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Top Asian News 3:52 a.m. GMT

September 6, 2021 GMT

India probes Kashmir leader’s family under anti-terror law

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Police in Indian-controlled Kashmir opened a case against family members of late resistance leader Syed Ali Geelani under a harsh anti-terror law for allegedly raising anti-India slogans and wrapping his body in the Pakistani flag, officials said Sunday. Geelani, who died Wednesday at age 91, was the emblem of Kashmir’s defiance against New Delhi and had been under house arrest for years. His son, Naseem, said Indian authorities buried Geelani’s body in a local cemetery without any family members present after police snatched his body from the home. Police denied that and called it “baseless rumors” by “some vested interests.” A video widely shared on social media purportedly showed Geelani’s relatives, mostly women, frantically trying to prevent armed police from forcing their way into the room where his body, wrapped in a Pakistani flag, was being kept.

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Thai protesters keep up fight to oust prime minister

BANGKOK (AP) — Protesters gathered Sunday in the Thai capital Bangkok, seeking to rejuvenate their movement to oust the country’s prime minister and institute political reforms. More than 1,000 people gathered peacefully at central Bangkok’s busy Asoke intersection, while a militant faction that has made a tactic of confronting the authorities clashed with police elsewhere. Protest organizer Nattawut Saikua, a veteran activist and former deputy Cabinet minister, said the rallies at the Asoke intersection will continue every evening. The protests came a day after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha survived a no confidence vote in Parliament. That offered him a brief respite from widespread criticism that his government had botched its response to the pandemic by failing to secure timely and adequate supplies of COVID-19 vaccines.

Group behind Hong Kong’s Tiananmen vigil denies foreign ties

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HONG KONG (AP) — The group behind the annual Tiananmen Square memorial vigil in Hong Kong said Sunday it will not cooperate with police conducting a national security investigation into the group’s activities, calling it an abuse of power. Police notified the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China last month that it was under investigation for working for foreign interests, an accusation the group denied. “This is a really bad precedent of the national security (police) abusing the power by arbitrarily labeling any civil organization as a foreign agent,” Chow Han Tung, vice chairwoman of the alliance, said at a news conference called to address the police investigation.

Taliban stop planes of evacuees from leaving but unclear why

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — At least four planes chartered to evacuate several hundred people seeking to escape the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan have been unable to leave the country for days, officials said Sunday, with conflicting accounts emerging about why the flights weren’t able to take off as pressure ramps up on the United States to help those left behind to flee. An Afghan official at the airport in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif said that the would-be passengers were Afghans, many of whom did not have passports or visas, and thus were unable to leave the country. He said they had left the airport while the situation was sorted out.

Surfer fatally bitten by shark off Australia’s east coast

SYDNEY (AP) — A surfer was fatally bitten by a shark off Australia’s eastern coast Sunday as many locals went to beaches to celebrate Father’s Day. Fellow surfers, bystanders and paramedics gave the man CPR but he had a critical arm injury and could not be revived, New South Wales ambulance official Chris Wilson said. The attack occurred off Shelly and Emerald beaches in Coffs Harbour, about 530 kilometers (330 miles) north of Sydney. Witness Aaron Armstrong said Emerald Beach was very popular and many locals were in the water enjoying and celebrating Father’s Day. “Yeah, it will change the fabric a little bit for a little while in EB, that’s for sure,” Armstrong told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Extremist stayed in New Zealand despite immigration fraud

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Islamic State-inspired extremist who attacked shoppers in a New Zealand supermarket had been fighting deportation for immigration fraud, leaving the nation’s leader expressing frustration at the process. The new details about the attack Friday in Auckland emerged as the condition of some of those injured in his attack improved. Three critically injured patients remain in intensive care but are in stable condition, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said Sunday. Police added that the condition of one of the critically injured patients had improved. Bloomfield said a fourth person still hospitalized is in stable condition, while the three others have been released and are recovering at home.

New Zealand attacker radicalized by neighbors, mother says

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The mother of an Islamic State-inspired extremist who stabbed shoppers in a New Zealand supermarket said her son was radicalized by neighbors from Syria and Iraq who helped him recover from an injury. The attacker, Ahamed Samsudeen, was a 32-year-old Tamil Muslim from Sri Lanka. He arrived in New Zealand 10 years ago on a student visa, and applied for refugee status on the basis of being persecuted back home in the island nation off the southern coast of India. Samsudeen was shot and killed by police, who said five people were stabbed and two others injured in the chaos of last week’s attack in Auckland.

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US supports 2 Canadians marking 1,000th day in Chinese cells

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that “people are not bargaining chips,” adding the U.S. stands with Canada in calling for the release of two Canadians detained in China for 1,000 days. Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were detained in China in what many countries label “hostage politics” after Canada arrested an executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei in 2018 on a U.S. extradition request. Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave to an international organization, and Spavor, an entrepreneur, were arrested in apparent retaliation. Both have since been convicted of spying in closed Chinese courts — a process that Canada and dozens of allies say amounts to arbitrary detention.

German Foreign Ministry says ambassador to China has died

BEIJING (AP) — Germany’s new ambassador to China, a former adviser to Chancellor Angela Merkel, has died, the German Foreign Ministry said Monday. In a short statement the Foreign Ministry said Jan Hecker, Merkel’s former foreign policy adviser, had died only a few days after taking up his new office. “It is with deep sadness and dismay that we have learned of the death of the German ambassador in China, Prof. Dr. Jan Hecker,” the ministry said in a statement on its website. “Our thoughts in these moments are with his family and the people close to him.” The ministry gave no further details as to when Hecker, 54, died nor where.