Top Asian News at 9:30 am GMT

UKHIYA, Bangladesh (AP) — The traffickers spun stories that were unimaginable to their listeners, many who hailed from tiny Bangladeshi villages where almost no one earns more than a few dollars a day. First, there would be the boat: A huge boat where people could spread out comfortably, where the food would be plentiful and delicious. They would be treated with decency while on board and at the end of a week or so they would be quietly dropped off in Malaysia and given high-paying jobs.

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Several hundred protesters in Myanmar’s main city denied Wednesday that boat people arriving on Southeast Asian shores are Rohingya Muslims, a religious minority the government and many others in the predominantly Buddhist nation say does not exist. About 30 radical Buddhist monks led the rally in Yangon.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s first lady has broken numerous conventions in a society that traditionally sequesters women behind closed doors — speaking out on issues such as violence against women, the rule of law and the power of religion. But perhaps Rula Ghani’s biggest taboo breaker is simply being the country’s first presidential spouse in decades to be seen and heard in public. When her husband, President Ashraf Ghani, took the helm of the nation eight months ago, he did something unprecedented — he introduced his wife in his inaugural speech.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An all-night siege in an upscale neighborhood of the Afghan capital, Kabul, ended in the early hours of Wednesday morning with the deaths of four heavily armed Taliban attackers, though no civilians or security personnel were injured or killed, an Afghan official said. The attack came amid intensified fighting across many parts of Afghanistan, following the start in late April of the annual Taliban warm weather offensive. A Taliban attack on a guesthouse in another part of Kabul earlier this month left 14 people dead, including nine foreigners.

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The U.N. food agency is hiring thousands of mountain and trekking guides, porters and other workers to carry food, medicine, tents and supplies to Nepal’s mostly inaccessible northern villages where two powerful earthquakes destroyed houses. Richard Regan of the U.N.’s World Food Program said the workers also would repair the trails destroyed by the April 25 and May 12 earthquakes. How many are hired will depend on need.

BEIJING (AP) — China said Wednesday that it has foiled 181 terror plots since it started a crackdown a year ago on Islamic separatists in the northwestern region of Xinjiang that was prompted by a surge of violence that reached as far as Beijing. However, it was unclear what scale of terror organization is reflected in the tally, because authorities have given neither extensive details on the plots nor a clear definition of what they would include, and some analysts suggest small-scale or even nonviolent incidents might be on the list.

BANGKOK (AP) — Thai authorities said Wednesday they revoked two passports belonging to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra following an interview he gave in South Korea they said could affect national security. Speaking to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper last week, Thaksin suggested that Thailand’s Privy Council, which advises the nation’s constitutional monarch, had engineered months of anti-government protests that culminated in a May 2014 coup.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A 7-year-old Australian boy who horrified the world a year ago when he was photographed holding the severed head of a Syrian soldier by the hair has created a quandary for the government, which wants to make scores of Australian fighters in the Middle East someone else’s problem by revoking their citizenship. News on Wednesday that the boy’s mother has had enough of the horrors of Syria and wants to bring her five children back home to Sydney has prompted questions about how governments should protect their own citizens and how they draw the line between terrorists and their victims.

HYDERABAD, India (AP) — Soaring summer temperatures in India have left over 1,100 people dead over the past month, officials said Wednesday. Most of the deaths have been reported in the southeastern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana.

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — For an elite but passionate group of vintage car collectors in Pakistan, restoring antique rides is like travelling back in time — and money seems to be no obstacle when the prize is a Lincoln convertible that belonged to an Afghan king or a Rolls-Royce once used by India’s last viceroy. Mohsin Ikraam, president of the Vintage and Classic Car Club of Pakistan, says the collectors help preserve a portion of the region’s history of the past century. Among rich Pakistanis, he says, the desire to own classic automobiles has been growing and the club’s membership has now topped 10,000.

LONDON (AP) — Buckingham Palace says Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife have accepted an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to make a state visit to the United Kingdom in October. The palace said Wednesday that Xi and Peng Liyuan will reside at Buckingham Palace in central London during the visit.

