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CNBC Asia-Pacific Highlights

Morning bathers  by the Hooghly River with the massive outline of Howrah Bridge filling the skyline in Kolkata, India.

It was first reported in 2010 that the pillars of Kolkata's landmark Howrah bridge were being used as spittoons by pedestrians who chewed gutkha – a tobacco product popular with millions in India. The Christian Science Monitor reports.

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Let's hear it for the boys. China's fashion-forward men are snapping up Gucci and Burberry bags, driving a rebound in the luxury market months after a slow down in spending by the world's biggest luxury goods buyers spooked global investors.

China Sunset

While China's gross domestic product (GDP) growth accelerated by a faster-than-expected 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter, analysts are questioning the sustainability of this uptick in economic activity.

Jackie Chan’s evolution toward a more vocal pro-Beijing stance has become more pronounced in both his movies and his politics.

US Withholds Blame for China's 'Undervalued' Yuan

As Beijing eases control over its currency and opens up its financial markets to foreign investors, the yuan is gaining ground as a global currency and is headed for further gains.

Cult of Equity Killed Off by Pension Funds

Developed and emerging market equities were locked in a tight race in 2012, both generating double-digit returns of up to 15 percent, however, this year asset managers expect a clear winner.

Cambodia is among Southeast Asia's most impoverished nations where, according to the United Nations, the majority of the population gets by on just $1 a day. But that hasn't stopped them from buying mobile phones like mad. The Global Post reports.

It's now illegal (again) for women to ride bicycles in North Korea. The country's leader Kim Jung Un reinstated his father's absurd law, but only after he lifted the ban last year. The GlobalPost reports.

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Adding to a rising chorus of analysts warning of a potential bond market crash in 2013 is David Roche, president of Independent Strategy, who points to the most "dangerous" asset to own.

Shanghai street scene

China's growth is expected to have re-accelerated to near 8 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, but there are some troubling inconsistencies in the economy, according to the China Beige Book released on Wednesday.

There's an unexpected problem in New Delhi's high-end marriage market - there are too few "quality" men, as a growing pool of young women with unprecedented levels of education are seeking and making matches with educated men from higher socioeconomic groups. The New York Times reports.

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India's passion for gold is putting such a strain on state finances that the government may slap higher import taxes on the precious metal, but demand buoyed by heady inflation and meager savings will blunt the impact of any rise in duties.

A Chinese government crackdown on lavish spending by officials has pushed expensive liquor and high-end watches out of favor in the luxury gift-giving market, a survey from the Hurun Report, known for its annual China Rich List, showed on Tuesday.

Often called the "lucky country" because of its rich natural resources, Australia's growth has long been funded by the commodities boom but now, economists say, there are a few other bright spots that could pick up where mining left off.

Eager to tap China’s movie market, Hollywood studios try to win censors’ approval — taking on Chinese partners, tweaking story lines and, when filming in China, inviting bureaucrats to the set. The New York Times reports.

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Forget a weakening economy and the prospect of further monetary easing. Here's what will keep the Aussie dollar robust in the months ahead - a rebound in commodity prices and even lower interest rates among the world's big economies.

Toyota Motor's logo is seen on a tire wheel of an Avensis sedan.

Toyota has dethroned General Motors as the world's top-selling automaker. The Japanese company sold 9.7 million cars and trucks worldwide in 2012, although it's still counting. GM sold 9.29 million. Both companies saw higher sales.

The number of international schools registered in mainland China has skyrocketed in the past 12 years as they tap into a growing market of upwardly-mobile Chinese willing to pay as much as $41,700 a year for a Western-style education and a ticket to college overseas for their children.

Third time lucky for some, could it be a case of seventh time lucky for Singapore,which has just unveiled its latest and most stringent measures to cool a sizzling property market, which has so far defied a slew of steps unveiled since 2009.

South Korea's plan to stimulate its weak economy via government spending and policy measures depends on how China's economy performs this year, the finance minister of Asia's fourth largest economy said.

Investors sifting through analysts' new year predictions for stock market movements may want to press "delete" and look instead for sound companies, as history shows equity index forecasts are usually wrong.

China's one-child policy has produced less trusting, less trustworthy and less competitive children compared to the generation born before the policy was introduced, a study has found.

The Asia-Pacific region is home to the world's freest economies, according to an index published on Thursday as Western economies grapple with too much government involvement.

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As gaming revenue in Singapore's once super-hot casino industry, which is the second biggest in Asia, slows, what does this mean for island-nation's slowing economy?

As if China and Japan didn't have enough to fight about, the two nations are now squabbling about which nation holds the record for the world's oldest person. The Global Post reports.

Read this if you're traveling to Taiwan. But if you just got back, it's too late. Baishawan restaurant, a famous destination in Taitung County, Taiwan, intentionally fed leftovers to more than 10,000 tourists, according to the China Daily.

Sony

Sony has put a one of its main buildings in central Tokyo up for sale in a deal that could raise as much as 100 billion yen ($1.14 billion) as the company seeks to sell non-core assets to generate cash to improve its balance sheet, people with direct knowledge of the deal said.

The brutal rape and ensuing death of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi — now known as Damini ("lightning" in Hindi) — along with concurrent massive civil society mobilization in India around these events, has ignited a flurry of speculation and analysis within Western media about why India is such a dangerous place for women. The Global Post reports.

South Korean men spent a whopping $495.4 million on skincare products in 2011, as makeup and cosmetics become more culturally acceptable. The Global Post reports.

Members of a new class of affluent Asian-Americans, many of whom have benefited from booms in finance and technology, are making their mark on philanthropy in the United States. The New York Times reports.

Forget that millions of North Korean children are starving — it's Kim Jong Un's birthday. Candy for everyone! The Global Post reports.