Islamabad, Sept 22 (AP/UNB) — Pakistani police say a bus has rammed into a hill after it breaks failed on a mountainous road, killing 22 passengers and injuring 15 in the country's northwest.
Officer Abdul Wakil says the accident happened Sunday in the Chilas distract, on the bus' route from Skardu to the city of Rawalpindi.
Wakil says rescue efforts were facing difficulties in the remote mountainous terrain due to lack of needed equipment and resources.
Such road accidents are common in Pakistan where motorists largely disregard traffic rules and safety standards on battered roads. Last month a speeding bus fell off a mountainous road into a river in the northwest, killing 24 passengers.
Hong Kong, Sept 22 (AP/UNB) — Protesters in Hong Kong threw gasoline bombs and police fired tear gas Saturday in renewed clashes over anti-government grievances.
Reporters saw at least one person arrested after violence erupted following an afternoon march by several thousand people in Tuen Mun, a district in the northwest of the Chinese territory.
Hong Kong is in the fourth month of sometimes violent protests that occur every weekend. They started with opposition to a proposed extradition law and have expanded to include demands for greater democracy.
Most protesters in Tuen Mun were peaceful but some threw gasoline bombs and bricks toward police who faced them down the street. They appeared to fall short of the police and there was no indication anyone was hit.
In the evening, protesters gathered at a shopping mall in another district, Yuen Long. Some threw gasoline bombs in the street. A government statement said some were thrown toward police vehicles, endangering the officers inside, but gave no indication anyone was injured.
In both areas, police with riot helmets and shields responded by firing tear gas.
Elsewhere, scuffles were reported as government supporters heeded a call by a pro-Beijing member of the Hong Kong legislature to tear down protest posters at subway stations.
The events are an embarrassment for China's Communist Party ahead of Oct. 1 celebrations of its 70th anniversary in power. Hong Kong's government has canceled a fireworks display that day, citing concern for public safety.
The protesters in Tuen Mun marched about 2 kilometers (1 1/2 miles) from a playground to a government office building. Many were dressed in black and carried umbrellas, a symbol of their movement.
Protesters chanted, "Reclaim Hong Kong!" and "Revolution of our times!"
Most were peaceful but some took down a Chinese flag from a pole outside a government office and set fire to it. Protesters also set up barricades to block traffic.
A government statement said protesters caused unspecified damage to the Tuen Mun light rail station and threw objects onto the tracks.
An organizer quoted by government broadcaster RTHK criticized police for sending armed anti-riot officers.
That will "only escalate tension between protesters and police," the organizer, Michael Mo, was quoted as saying.
Hong Kong's leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, has agreed to withdraw the extradition bill. But protesters are pressing other demands, including an independent investigation of complaints about police violence during earlier demonstrations.
Protesters complain Beijing and Lam's government are eroding the "high degree of autonomy" and Western-style civil liberties promised to the former British colony when it was returned to China in 1997.
The protests have begun to weigh on Hong Kong's economy, which already was slowing due to cooling global consumer demand. The Hong Kong airport said passenger traffic fell in August. Business is off at hotels and retailers.
Police refused permission for Saturday's march but an appeal tribunal agreed to allow a two-hour event.
Protesters in Tuen Mun also complained about a group of women from mainland China who sing in a local park. Residents say they are too loud and accuse some of asking for money or engaging in prostitution.
Those complaints prompted a similar march in July, highlighting tension between Hong Kong residents and migrants from mainland China.
Later Saturday, protesters gathered at a mall in Yuen Long, where men with sticks beat protesters and subway passengers there on July 21 in an incident that caused controversy in Hong Kong.
Some protesters threw gasoline bombs on the street outside the Yoho Mall but there was no indication anyone was injured. Others started small fires in the street.
Also Saturday, there were brief scuffles as government supporters tore down protest posters at several subway stops, according to RTHK, the government broadcaster.
That campaign was initiated by a pro-Beijing member of Hong Kong's legislature, Junius Ho.
Near the subway station in the Tsuen Wan neighborhood, a woman who was tearing down posters threw a bag at a reporter and a man shoved a cameraman, RTHK reported. It said there was pushing and shoving between the two sides at stations in Yuen Long and Lok Fu.
Ho made an appearance in the Shau Kei Wan neighborhood but residents shouted at him and told him to leave, RTHK said.
