Activists of The All-India Democratic Women's Association protest Dec. 14 in Hyderabad, India, in front of the Reserve Bank of India, the nation's central banker, against microfinance institutions. Since then, the Andhra Pradesh state assembly passed a law that makes it so difficult to make loans that microfinance companies say they won't be able to do business. Noah Sheelam/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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The Okryu-Gwan restaurant in Dubai is a rare import from North Korea. The restaurants serve as an important source of hard currency for Pyongyang. Other branches are in China, Nepal and Thailand. Peter Kenyon/NPR hide caption

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Swati embroidery is being revived "one stitch at a time" in the vocational institution established in a wing of Ahmed Zeb's home in Saidu Sharif, the old capital of Swat. The princess has taught hundreds of women "to stand up, avoid charity, [and] earn with dignity." Julie McCarthy/NPR hide caption

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Students take China's national college entrance exam, the gaokao, last year in Hami, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Educational experts say the all-important test is at the heart of the Chinese educational system's emphasis on rote learning and memorization. Pulati/ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images hide caption

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Lobbyist Niira Radia was questioned by the government in New Delhi in November. India's income tax department had tapped her phone, looking for evidence of alleged tax evasion and money laundering. She denies wrongdoing. AP hide caption

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Visitors to Bangkok’s Wat Phai Ngern Buddhist temple touch stone statues of infants during a Nov. 27 ceremony for 2,002 fetuses found in the temple's mortuary. The fetuses were found Nov. 16 and believed to be from illegal abortion clinics. Wang Zemin for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Wang Zemin for NPR

Imported from China, the abacus has been used in Japan for hundreds of years. Abacus literacy was a prerequisite for many white-collar jobs as late as 1980, until the arrival of pocket calculators. Now, the ancient tool is staging a comeback. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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The South Korean Army's K-9 self-propelled guns fire live rounds on the Seungjin Fire Training Field in mountainous Pocheon, South Korea, 20 miles from the heavily fortified border between North and South Korea, on Thursday. South Korean tanks fired artillery and fighter jets zoomed by to drop bombs in the military's largest air-and-ground firing drills of the year, a show of force one month after a deadly North Korean artillery attack. Park Ji-ho/Yonhap/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Park Ji-ho/Yonhap/AP