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Top Asian News 3:37 a.m. GMT

October 5, 2022 GMT

South Korean reprisal launch blows up after North’s success

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A malfunctioning South Korean ballistic missile blew up as it plowed into the ground Wednesday during a live-fire drill with the United States that was a reprisal for North Korea’s successful launch a day earlier of a weapon that flew over Japan and has the range to strike the U.S. territory of Guam. The explosion and subsequent fire panicked and confused residents of the coastal city of Gangneung, who were already uneasy over the increasingly provocative weapons tests by rival North Korea. Their concern that it could be a North Korean attack only grew as the military and government officials provided no explanation about the explosion for hours.

Indonesia soccer group: Some gates locked in deadly crush

MALANG, Indonesia (AP) — Delays in unlocking the gates at an Indonesian soccer stadium after violence broke out at the end of a match contributed to a disaster in which at least 131 people died, the national soccer association said Tuesday. The Football Association of Indonesia said it has permanently banned the chief executive and security coordinator of the team that hosted Saturday’s match, Arema FC, for failing to secure the field and promptly issue a command to unlock the gates. “The doors should have been open, but were closed,” said Erwin Tobing, chief of the association’s discipline commission. Because of a lack of workers, only a few people were ordered to open the gates, and they had not yet reached some doors when spectators began rushing to escape tear gas fired by police in an attempt to control fans who had entered the field, association spokesperson Ahmad Riyadh said.

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Motorcycle-riding gunmen kill Philippine radio commentator

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Motorcycle-riding gunmen killed a longtime radio commentator in metropolitan Manila in the latest attack on a member of the media in the Philippines, considered one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists. Police said Percival Mabasa, 63, was driving his vehicle Monday night when two men on a motorcycle approached and shot him twice in the head in suburban Las Pinas City. The attackers escaped and an investigation is underway to identify and locate them, police officials said. They said investigators are trying to determine the motive for the attack. Mabasa, who used the broadcast name Percy Lapid, was critical of former President Rodrigo Duterte, who oversaw a deadly crackdown on illegal drugs, and his successor, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of a dictator who was ousted in a 1986 pro-democracy uprising.

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Bangladesh plunges into power blackout after grid failure

DHAKA,Bangladesh (AP) — A failure in Bangladesh’s national power grid plunged much of the country into a blackout on Tuesday, officials said. In the capital, Dhaka, market vendors lit candles and diners at restaurants ate food prepared by candlelight. Officials of the state-run Bangladesh Power Development Board said power transmission failed in the eastern part of the country. All power plants tripped and electricity was cut in Dhaka and other big cities, said Shameem Hasan, a power department spokesman. Engineers were trying to determine where and why the glitches happened and it could take hours to restore the system, he said.

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Prisons chief killed in Indian-controlled Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — The prisons chief in Indian-controlled Kashmir has been killed, officials said Tuesday, as India’s powerful home minister arrived in the disputed Himalayan region on a three-day visit. The body of Director-General of Prisons Hemant Kumar Lohia bore multiple wounds and was found Monday night at his friend’s home in the southern city of Jammu where he was visiting, police said. An initial probe suggested that Lohia’s household helper was behind the killing, senior police officer Mukesh Singh told reporters. He said the suspect fled the scene and added that the police investigation has not identified any militant link to the killing.

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Solomon Islands agreed to accord after China references axed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Solomon Islands agreed to sign an accord between the United States and more than a dozen Pacific nations only after indirect references to China were removed, the Solomon Islands foreign minister said Tuesday. “There were some references that put us in a position where we’ll have to choose sides, and we did not want to be placed in a position where we have to choose sides,” Jeremiah Manele told reporters in Wellington. His remarks represented the first time Solomon Islands has publicly acknowledged it had initial concerns about the agreement and expressed why it had a change of heart.

UN flood aid appeal jumps amid disease surge in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Alarmed by a surge in disease, the United Nations is asking for five times’ more international aid after deadly floods in Pakistan left millions of survivors homeless and at rising risk of waterborne diseases and other ailments. The U.N. on Tuesday raised its request to $816 million from $160 million, saying recent assessments pointed to the urgent need for long-term help lasting into next year. The request in Geneva came a day after Julien Harneis, the U.N. coordinator for Pakistan, said diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, scabies and malnutrition are fueling a “second wave of death and destruction,” with children and women in its path.

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Japan to expel Russia consul as ties worsen over Ukraine

TOKYO (AP) — Japan on Tuesday ordered the Russian consul in the northern city of Sapporo to leave the country within six days in retaliation for Moscow’s expulsion of a Japanese diplomat last month for alleged espionage. Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said his ministry declared the consul a persona non grata, or an undesirable person, and ordered him to leave by next Monday. The ministry did not release the consul’s name, but said the step was “conducted as an appropriate measure in response to the measures taken by Russia.” Hayashi said Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori summoned Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Galuzin to inform him of the decision.

Man stands trial for rape in Australian Parliament House

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A government staffer described herself “as drunk as she’d ever been in her life” on the night she alleges she was raped inside the Australian Parliament House, a prosecutor told a jury on Tuesday. In his opening address, prosecutor Shane Drumgold told the jury the level of Brittany Higgins’ intoxication was important because it was relevant to her ability to consent to having sex. Fellow staffer Bruce Lehrmann, 27, has pleaded not guilty to sexual intercourse without consent and faces a potential maximum sentence of 12 years in prison if convicted . His trial began in the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court on Tuesday in the national capital, Canberra, overseen by Chief Justice Lucy McCallum.

10 mountaineers killed after avalanche in northern India

NEW DELHI (AP) — At least 10 trainee mountaineers died Tuesday after being swept away by an avalanche in the Himalayas in northern India, media reports said, as rescuers searched for 11 others missing. A group of 29 people was hit by an avalanche on a mountain peak located in the Gangotri range of the Garhwal Himalayas on Tuesday morning, said Uttarakhand state police chief Ashok Kumar. He said rescuers pulled eight survivors from the snow and took them to a local hospital for treatment. The Press Trust of India news agency reported 10 had died. All the missing were undergoing training at a mountaineering institute but far from the avalanche site, Kumar said.