Top Asian News 6:23am GMT

Reform leader Anwar appointed Prime Minister of Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s king on Thursday appointed reformist opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim as the country’s prime minister, ending days of uncertainty after divisive general elections resulted in a hung parliament. Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said Anwar will be sworn in as the nation’s 10th leader at 17:00 (0900 GMT) at the palace. Anwar’s Alliance of Hope led Saturday’s election with 82 seats, fewer than the 112 needed for a majority. An unexpected surge in ethnic Malay support saw former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s right-wing National Alliance win 72 seats, with its ally Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party emerging as the largest single party with 49 seats.

Indonesian rescue workers focus on landslides as quake numbers mount

CIANJUR, Indonesia (AP) – On the fourth day of an increasingly urgent search, Indonesian rescuers limited their work Thursday to a landslide that will accept dozens of people trapped after an earthquake killed at least 271 people, more than a third of them children. Many of the more than 1,000 rescue workers are using backhoes, sniffer dogs and life detectors, as well as jackhammers and their bare hands, to speed up the search in the worst-hit area of ​​the village of Cijendil, where people are still stuck The landslide triggered by Monday’s quake left tons in their wake of mud, rocks and trees in the Cugenang sub-district.

Kim’s sister threatens Seoul with offensive threats over sanctions

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday made insulting threats against South Korea for considering unilateral sanctions against the North, calling the South’s new president and his government “idiots” and “a Running feral dog gnawing on US-given bone” Kim Yo Jong’s diatribe came two days after South Korea’s foreign ministry said it was considering additional unilateral sanctions against North Korea over its recent missile tests. The ministry said it would also consider sanctions and a crackdown on North Korea’s alleged cyberattacks — a new major source of funding for its weapons program — if the north conducts a major provocation such as a nuclear test.

China extends lockdowns as COVID-19 cases hit single-day record

BEIJING (AP) — China is extending lockdowns, including in a central city where factory workers clashed with police this week, as the number of COVID-19 cases hit a single-day record. People in eight districts of Zhengzhou, which has a total population of 6.6 million, have been ordered to stay at home for five days from Thursday except to buy groceries or receive medical treatment. Daily mass testing has been ordered in what the city government has called a “war of annihilation” against the virus. In clashes Tuesday and Wednesday, Zhengzhou police beat workers protesting a wage dispute at Apple’s largest iPhone factory. Across China, 31,444 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours, the National Health Commission said on Thursday.

South Korea hits demographic crisis as many stop having babies

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Yoo Young Yi’s grandmother gave birth to six children. Her mother gave birth to two. Yoo don’t want any. “My husband and I love babies so much … but there are things that we would have to sacrifice if we were to raise children,” said Yoo, a 30-year-old employee of a financial firm in Seoul. “So it’s become a choice between two things, and we agreed to focus more on ourselves.” There are many like Yoo in South Korea who have made the choice either not to have children or not to marry. Other advanced countries have similar trends, but South Korea’s demographic crisis is much worse.

By clinging to ancient beliefs, Indian tribes aspire to religious status

GUDUTA, India (AP) – The ritual began with a thunderous roll of leather drums, the noise of which echoed throughout the village. Women clad in brightly colored saris broke into an indigenous folk dance, tapping and moving their feet to the galloping rhythm. At its peak, 12 believers – proudly practicing a faith not officially recognized by the government – emerged from a mud house and marched to a sacred grove believed to be the home of the village goddess. Led by the village chief, Gasia Maranda, they carried religious totems—including an earthenware jar, bow and arrow, wind fan, and sacrificial axe.

Myanmar military arrest 2 journalists from friendly media

BANGKOK (AP) — Myanmar’s military government, which has cracked down on independent media since seizing power last year, has arrested two journalists working for media sympathetic to it, a reporter familiar with their situation, and a news report said on Wednesday. The two journalists were arrested right after attending an information ministry press conference in the capital Naypyitaw last week, said the reporter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared he might also be arrested. Win Oo, editor of New History for People, which mainly publishes videos on YouTube, and Zaw Min Oo, editor of Dae Pyaw or Tell Forthrightly, a small online news service, are believed to be the first journalists from the media who sympathize with him will be arrested by the ruling military.

Taliban whip 12 people in front of a crowd at a stadium in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) – The Taliban whipped three women and nine men in front of hundreds of spectators at a provincial sports stadium on Wednesday, signaling the resumption of a brutal form of punishment by the religious extremist group that was a hallmark of their rule in the 1990s . The governor’s office of Logar province, south of the capital Kabul, invited “honorable scholars, mujahideen, elders, tribal leaders and local people” to the Pul Alam city stadium in Logar. The invitations for the 9 o’clock event were made via social media. Those fined received between 21 and 39 lashes each after being convicted of theft and adultery by a local court, said an official at the governor’s office, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he didn’t give the media details allowed to tell.

Pakistani PM appoints new army chief amid political turmoil

ISLAMABAD (AP) – Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif is ready to appoint a new army chief after receiving a list of candidates for the key post, officials said on Wednesday, despite ongoing political turmoil in the country. The Pakistan Army has historically wielded enormous political clout, ruling the country for half of its 75-year history. The latest move ended days of speculation of a deadlock between Sharif’s coalition government and the military over the replacement of General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who is retiring early next week. His term was extended by former Prime Minister Imran Khan amid rising tensions with neighboring India.

Thai authorities seek suspects in southern car bombing

HAT YAI, Thailand (AP) – Police said on Wednesday they were trying to identify the suspect in a police shelter bombing that killed an officer and wounded 45 other people in a part of southern Thailand that has been ruled by for almost two decades affected by a Muslim separatist uprising. Police said the suspect drove onto the premises in a black pickup truck and then exited after parking the vehicle. He was dressed to look like a plainclothes officer in images captured by a surveillance camera. The wounded victims were mostly civilians, including three children. Since the uprising began in 2004, more than 7,300 people have been killed in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala, the only Muslim-majority provinces in Buddhist-dominated Thailand.

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