Top Asian News at 6:30 p.m. GMT
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Emergency landing grounds Boeing 787 jets in JapanTOKYO (AP) _ Japan's two biggest airlines grounded all their Boeing 787 aircraft for safety checks Wednesday after one was forced to make an emergency landing in the latest blow for the new jet. All Nippon Airways said a cockpit message showed battery problems and a burning smell was detected in the cockpit and the cabin, forcing the 787 on a domestic flight to land at Takamatsu airport in western Japan.
1 killed in suicide attack on Afghan spy agencyKABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ Taliban suicide bombers attacked the gates of the Afghan intelligence agency Wednesday, killing one person and wounding dozens in a blast that shredded nearby cars and shattered storefront windows three blocks away. The brazen midday attack highlighted ongoing violence in Afghanistan and the determination of the insurgency to continue fighting even as President Hamid Karzai and the U.S. negotiate for a quicker pullout of American forces.
India, Pakistan agree to ease tensions in KashmirNEW DELHI (AP) _ India and Pakistan agreed on Wednesday to ease tensions in disputed Kashmir by strictly observing a decade-old cease-fire after five soldiers were killed in recent clashes, an Indian army spokesman said. The military commanders of the two armies spoke by telephone for 10 minutes and reached an understanding not to allow the situation to escalate further, spokesman Col. Jagdeep Dahiya said.
Pakistanis protest killing of 15 in village raidPESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) _ Several thousand protesters shouting anti-military slogans displayed the bodies of 15 local villagers on Wednesday in northwestern Pakistan, claiming they were shot dead in their homes by security forces in an overnight raid. The outcry came as thousands of supporters of a fiery Muslim cleric continued their anti-government protest for a third day in Islamabad, paralyzing key areas of the capital.
Young Afghan musicians to tour USKABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ Not so long ago Fakira roamed the mean streets of the Afghan capital, hawking magazines for 13 U.S. cents apiece to support her poverty-stricken family. Next month, the 15-year-old cellist appears in America's most prestigious concert halls, performing alongside other former street children and orphans of Afghanistan's decades of violence. "Suddenly my whole life changed, and now I am going to America," she says, recounting her chance encounter with a rather improbable school that's reviving music, both Western classical and Afghan, in a country where the Taliban had made even listening to it a crime _ and where a generation of musicians vanished through killings, old age or exile.
US Marine faces charges for urinating on corpsesCAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (AP) _ A U.S. Marine was set to face court martial Wednesday for urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan and then posing for photos with the corpses. Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola is accused of the desecration of remains and posing for unofficial photographs with human casualties. He also is accused of failing to properly supervise junior Marines and not reporting the misconduct.
Unpopular HK leader tries to soothe housing angerHONG KONG (AP) _ Hong Kong's unpopular Beijing-backed leader said he'll make it a priority to solve the city's housing crisis, trying to soothe widespread discontent in his first major policy address since taking office. Leung Chun-ying pledged Wednesday to tackle soaring property prices that have left many in the Asian financial center unable to afford a decent place to live. He also said improving the city's poor air quality would be a priority.
Defendant at Cambodian genocide trial hospitalizedPHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) _ The former head of state of Cambodia's notorious Khmer Rouge regime, now facing trial for crimes against humanity, was hospitalized Wednesday, said a spokesman for the U.N.-backed tribunal trying him and two colleagues for crimes against humanity and other offenses. He is the second aging defendant in the case to be hospitalized this week. Tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said 81-year-old Khieu Samphan was sent to a hospital suffering fatigue and shortness of breath. Co-defendant Nuon Chea, chief ideologist for the Khmer Rouge, was hospitalized Sunday and is being treated for acute bronchitis.
Militants seize foreign hostages in AlgeriaALGIERS, Algeria (AP) _ In what could be the first spillover from France's intervention in Mali, Islamist militants attacked and occupied a natural gas complex partly operated by energy company BP in southern Algeria on Wednesday. Two foreigners were killed and possibly dozens of others, including Americans, were taken hostage. A militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in revenge for Algeria's support of France's operation against al-Qaida-linked Malian rebels groups far to the southeast. It said it was holding 41 foreigners, including seven Americans.
Japan woos Vietnam amid shared China concernsHANOI, Vietnam (AP) _ Japan's prime minister promised closer security and economic ties with Vietnam on Wednesday, bolstering an alliance that shares concerns over rising Chinese territorial assertiveness in regional waters. On his first overseas tour since he was elected, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is visiting Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, three Southeast Asian nations that are major manufacturing bases and growing markets for Japanese companies as the government seeks to expand its moribund economy.
Myanmar repeals harsh law against dissidentsYANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ Myanmar has repealed a law that the former military junta used to sentence dissidents to long prison terms, state media reported, in the latest step toward reforming the government after decades of authoritarian rule. The law called for prison sentences of up to 20 years to those "who write or deliver speeches that could undermine peace and stability of the nation." The Myanma Ahlin daily said Tuesday that the law was enacted in 1996 as the military government was drawing guidelines for the country's constitution and faced opposition from many parties, including Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party.
ICJ urges Sri Lanka to reinstate ex-chief justiceCOLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ The International Commission of Jurists has condemned the appointment of a trusted aide of Sri Lanka's president as the country's chief justice and urged the government to reinstate the former top judge who was fired after a highly criticized impeachment process. The group denounced the appointment of Mohan Peiris, a retired attorney general and a legal adviser to the Cabinet, as chief justice, saying it "raises serious concerns about the future of the rule of law and accountability" and is "a further assault on the independence of the judiciary."
North Korea seeks to reopen embassy in AustraliaSYDNEY (AP) _ Australia's government says North Korea is seeking to reopen its embassy in the nation's capital. Foreign Minister Bob Carr said Wednesday that he has welcomed the request by Pyongyang. Carr told Australian Broadcasting Corp. it would give Australia the opportunity to express its concerns about what it views as North Korea's "catastrophic position on human rights."
Myanmar seeks partners to free up telecoms sectorYANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ Myanmar's government has taken a fresh step toward liberalizing its state-dominated telecommunications sector by publishing a notice Wednesday inviting investment proposals from local and foreign companies for nationwide telecommunications services, including telephone and Internet connectivity. State television also announced Wednesday that the minister for communications, posts and telegraphs, Thein Tun, had resigned, but it was unclear whether it was related to the liberalization policy. It also announced that the religious affairs minister had departed, also with no reason reported.
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