Ho initially called for protest signs to be torn down in all 18 of Hong Kong's districts but he said Friday that would be reduced to clearing up trash from streets due to "safety concerns."
On Wednesday, the Hong Kong Jockey Club canceled a horse race after some protesters suggested targeting the club because a horse owned by Ho was due to run.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong airport announced restrictions on access Sunday following what it said were calls to disrupt traffic there.
The airport train from downtown will skip Kowloon and other stops en route, the Airport Authority said. Only passengers with valid tickets and travel documents will be allowed into the airport.
Manila, Sep 20 (AP/UNB) — Philippine health officials on Friday confirmed a second case of polio in a 5-year-old child a day after declaring the country's first outbreak in nearly two decades, and announced plans for a massive immunization program.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said authorities confirmed the new case in a boy from Laguna province south of Manila after samples were found positive for the polio virus.
Health officials declared a new outbreak Thursday after confirming the disease in a 3-year-old girl in southern Lanao del Sur province. They said the polio virus has also been detected in sewage in Manila and in waterways in the southern Davao region, prompting plans for an immunization drive starting next month that is likely to include tens of thousands of children under age 5.
At least 95% of children that age need to be vaccinated to halt the spread of polio in the Philippines, according to the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund, which expressed deep concern over the disease's reemergence in the country and pledged to support the government in immunizing children and strengthening surveillance.
The boy afflicted with polio in Laguna experienced the onset of paralysis late last month but has been discharged from a hospital, is able to walk and is being closely monitored for residual symptoms, health officials said.
Polio is a highly infectious viral disease which mainly afflicts young children. There is no known cure and polio can only be prevented by immunization, according to WHO.
"We continue to urge parents and caregivers of children below five years old, health workers, and local chief executives to take part in the synchronized polio vaccination to be scheduled in their communities," said Duque, who administered polio vaccine to a child a suburban Quezon city.
The government's immunization programs were marred in 2017 by a dengue fever vaccine made by French drugmaker Sanofi Pasteur which some Philippine officials linked to the deaths of at least three children. Duque and other Philippine health officials say many parents became scared about immunizations but they have worked to restore public trust in vaccines since then.
The government halted the dengue immunization drive after Sanofi said a study showed the vaccine may increase the risk of severe dengue infections. More than 830,000 children received the Dengvaxia vaccine under the campaign, which was launched in 2016 and halted in 2017.
Sanofi officials said the Dengvaxia vaccine was safe and would reduce dengue infections if the vaccination drive continued.
Tokyo, Sep 17 (AP/UNB) — The president of the Asia Development Bank, Takehiko Nakao, plans to step down early next year, the regional lender said Tuesday.
Japan has usually headed the ADB as a top donor. Finance Minister Taro Aso said in a statement that Tokyo would soon nominate a "high-caliber candidate" as Nakao's successor.
Aso said the government planned to recommend Masatsugu Asakawa, a former vice finance minister, as Tokyo's choice as "best qualified" for the job.
Nakao, 63, will leave on Jan. 16, 2020. He took the ADB post in 2013 when his predecessor Haruhiko Kuroda was named Bank of Japan governor. He was re-elected to a second five-year term in 2016.
He said he was leaving to make way for someone with "fresh ideas."
Asakawa, 61, was Japan's top currency official for four years before becoming a government adviser in July.
The Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei cited officials expressing concern China might challenge Tokyo's hold over the Manila, Philippines-based bank, which it has headed since its 1966 founding.
The bank said in a statement that "The election for the new president will be in accordance with the open, transparent and merit-based procedure."
Geneva, Sep 17 (AP/UNB) — Myanmar's envoy to the top U.N. human rights body says his country rejects any move to bring the issue of alleged rights violations against ethnic Rohingya Muslims to an international legal forum.
Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun insisted Myanmar's government will "never tolerate any violation of human rights to anyone" and is "capable of addressing the issue of accountability."
He was responding Tuesday to a report presented a day earlier by a special U.N. fact-finding mission that called for Myanmar to be held responsible for alleged genocide against the Rohingya.
The report chronicled human rights violations by security forces and said counterinsurgency operations against Rohingya in 2017 included "genocidal acts." It said the operations killed thousands of people and caused more than 740,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh.