Top Asian News at 12:30 a.m. GMT
(AP Online Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) NKorea reportedly detains 2 US journalistsSEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Two American journalists were missing Friday after they were reportedly detained by North Korea for ignoring warnings to stop shooting footage of the reclusive country. Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for former Vice President Al Gore's online media outlet Current TV, were seized Tuesday along the Chinese-North Korean border, according to news reports and an activist who had worked with them. Their Chinese guide also was detained although a third journalist with the group, Mitch Koss, apparently eluded capture.
Strong quake near Tonga prompts tsunami warningNUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (AP) _ A strong 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck Friday near Tonga, generating a tsunami with the potential of striking coastlines in the South Pacific, officials said. There were no immediate reports of injury or damage, and hours later the tsunami warning was canceled. The quake struck about 130 miles (200 kilometers) south-southeast of the Tongan capital of Nuku'Alofa at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers), the U.S. Geological Survey said.
Militants' rocket in Pakistan tribal area kills 8PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) _ Suspected Taliban militants fired a rocket that killed eight people in a northwest Pakistan town Thursday, in an attack targeting security forces near a key supply route for international forces in Afghanistan, an official said. The militants fired three rockets near a base used by Pakistani security forces in the town of Lanvi Kotal, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) west of the Afghan border, said Rashid Khan, an area government administrator.
Kyrgyz set for presidential poll in JulyBISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) _ Parliament is expected on Friday to set a date for an early presidential election in Kyrgyzstan, which could help its leader win another term as the politically turbulent former Soviet republic struggles with deep economic problems. The Constitutional Court on Thursday resolved questions about whether the next presidential vote should be held this year or next, ruling that it must take place by Oct. 25. Hours later, a parliament committee proposed July 23, and that date is likely to confirmed by the full parliament Friday.
Japan mulling more sanctions against NKoreaTOKYO (AP) _ Japan may move Patriot missiles to its northern coast to intercept debris in case North Korea's planned rocket launch fails, the defense minister said Thursday as the prime minister warned of more possible sanctions against Pyongyang. Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said some of the six batteries of PAC-3 missiles, now in and around Tokyo, may be shifted to intercept fragments that might fall into Japanese territory if North Korea's rocket launch, scheduled for sometime between April 4 and 8, goes bad.
Parents say Sichuan quake school not built to codeBEIJING (AP) _ Design blueprints of a school in southwest China that collapsed in last year's massive earthquake prove that the building wasn't reinforced as planned, parents of dead students said Thursday. The accusation goes to the heart of a continuing battle between parents and officials in Sichuan, where the May 12 quake razed large swaths of the mountainous province and left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing.
Roadside bomb kills Afghan lawmakerKANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) _ A lawmaker who was a vocal Taliban critic in Afghanistan's insurgency-plagued south was killed Thursday by a roadside bomb, family and officials said. Four others died along with Dad Mohammad Khan in the explosion in southern Helmand province, said his cousin, Aktar Mohammad Khan.
China urges resumption of NKorea nuclear talksBEIJING (AP) _ Chinese President Hu Jintao urged North Korea's visiting premier Thursday to cooperate with efforts to resume stalled international talks on dismantling the North's nuclear programs, state media said. Hu told Kim Yong Il that China is willing to work with other parties to restart the six-nation talks and overcome difficulties, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
Sri Lanka to protest pro-rebel demonstrationsCOLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka said Thursday it will protest to Canada, Belgium and Switzerland over pro-Tamil Tiger demonstrations that used the flag of the banned separatist group and displayed pictures of its leader. "This is taking place in countries which have banned the LTTE," Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said, referring to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels, which are blacklisted as a terrorist group in the United States, the European Union and Canada.
10th Australian soldier killed in AfghanistanCANBERRA, Australia (AP) _ An Australian bomb disposal expert was killed trying to defuse a device in Afghanistan, the country's defense chief said Thursday, announcing the country's 10th combat death there. Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston declined to give details on the exact location and time of the death _ the second of an Australian soldier this week _ suggesting that doing so could compromise a continuing operation.
Singapore court rules Journal editor in contemptSINGAPORE (AP) _ A Singapore judge ruled a senior Wall Street Journal editor was in contempt of court Thursday for two editorials and a letter to the editor published last year about the city-state's judiciary, the attorney general's office said. Prosecutors said the editorials and letter questioned the independence of the judiciary from the ruling People's Action Party and that they implied that the country's courts stifle dissent.
Father, mystic held for allegedly raping daughtersMUMBAI, India (AP) _ An Indian businessman has been arrested for allegedly raping his daughter for more than eight years, apparently on the advice of a Hindu mystic who said it would make him wealthy, police said Thursday. Police also arrested the man's wife, suspected of being an accomplice, and the mystic _ a tantrik, or practitioner of the ancient Indian art of the occult _ for allegedly raping the man's other minor daughter.
Rare reptile hatchling found on NZ mainlandWELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) _ A hatchling of a rare reptile with lineage dating back to the dinosaur age has been found in the wild on the New Zealand mainland for the first time in about 200 years, a wildlife official said Thursday. The baby tuatara was discovered by staff during routine maintenance work at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary in the capital, Wellington, conservation manager Raewyn Empson said.
Soldier's story a new look at Tiananmen crackdownTENGZHOU, China (AP) _ Even 20 years later, the shooting, chaos and death of the final assault on Tiananmen Square remain vivid in the mind of former soldier Zhang Shijun. Today, he has become one of the few to publicly voice regret. In bearing witness about his role in the military crackdown on the 1989 student demonstrations in Beijing, Zhang says he hopes to add momentum to calls for an investigation and reassessment of the protest movement _ and to further its ultimate goal of a democratic China.
Filipino troops to pull back, hostages threatenedMANILA, Philippines (AP) _ The Philippine military agreed Thursday to pull back from a jungle stronghold of al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf extremists in exchange for a pledge of freedom for one of their Red Cross hostages, officials said. The move comes after Abu Sayyaf commander Albader Parad threatened to kill the three Red Cross workers _ two Europeans and a Filipino _ he has been holding for more than two months if the military launches a new attack on his group near Indanan township on southern Jolo Island, Sen. Richard Gordon said.
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