Top Asian News 4:43 a.m. GMT
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un lauded the “irresistible might” of his nuclear-armed military as he visited troops with his daughter to mark the 75th founding anniversary of his army, state media said Wednesday. The visit came amid indications North Korea is preparing to stage a massive military parade in capital Pyongyang where it could showcase the latest hardware of a growing nuclear weapons program that stokes the concern of its neighbors and the United States. North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said Kim visited the lodging quarters of the Korean People’s Army’s general officers with his daughter, Kim Ju Ae.
BEIJING (AP) — China said Tuesday it will “resolutely safeguard its legitimate rights and interests” over the shooting down of a suspected Chinese spy balloon by the United States, as relations between the two countries deteriorate further. The balloon prompted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel a highly-anticipated visit to Beijing this week that had offered slight hopes for an improvement in relations. China claims it was a civilian balloon used for meteorological research but has refused to say to which government department or company it belongs. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning on Tuesday reiterated that the “unmanned airship” posed no threat and entered U.S.
As glaciers melt and pour massive amounts of water into nearby lakes, 15 million people across the globe live under the threat of a sudden and deadly outburst flood, a new study finds. More than half of those living in the shadow of the disaster called glacial lake outburst floods are in just four countries: India, Pakistan, Peru and China, according to a study in Tuesday’s Nature Communications. A second study, awaiting publication in a peer-reviewed journal, catalogs more than 150 glacial flood outbursts in history and recent times. It’s a threat Americans and Europeans rarely think about, but 1 million people live within just 6 miles (10 kilometers) of potentially unstable glacial-fed lakes, the study calculated.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A speeding bus collided with a car and plunged into a ravine in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least 22 passengers and injuring 12 others, police said, the second such deadly accident in less than a week. The bus was traveling to the garrison city of Rawalpindi from the Ghizer district in the north when the accident happened near Shatial village, 500 kilometers (30 miles) north of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said Dildar Khan, an area police chief. He said rescuers transferred the dead and injured to a hospital, where some of them were listed in critical condition.
BANGKOK (AP) — An overnight rescue operation successfully retrieved a 19-month-old girl from a dry artesian well shaft Tuesday — 18 hours after she fell into the hole at a cassava farm in northern Thailand. Rescuers clapped and cheered as the toddler, the daughter of migrant workers from Myanmar, was pulled out of the 15-meter (49-foot) -deep well shaft and placed on an a stretcher that carried her to a waiting ambulance. “Great job, guys. We did it!” exclaimed one rescuer as his colleagues in Tak province’s Phop Phra district wept and hugged each other. The child fell into the hole late Monday afternoon while her parents were working at the plantation.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A former principal of a ultra-Orthodox Jewish girls school in the Australian city of Melbourne molested three sisters, a prosecutor said Wednesday. Malka Leifer, 56, has pleaded not guilty in the Victoria state County Court to 29 sexual offenses that were allegedly committed at the Adass Israel School and at her Melbourne home as well as at school camps at the Victorian rural towns of Blampied and Rawson between 2003 and 2007. The school was excited by Tel Aviv-born Leifer’s arrival from Israel in 2001, when the sisters were aged around 12, 14 and 16, prosecutor Justin Lewis told the jury.
BANGKOK (AP) — Myanmar’s military-led government, working with Russia’s state atomic energy company, has inaugurated a nuclear power information center as a step toward developing atomic power to fill energy shortages in the strife-torn Southeast Asian nation. Myanmar state media reported Tuesday that the head of the military government, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, met with Alexey Evgenievich Likhachev, director general of the Russian State Atomic Energy Corp., or Rosatom. Officials from the two sides met at the newly opened Nuclear Technology Information Center in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, on Monday, the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said. Myanmar hopes to build and operate a reactor under a preliminary agreement between Myanmar and Rosatom that was signed in 2015, the newspaper said.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean court on Tuesday ordered the government to pay 30 million won ($24,000) to a Vietnamese woman who survived a gunshot wound but lost several relatives when South Korean marines rampaged through her village during the Vietnam War in 1968. In awarding the compensation to 62-year-old Nguyen Thi Thanh, the Seoul Central District Court dismissed the government’s argument that it was unclear whether South Korean troops were responsible for the slaughter in the village of Phong Nhi in central Vietnam. The court also rejected the government’s argument that civilian killings were unavoidable because the South Korean troops were dealing with Viet Cong guerrillas who often blended with villagers, according to Thanh’s lawyer, Lim Jae-sung.
TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese court on Tuesday rejected a damage suit filed by a group of children of Hiroshima atomic bombing survivors seeking government support for medical costs, saying the hereditary impact of radiation exposure is still unknown. A group of 28 plaintiffs whose parents suffered radiation exposure in the Aug. 6, 1945, U.S. atomic attack were demanding the central government include them in the medical support available to survivors. The Hiroshima District Court said the possibility of a hereditary effect from radiation cannot be denied, but there is no established scientific consensus and the government’s exclusion of the plaintiffs from medical support is not unconstitutional.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan lifted its ban on Wikipedia services before dawn Tuesday, after the country’s media regulator blocked the site last week for not removing purportedly blasphemous content, claiming it hurts the sentiments of Muslims. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif ordered the unblocking late on Monday, according to a government statement. The site was blocked on Friday by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, after a deadline expired that Pakistan gave to Wikipedia to remove the controversial content. The ban drew criticism and many condemned Islamabad’s action, saying it was a blow to digital rights and deprived the public of the right to seek knowledge.