• Kerry, Afghan candidate discuss vote impasse

    Yesterday

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ratcheted up the pressure on Afghanistan's rival presidential contenders to reach a compromise on a national unity government, reminding them that Washington and the international community will withdraw financial support if they fail to strike a deal, a campaign official said Thursday. Kerry, who brokered an agreement last month committing the two Afghan candidates to accept the results of an internationally monitored recount, has taken a leading role in trying to resolve the standoff over the drawn-out election between Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. Ballots were first cast in April and again in a June runoff, but no winner has been decided amid contentio

  • India, China vow cooperation as troops face off

    Yesterday

    NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian and Chinese troops faced off at their countries' unmarked border in the Himalayas on Thursday as their leaders were promising to boost economic cooperation and substantially increase Chinese investment in India's infrastructure at a rare meeting. The long-festering border dispute is a stark reminder of the complicated relationship between the Asian giants as they try to increase trade and investment. After their talks, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stood beside Chinese President Xi Jinping at a news conference and said he raised India's concerns about repeated incidents at the border. Both leaders said peace and stability along the border were necessary for economic growth and development in th

  • Image of Asia: Lava flows from Indonesian volcano

    Yesterday

    In this photo by Idhad Zakaria, lava erupts from Indonesia's Mount Slamet volcano as seen from Pandansari village in Central Java province. Ash has fallen on some villages and activity is banned within 4 kilometers of the peak. Authorities have made preparations to move nearly 24,000 residents from seven villages within 6 kilometers of the crater, if Slamet becomes more dangerous and its alert level is raised again. Indonesia has about 130 active volcanos and Java is its most densely populated island, home to more than half of the country's 240 million people.

  • 43 accused of running cybersex ring in Philippines

    Yesterday

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine authorities arrested 43 suspected members of a syndicate that runs a lucrative online cybersex operation catering to clients worldwide, officials said Thursday. National Bureau of Investigation agents arrested the 43 men and women and seized 115 computer sets late Wednesday at three locations fronting as Internet cafes in Dinalupihan town in Bataan province west of Manila, the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission said. The syndicate operated a website at which clients could ask women to perform lewd acts for a fee, the commission said.

  • F1 enters radio silence era in Singapore

    Yesterday

    SINGAPORE (AP) — As the Formula One season exits Europe and heads to Asia for this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix, teams and drivers are preparing for a new challenge, with the sport now banning a large amount of radio messages during races. The change comes in response to fan disquiet about the increasingly remote-control nature of the sport. Teams, with reams of available data during races, have been determining race strategy and the appropriate car settings to carry it out, with drivers simply pressing the buttons on the steering wheel to adjust their use of fuel, tires or brakes accordingly. In order to put such things back in the hands of the drivers, a whole range of radio instructions have been banned from this weeke

  • Vietnam jails 4 policemen in death of suspect

    Yesterday

    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — A Vietnamese court sentenced four policemen on Thursday to up to 17 years in prison for beating a suspect to death, in an unusually harsh punishment for police brutality. The online newspaper VnExpress said the Hanoi People's Court convicted Hoang Ngoc Tuyen, the deputy police chief of Kim No village outside Hanoi, of murder and sentenced him to 17 years in prison. Three other police in the village were sentenced to eight to 16 years on the same charge in the two-day trial. The four were accused of beating to death a man in August 2012. The court said the man was detained at the police station on suspicion of assaulting a neighbor, and his hands and feet were handcuffed to a chair while he was repeated

  • Int'l monitors endorse Fiji election as credible

    Yesterday

    SUVA, Fiji (AP) — International observers endorsed the landmark Fiji election as credible on Thursday, although most smaller political parties said they would not accept what appeared to be a decisive win for the South Pacific country's military ruler. The Multinational Observer Group said the result of Wednesday's election, while still being finalized, would broadly reflect the will of voters. The endorsement paves the way for international sanctions to be dropped, including Fiji's likely return this month to full status among the Commonwealth group of nations.

