Top Asian News 9:25 a.m. GMT


G7 finance leaders vow to contain inflation, strengthen supply chains but avoid mention of China

NIIGATA, Japan (AP) — The Group of Seven’s top financial leaders united Saturday in their support for Ukraine and their determination to enforce sanctions against Russia for its aggression but stopped short of any overt mention of China. The finance ministers and central bank chiefs ended three days of talks in Niigata, Japan, with a joint statement pledging to bring inflation under control, help countries struggling with onerous debts and strengthen financial systems. They also committed to collaborating to build more stable, diversified supply chains for developing clean energy sources and to “enhance economic resilience globally against various shocks.” The statement did not include any specific mention of China or of “economic coercion” in pursuit of political objectives, such as penalizing the companies of countries whose governments take actions that anger another country.

Modi’s Hindu nationalist party set to lose India’s Karnataka state in polls ahead of national vote

NEW DELHI (AP) — Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party was set to lose Karnataka, the only southern India state it governs, according to an early vote count Saturday that showed opposition Congress party leading in the crucial state polls. With vote counting continuing, India’s Election Commission said the Congress was leading in 127 out of the 224 seats in the state assembly. Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was leading in 62 constituencies, while another regional party, the Janata Dal (Secular), was ahead in 22 seats. Karnataka, one of the wealthiest states in India, voted on Wednesday and full results are expected later Saturday.

Thousands along Bangladesh, Myanmar coast told to seek shelter as powerful Cyclone Mocha approaches

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Volunteers in Bangladesh’s coastal districts were using loudspeakers to urge people to seek shelter on Saturday as the delta nation braced for an extremely severe cyclone, which is expected to slam ashore in Bangladesh and Myanmar in the next 24 hours. Cyclone Mocha was moving toward the coasts of southeastern Bangladesh and Myanmar with wind speeds of up to 160 kilometers (100 miles) per hour and gusts up to 175 kph (110 mph), the Indian Meteorological Department said. It’s projected to make landfall on Sunday evening in an area between between Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh and Kyaukpyu in Myanmar.

Thailand’s election may deliver mandate for change, but opposition victory may not assure power

BANGKOK (AP) — Voters disaffected by nine years of plodding rule by a coup-making army general are expected to deliver a strong mandate for change in Thailand’s general election Sunday. But a predicted victory by the allies of Thaksin Shinawatra, whose ouster by coup 17 years ago plunged the country into prolonged instability, has caused concern for an unhindered democratic transition. Dissatisfaction with the incumbent prime minister running for reelection, Prayuth Chan-ocha, is high, due in part to a slumping economy and his government’s mismanaged response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But weariness and even anger at the military’s habitual interference in politics is a major factor.

In Pakistan clashes, Khan showed he commands huge crowds. What’s driving them?

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The arrest of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier this week has shown how quickly his fervent loyalists can mobilize in large numbers. Within hours of his detention, his supporters torched vehicles and buildings, and attacked police and military facilities to express their fury over the treatment of the 70-year-old opposition leader. Khan’s supporters have emerged as a major force, challenging the authority of the government and military, aware that they can shift the political balance through unrelenting pressure. Although Khan has since been released from detention, it’s clear his supporters are ready to stay on the streets.

A look at the parties and issues in Thailand’s election on Sunday

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand votes Sunday in an election many see as an opportunity to break free from military-dominated governments that have held power for most of the nation’s modern history. THE BASICS: Some 52 million eligible voters will choose among candidates from 70 parties to serve a four-year term in the House of Representatives. It will have 400 members directly elected by constituencies and 100 chosen by proportional representation on a nationwide party preference ballot. Parties that win at least 25 seats are qualified to nominate a prime minister and can name up to three candidates. The prime minister is selected by a simple majority of a joint vote of the lower house and the Senate, whose 250 members were not elected but appointed by a military government.

Philippine court acquits former justice secretary of drug charges after key witnesses said they lied

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A former Philippine opposition senator and justice secretary was acquitted of drug charges Friday after key witnesses recanted and said they had lied about her involvement in narcotics trafficking. Leila de Lima, 63, remained jailed, however, as she has one outstanding charge against her. De Lima has been detained since 2017 on drug charges she says were fabricated by former President Rodrigo Duterte and his officials in an attempt to muzzle her criticism of his deadly crackdown on illegal drugs. His campaign left thousands of mostly petty suspects dead and sparked an International Criminal Court investigation as a possible crime against humanity.

Reports: Myanmar soldiers kill and burn bodies of 19 villagers, including 4 children

BANGKOK (AP) — Soldiers from Myanmar’s military government raided a village in the country’s central region, killing 19 villagers including four children and burning their bodies, independent media and a resident said Friday. The killings on Wednesday in Nyaung Pin Thar village in Bago region’s Htantabin township may have been in retaliation for an attack by resistance forces opposed to army rule. Radio Free Asia, a U.S.- funded news service, quoted a member of the locally formed People’s Defense Force as saying the killings occurred after fighting the same day between the army and his group and its allies from the Karen National Liberation Army, an ethnic rebel group that operates in the area.

China to send special envoy to Ukraine, Russia as part of peace efforts

BEIJING (AP) — China is sending a special envoy to Ukraine and Russia starting next week in an effort to help reach a political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, its Foreign Ministry said Friday. Li Hui, who is China’s special representative for Eurasian affairs and a former ambassador to Moscow, will also visit Poland, France and Germany, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said. China says it remains neutral over Russia’s war in Ukraine but has declared it has a ”no limits” relationship with Moscow and blames the U.S. and NATO for provoking the conflict. Beijing has put forward a peace plan for Ukraine that has been largely dismissed by the country’s supporters, who say a resolution can only come when Russia ceases its attacks and withdraws its troops from Ukrainian territory.

Australia trade minister seeks to mend ties on visit to China

BEIJING (AP) — Australian Trade and Tourism Minister Don Farrell held meetings and visited businesses in Beijing on Friday, in a sign of progress in restoring a nearly decade-long rift in relations with China. In Sydney, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Friday that the two sides need to “develop understanding and dialogue and I’ve said we’ll co-operate with China where we can, we’ll disagree where we must, and we’ll engage in a national interest.” China is Australia’s biggest trading partner, with two-way trade totaling $287 billion in 2022. China recently resumed imports of Australian coal, cotton and copper, and Farrell has said on his visit he would push for a review of tariffs on Australian barley.


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