Top Asian News 5:06 a.m. GMT
BANGKOK (AP) — Thais chanted prayers Wednesday as the country’s stock market and currency tumbled and the prime minister canceled an overseas trip amid concerns about long-ailing King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s health. His son, the crown prince, returned home from Germany, as Thais in pink shirts — a color associated with the king — gathered outside Siriraj hospital in Bangkok, which has been his home for much of the last decade. The royal palace said in a statement late Wednesday that the 88-year-old king’s blood pressure had dropped, his liver and kidneys were not working properly and he remained on a ventilator.
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 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 was 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.
HONOLULU (AP) — In a posting dealing with undocumented foreign fishermen in Hawaii, the state Department of Aquatic Resources is recommending that a board deciding on rule changes for commercial fishing licenses deny the petition. The petition asks for rule changes that include certifying that the license applicant understands and has read the document. Undocumented foreign fishermen who work in the fleet often do not read, write or understand English or the documents they are signing, the petitioners said Wednesday. In a document posted on a state website, signed by Bruce Anderson, the administrator for the Division of Aquatic Resources, officials recommend denying the rule changes because the request focuses on labor issues that are outside the department’s jurisdiction.
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.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations’ 193-member states are expected to appoint Portugal’s former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres as the world body’s next secretary-general. Peter Thompson, president of the General Assembly, said in a statement that he hoped Guterres would be approved by a unanimous vote on Thursday. Guterres, 67, was nominated by acclamation in the 15-member Security Council last week to replace Ban Ki-moon whose second five-year term ends on Dec. 31. He would be the ninth secretary-general in the organization’s 71-year history. Aside from leading Portugal from 1995 to 2002, Guterres spent 10 years as the United Nations’ high commissioner on refugees from 2005 to 2015.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine police said Thursday the bodies of three foreigners with gunshots to their heads have been found in a sugar cane field, and South Korea’s Foreign Ministry identified them as its nationals. One man had his feet bound by packaging tape, the other man and the woman had marks of strangulation and the left wrist of the woman also had packaging tape, said police investigator Victor Eduardo. They were found by a farm worker Tuesday morning in a field in Bacolor town in northern Pampanga province. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said it was the fourth homicide case involving South Koreans in the Philippines this year in which six died.
HONG KONG (AP) — A swearing-in ceremony to kick off Hong Kong’s legislative session descended into farce Wednesday as newly elected pro-democracy lawmakers intentionally mangled their oaths in a show of defiance against Beijing. The new crop of lawmakers, elected last month amid swelling anti-China sentiment, object to the oath’s requirement to pledge allegiance to the “Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China” and its Basic Law constitution. So they came up with creative ways to get around it. Sixtus Leung, 30, of the radical Youngspiration party draped a blue flag with the words “Hong Kong is not China” over his shoulders.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The fiasco of Samsung’s fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 smartphones — and its stumbling response to the problem — has left consumers from Shanghai to New York reconsidering how they feel about the South Korean tech giant and its products. Samsung Electronics said this week that it would stop making the Note 7 for good, after first recalling some devices and then recalling their replacements , too. Now, like the makers of Tylenol, Ford Pintos and other products that faced crises in the past, it must try to restore its relationship with customers as it repairs damage to its brand.