• Image of Asia: Honoring police dogs during Tihar

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    In this photo by Niranjan Shrestha, a Nepalese police officer showers vermillion powder and flower petals on a police dog during Tihar festival celebrations at a police kennel division in Katmandu, Nepal. Dogs are worshipped during the Tihar festival to acknowledge their role in providing security. Tihar is one of Nepal's most important Hindu festivals.

  • Sporting director to leave McLaren F1 team

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — Sporting director Sam Michael is to leave the McLaren F1 team at the end of the season and return to his native Australia. The team, which next season reunites with Honda as its engine supplier, said Michael is departing "on extremely good terms" after handing in his notice in March. Michael, 43, joined McLaren from Williams, where he was technical director, in 2011. He worked previously for Lotus and Jordan.

  • Lawyers: Suspects retract claims they killed Brits

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    BANGKOK (AP) — Two Myanmar migrant workers have retracted their confessions to killing two British travelers on a southern Thai resort island and now claim to have neither raped the female victim nor slain the pair, the men's lawyers said Wednesday. Human rights lawyer Rasada Manurasada said the arrested men claimed they were tortured and forced to confess under police custody, allegations previously denied by the police. Rasada said that Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, both 21, sent a retraction letter to prosecutors handling their case on Tuesday. "They are asking for justice and seek to give additional testimony to the prosecutors. They insisted in the letter that they didn't commit the crimes.

  • 2nd ship to join hunt for missing Malaysian plane

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    SYDNEY (AP) — A second ship was preparing to join the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in a remote patch of the Indian Ocean on Wednesday, as Malaysia's defense minister expressed confidence the plane will be found. The Discovery, provided by Dutch contractor Fugro, was scheduled to arrive in the search zone about 1,800 kilometers (1,100) miles west of Australia on Wednesday, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said in a statement. The GO Phoenix, a Malaysian ship that has been combing the area since early October, is in the Western Australian city of Fremantle getting fresh supplies.

  • Lawyers: Suspects retract claims they killed Brits

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    BANGKOK (AP) — Two Myanmar migrant workers have retracted their confessions to killing two British travelers on a southern Thai resort island and now claim to have neither raped the female victim nor slain the pair, the men's lawyers said Wednesday. Human rights lawyer Rasada Manurasada said the arrested men claimed they were tortured and forced to confess under police custody, allegations previously denied by the police. Rasada said that Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, both 21, have sent a retraction letter to prosecutors handling their case. The battered bodies of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were found on a beach on Koh Tao island on Sept. 15.

  • Marine suspect guarded by US in Philippine camp

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A U.S. Marine suspected in the gruesome killing of a transgender Filipino was transferred Wednesday from his warship to the Philippine military's main camp, where he will continue to be guarded by fellow Marines, in a compromise that eased a looming irritant over his custody. The case involving Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton and Jennifer Laude, whose former name was Jeffrey, came about as the Philippines and the United States began implementing a new accord that allows greater U.S. access to Philippine military camps. Washington wants to reasserts its presence in the region, and Manila to deter China's territorial claims.

  • Villa to leave Australia early, future unclear

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Spanish striker David Villa's loan deal with Melbourne City will be cut short after four matches, with apparently no guarantee he will return to Australia's A-League. Melbourne City confirmed Wednesday that Villa will return to his New York City club in Major League Soccer after the Australian team's fourth-round match on Friday, Oct. 31. New York City and Melbourne City are affiliates of English Premier League club Manchester City. Melbourne coach John van 't Schip said whether Villa books a return flight to Melbourne is the subject of negotiation, but added "I'm confident that he's happy here and there will be some talks in the coming days.

  • Marine suspect transferred to Philippine detention

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The U.S. military turned over a Marine suspect in the gruesome killing of a transgender Filipino to the Philippine military's main camp in the capital Wednesday, easing a looming irritant over his custody, officials said. Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton had been detained on board the USS Peleliu at the Subic Bay Freeport, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Manila, after he was implicated in the death of 26-year-old Jennifer Laude, whose former name was Jeffrey. Pemberton's transfer by helicopter to Manila early Wednesday was agreed by the U.S. and the Philippines, Philippine military chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang told a news conference.

