rudd and Ms Gillard have since left politics.
Problems for Japan's tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant continued in 2013, with a series of contaminated water leaks from damaged pipes and tanks. But the tricky processes of removing fuel rods from the No 4 reactor building began in November. The rods need to be moved to safer storage elsewhere.
Typhoon Haiyan struck central parts of the Philippines in November, causing immense damage and loss of life. Roaring winds and a major tidal surge left buildings flattened and more than 6,000 people confirmed dead - and more remain missing.
Speaking on the second day of the Commonwealth summit in Colombo in November, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa reacted defiantly to the UK's call for an inquiry into alleged human rights abuses in his country during the end of the war against Tamil separatists in 2009. "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," he pronounced.
Protesters returned to the streets of the Thai capital, Bangkok, in December after three years of stability. The protesters were angered by a government-backed amnesty bill that they said would allow ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra to return. The bill was shelved, but the protesters did not go home, forcing PM Yingluck Shinawatra - Thaksin's sister - to call polls for 2 February.
Territorial rows between China and its neighbours continued to rumble in 2013. In November Beijing established an air zone which covered the East China Sea islands at the heart of its dispute with Japan, and demanded aircraft follow certain rules within it. Japan, the US and South Korea say they do not recognise the zone and have flown military planes unannounced through it.
Violence in Afghanistan for the most part continued unabated ahead of the Nato withdrawal in 2014. President Hamid Karzai in November refused to back down on his decision not to sign a key security deal with the US that would allow thousands of US troops to remain in the country after next year.
North Korea ended the year with the execution of Chang Song-thaek, the once-powerful uncle of current leader Kim Jong-un. Mr Chang had been seen as a key figure, and his rapid and brutal fall from grace sparked concern around the region about stability inside North Korea.
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