• Indian film star Shashi Kapoor named for top cinema honor

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    NEW DELHI (AP) — Bollywood actor Shashi Kapoor is to be given the next Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the highest honor in Indian cinema. The 77-year-old actor belongs to the legendary Kapoor family that has dominated India's Mumbai-based film industry, popularly known as Bollywood. Kapoor has acted in more than 160 films in a career that has spanned nearly seven decades. He began his career as a child actor in the mid-1940s. He has acted in several English language films including "Heat and Dust" and "Bombay Talkie." Kapoor was named Monday as winner of the government award given for making an outstanding contribution to Indian cinema.

  • Myanmar police reject lawsuit against government minister

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Police in northwestern Myanmar have rejected a lawsuit filed by two Buddhist monks against Myanmar's home minister and police chief, saying they are protected by law. In declining to accept a first information report, which is needed for a lawsuit to proceed, the police said no lawsuit can be brought against any officer who carries out acts in good faith. Human rights lawyer Aung Thein said Tuesday that the two Buddhist monks, among scores seriously burned during a 2012 police crackdown on protests at a Chinese-backed copper mine, registered the first information report at the Hsalingyi police station.

  • Australian watchdog to block Qantas-China Eastern agreement

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's competition watchdog said Tuesday it was leaning toward blocking a tie up between Qantas Airways and China Eastern Airlines because it could increase fares on the popular Sydney-Shanghai route. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission issued a draft decision to deny authorization for Qantas and China Eastern to coordinate their operations between Australia and China under an agreement proposed in November. The watchdog said in a statement that the tie-up could result in "significant public detriment" by giving Qantas and China Eastern increased ability and incentive to limit capacity and increase airfares on the Sydney-Shanghai route.

  • Trial begins in Philippines of US Marine charged with murder

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A U.S. Marine charged with murdering a transgender Filipino after allegedly discovering her gender when they checked into a hotel went on trial in a Philippine court Monday. U.S. security escorts brought Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, wearing handcuffs, into a heavily secured courtroom in Olongapo city, northwest of Manila, for the trial after an earlier plea-bargain negotiation with the family of the victim, Jennifer Laude, reportedly collapsed, lawyers for Laude's family said. Pemberton is charged with murder, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. The court registered a not guilty plea for him last month after he refused to enter a plea. Government prosecutors expressed c

  • Pakistan: Short-range nukes needed to deter India

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Pakistan needs short-range "tactical" nuclear weapons to deter arch-rival India, a top adviser to its government said Monday, dismissing concerns it could increase the risk of a nuclear war. Khalid Kidwai also rejected concerns over the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, insisting that adequate safeguards are in place to protect what analysts have described as the world's fastest-growing atomic arsenal. Pakistan's development of smaller warheads built for use on battlefields, in addition to longer-range weapons, has increased international concerns that they could get into rogue hands because of the pervasive threat of Islamic militants in the country. Pakistan and its larger neighbor India have

  • Akhil Sharma's 'Family Life' wins Folio Prize for fiction

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    LONDON (AP) — Indian-American author Akhil Sharma won the 40,000 pound ($60,000) Folio Prize for fiction Monday with "Family Life," the autobiographical story of an immigrant family floundering in America that took him almost 13 years to write. Sharma said he still wasn't sure whether it had been worth it. "I'm glad the book exists," he said. "I just wish I hadn't been the guy who wrote it." Writer William Fiennes, who led the judging panel, called the book "deceptively simple ... emotionally rich, incredibly moving" and surprisingly funny. But Sharma said writing it had been "like chewing stones." "I started writing this book when I was 30," the 43-year-old said. "I really feel like I shattered my youth.

  • Afghan protesters demand justice for woman killed by mob

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Hundreds marched Monday in the Afghan capital, demanding justice for a woman beaten to death last week by a Kabul mob over false allegations she had burned a Quran — a vicious killing that shocked many Afghans and renewed calls for authorities to ensure women's rights to equality and protection from violence. The killing has also drawn condemnation from Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, now in Washington on his first state visit to the United States since taking office in September, who denounced it as a "heinous attack" and ordered an investigation.