  • Australian officials deny elite troop shortage

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia has recently deployed troops with diagnosed mental illnesses and on multiple tours of duty, but not because of any shortage of elite combat troops, senior officers said Wednesday. Vice Adm. Ray Griggs, who is acting chief of defense, told a Senate committee that he did not know if any of the 200 commandos and Special Air Service troops who will soon deploy from the United Arab Emirates into Iraq to advise and assist Iraqi security forces in their fight against Islamic State militants was taking anti-psychotic medicine. "There are some members of the ADF that deploy with antidepressants," Griggs said, referring to the Australian Defense Force.

  • Opposition leader Anwar expects to be jailed again

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said he expects Malaysia's top court will dismiss his final appeal against a sodomy conviction next week and that he will be sent to prison for the second time in a decade. Anwar was sentenced to five years in prison in March on charges of sodomizing a male aide after the appeals court overturned an earlier acquittal. The Federal Court will hear his appeal Oct. 28-29. The United States and international human rights groups call the legal moves against Anwar politically motivated. "It's a foregone conclusion that there will be a conviction unless there is a miracle," Anwar said late Tuesday at a dinner with the foreign media. "I am still optimistic. I haven'

  • Kwak hopes for Asian Champions League double

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    SYDNEY (AP) — The AFC Champions League final will give Al Hilal's Kwak Tae-hwi an opportunity to win the title for a second time with a team from the opposite side of the continent. The 34-year-old South Korean international led Ulsan Hyundai to the 2012 title before moving to Saudi Arabia in 2013, initially with Al Shabab before joining Al Hilal late last year. Kwak will play for Al Hilal in the first leg of the ACL title match on Saturday night in Sydney against the A-League's Western Sydney, with the return leg in Riyadh on Nov. 1. He says "a second victory ... would rewrite history for myself and Al Hilal." Kwak's teammate Saud Kariri is already a two-time ACL champion, winning with Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad

  • Australian runaway teenager reportedly in IS video

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    SYDNEY (AP) — An Australian teenage runaway has reportedly appeared in an Islamic State propaganda video, warning that the movement won't stop fighting until the extremists' notorious black flag is flying above every nation. Australian media on Tuesday widely reported a video posted on YouTube in which a speaker believed to be 17-year-old Abdullah Elmir from Bankstown in Sydney's southwest warns western leaders of the terror group's resolve. Using the name Abu Khaled, holding a rifle and dressed in military garb, he is surrounded by dozens of other male jihadists as he addresses the camera. "To the leaders, to Obama, to Tony Abbott, I say this: These weapons that we have, these soldiers, we will not stop fighting," h

  • Anti-government cleric ends protest in Islamabad

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    ISLAMABAD (AP) — A fiery anti-government cleric has ended his 65-day long sit-in protest in Pakistan's capital Islamabad Tuesday. Tahirul Qadri announced he will now tour major Pakistani cities holding sit-ins and agitating for the launch of a "revolution of the poor." "This sit-in has achieved its purpose, it has awakened the nation and played its role in the path of revolution," Qadri told thousands of his supporters - many were women and some were in tears. Soon after Qadri's announcement, his supporters started packing up their camps and hugging one another goodbye. "We have spent a difficult time here and have established good relationships with each other," said Fauzia Habib.

  • Wozniacki beats Sharapova at WTA Finals

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    SINGAPORE (AP) — Caroline Wozniacki credited her training for next month's New York Marathon as a key factor in her victory over Maria Sharapova in a grueling three-set match in the WTA Finals on Tuesday. Wozniacki won 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 6-2 to beat Sharapova for the second-straight time, having also won in the fourth round of the U.S. Open. Tuesday's result in the round-robin match dealt a major blow to Sharapova's hopes of claiming the year-end No. 1 ranking. Wozniacki, who has always been regarded as one of the fittest players on tour, said her additional running work in preparation for the marathon had taken her stamina to a new level and also given her added belief in Tuesday's 3 hour, 15-minute match.

