Christmas tree feast for animals at Berlin Zoo | AFP

Like every year, the caretakers of one of Berlin’s zoos give unsold Christmas trees to Asian elephants, dromedaries and porcupines: a feast for some and an unexpected distraction for the others.

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Still hand-crafted, French Petitcollin dolls standing the test of time | AFP

They have been on the market since 1912 and, despite the onset of time and competition from Asian manufacturers, Petitcollin hand-crafted dolls are still going strong. Around 15,000 dolls are shipped annually from the factory in Etain, in the Meuse region, along with a further 20,000 collectors editions which are made by subcontractors. About 30% of the production is exported, the rest sold in toy stores in France, the shop adjoining the cultural centre and by mail order. Petitcollin remains the only manufacturer of hand-crafted dolls in France.

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Single use plastics | AFP Animé

Videographic on single-use plastic pollution. Britain has agreed to take back 42 containers of plastic waste illegally exported to Malaysia, officials said Monday, as several Asian nations push back against becoming the world’s trash dump.VIDEOGRAPHICS

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Pope Francis meets with Japan’s Abe during Tokyo visit | AFP

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with Pope Francis in his official residence during the penultimate day of the pontiff’s Asian tour. IMAGES

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High spirits at Singapore’s school for gin | AFP

In this gin school in Singapore, the smell of pine, citrus and flowers fills the air as students crush juniper berries, blending them with their own choice of ingredients to make custom gin with an Asian twist.

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Pope Francis meets Thai Prime Minister in Bangkok | AFP

Pope Francis meets Thailand’s prime minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha. The pontiff arrived in the country on Wednesday, the first leg of an Asian visit which will also take in Japan. +IMAGES CONTAIN THAI COMMENTARY FROM HOST BROADCASTER+ IMAGES

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Pope Francis lands in Thailand | AFP

Pope Francis arrives in Thailand, the first leg of an Asian tour that will also take in Japan and carry a message of interreligious dialogue and nuclear disarmament. +COMPLETES VIDI1MF01O_EN+

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Pope lands in Thailand, start of two-country Asian tour | AFP

Pope Francis arrives in Thailand, the first leg of an Asian tour that will sweep in Japan and carry a message of interreligious dialogue and nuclear disarmament. IMAGES

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Romania, Hungary recruit in Asia to fill labour shortage | AFP

Sporting yellow helmets, some 30 men are busy on a construction site south of Bucharest, exchanging a few words in Vietnamese. Faced with a growing labour shortage, which threatens their economies, Romania and Hungary alike are courting Asian workers, belying Hungarian nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s anti-immigration rhetoric.

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Flying taxi on show in Singapore ahead of test launch | AFP

German firm Volocopter has brought its drone-like flying taxi to Singapore this week as it eyes a push into the Asian market. The 18 propeller vehicle flew for about two minutes and 30 seconds during a test flight on Tuesday.

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Fit Tiger Woods ready to go in Japan | AFP

Tiger Woods says his fitness is ahead of schedule after arthroscopic knee surgery. Woods is in Japan this week to play in the US PGA Tour’s inaugural Zozo Championship, a $9.75 million event that is the second tournament of an almost $30 million Asian swing.

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French ‘Spiderman’scales HK skyscraper, unfurls ‘peace’ banner | AFP

French ‘Spiderman’ Alain Robert begins scaling a skyscraper in Hong Kong amid rising political tensions and unfurls a banner showing a handshake alongside emblems of the city and China. The key Asian financial hub has been rocked by pro-democracy demonstrations for more than 10 weeks. IMAGES

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Awkwafina: Inclusiveness ‘can’t be a trend’

At the New York premiere of comedy drama “The Farewell,” actors Awkwafina and Tzi Ma and director Lulu Wang talk about Asian representation on the big screen. (July 9)

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Adorable baby elephant takes her first steps at Belgium zoo | AFP

Taking her first steps: An adorable baby Asian elephant is seen wobbling as she tries to stand just moments after being born. The new arrival is the fourth elephant to be born at the Pairi Daiza zoo in Belgium in six years. Elephant manager Rob Conachie says the zoo feels “very lucky”.

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Single use plastics | AFP Animé

Videographic on single-use plastic pollution. Tonnes of garbage sent to the Philippines years ago was shipped back to Canada on Friday after a festering diplomatic row, as Asian nations increasingly reject serving as dumping grounds for international trash.VIDEOGRAPHICS

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Trying to blend in? Elephant casually strolls through city in China

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A young, wild male Asian elephant who became separated from his herd caused havoc by taking a detour through the city in southwestern China over the weekend. Local authorities managed to capture the peculiar scene using a drone.

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Xi Jinping arrives at Quirinal Palace in Rome

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives at the Quirinal Palace in Rome meeting his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella. It kicks off a whistlestop European tour amid growing Western unease over Italy joining the ever-expanding Asian giant’s new Silk Road project. IMAGES of Xi Jinping arriving at the Quirinal Palace.