• 6 sentenced to death in Vietnam for heroin

    Updated: Thu, Aug 14, 2014

    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — An official says a court in northern Vietnam has sentenced six people to death for trafficking heroin from Laos to be sold to China. Judge Pham Van Nam said six, including two women, were convicted of trafficking 110 kilograms (242 pounds) of heroin, from mid- 2012 until the gang was busted in May last year, at the end of a three-day trial Thursday in Dien Bien province. Nam said Friday that two gang members were given life sentences while two others received jail sentences of 17 and 20 years on the same charges. The judge said the case was biggest one ever tried in the province, which borders Laos. Vietnam has some of the world toughest drug laws where trafficking 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of

  • Thai building collapse death toll rises to 14

    Updated: Thu, Aug 14, 2014

    BANGKOK (AP) — The death toll from the collapse of a six-story building under construction on the outskirts of Thailand's capital has risen to 14, as rescue teams ended their search Friday, four days after the cave-in, police said. Rescue teams found four more bodies of construction workers under the building near a vocational college in Pathum Thani province after the collapse on Monday, police Maj. Gen. Smithi Mookdasanit said. "The area has been cleared out and there are no more bodies or workers trapped underneath," he said, adding the dead included 11 men and three women. Smithi said there were about 30 to 40 workers in the area at the time of the collapse and more than 20 people were rescued from the site.

  • Thousands on the road in Pakistan opposition rally

    Updated: Thu, Aug 14, 2014

    LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Thousands of opposition protesters on Thursday joined large convoys headed to Pakistan's capital Islamabad for a mass rally to demand the ouster of the prime minister over allegations of vote fraud, as police foiled a possible attack on an airport in the southwest. The rally is seen as the strongest challenge yet to the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, just a year after he took office in the first democratic transfer of power in a country long plagued by military coups. The protesters set out on Thursday morning from the city of Lahore in cars, trucks and buses, while others walked or drove motorcycles as they embarked on the 300 kilometer (187 mile) journey to Islamabad.

  • Online sites shake up hidebound retailing in India

    Updated: Thu, Aug 14, 2014

    MUMBAI, India (AP) — Finding a way into India's vast but vexing market has long frustrated foreign retailers. Now, overseas investors are pouring billions of dollars into e-commerce ventures that are circumventing the barriers holding back retail powers such as Wal-Mart and Ikea. Some investors see India as the world's next big e-commerce opportunity, with the upcoming mammoth public stock offering of Chinese online giant Alibaba hinting at the potential. Online shopping is still in its infancy in India at $2.3 billion of an overall $421 billion retail market in 2013, according to research firm Crisil. But it is growing fast and the potential of reaching a mostly untapped market of 1.2 billion people has sparked a funding-a

  • India sets age limit for Krishna birthday pyramids

    Updated: Thu, Aug 14, 2014

    NEW DELHI (AP) — India's top court said Thursday that children as young as 12 can climb atop towering human pyramids in a popular Hindu celebration that has seen deaths and injuries in past years. Devotees celebrate the birthday of the child-god Krishna each August by forming a pyramid with the last climber, usually a child, clambering to the top to break the "dahi handi," an earthen pot filled with curd. It honors Krishna's effort to steal butter. Hundreds of thousands of cheering people join the ceremony every year, but several children are killed, injured or disabled in falls from pyramids that can reach 40 feet (12 meters) high.

  • Image of Asia: Modernizing the Philippine military

    Updated: Thu, Aug 14, 2014

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, President Benigno Aquino III hands new assault rifles to Filipino soldiers at armed forces headquarters. More than 50,000 M4 assault rifles are being delivered this year to modernize the Philippine military, one of Asia's most ill-equipped. U.S. counterterrorism forces have been providing advice, combat training and intelligence, including drone surveillance, to Filipino troops battling the Abu Sayyaf and other militants in the south since 2002. Two coast guard cutters from the U.S. have been turned into its biggest naval vessels, and Aquino said last month that the Philippines would be getting its first new fighter jets in nearly a decade next year. ___ AP photographers on Twitter: http://apn

  • AP PHOTOS: Swimming to school in western India

    Updated: Thu, Aug 14, 2014

    SAJANPURA VILLAGE, India (AP) — It's a long, wet journey to school for 61 teenagers in part of western India. If they want to learn, they have no choice but to swim. The boys and girls carry books, papers and changes of clothing in plastic bags or buoyant jugs as they cross the Heran River, shoulder deep in places. Parents or other adults sometimes accompany them on the 15-meter (50-foot) swim. The girls put on their dry clothes in a small changing room, while the boys change on the riverbank. The students then walk up to 5 kilometers (3 miles) to their high school in Gujarat state's Narmada District. It's shorter and quicker than the alternative: A road with a bridge takes a circuitous, 25-kilometer (16-mile) route.