KOLKATA, India (AP) — India has for the first time appointed a transgender as the principal of a college, a top education official said Wednesday. Manabi Banerjee, a transgender woman, will head the Krishnagar Women’s College in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, said Dipak K. Kar, chairman of an education panel that selects college principals in the state.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A one-year travel ban is expiring for five senior Taliban leaders held in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, until they were released last year in exchange for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, raising the possibility that the five can move freely around the world as early as Monday. Under terms of the exchange in May 2014, the five detainees were sent to Qatar where officials there agreed to monitor their activities and prevent them from traveling out of the country. In return, Bergdahl was released to the U.S. military after being held captive by the Taliban for nearly five years after he walked away from his Army post in Afghanistan.

SINGAPORE (AP) — Prosecutors in Singapore say they are seeking reform training for a teenager who is refusing probation and who again made public the video and blog posts a court deemed offensive earlier this month. The court on May 12 found Amos Yee, 16, had offended Christians in a YouTube video and had transmitted online an obscene image of Singapore’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew and Britain’s Margaret Thatcher.

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Gunmen in Indian-controlled Kashmir fatally shot a man in the latest attack on mobile phone companies, police said Wednesday. The attack late Tuesday on a man who rented out space for the installation of a government-run mobile phone tower followed a similar fatal shooting of a man who worked in a store operated by a state-run phone company a day earlier, said police Director General K. Rajendra.

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Queen’s Speech 2015: Live updates on the Tories’ plans for the next 12 months

Repeal of the Hunting Act Despite a Conservative pledge for a free vote, there is no mention of changing the hunting ban in the Queen’s Speech. Flash incarceration Plans in the manifesto to allow flash incarceration, by which petty criminals … Continue reading

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Huntsville brewery plots monthly indie-rock shows with touring, local bands

About a year ago, most of Digital Leather’s gear was stolen after their van was broken into during the middle of the day in front of a Memphis bar. Thankfully the Omaha, Neb. band had the foresight to stow their … Continue reading

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Mumbaikars to pay 14.52% additional property tax

MUMBAI: On March 19 this year the BMC passed the property tax proposal in which Mumbaikars would have to pay 14.52% additional property tax on an average beginning from April 1, 2015. The new proposal was passed at the Standing … Continue reading

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Dalit man commits suicide over land dispute in Gondal | The Indian Express

Hours after his son and grandsons were detained by police in connection with a dispute over a residential plot, an elderly dalit man allegedly immolated himself opposite Gondal Taluka Panchayat office in Gondal town of Rajkot district on Tuesday morning. … Continue reading

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Six theme townships are coming up in WB

KOLKATA: The final decision has been taken that the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in West Bengal will be founded in Kalyani, and not in Raiganj. The Mamata Banerjee government has allotted 180 acres of land worth Rs 57 … Continue reading

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Centre notifies land pooling norms

NEW DELHI: Taking the city a step closer to another housing boom, the Union urban development ministry notified operational guidelines for implementing the land pooling policy on Tuesday.The policy itself was notified one-and-a-half years ago and its implementation will help … Continue reading

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PCMC collects record property tax

PUNE: The huge response has enabled the property tax department of Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) to rake in Rs 3.39 crore on Tuesday the highest daily income in 2015-16. Citizens can pay their property tax at the 15 divisional … Continue reading

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New roots: A community garden gets an energizing dose of can-do

STARKVILLE, Mississippi — Not far from the hum of traffic on Starkville’s Highway 12 lies a quiet green space. Most people never pass it in the course of their day, never know it’s there in the curve on Josey Avenue. … Continue reading

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Chargesheet against Nitin Rathi by July

NOIDA: Almost five months after fraudster Nitin Rathi allegedly duped investors by selling them fake plots, the Noida Authority on Tuesday said it has nearly completed the probe into the case and is likely to file a charge-sheet against its … Continue reading

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