  • Asian stocks mostly down after Fed meeting

    Yesterday

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stock markets mostly fell Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve increased its estimate for the level of the central bank's benchmark interest rate by the end of 2015, surprising investors who expected a slower pace of rate hikes. KEEPING SCORE: Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.7 percent to 24,199.87 and South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.8 percent to 2,046.53. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.1 percent to 5,399.60. Stocks in New Zealand and mainland China also fell but Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.3 percent to 16,099.30 as the yen weakened.

  • Australian leader warns of planned random attack

    Yesterday

    SYDNEY (AP) — Counterterrorism raids in Sydney on Thursday were sparked by security intelligence that the Islamic State movement was planning a random, violent attack in Australia as a demonstration of its reach, the prime minister said. Australian police detained 15 people and raided more than a dozen properties across Sydney in the country's largest counterterrorism operation, saying intelligence indicated an attack was being planned on Australian soil. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he had been briefed on Wednesday night about the operation that was prompted by information that an Islamic State movement leader in the Middle East was calling on Australian supporters to kill.

  • Bangladesh empowers parliament to impeach judges

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh's parliament now has the authority to impeach Supreme Court judges after lawmakers late Wednesday voted to approve a much-debated amendment to the constitution. The amendment passed unanimously in a voice vote of 327-0, with support coming from the ruling Awami League. Critics of the amendment, including senior jurists, said it was a thinly veiled way for the ruling party to keep the judiciary under control. But Law Minister Anisul Hoque, who proposed the change, said the amendment allows parliament to impeach judges on grounds of "misbehavior or incapacity." Previously a council of senior judges led by the chief justice was assigned to deal with any case of misconduct by judges.

  • Fiji's military ruler headed for big election win

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    SUVA, Fiji (AP) — Fiji's military ruler for the past eight years appeared to be headed to a decisive victory Thursday to become the South Pacific nation's elected leader. With votes from three-fifths of polling stations counted, Voreqe Bainimarama's Fiji First party was winning 60 percent of the vote, while its closest rival, the Sodelpa party, was trailing with 27 percent. The margin will ensure Fiji First will be able to rule outright in the Parliament under the country's proportional system. A day earlier, there was excitement among thousands of voters and relief from the international community as Fijians cast ballots in the landmark election they hope will end more than a quarter-century of political turmoil.

  • UN: Syrian militants kept weapons of Fijian troops

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations says Syrian militants did not return the weapons, uniforms and cars taken from 45 Fijian peacekeepers who were released last week after two weeks of captivity on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights. U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters Wednesday that "the possession and use of U.N.-marked assets by non-U.N. people is of concern to the United Nations." The Fijians were captured Aug. 28 by the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, who have been battling Syrian government forces in the contested buffer zone between Syria and Israel. The 1,200-strong U.N. force has increasingly been caught in the spillover from Syria's civil war. The U.N. withdrew many other peacekeep

  • Thailand says no DNA match yet for slain Britons

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    BANGKOK (AP) — Police in Thailand said Wednesday that DNA samples from the bodies of two British tourists found bludgeoned on a resort island did not match any collected from 12 people who were among those in the area. Police also conducted autopsies which showed that 23-year-old Hannah Witheridge died from head wounds while 24-year-old David Miller suffered severe blows to the head and drowned in the surf, said Maj. Gen. Pornchai Suteerakune, the country's forensics police chief. Pornchai said Miller also had wounds on his hand, indicating a struggle had taken place. The two Britons were found Monday morning in a rocky alcove along the shore close to the hotel where they both were staying on Koh Tao. A bloodied hoe w

  • Pakistan airstrikes kill 40 militants, army says

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's military launched airstrikes on five militant hideouts in a troubled tribal region near the border with Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing 40 suspected fighters as part of a massive operation that began this summer. In a statement, the military said "precise" air strikes were carried out in Datta Khel, a Taliban stronghold in North Waziristan, where Pakistan launched a long-awaited offensive on June 15. The region has long been home to local and foreign militants who carry out attacks in Pakistan and against NATO forces in Afghanistan. The military said it also destroyed ammunition depots, and those killed included "foreigners.

