Top Asian News 4:33 a.m. GMT
BEIJING (AP) — Wang Yaping has become the first Chinese woman to conduct a spacewalk as part of a six-month mission to the country’s space station. Wang and fellow astronaut Zhai Zhigang left the station’s main module on Sunday evening, spending more than six hours outside installing equipment and carrying out tests alongside the station’s robotic service arm, according to the China Manned Space agency. The third member of the crew, Ye Guangfu, assisted from inside the station, CMS said on its website. Wang, 41, and Zhai, 55, had both traveled to China’s now-retired experimental space stations, and Zhai conducted China’s first spacewalk 13 years ago.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The gunman who killed 51 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, is considering appealing his convictions and prison sentence, his lawyer said Monday. Australian Brenton Tarrant was subject to inhumane and degrading treatment in jail, prompting him to plead guilty under duress, lawyer Tony Ellis wrote in a memo to the chief coroner. Tarrant, a white supremacist, livestreamed the 2019 attacks on Facebook. It was the worst atrocity in New Zealand’s modern history and prompted lawmakers to swiftly ban the deadliest types of semiautomatic weapons. Last year before his trial was due to begin, Tarrant pleaded guilty to all charges, including 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Taliban-run Afghan public health ministry announced Sunday the start of a four-day nationwide polio vaccination campaign aimed at inoculating children under age 5. For the past three years before taking control of Afghanistan, the Taliban had barred U.N.-organized vaccination teams from doing door-to-door campaigns in parts of the country under their control. The group apparently was suspicious the team members could be spies for the previous government or the West. Because of the ban and ongoing fighting, some 3.3 million children over the past three years have not been vaccinated. “Without any doubt polio is a disease that without treatment will either kill our children or cause them with permanent disability, so in this case the only way is to implement the vaccination,” said Dr.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea has conducted artillery firing exercises to bolster its defense capability, state media reported Sunday, its latest weapons test as Pyongyang continues to pressure Washington and Seoul to abandon what it calls their hostile policy. An artillery firing competition among mechanized units was held on Saturday, with senior government and military officials present, the official Korean Central News Agency reported. Leader Kim Jong Un was not mentioned in the report, suggesting he did not observe the training. He supervised a similar artillery firing drill last year. This year’s drills were designed to inspect the mechanized units’ progress in their mobile combat capabilities and to further intensify competitive training throughout the North’s military, KCNA said.
BEIJING (AP) — An early-season snowstorm blanketed much of northern China including the capital Beijing, prompting highway closures and flight and train cancellations and delays. Temperatures plunged to freezing and below as a cold front moved from west to east. A steady, blowing snow fell Sunday in Beijing, the nearby city of Tianjin and northeastern China after hitting parts of Inner Mongolia and other western regions the previous day. The National Meteorological Center issued an orange alert for snowstorms, the second highest level in China’s four-tier warning system. Accumulations of more than 30 centimeters (11 inches) were forecast in some areas.
SYDNEY (AP) — Police in western Australia on Sunday called off a search for a swimmer who was attacked by a shark. The wife of Paul Millachip, 57, said she was with him at the Port Beach in the suburb of Perth on Saturday morning when two teenagers on a boat witnessed the shark attack. “It came out of the blue. But it did happen, you just have to deal with it,” the wife said, asking not to have her name published. She praised the teenagers who tried to help. When the shark attacked a second time, they raced their boat and alerted other swimmers to get out of the water.
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — As this year’s U.N. climate talks go into their second week, negotiations on key topics are inching forward. Boosted by a few high-profile announcements at the start of the meeting, delegates are upbeat about the prospects for tangible progress in the fight against global warming. Laurent Fabius, the former French foreign minister who helped forge the Paris climate accord, said the general atmosphere had improved since the talks began Oct. 31 and “most negotiators want an agreement.” But negotiators were still struggling late Saturday to put together a series of draft decisions for government ministers to finalize during the second week of the talks.
BEIJING (AP) — China’s exports remained strong in October, a positive sign for an economy trying to weather power shortages and COVID-19 outbreaks. The country’s customs agency said Sunday that exports totaled $300.2 billion, up 27.1% from a year ago. That was down from a 28.1% increase in September but still healthy. Imports came in at $215.7 billion, a 20.6% rise. Exports and imports are much higher than a year ago, when much of the world was in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is widespread concern that economic headwinds are slowing growth. The world’s second-largest economy grew 4.9% in the three months ending in September, down from 7.9% in the previous quarter.
NEW DELHI (AP) — Eleven patients died Saturday after a fire broke out in a hospital’s COVID-19 ward in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, police said. There were 17 patients in the ward in the city of Ahmednagar where the fire started, said police Inspector Jyoti Karkade. The remaining six patients are in stable condition, she added. While the fire has been brought under control, the cause was not immediately clear. Officials said they will carry out an investigation. The former chief minister of the state, Devendra Fadnavis, took to Twitter to express his condolences and called for “strict action” against those responsible.
SYDNEY (AP) — Rescue services in western Australia were searching for a man who was attacked by multiple sharks, police said. Two teenagers on a boat saw what they believed was a shark attack at Port Beach in the North Fremantle suburb of Perth on Saturday morning and alerted other swimmers to get out of the sea and called emergency services. Police were unable to confirm how many sharks were involved in the attack but Western Australia Police Acting Inspector Troy Douglas said it was “obviously at least one.” Some reports quoting witnesses said the attack involved a White shark and a Tiger shark.