About 400 people were evacuated on Friday after a fire gutted a hotel in Thailand's popular resort city of Pattaya.
However, police reported no casualties from the fire that gutted Holiday Inn Hotel in Pattaya.
Officers and volunteers helped evacuate around 400 hotel guests and staff, including foreign tourists, children, elderly and disabled persons to safety, while firefighters spent 30 minutes using water cannons to bring down the fire, local media reported.
A hotel security guard said that he saw smoke coming from the balcony of a room on the front side of the building, and then the fire spread quickly due to strong winds.
Police said they are still investigating the cause of the fire.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government expressed on Friday deep regret over the spreading of untrue claims overseas in recent days by some Hong Kong political figures who urged foreign governments or legislatures to interfere with the affairs of the HKSAR.
"Some politicians in Hong Kong openly supported the United States' 'Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act', and suggested similar legislation in other countries or regions with the intent to demand foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs. This only conveys the wrong message to violent protesters and misleads them into thinking they have gained the support from other countries or regions. These politicians must bear the responsibility for society descending into chaos," the HKSAR government said in a statement released on Friday night.
From June this year until now, there have been over 900 demonstrations, processions and public meetings held in Hong Kong. "Some political figures freely took part in these assemblies and processions and conducted media interviews without any restrictions. Ironically, they are also the ones who incessantly criticize the HKSAR government for suppressing freedom," said the statement.
"We urge these Hong Kong politicians, who wantonly smear our city's reputation, to treasure Hong Kong's freedom. The entire society should say no to violence and persuade protesters to express their views in a peaceful manner, to prevent peaceful protests from mutating to violent confrontations, and to stop depriving people with different opinions the freedom to live a normal life, to voice their discontent against violence and to take photos of rioters' destructive acts," it said.
"These irresponsible politicians, who make prejudicial and false statements about the conditions of human rights and freedom in Hong Kong, mislead people into thinking human rights and freedoms are being suppressed in the city. If such comments tarnish the international reputation of Hong Kong, they would also take a toll on investor confidence, exert more pressure on Hong Kong's economy, and ultimately make society and the general public suffer," it added.
Stressing that "one country, two systems" is the best arrangement to maintain Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability and to make Hong Kong a favorable place in which to live and work, the HKSAR government said it will resolutely continue to implement the "one country, two systems" principle, and urged the relevant political figures to "stop all acts showing contempt towards 'one country, two systems' which disregard the interests of the country and Hong Kong."
Malaysia-based RHB Bank has decided to close its business operations in Hong Kong due to an increasingly challenging environment.
RHB Hong Kong, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RHB Investment Bank, an affiliate of the Malaysian financial conglomerate, said Friday that it will cease business operations in Hong Kong, as well as those of its subsidiaries, in a statement.
"The increasingly challenging operating broking environment in Hong Kong has resulted in losses being recorded for the RHB Hong Kong Group," the statement said. "As a result, it is no longer viable for RHB Hong Kong Group to continue its business operations."
The company said the proposed cessation is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2020.
Given an economy plagued by sluggish global trade and ongoing local unrest, small and medium-sized brokerage companies operating in Hong Kong have met increasing difficulties. It is reported that more brokers have closed this year than 2018.
Hong Kong's economy dropped 2.9 percent in the third quarter, the first year-on-year negative growth since the global financial crisis in 2009.
Dozens of protesters briefly besieged the office of a well-known independent newspaper in Islamabad, chanting slogans against the editor and staff and setting fire to copies of the paper before fleeing.
Friday's protest was the second incident this week at the offices of the English-language Dawn newspaper. It comes a day after journalists and rights activists rallied in support of the paper and criticized an earlier anti-newspaper protest.
The protesters Tuesday had also besieged the newspaper's building, demanding that editor Zaffar Abbas and publisher Hameed Haroon be hanged for reporting that the London Bridge attacker was of "Pakistani origin."
Abbas went on Twitter to condemn what he says was yet another orchestrated demonstration against the paper. He said police were alerted and he was seeking protection for the staff and building.
It was unclear exactly who was behind the protests and authorities have made no arrests in connection with the increasing threats to the newspaper. Dawn has a history of bitter relations with the country's powerful military.
North Korea threatened Thursday to resume insults of U.S. President Donald Trump and consider him a "dotard" if he keeps using provocative language, such as referring to its leader as "rocket man."
Choe Son Hui, the first vice foreign minister, issued the warning via state media days after Trump spoke of possible military action toward the North and revived his "rocket man" nickname for North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un.
The comments came as prospects dim for a resumption of nuclear diplomacy between the two countries. In recent months, North Korea has hinted at lifting its moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests if the Trump administration fails to make substantial concessions in nuclear diplomacy before the end of the year.
Choe said Trump's remarks "prompted the waves of hatred of our people against the U.S." because they showed "no courtesy when referring to the supreme leadership of dignity" of North Korea.
She said North Korea will respond with its own harsh language if Trump again uses similar phrases and shows that he is intentionally provoking North Korea.
"If any language and expressions stoking the atmosphere of confrontation are used once again on purpose at a crucial moment as now, that must really be diagnosed as the relapse of the dotage of a dotard," Choe said.
On Wednesday, the North's military chief, Pak Jong Chon, also warned that the use of force against the North would cause a "horrible" consequence for the Americans. He said North Korea will take unspecified "prompt corresponding actions at any level" if the U.S. takes any military action.
During a visit to London, Trump on Tuesday said his relationship with Kim was "really good" but also called for him to follow up on a commitment to denuclearize. Trump added, "We have the most powerful military we ever had, and we are by far the most powerful country in the world and hopefully we don't have to use it. But if we do, we will use it."
Trump also said Kim "likes sending rockets up, doesn't he?" He added that "That's why I call him rocket man."
In 2017, Trump and Kim traded threats of destruction as North Korea carried out a slew of high-profile weapons tests aimed at acquiring an ability to launch nuclear strikes on the U.S. mainland. Trump said he would rain "fire and fury" on North Korea and derided Kim as "little rocket man," while Kim questioned Trump's sanity and said he would "tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire."
The two leaders have avoided such words and developed better relations after North Korea entered nuclear negotiations with the U.S. last year. Trump even said he and Kim "fell in love."
Kim and Trump have met three times, starting with a summit in Singapore in June last year. But their nuclear diplomacy has remained largely deadlocked since their second meeting in Vietnam in February ended without any deal due to disputes over U.S.-led sanctions on North Korea.