  • Indonesia adds more copters to fight forest fires

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia on Wednesday added more water-dropping helicopters to fight forest and plantation wildfires that are spreading haze across the region, limiting visibility and increasing air pollution. A Russian-made Mi-8 helicopter joined three other planes that have been combatting fires in South Sumatra province in the past two weeks. Intensifying the firefighting efforts is especially necessary in areas that are difficult to reach by land, said Yulizar Dinoto, chief of the provincial disaster mitigation agency. Haze from peat and forest fires have blanketed the province's capital Palembang in past days, shortening visibility in the streets to around 100 meters and causing respiratory problems to

  • Image of Asia: Lighting up the track in Singapore

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    In this photo by Wong Maye-E, lights illuminate the Singapore Grand Prix race track at dusk as seen from the 65th floor of Swissotel The Stamford. The financial district skyline is seen on the right, while in the distance, laser lights operate on the Marina Bay Sands roof. The Singapore race is the only one on the Formula One calendar held at night. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are locked in a tense duel for the season championship and are among the top contenders in Sunday's race.

  • Trade, investment hopes as China's Xi visits India

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    AHMEDABAD, India (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping landed in the Indian prime minister's home state of Gujarat on Wednesday for a three-day visit expected to focus on India's need to improve worn out infrastructure and reduce its trade deficit. Xi was greeted on the tarmac by state officials carrying fringed umbrellas to guard him from the sun in Gujarat's main financial city of Ahmedabad. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to court Chinese business and seek investment to upgrade creaky infrastructure, banking on China's track record at building highways, railways, and industrial zones. India is also eager to address the imbalance in their annual trade, which now totals around $65 billion but is skewed toward import

  • Bangladesh court reduces sentence of Islamist

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh's Supreme Court commuted on Wednesday the death sentence of an Islamist political leader whose conviction last year for war crimes during the nation's 1971 war for independence sparked deadly protests. Delwar Hossain Sayedee, one of the top leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, must remain in prison "for the rest of his natural life," Chief Justice Muzammel Hossain said. The judge did not explain his reason for reducing the sentence. Jamaat-e-Islami called for a daylong general strike for Thursday to denounce the verdict, saying Sayedee was innocent. A war crimes tribunal convicted Sayedee in February 2013 on eight counts involving mass killings, rape and atrocities committed during the

  • Pope OKs canonization for Sri Lanka's 1st saint

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis signed off Wednesday on Sri Lanka's first saint, bending the Vatican's rules once again to bypass the usual requirement that a second miracle be confirmed. Francis is expected to canonize the Rev. Giuseppe Baz, a 17th-century missionary, during his January visit to Sri Lanka. Vaz was born in Goa, India, in 1651, but chose to work in Sri Lanka amid persecution of Catholics by Dutch colonial rulers, who were Calvinists. He is credited with having revived the Catholic faith in the country. The Vatican said Wednesday that Francis approved a decision by the Vatican's saint-making office to canonize Vaz. Usually, the Vatican must approve one miracle for beatification, and a second one for ca

  • Doctors: Foul floodwaters sicken people in Kashmir

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Doctors in the flood-ravaged Himalayan region of Kashmir said Wednesday that they were seeing outbreaks of gastroenteritis among people crowded into shelters after their homes were inundated two weeks ago. Patients were also dying due to a lack of basic medical equipment, Dr. Tariq Ahmed Tramboo said. Many hospitals were engulfed when the floods swamped more than 80 percent of Indian-controlled Kashmir's main city of Srinagar. "As I was examining a 1-year-old child who could barely breathe, he died right there in my lap because there was no oxygen to give him," Tramboo said. He still doesn't know the cause of the child's illness, with many of the region's diagnostic facilities having been destroyed.