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Top Asian News 3:55 a.m. GMT

October 4, 2022 GMT

N. Korea sends missile soaring over Japan in escalation

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Tuesday fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan for the first time in five years, forcing Japan to issue evacuation notices and suspend trains during the flight of the weapon that is capable of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam. The launch was the most provocative weapons demonstration by North Korea this year as it ramps up missile tests to a record pace. Two intercontinental ballistic missiles tested earlier this year were launched at high angles and short of their full range and so didn’t fly over other nations’ territories. Tuesday’s test, the North’s fifth round of missile launches in 10 days, comes as North Korea uses a diplomatic standstill with the U.S.

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.

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Indonesia police chief, others removed over soccer disaster

MALANG, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian police chief and nine elite officers were removed from their posts Monday and 18 others were being investigated for responsibility in the firing of tear gas inside a soccer stadium that set off a stampede, killing at least 125 people, officials said. Distraught family members were struggling to comprehend the loss of their loved ones, including 17 children, at the match in East Java’s Malang city that was attended only by hometown Arema FC fans. The organizer had banned supporters of the visiting team, Persebaya Surabaya, because of Indonesia’s history of violent soccer rivalries.

Indonesian soccer fan recalls sting of tear gas before crush

MALANG, Indonesia (AP) — Dicky Kurniawan felt the sharp sting in his eyes as Indonesian police fired tear gas into the football stadium. From his seat near an exit, he said he watched the melee unfold Saturday night as angry fans poured into the field to demand answers after host Arema FC of East Java’s Malang city lost to Persebaya Surabaya, its first defeat ever on its home turf. The mob threw bottles and other objects, and the violence spread outside the stadium, where police cars were overturned and torched. Kurniawan, 22, was shocked when police fired tear gas at spectators in the stands.

Death toll in last week’s Kabul school blast climbs to 52

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Last week’s suicide bombing at a Kabul education center killed as many as 52 people, more than twice the death toll acknowledged by Taliban officials, according to a tally compiled by The Associated Press on Monday. Dozens more were wounded in Friday’s blast, making it one of the bloodiest attacks since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan more than a year ago. There was no claim of responsibility, but Islamic State group extremists have carried out a series of attacks against Taliban targets and ethnic minorities. The blast struck at a time when hundreds of teen-age students were taking practice exams at the Kaaj Higher Educational Center in the Afghan capital.

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Marcos trip to watch Singapore F1 races sparks criticism

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A trip by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to Singapore over the weekend to watch Formula One races has come under attack from critics who described it as “utterly callous” while thousands of Filipinos remain displaced due to a recent typhoon. Marcos Jr. confirmed his trip to Singapore for the Grand Prix event in a brief statement and pictures he posted on Facebook on Monday night after a flurry of online criticism. “They say that playing golf is the best way to drum up business, but I say it’s Formula 1,” Marcos Jr. said. “What a productive weekend.” He said without elaborating that he was invited with other dignitaries and met new business friends who were willing to invest in the Philippines, and added he would disclose more details later.

Japan’s Kishida vows to regain trust in church controversy

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TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday that he will humbly listen to people’s “harsh voices” criticizing his governing party’s cozy ties to the ultra-conservative Unification Church and help victims of its allegedly fraudulent businesses and huge donation collection. Kishida has come under fire in a widening scandal that has exposed decades of close ties between former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated in July, his ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the Unification Church, which has been accused of raking in huge donations by brainwashing adherents. Kishida has split public opinion by honoring Abe with a state funeral, which opponents assailed as a prewar tradition designed to stir nationalism, without an acceptable legal basis or parliamentary discussion.

Pakistan court accepts ex-PM Khan’s apology in contempt case

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani court on Monday accepted former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s written apology in a contempt case stemming from his outburst against a female judge that was seen as a threat, court officials and a defense lawyer said. The ruling by the Islamabad High Court averted Khan’s possible disqualification to run for the next parliamentary elections. Khan initially refused to apologize for his remarks, but last month reversed course and submitted a written apology. Khan’s lawyer, Babar Awan, said the court dismissed the contempt charge that had been issued last month in connection with the former premier’s controversial remarks about judge Zeba Chaudhry.

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Heavy rain swells rivers, causing floods in much of Thailand

BANGKOK (AP) — Heavy rain in northern, northeastern and central Thailand worsened severe flooding in many parts of the country on Monday, as authorities ordered the release of water into already overflowing rivers from dams that were filled to capacity. Many areas were already flooded from seasonal monsoon rains when the remnants of Tropical Storm Noru, which earlier tore through the Philippines and Vietnam, swept through parts of the country last week. Among the areas hit by flooding were Chiang Mai, a large city and tourist center in the north, and Sukhothai, an ancient capital and archaeological site that draws many visitors.

UN: 5.7 million Pakistani flood victims to face food crisis

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The United Nations humanitarian agency warned Monday that about 5.7 million Pakistani flood survivors will face a serious food crisis in the next three months. A top U.N. official announced an increase in the humanitarian appeal for Pakistan to $816 million, from $160 million, amid rising deaths from disease. In Geneva, Julien Harneis, the U.N. resident coordinator in Pakistan, told reporters that aid agencies needed more funds to prevent a “second wave of destruction” from waterborne and other diseases in Pakistan. He said the U.N. weeks ago issued an appeal for $160 million in emergency funding to respond to the floods but considering the scale of devastation, the Aug.