Visitors to Japan rarely encounter the usual markers of privation. Housing is not run down. The urban homeless are out of sight, in makeshift tents in public parks or down by river banks.

At the dawn of time Lord Vishnu made gods and demons join in churning the milky oceans to extract an elixir of eternal life.

One of the mysteries of epidemiology is why Asia does not suffer from yellow fever. The disease is endemic in Africa, the continent where it evolved.

Imagine a country the size of India without power. No electric lights, mobile phones, radios crackling with cricket or televisions blaring Bollywood hits.

Since the 1940s, southern California has had a reputation for smog.

America’s bold effort to cut carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants is on hold.

The greatest of all South-East Asia’s waterways and the world’s 12th-longest river, the Mekong, is a natural wonder that ties together the destinies of half a dozen countries.

Until the 1960s, forest-clearing accounted for most anthropogenic carbon emissions.

“WE’VE shown what’s possible when the world stands as one,” declared Barack Obama after UN climate talks in Paris ended with an agreement on December 12th.

“THE test of a first-rate intelligence”, F.