Top Asian News 3:03 p.m. GMT
TOKYO (AP) — The Roman Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal has stretched into one of the least Catholic countries: Japan, where former students at a prestigious all-boys parochial school allege they were molested or raped by religious brothers who taught there decades ago. Three former students at St. Mary’s International School in Tokyo told The Associated Press they were sexually abused by brothers there. One described “health checkups” in which a brother touched boys’ testicles. Another says he was raped in the chapel by two brothers at age 11. That former student received an in-person apology from one of the men, Brother Lawrence Lambert, in 2014.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The death toll from Tuesday’s Taliban attack in Kabul rose sharply overnight from 28 to 64, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry. Gen. Abdul Rahman Rahimi, Kabul’s police chief, said Wednesday during a press conference that two investigative teams have been appointed to investigate the attack in Kabul. He added that most of the casualties were civilians, including women and children. The attackers targeted an agency that provides protection for high-ranking government officials, similar to the U.S. Secret Service. A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden truck outside the compound, and a pair of gunmen entered the compound in the aftermath before being killed.
TOKYO (AP) — Searchers found a man’s body Wednesday in a landslide-hit area in southern Japan, bringing the death toll to 48 from two powerful earthquakes last week. Three people remain missing. Kumamoto prefecture said another 11 people have died from illnesses believed to be related to the physical stress of evacuation. More than 100,000 people are homeless or have fled their homes as aftershocks continue to shake the area. Many are living in cramped conditions in shelters or even their cars, with limited food and water. A magnitude-6.5 earthquake on Thursday night followed by a 7.3 quake early Saturday morning caused widespread damage in parts of Kumamoto city and surrounding communities on Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands.
MINAMIASO, Japan (AP) — A picturesque mountain village that depended on tourists, university students and retirees faces an uncertain future after last week’s devastating earthquakes in southern Japan: Will they come back? At least 14 people died in Minamiaso, including tourists and students, and the search for three still missing continued Wednesday. The second of two strong earthquakes that shook the region triggered major landslides in Minamiaso last Saturday, burying buildings and sending a bridge and cars into deep ravines. The village is part of the verdant Mount Aso region, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Kumamoto city on the island of Kyushu.
TOKYO (AP) — The latest scientific assessment paints a likely bleak future for the Pacific bluefin tuna, a sushi lovers’ favorite whose population has dropped by more than 97 percent from its historic levels. A draft summary of a report by the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean seen by The Associated Press shows the current population of bluefin tuna is estimated at 2.6 percent of its “unfished” size. A previous assessment put the population at an already dire 4.2 percent. Overfishing has continued despite calls to reduce catches to allow the species to recover.
BEIRUT (AP) — An Australian mother and TV crew caught up in a high-profile child custody battle and detained in Beirut amid a botched attempt to take the woman’s two children from their Lebanese father were released on bail on Wednesday. Ali al-Amin, the father of the two children, ages 3 and 5, said he dropped attempted kidnapping charges against his estranged Australian wife Sally Faulkner and the Channel 9 TV crew, because he “didn’t want the kids to think I was keeping their mother in jail.” Faulkner and the four-person TV crew, led by prominent Australian TV journalist Tara Brown, hugged each other outside a jail in Baabda, a Beirut suburb, before they were driven off in a white minivan.
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Gunmen on motorcycles shot and killed seven Pakistani police officers involved in a polio vaccination campaign in two separate attacks Wednesday in the port city of Karachi, police said. The slain officers had been deployed to protect health workers administering polio vaccinations. No health workers were harmed in the attacks in Karachi, the capital of southern Sindh province, local police official Mohammad Ijaz said. Another senior police officer, Feroze Shah, said authorities had no plans to suspend the polio campaign despite the attacks. Earlier, provincial Home Minister Suhail Anwar told the Pakistani Geo news network that the attacks that killed the seven officers were minutes apart.
In this photo by Wong Maye-E, two kayaks are dwarfed against the skyline of Singapore’s Marina Bay area, which is home to popular hotels and tourist attractions such as the Singapore Flyer. The observation wheel stands 165 meters (540 feet) above the ground, making it among the world’s largest, and has expansive views of the area.
BANGKOK (AP) — Want to live in Thailand? No problem, say Thai authorities. Just be prepared to reveal your social media habits, bank account information and the restaurants and night clubs where you hang out. Thai authorities are now asking expatriates to fill out an elaborate form that asks a variety of personal information in the name of national security and crime prevention. Providing the information is not mandatory, said police Maj. Gen. Chatchawan Wachirapaneekhun, the deputy commissioner of the Immigration Bureau’s crime suppression unit. However, there is nothing on the form to indicate that answering the questions is optional. “If you’re not intending to commit crimes, these questions should not be a problem,” said Chatchawan, who drew up the form.
BUSAN, South Korea (AP) — The 14-year-old boy in the black school jacket stared at his sneakers, his heart pounding, as the policeman accused him of stealing a piece of bread. Even now, more than 30 years later, Choi Seung-woo weeps when he describes all that happened next. The policeman yanked down the boy’s pants and sparked a cigarette lighter near Choi’s genitals until he confessed to a crime he didn’t commit. Then two men with clubs came and dragged Choi off to the Brothers Home, a mountainside institution where some of the worst human rights atrocities in modern South Korean history took place.