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Top Asian News 5:58 a.m. GMT

by August 15, 2016 General

HONG KONG (AP) — Three Hong Kong student protest leaders have avoided prison time for leading or encouraging an illegal rally that sparked huge pro-democracy street protests two years ago. A magistrate sentenced Joshua Wong and Nathan Law to community service on Monday while a third activist, Alex Chow, received a suspended sentence. Nineteen-year-old Wong became the most high-profile leader of the protests that erupted in late September 2014, which marked the former British colony’s most turbulent period since China took control in 1997. Youthful protesters occupied key thoroughfares for 11 weeks to press demands for unrestricted elections for the city’s top leader.

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — At least seven paramilitary troops were wounded, three critically, after suspected rebels sprayed them with gunfire in the main city of troubled Indian Kashmir on Monday, officials said. K.K. Sharma, a top official of the Central Reserve Paramilitary Force, said the attacks came as India celebrated the anniversary of its independence from Britain. The first attack took place in Srinagar’s Nowhatta neighborhood when suspected rebels attacked troops on patrol to enforce a curfew. Sharma said a gunbattle with rebels was ongoing. The second attack, similar in nature, took place in the Khanyar neighborhood. The Himalayan region has been under curfew for almost six weeks since angry street protests broke out after Indian troops killed an iconic rebel leader in a gunbattle.

SINGAPORE (AP) — It was a photo taken with Michael Phelps that inspired Joseph Schooling to Olympic gold. So when he was mobbed by fans on his return to Singapore, he made sure he posed for a few. Hundreds packed Singapore’s Changi Airport as the 21-year-old Schooling returned from Rio de Janeiro with an Olympic gold medal around his neck on Monday. He beat his idol in the 100-meter butterfly to deliver the first ever Olympic gold medal for the city-state of 5.54 million. “Definitely the highlight of my life,” he told the crowd. “Thank you everyone for coming. This (gold) is not for me.

NEW YORK (AP) — The daylight slaying of a mosque leader and his associate set off fear and anguish Sunday among Bangladeshi Muslims in a New York City neighborhood, with some saying the killings appear to be an anti-Muslim hate crime. But police said there is no evidence so far to support that. Police hunted for the gunman who killed Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and Thara Uddin, 64, near the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque in Queens as they left afternoon prayers Saturday in their traditional religious attire. Both men were shot in the head. “This was a hate crime. One hundred percent, there’s no doubt about it,” said Monir Chowdhury, who worshipped daily with the two men.

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stayed away from a Tokyo shrine that honors convicted war criminals among the war dead apparently not to spark controversy from neighboring countries as Japan marked the 71st anniversary of the end of World War II. Abe on Monday sent a pair of religious ornaments to the Yasukuni Shrine, apparently as Tokyo tries to arrange a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in China next month. At a state memorial ceremony later Monday, Abe reiterated his pledge not to allow the tragedy of war be repeated, but he neither mentioned Japan’s wartime actions in Asia nor apologized to its victims.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Tainted tap water has sickened hundreds of people in a small town on New Zealand’s North Island and forced schools to close. Health officials said Monday that two patients were in a critical condition and 19 others remained in a local hospital after testing positive for campylobacter bacteria. Anna Kirk, a spokeswoman for the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, said the death of an elderly woman at a nursing home was also being investigated, although it wasn’t yet clear if she had contracted the illness. Kirk said at least 200 people have been treated by local doctors over recent days and that officials estimate up to 2,000 people have gotten sick.

More than 1,000 people spent the night at Narita airport outside Tokyo because of a computer shutdown that halted Delta Air Lines flights worldwide. Narita is the Asia-Pacific hub for Delta and several other U.S. airlines, so multiple flights arrive from the U.S. and then fan out to destinations in much of Asia. The shutdown, triggered by a power outage at a Delta facility in the U.S., stranded many passengers in Japan. In other images from the Asia-Pacific region last week, shops, businesses and schools continued to be shut in Indian-controlled Kashmir, which has been under a security lockdown and curfew since the killing of a popular rebel commander on July 8 sparked some of the largest protests against Indian rule in recent years.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Hundreds of Filipinos rallied in stormy weather Sunday against President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to allow dictator Ferdinand Marcos to be buried in a heroes’ cemetery, but Duterte remained firm in his stance despite growing opposition. About 1,500 protesters carrying a large streamer that read “Marcos not a hero” braved the rain, wind and mud at Manila’s seaside Rizal Park to call on Duterte to reconsider his decision. They launched a signature campaign to try to stop the burial, tentatively set for next month. Loretta Ann Rosales, who formerly headed the government’s Commission on Human Rights, said she was tortured and molested along with thousands of other detained left-wing activists under Marcos during a dark era that clearly shows why the brutal leader does not deserve to be accorded any state honors.

NEW DELHI (AP) — A fully grown Indian elephant that washed up in a swamp in Bangladesh after being caught up in raging floodwaters has become a jumbo problem for wildlife officials on both sides of the border. Floodwaters from monsoon rains carried the male elephant thousands of kilometers (miles) from upstream India before he became trapped in a swamp in Bangladesh’s Jamalpur district some three weeks ago. Tapan Kumar Dey, a retired forest conservator who was overseeing the rescue efforts, said wildlife workers tranquilized the elephant Sunday to bring him closer to a highway to truck it to a safari park outside Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — The Islamic State group, which has been building a presence in Afghanistan for more than a year, has established a recruitment and training camp in a restive southern province bordering Pakistan, Afghan officials said. Last year, hundreds of insurgents fled to Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan, where the military launched a campaign to clear militants from the lawless tribal regions in the country’s north. Among them were members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, who joined forces with local Taliban fighters to attack northern Afghan cities such as Kunduz, which was briefly overrun in September. The Pakistani military campaign also caused around 400 families loyal to the Islamic State group to flee to Afghanistan, Afghan authorities said.