Top Asian News 3:57 a.m. GMT
HONG KONG (AP) — After two years of turmoil and change, Hong Kong was not the same for Mike Hui. One month ago, the 36-year-old photographer pulled up roots and moved with his wife and young daughter to the U.K. to try starting anew. “I felt that I couldn’t stay anymore, and that I couldn’t let my next generation grow up in a society like this,” he said. His departure came after anti-government protests divided the city in 2019 and a subsequent crackdown that has rounded up democracy activists and stifled dissent. Until early April, Hui was a photojournalist for the Apple Daily, a pro-democracy newspaper that shut down last week following the arrest of five top editors and executives and the freezing of its assets under a national security law that China’s ruling Communist Party imposed on Hong Kong as part of the crackdown.
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Indian officials said Sunday they suspect explosives-laden drones were used to attack an air base in the disputed region of Kashmir, calling it the first such incident of its kind in India. Dilbagh Singh, the region’s police director-general, told the private news channel New Delhi Television that “drones with payload were used in both the blasts.” Singh called the attack an act of terrorism. Two soldiers were lightly wounded in the explosions, according to a military officer who spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with military regulations. India’s air force tweeted that the attack caused minor damage to a building on the base, located in the southern city of Jammu in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, while the second blast hit an open area.
BANGKOK (AP) — Faced with a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, the Thai capital on Sunday announced a ban on indoor dining and gatherings of more than 20 people, in addition to the closure of construction sites and the sealing off of workers’ quarters in Bangkok and nine other provinces. The measures will remain for 30 days. Thailand reported 3,995 confirmed cases and 42 dead in the last 24 hours. The numbers have doubled recently, and health officials blame a lack of cooperation from migrant workers employed in construction and in factories. “Camps were closed but workers sneaked out to markets and communities, and spread the disease,” Apisamai Srirangson, spokesperson for the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration, said Friday.
HONG KONG (AP) — An editorial writer of the now-defunct Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily was arrested at the airport on Sunday night while attempting to leave the city, local media reported. Local newspaper South China Morning Post and online news outlet Citizen News cited unidentified sources saying that editorial writer Fung Wai-kong was arrested on suspicion of foreign collusion to endanger national security. Fung was believed to be leaving for Britain when he was arrested, local media reported. Police said they arrested a 57-year-old man at the airport Sunday night under the national security law, but did not identify him.
GAUHATI, India (AP) — Rows of locked shops confront bargain-hunters for most of the day in Fancy Bazar, a nearly 200-year-old market that offered cheap prices until the COVID-19 pandemic hit Gauhati, the biggest city in India’s remote northeast. Lockdown restrictions imposed in April have now been partially eased, but shop owners are struggling to recapture the market’s bustling activity and complain that the 1 p.m. curfew is too early. Shoppers seem to prefer evening hours to escape the summer heat. The market is deserted in the afternoon, with no business for the thousands of small and big shops. “We are having a tough time with my shop only open for limited hours.
HONG KONG (AP) — A fire engulfed 16 vessels in a Hong Kong typhoon shelter early Sunday, resulting in at least 10 boats sinking and one person sent to a hospital. The fire broke out at about 2:30 a.m. at the Aberdeen South typhoon shelter in Hong Kong, and was extinguished more than six hours later. Firefighters rescued 35 people from vessels during the fire, according to public broadcaster RTHK. There were no reports of any injuries, although one person who felt unwell was sent to the hospital. The fire services department used 11 fire boat monitors, eight jets, and mobilized four breathing apparatus teams to fight the blaze, according to a statement.
MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan’s foreign minister said Sunday that peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest. Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters in his home town of Multan that Pakistan is worried about the rising violence in neighboring Afghanistan, expressing fears that further violence could cause an exodus of Afghans to Pakistan. He says his country has already taken in millions of Afghans as refugees from previous conflicts and does not have the capacity to take more. He said the final withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces was continuing and he expressed a hope that peace would follow through a negotiated settlement between the warring sides.
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — At least seven people died and dozens were injured in an explosion Sunday in Bangladesh’s capital. But authorities could not determine the nature of the explosion that damaged vehicles and surrounding buildings, the police and fire department said. The explosion took place in the evening at a building in Dhaka’s Moghbazar area, and rescuers reached the scene, said Faisalur Rahman, a fire control room official. At least seven buildings were damaged because of the force of the explosion, Rahman said. Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Shafiqul Islam told reporters at least seven people died. The injured were taken to hospitals, he said.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III was buried Saturday with thousands lining the streets of Manila to remember him for standing up to China in bitter territorial disputes, striking a peace deal with Muslim guerrillas and defending democracy in the Southeast Asian nation where his parents helped topple a dictator. Aquino died Thursday at age 61 of kidney disease arising from diabetes following a long public absence, after his single, six-year term ended in 2016. Family and friends sang a patriotic song after a silver urn with Aquino’s remains was placed beside the tomb of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino.
GENEVA (AP) — China pressured Ukraine into withdrawing its support for a call for more scrutiny of human rights in China’s western region of Xinjiang by threatening to withhold Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines destined for Ukraine unless it did so, diplomats told The Associated Press on Friday. Ukraine briefly joined a statement by over 40 countries, presented by Canada at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, urging China to allow immediate access for independent observers to Xinjiang. Some human rights groups have alleged Chinese mistreatment of Muslim Uyghurs and others in the region. On Thursday, Ukraine pulled its name off the list of supporting states after Chinese authorities warned Kyiv that they would block a planned shipment of at least 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Ukraine unless it did so, said diplomats from two Western countries.