Top Asian News 3:40 a.m. GMT
BANGKOK (AP) — Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has won a confidence vote in Parliament after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. Rumors his own political allies might try to unseat him had recently overshadowed harsh criticism from the opposition about his government’s coronavirus response. Thai media were instead abuzz with rumors that the secretary-general of the military-backed ruling party was leading the effort to unseat Prayuth and to add the main opposition party to the coalition. Prayuth won 264 votes in the House of Representatives against 208 no confidence votes Saturday. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A small group of Afghan women protested near the presidential palace in Kabul on Friday, demanding equal rights from the Taliban as Afghanistan’s new rulers work on forming a government and seeking international recognition. The Taliban captured most of the country in a matter of days last month and celebrated the departure of the last U.S. forces after 20 years of war. Now they face the urgent challenge of governing a war-ravaged country that is heavily reliant on international aid. The Taliban have promised an inclusive government and a more moderate form of Islamic rule than when they last ruled the country from 1996 to 2001.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Afghanistan’s most popular private television network has voluntarily replaced its risque Turkish soap operas and music shows with tamer programs tailored to the country’s new Taliban rulers, who have issued vague directives that media must not contradict Islamic laws or harm the national interest. Still, independent Afghan news stations are keeping female presenters on the air and testing the limits of media freedom under the group, whose militants have killed journalists in the past but have promised an open, inclusive system since coming to power in August. As the world watches intently for clues on how the Taliban will govern, their treatment of the media will be a key indicator, along with their policies toward women.
BEIJING (AP) — U.S. climate envoy John Kerry came to China this week seeking to press the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases to do more in the global effort to hold down the rise in temperature. What he got was renewed demands for Washington to change its stance toward China on a host of other issues from human rights to Taiwan, the self-governing island that China claims. The back and forth underscores a divide between the world’s two largest emitters that is complicating chances for a breakthrough agreement on carbon reduction goals at COP26, a United Nations conference to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A court report about a man in New Zealand who was inspired by the Islamic State group warned he had the motivation and means to commit violent acts in the community and posed a high risk. The report described the man as harboring extreme attitudes, living an isolated lifestyle, and having a sense of entitlement. However, a judge’s job in July was to sentence the man for the relatively minor crimes he had committed at that time, not for potential future crimes. She decided to release him under the supervision of a mosque leader who promised to try and help.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand authorities were so worried about an extremist inspired by the Islamic State group that they were following him around the clock and were able to shoot and kill him within 60 seconds of him unleashing a knife attack that wounded six people Friday at an Auckland supermarket. Three of the shoppers were taken to Auckland hospitals in critical condition, police said. Another was in serious condition, while two more were in moderate condition. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the violence as a terror attack. She said the man was a Sri Lankan national who was inspired by the Islamic State group and was well known to the nation’s security agencies.
TOKYO (AP) — Amid growing criticism of his handling of the pandemic, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday he won’t run for the leadership of the governing party later this month, paving the way for a new Japanese leader after just a year in office. Suga told reporters that heading Japan’s pandemic response and campaigning to lead his governing Liberal Democratic Party at the same time divided his energies. “I have decided not to run for the party leadership elections, as I would like to focus on coronavirus measures,” Suga told reporters who rushed to his office after the news broke.
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Indian authorities enforced a security lockdown and a near-total communications blackout for a second day in disputed Kashmir on Friday after the death of Syed Ali Geelani, a top resistance leader who became the emblem of the region’s defiance against New Delhi. Geelani’s death at age 91 on late Wednesday and the ensuing crackdown on public movement and communications by Indian authorities highlighted the turmoil seething just below the surface in the Himalayan region of achingly stunning beauty. Wearing flak jackets and riot gear, armed police and paramilitary soldiers patrolled streets in Srinagar, the region’s main city, and ordered residents to stay indoors.
VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuania on Friday recalled its ambassador to China following the Baltic country’s decision in July to allow self-governing Taiwan to open an office in its capital under its own name. The Foreign Ministry said Ambassador Diana Mickeviciene had been recalled from Beijing for consultations “following the Chinese government statement on August 10.” Last month, China recalled its ambassador to Lithuania and told the Baltic nation to “immediately rectify its wrong decision, take concrete measures to undo the damage, and not to move further down the wrong path.” The statement referred to “potential consequences” for Lithuania if it allowed the office to open but gave no details.
SANGEH, Indonesia (AP) — Deprived of their preferred food source — the bananas, peanuts and other goodies brought in by tourists now kept away by the coronavirus — hungry monkeys on the resort island of Bali have taken to raiding villagers’ homes in their search for something tasty. Villagers in Sangeh say the gray long-tailed macaques have been venturing out from a sanctuary about 500 meters (yards) away to hang out on their roofs and await the right time to swoop down and snatch a snack. Worried that the sporadic sorties will escalate into an all-out monkey assault on the village, residents have been taking fruit, peanuts and other food to the Sangeh Monkey Forest to try to placate the primates.