  • Life in prison for killer of India's Bandit Queen

    Updated: Thu, Aug 14, 2014

    NEW DELHI (AP) — The upper-caste killer of India's "Bandit Queen" was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for gunning down the outlaw-turned-legislator who was idolized as a champion of the lower castes. Phoolan Devi roamed central India's desolate valleys in the 1970s and 1980s, claiming to have robbed and killed landowners who were exploiting poor, landless farmers. After surrendering and serving 11 years in prison, she became a member of Parliament in 1996. She was still a lawmaker in 2001 when she was killed outside her New Delhi house in what police say was a revenge attack by a trio of upper-caste men. On Thursday, Judge Bharat Parashar sentenced Sher Singh Rana to life and fined him 100,000 rupees ($1,650) for

  • US military chief visits Vietnam, 1st since 1971

    Updated: Thu, Aug 14, 2014

    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey on Thursday became the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to visit Vietnam since 1971, seeking to boost military ties between the former foes at a time when Hanoi is embroiled in territorial disputes with China. The trip comes amid anger in Vietnam over China's recent decision to deploy an oil rig in a disputed section of the South China Sea. The United States shares Hanoi's concerns over Beijing's assertiveness, and has indicated it may partially lift a ban on weapons sales to its former enemy, possible as early as next month. Speaking to his Vietnamese counterpart Lt. Gen. Do Ba Ty before the closed-door talks, Dempsey described his four-day visit as "one of th

  • Roadside bomb kills 3 Afghan policemen

    Updated: Thu, Aug 14, 2014

    KABUL , Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan official says a roadside bomb has stuck a police car in eastern Laghman province, killing three officers. Sarhadi Zwak, the provincial governor's spokesman, says the attack took place on Thursday morning in Badpakh district. He says four policemen were also wounded in the explosion. No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing but roadside bombs targeting Afghan troops and security forces are a common insurgent tactic of the Taliban. Also, Afghan civilians increasingly find themselves under fire as the U.S.-led military coalition prepares to pull out of the country by the end of the year and Afghan forces take the lead in operations against the Taliban.

  • Racism mars New Zealand election campaign

    Updated: Thu, Aug 14, 2014

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A surprising theme has emerged in New Zealand's election campaign: racism. Racially charged comments made by the leaders of two political parties and a candidate for a third have struck a jarring tone in this South Pacific nation of 4.5 million people, which generally prides itself on its tolerance. Political billboards have even been defaced with anti-Semitic slurs. At Sunday's campaign launch for the anti-immigration New Zealand First party, leader Winston Peters lit into the government for allowing farms to be sold to foreign buyers, including those from China. "As they say in Beijing, two Wongs don't make a white," he said, drawing laughter from his Auckland audience but condemnation

  • Hunt starts for massive bell in Myanmar river

    Updated: Thu, Aug 14, 2014

    YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A team of divers is trying to retrieve a bronze bell that has been lying for centuries at the confluence of three rivers south of Myanmar's old capital, Yangon. The 270 ton bell, believed to be one of the largest ever cast, was made on the order of King Dhammazedi in 1476 and donated to the revered Shwedagon pagoda. In the early 1600s, it was stolen by Portuguese despot Philip de Brito. The vessel carrying the historic treasure sank where the Yangon and Bago rivers meet the Pazundaung creek. Private and foreign groups have tried unsuccessfully to retrieve the bell in the past. Buried deep beneath the mud, they have been deterred in part by murky waters and torrential currents.

  • US military chief visits Vietnam to boost ties

    Updated: Wed, Aug 13, 2014

    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, held talks with Vietnamese officials Thursday aimed to boosting military ties between the former foes. Speaking to his Vietnamese counterpart Lt. Gen. Do Ba Ty before the closed-door talks, Dempsey described his visit, the first to communist Vietnam by a American chairman of the joint chiefs of staff since 1971 when the Vietnam War was on, as "one of the highlights" of his military career. The sides will work to boost their military cooperation, with a focus on maritime security, training, and overcoming the consequences of the war, a Vietnamese Ministry of Defense statement said.

