Top Asian News 3:37 a.m. GMT
BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s Constitutional Court is set to rule Friday on whether Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has exceeded the term limits of his job and must leave office immediately. A ruling in Prayuth’s favor is considered likely but risks invigorating a protest movement long opposed to his government because he came to power undemocratically. They have called for a demonstration ahead of the court ruling and promised to bring more pressure if he stays. Last month, the court suspended Prayuth from carrying out the prime minister’s duties pending its ruling. The senior deputy prime minister in his Cabinet, Prawit Wongsuwon, became acting prime minister, while Prayuth retained his concurrent position of defense minister.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea, U.S. and Japanese warships launched their first trilateral anti-submarine drills in five years on Friday, after North Korea renewed missile tests this week in an apparent response to bilateral training by South Korean and U.S. forces. The North’s recent five missiles launches, the first such tests in a month, also came before and after U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visited South Korea on Thursday and reaffirmed the “ironclad” U.S. commitment to the security of its Asian allies. The one-day three-nation training off the Korean Peninsula’s east coast is meant to cope with a North Korean push to advance its ability to fire missile from submarines, according to a South Korean navy statement.
BEIJING (AP) — A former vice governor of China’s sprawling Tibet region has been indicted on charges of accepting bribes, state media reported Friday. Zhang Yongze is the latest high-level former official to be indicted on graft charges just weeks before a major congress of the ruling Communist Party, whose leader Xi Jinping has made fighting corruption a signature issue. Zhang “took advantage of his former positions and power to seek benefits for others” in obtaining government contracts and obtaining promotions, for which he “illegally accepted a large amount of money and valuables in return,” the official Xinhua News Agency quoted the indictment as saying.
NEW DELHI (AP) — A viral disease has killed nearly 100,000 cows and buffaloes in India and sickened over 2 million more. The outbreak has triggered devastating income losses for cattle farmers since the disease not only results in deaths but can also lead to decreased milk production, emaciated animals, and birth issues. The disease, called lumpy skin disease, is spread by insects that drink blood like mosquitoes and ticks. Infected cows and buffaloes get fevers and develop lumps on their skin. Farmers have experienced severe losses from extreme weather events over the past year: a record-shattering heat wave in India reduced wheat yields in April, insufficient rainfall in eastern states like Jharkhand state shriveled parched winter crops such as pulses, and an unusually intense September rainfall has damaged rice in the north.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Catholic Church’s decades-long sex abuse scandal caught up with a Nobel Peace Prize winner Thursday, with the Vatican confirming that it had sanctioned the East Timor independence hero, Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo, following allegations that he sexually abused boys there during the 1990s. The Vatican admission came a day after a Dutch magazine, De Groene Amsterdammer, exposed the claims against the revered Catholic bishop, citing two of Belo’s alleged victims and reporting there were others who hadn’t come forward in East Timor, where the church wields enormous influence. Spokesman Matteo Bruni said the Vatican office that handles sex abuse cases received allegations “concerning the bishop’s behavior” in 2019 and within a year had imposed the restrictions.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday told visiting leaders from more than a dozen Pacific Island countries that the U.S. was committed to bolstering its presence in their region and becoming a more collaborative partner as they face the “existential threat” of climate change. The president addressed the leaders who gathered in Washington for a summit as the White House looks to improve relations in the Pacific amid growing U.S. concern about China’s growing military and economic influence. “A great deal of history of our world is going to be written in the Indo-Pacific over the coming years and decades,” Biden said at the start of a meeting with island leaders at the State Department.
BANGKOK (AP) — A court in military-ruled Myanmar convicted former leader Aung San Suu Kyi in another criminal case Thursday and sentenced Australian economist Sean Turnell to three years in prison for violating Myanmar’s official secrets act, a legal official said. Suu Kyi received a three-year sentence after being convicted with Turnell under the secrets law, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to release information about the case. Three members of her Cabinet were also found guilty, each receiving sentences of three years. Turnell was also convicted of violating immigration law, for which he was given a three-year sentence to be served concurrently with the term for violating the secrets law.
TOKYO (AP) — In a rare admission of sexual harassment in Japan’s military, its army chief apologized Thursday to a former soldier for suffering caused by a group of servicemembers. Yoshihide Yoshida, head of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force, said an internal investigation found evidence that several servicemen were involved in the case brought by former soldier Rina Gonoi last month. “Representing the Ground-Self Defense Force, I deeply apologize to Ms. Gonoi for the pain she had to suffer for a long time,” Yoshida told a news conference. “We offer a sincere apology.” The investigation is continuing and further details, including the assailants and their punishment, have not been released.
NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that all women, regardless of marital status, can obtain abortions up to 24 weeks into their pregnancies. Previously, under India’s abortion law, married women could have abortions up to 24 weeks into their pregnancies, but single women were limited to 20 weeks. On Thursday, the court extended the 24-week period to all women. The judgment was cheered by reproductive rights activists, who said the court had ensured that the law does not discriminate and expands the right to safe and legal abortions to single women. “Now, all the rights that married women have, single women will also have,” said Aparna Chandra, an associate professor of law at the National Law School of India, who works on reproductive justice.
Sept. 23-29, 2022 This photo gallery highlights some of the most compelling images made or published by Associated Press photographers in Asia and Pacific. The gallery was curated by AP photo editor Shuji Kajiyama in Tokyo. Follow AP visual journalism: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/apnews AP Images on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP_Images AP Images blog: http://apimagesblog.com