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Top Asian News 4:49 a.m. GMT

January 13, 2023 GMT

Lawyer: Suspect in Abe assassination to face murder charge

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese prosecutors are expected to formally charge the suspect in the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with murder on Friday, his lawyer said. Tetsuya Yamagami was arrested immediately after allegedly shooting Abe with a handmade gun as the former leader was making a campaign speech in July outside a train station in Nara in western Japan. Later that month, Yamagami was sent to an Osaka detention center and given a five-month mental evaluation, which ended Tuesday. Yamagami is now back in police custody in Nara after reportedly being deemed fit to stand trial. One of his lawyers, Masaaki Furukawa, told The Associated Press on Thursday that he expects prosecutors to charge Yamagami with murder and gun control law violations.

Indian army chief: China border situation is ‘unpredictable’


NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s army chief said on Thursday the border situation with China is stable but unpredictable after a nearly two-and-a-half-year standoff between tens of thousands of soldiers from both countries in the eastern Ladakh area. Gen. Manoj Pande told reporters the countries were continuing to talk both at the diplomatic and military levels, and that India’s military maintains a high level of preparedness. “We have adequate forces. We have adequate reserves in each of our sectors to be able to effectively deal with any situation or contingency,” Pande said. “I would say the situation is stable and under control, yet unpredictable,” he said.

EXPLAINER: List of states banning TikTok grows

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin and North Carolina have joined at least 22 other states in banning the popular social media app TikTok on state-owned devices, including Mississippi, Indiana, Louisiana and South Dakota. Congress also recently banned TikTok from most U.S. government-issued devices over bipartisan concerns about security. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company that moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020. It has been targeted by critics who say the Chinese government could access user data, such as browsing history and location. U.S. armed forces also have prohibited the app on military devices. TikTok is consumed by two-thirds of American teens and has become the second-most popular domain in the world.


China’s trade surplus swells to $877.6B as exports grow

BEIJING (AP) — China’s trade surplus swelled to a record $877.6 billion last year as exports rose 7% despite weakening U.S. and European demand and anti-virus controls that temporarily shut down Shanghai and other industrial centers. Exports increased to $3.95 trillion, decelerating from 2021′s explosive 29.9% gain, customs data showed Friday. Imports edged up 1.1% to 2.7 trillion, cooling from the previous year’s 30.1% rise as growth in the world’s second-largest economy slowed. The country’s politically volatile global trade surplus expanded by 29.7% from 2021′s record, already the highest ever for any economy. “China’s foreign trade and exports showed strong resilience in the face of many difficulties and challenges,” said a customs agency spokesperson, Lu Daliang, at a news conference.


China’s reopened borders raise hopes for soccer resurgence

After three years of isolation and financial struggles in Chinese soccer, the country is reopening its borders and economy to the outside world. With it, frustrated fans, financially challenged clubs and unpaid players in the Chinese Super League might receive some long-awaited good news. The 2022 season was unrecognizable from the 2019 edition, the last before COVID-19 hit. Then the league had an average attendance of over 24,000, the highest in Asia, and a number of big-name foreign imports. From 2020 onwards, Beijing’s “zero-COVID” policy, designed to stamp out the virus, meant that teams mostly played in empty stadiums at centralized venues.

AP Week in Pictures: Asia

Jan. 6-12, 2023 This photo gallery highlights some of the most compelling images made or published by Associated Press photographers in Asia and Pacific. The gallery was curated by AP photo editor Shuji Kajiyama in Tokyo. Follow AP visual journalism: Instagram: AP Images on Twitter: AP Images blog:


‘Catastrophe’: Cardinal Pell’s secret memo blasts Francis

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis will deliver a final send-off for Cardinal George Pell during a funeral Mass on Saturday, the Vatican said, as revelations emerge of the Australian prelate’s growing concern about what he considered the “disaster” and “catastrophe” of the papacy under Francis. The Vatican on Thursday said the dean of the college of cardinals, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, would celebrate Pell’s funeral Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. As is custom for cardinal funerals, Francis will deliver a final commendation and salute. Pell, who had served as Francis’ first finance minister for three years before returning to Australia to face child sex abuse charges, died on Tuesday at a Rome hospital of heart complications following hip surgery.


Taliban ban on women workers hits vital aid for Afghans

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Last June, a team of female doctors and nurses drove six hours across mountains, dry riverbeds and on unpaved roads to reach victims of a massive earthquake that had just hit eastern Afghanistan, killing more than 1,000 people. When they got there, a day after the earthquake hit, they found the men had been treated, but the women had not. In Afghanistan’s deeply conservative society, the women had stayed inside their tents, unable to come out to get medical help and other assistance because there were no women aid workers. “The women still had blood on them,” said Samira Sayed-Rahman, from the aid agency International Rescue Committee.

Citing Taliban, Australia nixes Afghanistan cricket series

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Afghanistan cricket officials blasted Australia’s decision on Thursday to cancel their men’s one-day international cricket series. Cricket Australia cited recent heavier restrictions on women’s rights in Afghanistan by the Taliban government for axing the three ODIs in March in the United Arab Emirates. The Afghanistan Cricket Board said it was “extremely disappointed and saddened by the pathetic statement” from Cricket Australia and it would complain to the International Cricket Council. It accused CA of prioritizing political interests over fair play and sportsmanship, undermining the integrity of the game, and damaging the relationship between the two countries. “Cricket has played a significant role in promoting unity and national pride in Afghanistan,” the board said.

Man pleads guilty to hate crime in Chinese immigrant’s death

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York man pleaded guilty Thursday to a hate-crime manslaughter charge for beating a Chinese immigrant who was collecting cans to earn money. Jarrod Powell, 51, is expected to get a 22-year prison sentence for the 2021 death of Yao Pan Ma. The killing drew national attention as part of a rise in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in New York and around the country. “This unprovoked attack took the life of Yao Pan Ma and took away a sense of security for so many in the AAPI community in New York,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement Thursday.