Top Asian News 11:53 a.m. GMT
BANGKOK (AP) — King Bhumibol Adulyadej, revered in Thailand as a demigod, a humble father figure and an anchor of stability through decades of upheaval at home and abroad, died Thursday. He was 88 and had been the world’s longest reigning monarch. The Royal Palace said Bhumibol died “in a peaceful state” at Siriraj Hospital, where he had been treated for various health problems for most of the past decade. During a reign that spanned 70 years, the U.S.-born Bhumibol became much more than Thailand’s constitutional monarch. He was the nation’s one constant as myriad governments rose and fell, a gentle leader who used the influence of the throne to unify the nation and rally troops through the Cold War as Thailand’s neighbors fell under communist control.
BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s Royal Palace says King Bhumibol, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, has died at age 88. The palace said the king passed away peacefully on Thursday at Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital. “Even though the board of doctors has closely monitored and treated him to the best of its abilities, the king’s condition never improved but deteriorated until Thursday,” it said in a statement. It did not mention details of mourning or succession. Bhumibol Adulyadej (pronounced poo-mee-pon ah-dun-yaa-det) became king in 1946 and was revered in Thailand as a demigod. He anchored the Southeast Asian country through violent upheavals at home and communist revolutions next door with a blend of majesty and a common touch.
SYDNEY (AP) — A state Parliament in Australia on Thursday unanimously passed a motion that described U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump as “a revolting slug unfit for public office.” Jeremy Buckingham, a lawmaker from the minor Greens party, introduced the motion to the New South Wales Legislative Council, the Parliament’s upper house. “This house … agrees with those who have described Mr. Trump as a ‘revolting slug’ unfit for public office,” the motion said. The house “condemns the misogynist, hateful comments” made by the Republican candidate about women and minorities, including the remarks revealed by media at the weekend “that clearly describe sexual assault,” the motion said.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — China should not see increased military cooperation between Singapore and Australia through a deal that will dramatically expand northern Australian training facilities as an attempt to contain it, the two prime ministers said on Thursday. Australian and Singaporean officials signed a pact under which Singapore will spend up to 2.25 billion Australian dollars ($1.7 billion) to double the capacity of its facilities in military training areas in Queensland state. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said China is the biggest trading partner of both Singapore and Australia. The agreement was part of regional cooperation, he said. “I don’t think that Singapore and Australia together could possibly be seen as a bloc” against China, Lee told reporters.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Two 16-year-old Australian boys arrested in Sydney after each bought a knife were charged on Thursday with planning a terrorist attack on behalf of the extremist Islamic State group, police said. The two were arrested by the federal-state Joint Counter-Terrorism Team in the western suburb of Bankstown on Wednesday, New South Wales state Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn said, as Australia marked the 14th anniversary of extremist bombings in Indonesia that killed 202, including 88 Australians. Burn said police had been concerned about the pair for some time and that the boys had potentially been radicalized by peers.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday began a two-day state visit to strong ally Cambodia, during which he will strengthen the already firm relationship and witness the signing of nearly 30 agreements. It is Xi’s first trip to the impoverished Southeast Asian nation since he became head of state. He is due to meet with King Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Sen. Hun Sen said that at least 28 cooperative agreements, mainly covering the economy, investments, agriculture and infrastructure, are set to be signed during Xi’s visit. China is Cambodia’s key ally and economic partner, providing millions of dollars in aid and investment over the past decade.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Spanish diplomat was found dead Thursday in his Islamabad home in what authorities suspect is a suicide, Pakistani police said. The 60-year-old man was found in his bedroom by a domestic servant with a revolver by his side, said police officer Iftikhar Chatha. A doctor at Islamabad’s Federal Government Services Hospital said the man died of a gunshot wound to the head. But the doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to brief the media, said there would be no ruling on whether the death was suicide until an autopsy had been performed.
HONOLULU (AP) — A group of Hawaii residents want to change local rules for issuing commercial fishing licenses and make the process more transparent after an Associated Press investigation found that hundreds of undocumented fishermen work in the fleet. A federal loophole allows the foreign men to work but exempts them from most basic labor protections, and some residents are concerned that state rules offer little transparency and leave workers in the dark. State and federal lawmakers promised to improve conditions for the foreign crews, and at least one company stopped buying fish from the boats immediately following the AP investigation.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian Senate on Thursday lifted tough censorship rules on media coverage of its sessions at the urging of a senator who himself was recently snapped snoozing in the chamber. Independent lawmaker Derryn Hinch, who is a former journalist, was caught napping by a photographer in the Senate in August when it sat for the first time after July elections. The extraordinary restrictions on press photographers working in the Senate have banned such candid and unflattering pictures for the past 25 years. Senators can be snapped only when they stand to speak. The rules had been relaxed the day Hinch was photographed because of the special circumstances of the opening of Australia’s 45th Parliament.
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — There is one Buddhist nun everyone in Nepal knows by name — not because she’s a religious icon and a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, nor for her work running a girl’s school and a hospital for kidney patients. Ani Choying Drolma is famous as one of the country’s biggest pop stars. With more than 12 albums of melodious Nepali tunes and Tibetan hymns that highlight themes of peace and harmony, the songstress in saffron robes has won hearts across the Himalayan nation and abroad. “I am totally against the conservative, conventional idea of a Buddhist nun,” the 45-year-old nun said.