Top Asian News 12:44 p.m. GMT
HONG KONG (AP) — Two years after the end of chaotic pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, a number of young activists who were politically awakened by the movement hope to keep its spirit alive by running for political office on Sunday. The young radicals hope to ride a rising tide of anti-Beijing sentiment and win seats on the Legislative Council. They’re up against both formidable pro-Beijing parties and older pro-democracy ones. At stake is the power to keep the city’s pro-Beijing leader and his government in check. The pro-democracy camp currently controls 27 of 70 seats, and must keep at least a third of the seats to retain to veto power.
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kongers head to the polls Sunday to choose candidates for the semiautonomous city’s legislature, in the first major election since 2014 pro-democracy street protests. That movement drew world attention to the former British colony’s struggle over stunted democratic development under Chinese rule and paved the way for a burgeoning independence movement that’s complicating the upcoming vote. Here’s a look at the issues: ___ ‘UMBRELLA’ ACTIVISTS ARE CHALLENGING BEIJING Candidates from a new wave of activist groups that emerged in the wake of the student-led “Umbrella” or “Occupy” movement are challenging established pro-Beijing and “pan-democrat” parties for seats in the Legislative Council, or Legco.
BEIJING (AP) — Leaders of the United States, China and other Group of 20 major economies who meet this weekend say more trade would shore up sluggish global growth but are tightening their own controls on imports. China hopes its status as G20 host will give it more sway in managing the global economy and has made trade a theme of the meeting in Hangzhou, a scenic lakeside city southwest of Shanghai. Chinese officials say Beijing will propose a plan to promote commerce through cooperation in finance, tax and energy. Governments also have said they want to discuss climate change, efforts to reduce surplus production capacity in steel and other industries and limits on use of tax havens, though no detailed agreements are expected.
BEIJING (AP) — On her first visit to China as Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May will try to reassure Beijing that she wants to strengthen ties despite her delay on a decision over whether to approve a Chinese-backed nuclear power plant in southwestern England. The visit marks a testing point for relations that seemed on the upswing just months ago. While the mood in Beijing is that a post-Brexit Britain needs China more than ever, such assurances may be long in coming. May’s predecessor David Cameron heralded a “golden decade” in bilateral ties, but he quit after Britain voted in June to separate from the European Union.
MOSCOW (AP) — A national newsreader has delivered a televised Independence Day speech on behalf of ailing President Islam Karimov, who remains hospitalized in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, with a suspected brain hemorrhage. The surprise substitution reflected rising political uncertainty in Uzbekistan, which observed its national holiday Thursday. It was Karimov’s first-ever absence from the celebrations. Karimov has run an authoritarian regime in the Central Asian nation since 1989, suppressing opposition and cultivating no apparent successor. He hasn’t been seen in public since mid-August, and his government last weekend admitted he was ill. His daughter on Monday said he had suffered a brain hemorrhage.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia is screening travelers from neighboring Singapore for the mosquito-borne Zika virus as the city-state reports a growing number of infections and its first case of a pregnant woman testing positive. Indonesian Health Ministry spokesman Oscar Primadi said Thursday that health officials are recommending that the Foreign Ministry issue an advisory against nonessential travel to Singapore, particularly for pregnant women. Singapore on Wednesday said it had identified 22 new Zika cases in one particular area of the city and its first case involving a pregnant woman. Zika has mild effects for most people but doctors believe infection during pregnancy can result in babies with small heads, which is known as microcephaly, and other serious developmental disorders.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s prime minister warned Thursday against fomenting distrust of Muslims as he outlined tougher measures against supporters of the Islamic State movement. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australian laws will soon be amended to give Australian F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet pilots the same legal standing as their coalition partners when conducting airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The Australian legal definition of combatants will be expanded to include people supporting armed fighters and will become consistent with international norms. Turnbull, who is resisting pressure from lawmakers to ban Muslim immigration and relax hate speech prohibitions, described the Islamic State group as the most pressing national security threat that Australians face.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s military says a key border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan has reopened, nearly two weeks after it was closed in response to Afghan protesters burning the Pakistani flag at a border rally. At a Thursday news conference, army spokesman Lf. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa says the decision to reopen the border was made after Afghan officials apologized over the incident near the Pakistani border town of Chaman. The Chaman border crossing is used by thousands of people daily to visit relatives. Bajwa says Pakistan is strengthening its border management system to prevent militants, including Islamic State group fighters, from entering Pakistan.
PERTH, Australia (AP) — An Australian judge on Thursday ruled against a hospital in favor of a 6-year-old cancer patient’s parents who want their son to die without further potentially life-saving treatment. Family Court Justice Richard O’Brien ruled that Oshin Kiszko’s best interests would be served by palliative care for a rare brain cancer known as medulloblastoma. “It is not about overarching considerations as to the right to life or the right to a peaceful death, nor is it about a philosophical consideration of the best interests of children generally,” O’Brien said. “This case is solely about Oshin Kiszko, and how to determine what is in his best interests as a unique individual child in the specific circumstances which he now faces.” The boy was diagnosed with the a malignant tumor last year, but his parents, Angela Kiszko and Adrian Strachan, opposed the treatment recommended by doctors due to the risk of severe side effects, which include permanent intellectual impairment.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Two people were killed in a bomb attack in front of the district governor’s office in Logar province east of the capital, Kabul, on Thursday, Afghan officials said. Salim Sallhe, spokesman for the provincial governor, said that the Taliban were behind the massive explosion in front of the district governor’s compound in Charkh district, 60 kilometers (about 40 miles) east of Kabul, that shook buildings in the area. The Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the attack in an email sent to The Associated Press. He said the attack was a truck bombing. Abdul Wali Wakil, a member of the provincial council, said the bomber was on foot and wearing police uniform.