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Top Asian News 3:57 a.m. GMT

September 26, 2022 GMT

US carrier, S. Korea ships launch drills amid North’s threat

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A U.S. aircraft carrier and its battle group launched drills with South Korean warships off the Korean Peninsula’s east coast on Monday in their first such training in five years, a day after North Korea test-fired a short-range ballistic missile in a possible response to the exercise. North Korea could conduct more tests in coming days as it views U.S.-South Korean military exercises as practice for an invasion and often reacts with displays of weapons designed to attack its rivals. The four days of drills are aimed at demonstrating the allies’ “powerful resolve to respond to North Korean provocations” and improving their ability to perform joint naval operations, the South Korean navy said in a statement.

Powerful typhoon leaves 5 rescuers dead in north Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Typhoon Noru blew out of the northern Philippines on Monday, leaving five rescuers dead, causing floods and power outages and forcing officials to suspend classes and government work in the capital and outlying provinces. The most powerful typhoon to hit the country this year slammed into the coast in Burdeos town in Quezon province before nightfall on Sunday then weakened as it barreled overnight across the main Luzon region, where thousands of people were moved to emergency shelters, some forcibly, officials said. Gov. Daniel Fernando of Bulacan province, north of Manila, said five rescuers, who were using a boat to help residents trapped in floodwaters, were hit by a collapsed wall then apparently drowned in the rampaging waters.

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Japanese leader’s trip to China in ’72 was diplomatic gamble

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese leader who normalized relations with China 50 years ago feared for his life when he flew to Beijing for the high-stakes negotiations at the height of the Cold War, according to his daughter, a former Japanese foreign minister. Kakuei Tanaka’s mission to normalize relations with China just two months after taking office was a huge gamble, his daughter, Makiko Tanaka, said in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of the 50th anniversary Thursday of the historic communique that Tanaka signed with his counterpart, Zhou Enlai. The then-prime minister told his daughter before his departure that he would resign if his mission failed, recalled Makiko Tanaka, who served as foreign minister and in other key posts from 1993 to 2012.

Cardinal Zen, 5 others stand trial in Hong Kong over fund

HONG KONG (AP) — A 90-year-old Catholic cardinal and five others stood trial in Hong Kong on Monday for allegedly failing to register a now-defunct fund set up to assist people arrested in the mass anti-government protests in the city three years ago. Cardinal Joseph Zen, who is a retired bishop of Hong Kong, was first arrested in May together with others including singer Denise Ho and barrister Margaret Ng on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces to endanger China’s national security. While they have not yet been charged with national security-related charges, Zen and five others have since been charged for failing to properly register the now-defunct 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund.

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New Zealand marks queen’s death with holiday, church service

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand on Monday marked the death of Queen Elizabeth II with a public holiday, a moment of silence and an official memorial service. The South Pacific nation is among 14 outside of the United Kingdom that continue to recognize the British monarch as their symbolic head of state. New Zealand had decided to wait until after last week’s funeral in Britain to hold its own commemoration. Hundreds of mourners sat on parliament’s grassy grounds on a sunny afternoon to watch large screens that showed a livestream of the state memorial service, which took place nearby at the Wellington Cathedral of St.

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Ceremony and controversy await Harris during visit to Asia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attending funerals on behalf of the United States is normally a straightforward assignment for a vice president, but Kamala Harris will confront controversy at nearly every turn as she visits Asia for the memorial honoring former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. American allies are seeking clarity after mixed messages over whether President Joe Biden would send troops to defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion, a potential conflict that could swiftly engulf the rest of the region. There is the potential for more provocations from North Korea, which test-fired a missile shortly before Harris’ departure Sunday from Washington.

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Boat capsize in Bangladesh kills at least 24 Hindu pilgrims

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A boat carrying about 100 Hindu pilgrims capsized Sunday in a river in northern Bangladesh, leaving at least 24 people dead, police said. The overcrowded boat overturned in the afternoon while returning from a Hindu temple on the other side of the River Karatoa at Boda area in Panchagarh district, said local police chief S.M. Sirajul Huda. Divers and residents recovered at least 24 bodies by Sunday evening, he said, adding that at least 12 women and eight children were among the dead. He said many of the passengers swam ashore. It was not immediately clear how many remained missing, but Huda said the divers continued their search.

Retired senior army officer shot dead by Myanmar guerrrilla

BANGKOK (AP) — A retired high-ranking officer in Myanmar’s military was shot dead at his home in the country’s biggest city, Yangon, in the latest such killing attributed to militants opposed to army rule. Ohn Thwin is believed to be the highest-ranking active or retired military officer assassinated since February last year, when the army seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, triggering widespread public opposition. An urban guerrilla group called Inya Urban Force claimed responsibility for the attack on Ohn Thwin, 72, who also had served as Myanmar’s ambassador to Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and South Africa.

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World Bank pledges $2 billion for flood-ravaged Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The World Bank said it will provide about $2 billion in aid to Pakistan, ravaged by floods that have killed more than 1,600 people this year, the largest pledge of assistance so far. Unprecedented monsoon rains and flooding this year — which many experts attribute to climate change — have also injured some 13,000 people across the country since mid-June. The floods have displaced millions and destroyed crops, half a million homes and thousands of kilometers (miles) of roads. The World Bank’s vice president for South Asia, Martin Raiser, announced the pledge in an overnight statement after concluding his first official visit to the country Saturday.

Pakistan police arrest journalist they say aided son’s crime

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani police arrested a veteran journalist for his alleged involvement in his son’s beating death of his new wife at their suburban home, police said Sunday. Police officer Mohammad Faizan said Ayaz Amir, a well-known columnist and TV political analyst in Pakistan, appeared in court in the capital of Islamabad on Sunday accused of aiding his son. Police were to interrogate him for his role in the death of Sara Inam, 37, who married Amir’s son Shahnawaz four months ago. Inam was allegedly killed Friday by Shahnawaz at the couple’s home after a row over a family issue.