Related topics

Top Asian News 9:10 p.m. GMT

March 24, 2023 GMT

India expels Rahul Gandhi, Modi critic, from Parliament

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s top opposition leader and fierce critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expelled from Parliament Friday, a day after a court convicted him of defamation and sentenced him to two years in prison for mocking the surname Modi in an election speech. The actions against Rahul Gandhi, the great-grandson of India’s first prime minister, were widely condemned by opponents of Modi as the latest assaults against democracy and free speech by a ruling government seeking to crush dissent. Removing Gandhi from politics delivered a major blow to the opposition party he led ahead of next year’s national elections.

North Korea claims ‘radioactive tsunami’ weapon test at sea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea claimed Friday to have tested a nuclear-capable underwater drone designed to generate a gigantic “radioactive tsunami” that would destroy naval strike groups and ports. Analysts were skeptical that the device presents a major new threat, but the test underlines the North’s commitment to raising nuclear threats. The test this week came as the United States reportedly planned to deploy aircraft carrier strike groups and other advanced assets to waters off the Korean Peninsula. Military tensions are at a high point as the pace of both North Korean weapons tests and U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises has accelerated in the past year in a cycle of tit-for-tat responses.

China threatens consequences over US warship’s actions

BANGKOK (AP) — China threatened “serious consequences” Friday after the United States Navy sailed a destroyer around the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea for the second day in a row, in a move Beijing claimed was a violation of its sovereignty and security. The warning comes amid growing tensions between China and the United States in the region, as Washington pushes back at Beijing’s growingly assertive posture in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway it claims virtually in its entirety. On Thursday, after the U.S. sailed the USS Milius guided-missile destroyer near the Paracel Islands, China said its navy and air force had forced the American vessel away, a claim the U.S.

Pakistani court grants protection to Imran Khan from arrest

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani court on Friday shielded from arrest former Prime Minister Imran Khan until at least next week, amid a roiling political crisis that has pitted the celebrity politician against the current government and spilled over into street protests. Khan was ousted through a no-confidence vote in Parliament last April. Since then, the 70-year-old former cricket player turned politician has become embroiled in more than 100 legal cases against him, including graft while in office. The ruling by the Lahore High Court was another reprieve for embattled Khan, who is now the country’s top opposition leader. The court order virtually prevents his arrest until March 27 over accusations that he incited supporters from his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party to violence when he failed to appear before a court in the capital Islamabad because of hours-long clashes between his party and the police.

Philippines confronts Chinese diplomats over sea disputes

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Filipino diplomats confronted Chinese officials in closed-door talks Friday with a slew of protests over China’s aggressive behavior in the South China Sea, including targeting a Philippine coast guard ship with a military-grade laser, but no resolution was reached on the issues, an official said. Territorial disputes in the busy waterway have long loomed as a potential flashpoint in Asia and have become a sensitive front in the regional rivalry between China and the United States. Washington lays no claims in the contested waters but has challenged Beijing’s extensive claims, including by deploying its warships and fighter jets and repeatedly warning that it would help defend the Philippines — a treaty ally — if Philippine forces, ships and aircraft are attacked.

Why does US see Chinese-owned TikTok as a security threat?

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. lawmakers have grilled TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew about data security and harmful content, with some pushing to ban the popular short-video app nationwide. Chew, a native of Singapore, told the lawmakers that TikTok prioritizes user safety as he sought to avert a U.S. ban on the app by downplaying its ties to China. Both Republican and Democratic representatives aggressively questioned Chew on topics including TikTok’s content moderation practices, its data security plans, and past spying on journalists. Here’s a look at some of the concerns about TikTok and its ownership. WHY DOES WASHINGTON SAY TIKTOK IS A THREAT?

Artwork that secretly honored Hong Kong dissidents removed

HONG KONG (AP) — A Hong Kong department store took down a digital artwork that contained hidden references to jailed dissidents, in an incident the artist says is evidence of erosion of free speech in the semi-autonomous Chinese city. It was unclear whether the government played a role in the decision to remove the artwork, it came just days after a slasher film featuring Winnie the Pooh, a figure often used in playful taunts of China’s President Xi Jinping, was pulled from local cinemas. Patrick Amadon’s “No Rioters” was put on display on a billboard at the SOGO Causeway Bay Store for an exhibition that started last Friday, as the city was promoting its return as a vibrant cultural hub following years of pandemic travel restrictions.

Brazil’s Lula contracts pneumonia, pushes back China trip

Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has pushed back his departure to China after contracting “mild pneumonia,” the presidential palace said in a statement Friday. Lula, 77, underwent medical examinations in a hospital after a trip to Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, the statement said. He had been expected to leave for China on Friday or Saturday. The leftist leader is now scheduled to travel on Sunday for his multi-day visit. But newspaper O Globo reported Friday that his departure is pending a health assessment in the afternoon. A delegation composed of ministers, senators, lawmakers and hundreds of businessmen is set to accompany Lula during his first state visit to Brazil’s biggest trade partner since taking office in January.

Do Kwon, wanted in $40B crypto crash, arrested in Montenegro

PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — Police in Montenegro have arrested Terraform Labs founder Do Kwon, who is wanted in South Korea in connection with a $40 billion crash of the firm’s cryptocurrency that devastated retail investors around the world, the European country’s interior minister said Thursday. “Montenegrin police arrested an individual who is believed to be one of the most wanted fugitives, South Korean citizen Do Kwon,” Interior Minister Filip Adzic said on Twitter. South Korea’s Justice Ministry on Friday confirmed the arrest of Kwon and another unidentified individual linked to the cryptocurrency crash and said it will proceed with steps to extradite them to South Korea.

Hong Kong to probe cause of warehouse fire; 3,600 evacuated

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong firefighters will investigate the cause of a blaze that broke out Friday at a warehouse and forced 3,600 people, including students, to evacuate, authorities said. Thick smoke was seen pouring out from the eight-story factory building where the fire broke out around 2 p.m. at a warehouse on Fat Tseung Street in Cheung Sha Wan, a residential and industrial area in Kowloon, the government said. The fire was largely extinguished at 8:40 p.m. Officers suspected the cause was linked to some sparks triggered by construction work, but they would have to probe further into the cause, said Wilson Kong, divisional officer of the Fire Services Department.