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Top Asian News 4:36 a.m. GMT

November 19, 2021 GMT

The AP Interview: Meng Hongwei’s wife slams ‘monster’ China

LYON, France (AP) — In China, she enjoyed the privileges that flowed from being married to a senior member of the governing elite. Her husband was a top police official in the security apparatus that keeps the Communist Party in power, so trusted that China sent him to France to take up a prestigious role at Interpol. But Meng Hongwei, the former Interpol president, has now vanished into China’s sprawling penal system, purged in a stunning fall from grace. And his wife is alone with their twin boys in France, a political refugee under round-the-clock French police protection following what she suspects was an attempt by Chinese agents to kidnap and deliver them to an uncertain fate.

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Hate speech in Myanmar continues to thrive on Facebook

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Years after coming under scrutiny for contributing to ethnic and religious violence in Myanmar, Facebook still has problems detecting and moderating hate speech and misinformation on its platform in the Southeast Asian nation, internal documents viewed by The Associated Press show. Three years ago, the company commissioned a report that found Facebook was used to “foment division and incite offline violence” in the country. It pledged to do better and developed several tools and policies to deal with hate speech. But the breaches have persisted -- and even been exploited by hostile actors -- since the Feb.

China coast guard uses water cannon against Philippine boats

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Chinese coast guard ships blocked and sprayed a powerful stream of water at two Philippine boats carrying supplies to troops at a disputed South China Sea shoal, prompting Manila to order Beijing’s ships to back off and warn that its supply vessels are covered by a mutual defense treaty with the United States, Manila’s top diplomat said Thursday. Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said no one was hurt in the incident on Tuesday, but the two supply ships had to abort their mission to provide food to Filipino forces occupying Second Thomas Shoal, which lies off western Palawan province in the Philippines’ internationally recognized exclusive economic zone.

India to repeal controversial farm laws that led to protests

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Friday his government will withdraw the controversial farm laws that prompted year-long protests from tens of thousands of farmers who said the laws will shatter their livelihoods. Modi made the surprise announcement during a televised speech that was broadcast live. He said the constitutional process to repeal the laws will begin in December when parliament sits for the winter session. The announcement came on the day of the Guru Purab festival, when Sikhism founder Guru Nanak’s birthday is celebrated, and ahead of key elections in states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

SKorea sees record virus jump as thousands take college exam

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea reported its biggest daily jump in coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic as hundreds of thousands of masked students flocked to schools on Thursday for the country’s highly competitive college entrance exam amid growing concerns about the delta-driven spread. About 509,000 students were taking the one-day exam at 1,395 sites across the nation, including hospitals and shelters. The annual exam, called “Suneung,” or the College Scholastic Ability Test, is crucial in the education-obsessed country, where careers, social standings and even marriage prospects greatly depend on which university a person attends. Students were required to have their temperatures taken before entering classrooms, and those with fevers were sent to separate testing areas.

Biden: US may not send top dignitaries to Beijing Olympics

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Thursday that the United States was weighing a diplomatic boycott of next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing over China’s human rights abuses, a move that would keep American dignitaries, but not athletes, from the games. Speaking to reporters as he hosted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office, Biden said backing a boycott of the Olympics in February is “something we’re considering.” The U.S. and other nations traditionally send high-level delegations to each Olympics. First lady Jill Biden led the American contingent to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo this year and second gentleman Doug Emhoff led a delegation to the Paralympic Games.

Taiwan deploys advanced F-16V fighter jets amid China threat

CHIAYI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan has deployed the most advanced version of the F-16 fighter jet in its air force, as the self-ruled island steps up its defense capabilities in the face of continuing threats from China, which claims it as part of its territory. Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen commissioned into service 64 upgraded F-16V fighter jets at an air force base in Chiayi on Thursday. The aircraft represent part of Taiwan’s total 141 F-16 A/B jets, an older model from the 1990s that will be completely retrofitted by the end of 2023. Tsai said the upgrade project showed the strength of Taiwan’s cooperation with the U.S.

Doubts over China tennis star’s email raise safety concerns

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A Chinese professional tennis player not seen in public since she accused a former top government official of sexual assault purportedly sent an email claiming she was safe and that the allegation was false, a message that only amplified concerns about her safety and demands for information about her well-being and whereabouts. So far, those calls have been met by silence. Chinese officials have said nothing publicly since the accusation about two weeks ago by Grand Slam doubles champion Peng Shuai that she was sexually assaulted by Zhang Gaoli. The first #MeToo case to reach the political realm in China has not been reported by the domestic media and online discussion of it has been highly censored.

Bodies exhumed of Kashmir civilians killed in disputed raid

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Authorities in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Thursday ordered an investigation into a police raid that killed four people — and later exhumed two bodies and returned them to families who claim Indian troops used their relatives as human shields and executed them in cold blood. Police earlier said the two civilians died in crossfire when government forces on Monday attacked suspected rebels in Srinagar, the divided region’s main city. Witnesses and families of the civilians and one suspected rebel have denied the police version of events, saying they were deliberately killed by Indian troops while being used human amid a standoff.

Philippine church leader charged with child sex trafficking

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The leader of a Philippines-based church was charged with having sex with women and underage girls who faced threats of abuse and “eternal damnation” unless they catered to the self-proclaimed “son of God,” federal prosecutors announced Thursday. Apollo Carreon Quiboloy and two of his top administrators are among nine people named in a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury last week and unsealed Thursday. The indictment includes three Los Angeles-based administrators of Quiboloy’s church who were charged last year. The new indictment also names a church administrator in Hawaii. Quiboloy, 71, is head of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ church, founded in 1985.