  • Afghan opium poppy cultivation hits all-time high

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan grew to an all-time high in 2013 despite America spending more than $7 billion to fight it over the past decade, a U.S. report showed on Tuesday. Federal auditors SIGAR reported that Afghan farmers grew an unprecedented 209,000 hectares of the poppy in 2013, blowing past the previous peak of 193,000 hectares in 2007. As of June 30, 2014, the report said, the United States had spent approximately $7.6 billion on counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan. One factor for the surge was affordable deep-well technology, which over the past decade turned 200,000 hectares of desert in southwestern Afghanistan into arable land much of which is now being used for p

  • Australia premier credited with 1970s reforms dies

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, whose government was credited with instituting lasting social reforms during a short tenure that ended in a bitter constitutional crisis, died Tuesday at the age of 98. Although national leader for only three turbulent years until 1975, the legacy of Whitlam's Labor Party government remains to this day. Many of its legislative and social innovations, once regarded as radical, are now accepted as part of daily life. Whitlam's four children said their father died in a Sydney nursing home. They described him as "a loving and generous father." "He was a source of inspiration to us and our families and for millions of Australians," they said in a st

  • Nepal vows new rules after worst trekking disaster

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal on Tuesday said it will introduce new rules, improve weather forecasts and better monitor the movement of trekkers after the Himalayan country's worst hiking disaster left dozens dead last week. Tourism Department official Tulasi Gautam said trekkers venturing to mountain trails will be required to take trained local guides, and will have to rent a GPS tracking unit to help authorities trace them in case of an emergency. Gautam said the government plans to announce the new rules nationwide before the next trekking season in the spring. "The main reason for the high number of casualties is that those trekkers without proper guides were prompted to continue with their trek in attempts to bea

  • Bodies found of 2 South Koreans in Thai boat crash

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    BANGKOK (AP) — The bodies of two South Korean tourists were found in waters near Thailand's southern resort city of Phuket on Tuesday, two days after the tourist boat they were in collided with a fishing vessel, police said. Marine police and volunteer rescuers found and retrieved the bodies — a man and a woman — more than 30 meters underwater and under the wreckage of the tourist boat, police Col. Phrutthipong Nutchanart said. The tourist speedboat was carrying 44 foreign and Thai tourists and crew members from Phi Phi Island, which is famous for its white sandy beaches. Most of those aboard were rescued by marine police and villagers on boats.

  • Dufner returns from injury at Perth International

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    PERTH, Australia (AP) — Jason Dufner returns to tournament play on Thursday at the Perth International after a two-month neck injury layoff in which he "totally detached" himself from golf and didn't watch any of the Ryder Cup on television. Dufner, whose injury cost him any chance of earning a qualifying spot for the Ryder Cup, said Tuesday he arrived in Western Australia feeling "much better physically ... a little bit rested mentally." The 2013 U.S. PGA champion is among the Lake Karrinyup Country Club headliners who include fellow major winners Charl Schwartzel and Geoff Ogilvy and European Ryder Cup player Victor Dubuisson. Dufner says during his break "I wasn't too interested in golf or what was going on in the

  • Myanmar says 2015 election won't be delayed

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar says it will hold a general election in late 2015 as planned, countering rumors that the vote could be postponed. Tin Aye, chairman of the Myanmar Union Election Commission, made the announcement Tuesday. He said international and local observers would be invited to witness the election, to be held in late October or early November of next year. The general election will be the second since former strongman Gen. Than Shwe handed power to a nominally civilian government, ending half a century of military rule. The 2010 election was widely seen as rigged in favor of the military-backed government's party.