  • Australian stocks lead Asia on healthy earnings

    Updated: Wed, Aug 13, 2014

    HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stock markets were mostly higher Thursday, with Australia's benchmark leading gains on a crop of healthy corporate earnings reports. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.6 percent to 15,304.62 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.1 percent to 2,064.09. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7 percent to 5,553.50. But Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.2 percent to 24,836.01 and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China lost 0.1 percent to 2,221.04. Markets in Taiwan, India and Southeast Asia rose. EARNINGS BONANZA: With earnings season underway, investors are getting a chance to assess the health of the region's companies and in Australia they like what they see. Fairfax Media Ltd.

  • US woman dead in Bali; daughter, 1 other arrested

    Updated: Wed, Aug 13, 2014

    BALI, Indonesia (AP) — The body of a 62-year-old American woman was found stuffed inside a suitcase on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, and authorities on Wednesday arrested her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend in relation to the death, police said. The suitcase containing Sheila von Wiese-Mack's body was found Tuesday inside the trunk of a taxi parked in front of the St. Regis Bali Resort in the island's upscale Nusa Dua area, said Col. Djoko Hari Utomo, the police chief in Bali's capital, Denpasar. Von Wiese-Mack's 19-year-old daughter, Heather Mack, and her 21-year-old boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, were arrested Wednesday morning at a hotel in Bali's Kuta area, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) away, Utomo said.

  • Tomic, Llodra, Harrison get US Open wild cards

    Updated: Wed, Aug 13, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — Australia's Bernard Tomic and France's Michael Llodra are among eight men receiving wild-card invitations for the U.S. Open's main draw. Ryan Harrison, Tim Smyczek, NCAA champion Marcos Giron, Wayne Odesnik, and teenagers Jared Donaldson and Noah Rubin also were wild-card entries announced Wednesday by the U.S. Tennis Association. Odesnik, who served a 12-month ban after getting caught with human growth hormone, earned his wild card based on results at USTA Pro Circuit events. He last appeared in the U.S. Open's main draw in 2009. Francis Tiafoe, a 16-year-old from Maryland, was given a wild card for U.S. Open qualifying.

  • Philippine train rolls onto busy street, hurts 34

    Updated: Wed, Aug 13, 2014

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Philippine commuter train rammed through a concrete barrier at the end of the rail line and rolled into a busy intersection on Wednesday, injuring at least 34 people and damaging two vehicles on the street. Rescuers removed injured passengers from the train's front car after the accident in Pasay city in metropolitan Manila. It caused a huge traffic jam, but the train stayed upright after smashing through the barrier, likely avoiding a more serious accident with fatalities. At least 34 people were brought to hospitals with mostly minor injuries, Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said. Most suffered bruises, though one had a broken arm and another had a dislocated joi

  • Image of Asia: Returning turtles to the sea

    Updated: Wed, Aug 13, 2014

    In this photo by Firdia Lisnawati, locals and tourists on the Indonesian island of Bali help release endangered giant green turtles into the sea. Police Col. Djoko Hari Utomo says the turtles being released were among 17 turtles confiscated from a poacher last month. The poacher allegedly bought them from fishermen and they were to be sold to a food stall. Turtle meat is a traditional delicacy in Bali, although Indonesia has banned their trade and consumption due to concerns about dwindling numbers and the possibility of a tourist boycott. Turtles, especially green turtles, are among several protected species in the vast nation of 17,000 islands. ___ AP photographers on Twitter: http://apne.

  • Owner of sunken ferry arrested in Bangladesh

    Updated: Wed, Aug 13, 2014

    DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — The owner of a Bangladesh ferry that sank earlier this month with more than 100 people dead or missing was arrested Wednesday after weeks in hiding, officials said. Forces from the anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion raided a house in the southeastern district of Chittagong, where the suspect Abu Bakar Siddique had been hiding since the overloaded ferry M.V. Pinak sank on Aug. 4, said commander Lt. Col. Miftah Uddin Ahmed. Siddique faces charges of culpable homicide, unauthorized operation and overloading. Forty-eight bodies have been recovered so far and about 60 others remain missing and are presumed dead. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.

  • AP PHOTOS: Trapeze sends Filipinos flying high

    Updated: Wed, Aug 13, 2014

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Real estate broker Angel de Rivera is hooked on the newest way to fly high in the Philippine capital: trapeze. After a hard day's work, she and other Manila office workers can go to trapeze school and experience the scream-inducing adventure of being an acrobat, even if de Rivera can't describe how it feels. "You can't explain the feeling that you're up there. The fear of falling, the fear of everything. It's like an adrenalin rush," the 29-year-old said, admonishing a visitor: "You should try it." The outdoor school opened by Chinese-American businessman William Hsu sits in a grassy clearing surrounded by high-rises in a metropolitan business district.