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Top Asian News at 11:30 a.m. GMT
[September 24, 2008]

Top Asian News at 11:30 a.m. GMT

(AP Online Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) China pledges firm action in tainted milk scandalBEIJING (AP) _ China pledged strong action Wednesday to deal with the widening scandal over tainted milk as U.S. and European consumer safety officials urged Beijing to better enforce product safety standards. More countries boosted testing of Chinese food imports as fears grew that compromised ingredients may have contaminated other Chinese-made products such as cookies and chocolate bars. Baby milk powder adulterated with the industrial chemical melamine has sickened about 54,000 Chinese babies and is blamed for the deaths of four infants.

Chinese imports banned amid tainted milk scandalHONG KONG (AP) _ At least 12 countries _ from Indonesia to Kenya to Colombia _ have banned Chinese dairy products amid fears over a widening tainted milk scandal that has killed four Chinese babies and sickened thousands of others. Worries that compromised ingredients may have contaminated other foods like yogurts, cookies and candies have led several more countries, from Canada to Australia, to step up testing of Chinese imports.

Attacks kills 5 police in KabulKABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ A bomb blast in Afghanistan's capital wounded Kabul's chief criminal investigator and killed two of his guards Wednesday, an official said. The bomb blast apparently targeted Gen. Ali Shah Paktiawal, the head of criminal investigations for the Kabul police, said Zemeri Bashary, the Interior Ministry spokesman.

Outspoken conservative elected Japanese PMTOKYO (AP) _ Outspoken conservative Taro Aso took power as Japan's prime minister Wednesday, promising "emergency measures" to revive the ailing economy and vowing to keep Tokyo in the fight against global terrorism. Aso, 68, swept into office after his predecessor, Yasuo Fukuda, abruptly resigned. The former foreign minister is tasked with rejuvenating the failing ruling party ahead of snap elections he could call before the end of the year.

Pakistan finds suspected US spy drone wreckageISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ Pakistan's army said Wednesday it had found the wreckage of a suspected U.S. spy plane near the Afghan border but denied claims it had been shot down, which could deepen tension between the allies. Ties between Washington and Islamabad are under strain over a series of missile strikes by American drones at suspected Taliban and al-Qaida targets on the Pakistani side of the border.

Russian technicians to aid China's spacewalkJIUQUAN, China (AP) _ Russian technicians will help direct China's first-ever spacewalk this week, setting the stage for expanded cooperation between the sides, a spokesman for China's space program said Wednesday. Two Chinese astronauts aboard the Shenzhou 7 spacecraft will don spacesuits for the maneuver, one of them a Russian-made Orlan model, Wang Zhaoyao told reporters at the Jiuquan launch site in northwestern China.

Malaysia's Anwar 'cautious' in bid to seize powerKUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim signaled a further delay Wednesday in his bid to oust the government, saying his alliance would avoid any "hasty action" that could ignite instability. Anwar has claimed for months that he has convinced enough lawmakers to defect to his side to unseat Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's administration. The ruling coalition has dismissed Anwar's claim as a bluff, especially after he missed his self-declared target of Sept. 16 for seizing power.

Cambodia's ruling party dominates new parliamentPHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) _ Cambodia's newly elected lower house of parliament held its inaugural session Wednesday that saw the ruling party's already firm grasp on power grow even tighter in the impoverished Southeast Asian nation. Prime Minister Hun Sen's party now holds 90 of 123 seats, ensuring that the Cambodian People's Party will have a free hand in virtually all legislative matters.

Interpol wants to help Afghans track militantsKABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ When the Taliban engineered a prison break in the southern city of Kandahar in June, nearly 900 inmates escaped but not a single one had been fingerprinted or photographed. Though foreign militants are flowing into Afghanistan from Pakistan, Iran and Chechnya, authorities often do not track them with fingerprints and photos. And even when they do, they are not always able transfer the documentation to international databases.

Soldiers guard and teach students at school in DMZTAESUNGDONG, South Korea (AP) _ Inside the barbed-wire walls of Korea's Demilitarized Zone, schoolchildren in the hamlet known as "Freedom Village" competed Tuesday in foot races and showed off their traditional drumming skills. Taesungdong Elementary School opened up its schoolyard to guests on Sports Day, offering outsiders a rare glimpse into life inside the world's most heavily armed Demilitarized Zone.

Longest-held political prisoner freed in MyanmarYANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ Myanmar's longest-serving political prisoner was freed Tuesday after 19 years behind bars, along with more than 9,000 other prisoners across the country, just days ahead of the one-year anniversary of the junta's deadly crackdown on anti-government protests. Win Tin, 78, a journalist-turned-activist who helped found Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party in 1988, was one of at least seven political prisoners released, according to Amnesty International. There are still an estimated 2,100 political prisoners held in Myanmar, the rights group said.

Heavy rains pound India; 163 killed over 4 daysLUCKNOW, India (AP) _ Heavy rains continued to lash northern and eastern India with 44 people reported killed over the past 24 hours as authorities rushed Tuesday to rescue hundreds of thousands trapped in their homes. The latest reported deaths brought the toll of those killed by monsoon flooding to 163 over the last four days.

US allows first family visits to Afghan prisonKABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ Five detainees in an American military prison in Afghanistan met with their families Tuesday in the first face-to-face visits allowed since the U.S. set up the detention center six years ago, officials said. The detainees' families met for an hour with the prisoners inside the heavily fortified Bagram Air Base, some 30 miles north of Kabul, said the International Committee for the Red Cross, which helped broker the agreement with the U.S. to allow the visits.

3 more children in HK, Macau sick in milk scandalHONG KONG (AP) _ Three more children outside the mainland have grown kidney stones after drinking Chinese-made milk products and Hong Kong regulators found tainted cake, officials said Tuesday, as the country's food safety crisis spread further. A 16-month old in the southern Chinese gambling enclave of Macau was diagnosed after being fed Nestle milk powder made in China's northeastern Heilongjiang province, the government said in a statement.

Chavez sees 1 million-barrel oil exports to ChinaBEIJING (AP) _ Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his country's oil exports to China could soar to 1 million barrels a day by 2012. Chavez's visit this week to Beijing has focused on trade and business ties, including refinery construction deals and China's launch of a Venezuelan communications satellite.

Copyright ? 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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