Top Asian News 7:07 a.m. GMT




  • In World
  • 2019-02-12 07:07:13Z
  • By Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) - Members of the Uighur Muslim ethnic group are calling on China to post videos of their relatives who have disappeared into a vast system of internment camps. The social media campaign, launched early Tuesday under the hashtag #MeTooUyghur, follows the release of a state media video showing famed Uighur musician Abdurehim Heyit, who many believed had died in custody. "China, show us their videos if they are alive!" Halmurat Harri, a Finland-based Uighur activist, wrote on Twitter. He urged the government to also release videos to prove that others believed detained are in good health amid reports of neglectful and sometimes brutal conditions in the camps.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghanistan's first president following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the country and the collapse in 1992 of Kabul's pro-communist government, Sibghatullah Mujadidi, has died. He was 93. The white-turbaned and soft-spoken Mujadidi was a mentor to former President Hamid Karzai, who had belonged to his anti-communist resistance group during the 1980's Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Mujadidi's guerrilla group - the U.S.-backed Afghan National Liberation Front - was perhaps the smallest and most moderate of guerrilla groups fighting to oust the former Red Army from Afghanistan. The Soviet invasion came at the height of the Cold War between America and the former Soviet Union.

NEW DELHI (AP) - Seventeen people died in a fire early Tuesday at a hotel in western New Delhi that left at least four others injured, police said. The fire at the Arpit Palace Hotel has been extinguished, but authorities are still investigating what sparked it, Deputy Police Commissioner Mandeep Singh Randhawa said. "We have to check the stability of the structure, check every room," Randhawa said. The hotel is located in Karol Bagh, an area in India's capital city full of shops and budget hotels that is popular with tourists. Twenty-five fire engines responded to the blaze, which had engulfed all but the ground floor of the five-story hotel, fire officer Vijay Paul said.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - A refugee soccer player thanked Australians on his return home Tuesday hours after the threat of extradition to Bahrain was lifted and three months after he was detained in Thailand. Hundreds of supporters carrying welcome signs and singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" were waiting at Melbourne Airport when Hakeem al-Araibi arrived on a commercial flight direct from Bangkok. "I would like to say thanks to Australia," Al-Araibi told the cheering crowd. "It's amazing to see all of the people here and all of the Australian people and all of the media who supported me." Thailand had come under great pressure from Australia's government, sporting bodies and human rights groups to send Hakeem al-Araibi back to Australia, where he has refugee status and plays semi-professional soccer.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysian authorities have seized a record 30 tons of pangolin and pangolin products in eastern Sabah state on Borneo, the biggest such bust in the country, a wildlife monitoring group said Tuesday. The monitoring network Traffic said in a statement that Sabah police this month uncovered two major pangolin processing facilities, throwing a spotlight on Sabah's role in the sourcing and trafficking of the endangered scaly mammal. Sabah police said over the weekend they had seized three refrigerated containers containing 1,800 boxes filled with frozen pangolins, another 572 frozen pangolins in separate freezers, 61 live pangolins and 361 kilograms of pangolin scales.

PRAYAGRAJ, India (AP) - At the world's largest pilgrimage in Prayagraj in northern India, tens of millions of Hindu faithful travel to the sacred sangam - the confluence of three holy rivers - to take a dip. The Kumbh Mela, or pitcher festival, is a series of baths by Hindu sadhus and sadhvis, holy men and women, and other pilgrims who believe the ritual cleanses them of their sins and ends the process of repeated reincarnation. For some, stripping down for a holy dip also signifies the stripping away of the material world. At every Kumbh, including this year's, thousands of devotees are initiated into the reclusive sect of the Naga Sadhus - naked, ash-smeared cannabis-smoking Hindu warriors and onetime-armed defenders of the faith who for centuries have lived as ascetics in jungles and caves.

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) - The United States may be forced to scale back certain operations in Europe and elsewhere if countries continue to do business with the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday in a new warning that underscores U.S. concerns about the firm. In Budapest on the first leg of a five-nation European tour during which he is raising American concerns about China and Russia's growing influence in Central Europe, Pompeo said nations would have to consider choosing between Huawei and the United States. The warning was broad but pointedly delivered in Hungary, a NATO ally and European Union member where Huawei is a major player.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The Pentagon's top official made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Monday to meet with U.S. commanders and Afghan leaders amid a push for peace with the Taliban. Pat Shanahan, the recently installed acting secretary of defense, said he has no orders to reduce the U.S. troop presence, although officials say that is at the top of the Taliban's list of demands in exploratory peace negotiations. Shanahan said he is encouraged that President Donald Trump's administration is exploring all possibilities for ending a 17-year war, the longest in American history. But he stressed that peace terms are for the Afghans to decide.

BANGKOK (AP) - Thailand's Election Commission on Monday disqualified the sister of the country's king from becoming a candidate for prime minister in next month's general election, saying all royals have to be above politics and the monarchy must remain politically neutral. The commission's decision came after her brother issued an order describing Princess Ubolratana Mahidol's political bid as inappropriate and unconstitutional. The Thai Raksa Chart Party last Friday registered Ubolratana as its candidate, defying precedent against royal involvement in politics. Her choice of party was notable because the party is associated with the political machine of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup after being accused of abuse of power and disrespect for the monarchy.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - From appearing in an R&B music video and trolling social media to vilify the new government, former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been combative before the start of his graft trial, linked to the multibillion-dollar looting of the 1MDB state investment fund that has battered the country's standing abroad. The trial was to start Tuesday, but Najib's lawyers won a delay of proceedings on Monday. Najib's lawyer, Farhan Read, said the Appeal Court allowed the delay pending an appeal over a technical issue that the defense says could impair the validity of the trial. No date has been set for the appeal hearing.

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