Top Asian News 7:44 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 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.
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.
HONG KONG (AP) — A low-profile tycoon has rocketed up the ranks of China’s wealthy after a hostile takeover he launched for the country’s biggest property developer helped swell his fortunes, a report said Thursday. Yao Zhenhua’s wealth surged ninefold to $17.2 billion, making him China’s fourth richest person on the Hurun Report’s annual ranking. Last year he was estimated to be worth just under $2 billion, putting him at No. 231. There was little change at the top of Hurun’s list . Property and entertainment mogul Wang Jianlin held on to top spot, with Hurun putting his wealth $32.1 billion.
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.