Top Asian News at 10:30 pm GMT

Top Asian News at 10:30 pm GMT #501

HONG KONG (AP) — Three founders of a civil disobedience campaign that helped spark Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests surrendered to police Wednesday, saying they want to take responsibility for their actions and that time has come to end the increasingly violent street demonstrations. Professors Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Chan Kin-man and the Rev. Chu Yiu-ming haven’t been charged and left the police station later Wednesday after being warned by authorities that protests that have blocked streets in the Asian financial center for more than two months are illegal.

BHOPAL, India (AP) — Three decades after lethal gas swept through Bhopal, the central Indian city remains haunted by memories of the world’s worst industrial disaster. Hundreds of survivors of the gas leak that claimed thousands of lives took to the streets Wednesday to mark the 30th anniversary of the disaster, chanting slogans and carrying placards demanding harsher punishments for those responsible and more compensation for the victims.

Sony Pictures said Wednesday that the investigation into the cyberattack that crippled its computer systems is continuing and denied a report that it is poised to name North Korea as the culprit. Earlier Wednesday, Re/code reported that Sony Pictures planned to officially name North Korea as the source of the hack in an announcement that could come as early as today. It cited two sources close to the investigation.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — No, you can’t get a loan to pay for a prostitute in Thailand. And seeking assistance to evict a polecat above a ceiling in the U.S. is going to be futile. Australia is taking steps to curb such absurd requests that its traveling citizens have lodged with Australian embassies and consulates around the world.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The world is watching how China deals with Hong Kong and its commitments to preserve freedoms there amid continuing tensions over prodemocracy protests, the United States’ top diplomat for East Asia said Wednesday. Daniel Russel told a Senate panel the U.S. supports the right of citizens of the semi-autonomous Chinese city to a free election for its chief executive in 2017.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says China is indisputable engaging in cybertheft. Obama encouraged American chief executives on Wednesday to speak out about China’s behavior.

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Six suspected rebels and two Indian troops were killed in two separate attacks in Indian Kashmir, police and army officials said Wednesday. The first attack occurred after soldiers intercepted a group of heavily armed militants entering the Indian side of the disputed Himalayan region from the Pakistani section in the Handwara region, said army spokesman Lt. Col. Nitin N. Joshi.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou resigned Wednesday as chairman of the Beijing-friendly ruling Nationalists after surprisingly harsh local election losses, a signal the party plans to regroup for a tough 2016 presidential race and may shelve dialogue with China. Ma tendered his resignation at a meeting of the party’s Central Standing Committee, which was expected to pick Taiwan Vice President Wu Den-yih as interim chair. Ma will remain Taiwan’s president until 2016, when he must leave office after eight years due to term limits.

AK-YAYLA, Turkmenistan (AP) — A railway linking landlocked Central Asia with the Persian Gulf was officially inaugurated Wednesday in a ceremony at a remote train station on the border of Iran and Turkmenistan. The the presidents of Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan attended the official opening of the line in the Turkmen frontier village of Ak-Yayla. Children handed white gloves to the leaders, together bolted a final golden-colored segment of track into place.

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese space explorer took off Wednesday on a six-year journey to blow a crater in a remote asteroid and bring back rock samples in hopes of gathering clues to the origin of Earth. The explorer, named Hayabusa2, is expected to reach the asteroid in mid-2018, spend about 18 months studying it and return in late 2020.

In this photo by Rob Griffith, pall bearers carry the coffin of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes to the hearse during his funeral in Macksville, Australia, on Wednesday. Australia captain Michael Clarke and the rest of the test squad were joined by former and current players from around the world, and friends and relatives from Hughes’ hometown of 2,500 people on the northern coast of New South Wales state. Hughes, 25, died Nov. 27, two days after he was hit in the head during a domestic cricket match.

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani police opened a blasphemy investigation targeting a pop singer who became Islamic preacher over him allegedly insulting one of the wives of the Prophet Muhammad, a senior police officer said Wednesday. The accusation is the latest in a wave of blasphemy-related cases in this Muslim-dominated country, which often see minorities targeted.

BEIJING (AP) — A 51-year-old Chinese bank employee in the country’s northeast fatally wounded two bank officials Wednesday with a shotgun in a rare shooting incident, local media reported. Local newspapers from the Liaoning province said the man, upset over a monetary dispute with his employer, opened fire on the president, the union chairman and two other colleagues in the lobby of a local branch of People’s Bank of China.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration pushed back Tuesday against veiled Chinese criticism of America’s alliances in the Asia-Pacific, saying without them, the region would be more volatile. China’s Defense Minister Chang Wanquan last month called for countries to abandon what he described as “Cold War thinking,” and in a high-profile foreign policy address last weekend, President Xi Jinping spoke of a “growing trend toward a multipolar world.”

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — In North Korea, there can be only one Kim Jong Un. A South Korean official said Wednesday that Pyongyang forbids its people from using the same name as the young absolute leader.

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