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December 14, 2018

Top Asian News at 8:30 a.m. GMT

BEIJING (AP) — A typhoon struck China’s southernmost island of Hainan on Tuesday, forcing the cancellation of dozens of flights as it headed northwest toward Vietnam. About 90,000 people in southern China were evacuated from high-risk areas ahead of Typhoon Kalmaegi, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said. But the typhoon’s course was giving only a glancing blow to southern China as the storm headed toward northern Vietnam, where it was expected to make landfall Tuesday night.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — One of the Philippines’ most active volcanoes is showing signs of heightened unrest and an eruption is possible within weeks, government scientists warned Tuesday. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised the alert level to “critical” for Mount Mayon in eastern Albay province late Monday after recording an escalation of unrest over a 15-hour period, including 39 incidents of hot rocks falling in the summit area and 32 low-frequency volcanic earthquakes.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A Taliban attacker detonated his car bomb next to an international military convoy on Tuesday, killing three troops from the NATO-led force and wounding nearly 20 troops and civilians, officials said. Security forces in full battle gear administered CPR to wounded comrades shortly after the 8:10 a.m. blast, which rattled nearby neighborhoods and sent a plume of smoke high into the sky. The attack happened only a couple hundred yards from the U.S. Embassy, on a main Kabul road that leads to the airport.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The music publishers for American rapper Eminem filed a lawsuit Tuesday against New Zealand’s ruling political party over the music it used in a campaign commercial. Detroit-based Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated both claim the National Party breached copyright laws by using Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself.” Joel Martin, a spokesman for the two companies, said they filed a case in the New Zealand High Court and are seeking damages.

TWANTE, Myanmar (AP) — For generations, the Myanmar town of Twante has been known for its thriving pottery industry. Even today, residents can be seen sitting on wooden stools beneath the thatched roofs of their homes, placing lumps of soft clay onto wheels and shaping it with the gentle press of their fingertips into pots for cooking, storing water, preserving fish or flowers. But the opening up of this once-isolated Southeast Asian of 50 million in 2011, when ruling generals handed over power to a nominally civilian government, has affected traditional ways. Modernization and the reluctance of the younger generation to learn the art of pottery, compounded by the cost of transporting the bulky and fragile products, have turned it into an unstable, dying industry.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. says North Korea is using detained American citizens as political pawns, after a 24-year-old Californian man was sentenced to six years of hard labor. Matthew Miller was convicted Sunday of entering the country illegally to commit espionage. The court said he tore up his visa on arriving in Pyongyang April 10 and had wanted to experience prison life so that he could secretly investigate North Korea’s human rights situation.

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Experts worry a health crisis could be looming nearly two weeks after massive flooding engulfed much of Kashmir, with countless bloated livestock carcasses now floating across the waterlogged region. Doctors are already seeing cases of diarrhea, skin allergies and fungus among the population. Rescue workers are rushing in medical aid, water pumps and purification systems.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s army says a group of militants have attacked one of its positions from neighboring Afghanistan, sparking a shootout that left 11 insurgents and three soldiers killed. In a statement, the military says “a group of terrorists” from Afghanistan attacked the Pakistani post in the North Waziristan tribal region on Tuesday. The military has been carrying out a major offensive in the area against local and foreign militants since June 15.

BANGKOK (AP) — Police on the scenic resort island of Koh Tao in southern Thailand conducted a sweep of hotels and workers’ residences Tuesday searching for clues into the slayings of two British tourists whose nearly naked, battered bodies were found on a beach a day earlier. More than 70 police officers were deployed to Koh Tao, a popular diving destination in the Gulf of Thailand, as the country’s leaders called for a swift investigation into a pair of brutal killings that marked a new blow to Thailand’s tourism industry.

In this photo by Achmad Ibrahim, an Indonesian worker wears a mask depicting the Japanese character Doraemon during a rally against outsourcing and low wages near Indonesia’s presidential palace in Jakarta on Monday. Thousands of factory workers took to the streets of the capital to take part in the protest. The demonstrators shouted “End the temporary contract system now!” as they waved colorful flags and banners lambasting the system and demanding more benefits.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — At a recent political rally in Wellington, indicted Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom jokingly asked members of New Zealand’s spy agency to raise their hands. “Please don’t worry,” he said, to rising laughter and applause. “Even though we are going to shut you down, we will find you guys new jobs.”

BEIJING (AP) — Officials in a southern Chinese town where a proposed garbage incinerator drew thousands of protesters over the weekend say no firm plans have been made for the plant’s location and that a public hearing will be held on the issue. Hundreds of people marched against the project in Bulou county in southern Guangdong province Sunday, a day after 10,000 to 20,000 protesters came out to denounce the plan, according to three residents who spoke to The Associated Press by telephone.

Flooding from days of heavy monsoon rains partially submerged the city of Srinigar in Kashmir and left more than 400 people dead in northern Pakistan and India. The flood waters have begun to recede, but vast fields of crops have been destroyed and tens of thousands of families have lost all their possessions. Japanese were thrilled to see one of their own, Kei Nishikori, become the first Asian man to play in a Grand Slam tennis final. Ultimately, the 24-year-old lost to Croatian Marin Cilic in the lopsided U.S. Open final, but Nishikori’s run is expected to boost his career and tennis’ popularity in a country where baseball and soccer reign.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Former National Security Agency systems analyst turned leaker Edward Snowden said Monday that the NSA is collecting mass surveillance data on New Zealanders through its XKeyscore program and has set up a facility in the South Pacific nation’s largest city to tap into vast amounts of data. Snowden talked via video link from Russia to hundreds of people at Auckland’s Town Hall.

BEIJING (AP) — Taking a cue from an American TV program, the Chinese city of Chongqing has created a smartphone sidewalk lane, offering a path for those too engrossed in messaging and tweeting to watch where they’re going. But the property manager says it’s intended to be ironic — to remind people that it’s dangerous to tweet while walking the street.

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Top Asian News at 8:30 a.m. GMT