  • South African judge convicts retired tennis champion of rape

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A judge in South Africa on Monday convicted Bob Hewitt, a former Grand Slam tennis champion, of raping and sexually assaulting three girls whom he had been coaching. The assaults occurred decades ago, according to the victims who are now grown women. Judge Bert Bam granted bail of about $840, which Hewitt's wife, Delaille, paid. The judge did not say why the bail amount was so low. A sentencing hearing was scheduled in a Pretoria court for April 17. Until then he must mostly remain in South Africa's Eastern Cape province, where he lives, the judge ruled. Hewitt can also visit his daughter, who lives in Johannesburg. Police will confiscate Hewitt's passport from his home on Wednesday.

  • Lee's authoritarian legacy may fall short for new Singapore

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    SINGAPORE (AP) — Lee Kuan Yew brought prosperity to Singapore with an authoritarian system designed to outlast him, but that legacy may be ill-suited for the 21st-century challenges facing the tropical city-state. One of the last of a generation of Southeast Asian strongmen, Lee died Monday at age 91 after being hospitalized in early February, suffering from severe pneumonia. The famously blunt-speaking autocrat stepped down as prime minister in 1990, but for decades after remained a commanding presence in Singapore politics and the region. His son is the current prime minister. His death is an inflection point for Singapore.

  • Indonesia tries 4 Chinese Uighurs charged in terrorism case

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Four Chinese Uighurs went on trial Monday in Indonesia on charges they engaged in an "evil conspiracy" with Indonesian terrorists including a fugitive militant alleged to be behind murders of police. The four Chinese men were arrested in September while they were allegedly trying to meet Indonesia's most wanted extremist, Abu Wardah Santoso, in Central Sulawesi province. Police said they found stickers with the Islamic State group's symbol on them in the car carrying the four men when they were arrested. Ahmet Mahmud, Abdullah alias Altinci Bayyram and Abdulbasit Tuzer are being tried in one case and Ahmet Bozoglan in a separate trial at the North Jakarta District Court.

  • Image of Asia: Bowing in respect to late Singapore founder

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    In this photo by Wong Maye-E, a man bows to pay his respects to the late Lee Kuan Yew at a community club where members of the public can express their condolences in Singapore. Singaporeans wept over the death of the city-state's founding father on Monday, and the government declared seven days of national mourning with a state funeral on Sunday. Boards were set up at Parliament House and other locations and a website was created where people can leave condolence messages.

  • Pakistan displays locally made armed drone

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan has demonstrated its first locally manufactured armed drone aircraft. The drone was introduced to the public Monday as part of Pakistan's Republic Day parade, with officials hailing it as a key element in the country's ongoing battle against local Islamic militant groups. The annual parade itself had been suspended for the past seven years due to fears of terrorist attack. State television coverage showed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Mamnoon Hussain and army chief Raheel Sharif applauding as the unmanned aerial vehicle took off. The Pakistani military has been fighting for years against Islamic militants sheltering in tribal areas along the Afghan border.

  • Fear of failure dogs NZ, South Africa ahead of semifinals

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — South Africa or New Zealand is poised to rewrite its World Cup history in the Cricket World Cup semifinal on Tuesday, when the winner will earn a spot in the final for the first time. Both teams are playing good cricket — in New Zealand's case perhaps the best in its history — both are confident and, despite a late injury to New Zealand fast bowler Adam Milne, both are heading into match in what South Africa captain A.B. de Villiers describes as "a good space." Yet the fear exists, based partly on their respective World Cup records, that the knockout match may not be won by the best team but might be lost by the team that blinks first.

  • Sick man on 2-week ocean voyage to hospital from Antarctica

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A seriously ill man has begun a two-week ocean voyage on an icebreaker from an Australian Antarctic base to a hospital in Australia, officials said Monday. The man was flown by helicopter on Sunday night in cold and snowy conditions from Davis Station on the coast of Princess Elizabeth Land to the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, the Australian Antarctic Division said in a statement. The icebreaker is expected to reach the southern Australian city of Hobart around April 4, it said. Authorities have released no personal details about the man, who is a tradesman. They have not revealed the nature of his medical emergency, other than to describe his condition as "serious but stable.

