Elise Hu

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The shops here in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, hum along without air conditioning, and there are as many tuk-tuks as taxis to take you where you want to go. The rather sleepy place is about to get shaken awake as throngs of global leaders, and their traveling entourages and press, descend on the small nation, starting Monday.

Laos is hosting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN summit, and the country will mark President Barack Obama's final stop in Asia as president.

Samsung Electronics is recalling its brand-new smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7, after dozens of users reported the devices exploded or caught fire.

Samsung traced the problem to a flaw in the phone's lithium battery, and issued a voluntary global recall.

Samsung is offering to replace all 1 million devices already in the hands of consumers in 10 countries, and it's recalling the shipments of the Galaxy Note 7 that have already gone out.

Japan's emperor is hinting he wants to leave the Chrysanthemum Throne. 82-year-old Emperor Akihito gave a rare televised address Monday — only his second in history — in which he reflected on his advancing age, the tough daily schedule of his ceremonial post and the toll it was taking on his health.

Seoul is the home of Korean pop music, or K-pop, which is quickly becoming one of Korea's biggest exports. It's a multibillion dollar industry that, for the last decade, has been dominated by girl groups.

The U.S. and China are the two largest economies in the world — and interdependent in a host of ways. But as leaders from both countries start annual high-level talks in Beijing, disagreements over how China does business are creating some trust issues in the relationship.

"You might want to think of the US China relationship as kind of like an arranged marriage," says Arthur Kroeber, a Beijing-based economist and author of China's Economy: What You Need to Know.

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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