  • Key dates in the life of ex-Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    Key dates in the life of Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of modern Singapore and the city-state's first and longest-serving prime minister. — Sept. 16, 1923: Lee is born in Singapore, then a British colony. — 1942-45: Education at Raffles College is interrupted by Japanese occupation of Singapore during World War II. — 1946: Goes to England and studies law at Cambridge University, where he was known as Harry, a name his grandfather called him. — 1947: Secretly marries Kwa Geok Choo, fellow student at Cambridge. — 1950: Returns to Singapore. — 1954: Helps form People's Action Party, becomes party's secretary-general. — 1955: Wins seat in legislative assembly, starts law firm Lee &

  • Singaporeans mourn death of founding father Lee Kuan Yew

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    SINGAPORE (AP) — Singapore mourned longtime leader Lee Kuan Yew with raw emotion and a blanket of relentlessly positive coverage on its tightly scripted state television on Monday, mythologizing a man who was as respected as he was feared. The government announced that Lee, 91, "passed away peacefully" several hours before dawn at Singapore General Hospital. The increasingly frail elder statesman was hospitalized in early February with severe pneumonia. State television broke away from its regular programming with a rolling hagiographic tribute to Lee's life and achievements. In a live broadcast, one of its reporters called the death the "awful and dreaded" news.

  • After Cyclone Pam, Vanuatu revives, rebuilds and rethinks

    Updated: Sun, Mar 22, 2015

    EFATE, Vanuatu (AP) — The roof from what was once the home of principal Melizabeth Uhi and her staff is now folded over branches high in the trees that border her school. She's now living with two other staff members in the only classroom that's still habitable. And she's running low on the rice she had before Cyclone Pam tore through Vanuatu a week ago, upending her life. But Uhi is moving forward. She's helped organize a community cleanup of the Manua Centre School grounds on the main island of Efate on Monday, and is determined that her 314 students will return to school as soon as possible. A week after the cyclone tore through the South Pacific archipelago with winds of 270 kilometers (168 miles) per hour, people are f

  • Lee Kuan Yew, founder of modern Singapore, dies at 91

    Updated: Sun, Mar 22, 2015

    SINGAPORE (AP) — Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore who was both feared for his authoritarian tactics and admired worldwide for turning the city-state into one of the world's richest nations while in power for 31 years, died Monday. He was 91. Lee was admitted to Singapore General Hospital on Feb. 5 for severe pneumonia and was later put on life support. The Prime Minister's Office said in a statement posted on its website that Lee "passed away peacefully" at the hospital at 3:18 a.m. Monday. The country's first and longest-serving prime minister, Lee guided Singapore through a traumatic split with Malaysia in 1965 and led the transformation of what was then a sleepy port city into a global trade and financ

  • Australia a puzzling hotbed of Islamic State recruiting

    Updated: Sun, Mar 22, 2015

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A nightclub bouncer who reportedly became a terror group leader. A man who tweeted a photo of his young son clutching a severed head. A teenager who is believed to have turned suicide bomber, and others suspected of attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State movement. All of them, Australian. The London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence reports that between 100 and 250 Australians have joined Sunni militants in Iraq and Syria. Given Australia's vast distance from the region and its population of just 24 million, it is a remarkable number. The center estimates that about 100 fighters came from the United States, which has more than 13 times as

  • Afghanistan buries woman beaten to death by mob

    Updated: Sun, Mar 22, 2015

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan women's rights activists dressed head-to-toe in black broke with tradition Sunday to carry the coffin of a woman who was beaten to death by a mob in the capital Kabul over allegations she had burned a Quran. The mob of men beat 27-year-old Farkhunda before throwing her body off a roof, running over it with a car, setting it on fire and throwing it into a river near a well-known mosque. The attack was apparently sparked by allegations that Farkhunda, who like many Afghans has just one name, had set fire to a Quran. But Afghanistan's most senior detective said no evidence had been found to support those claims. Video of the assault taken with cellphones has circulated widely since the at




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