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Asia

Asia

Australian Christian couple refusing to pay income tax since 2011, saying it would violate first commandment to transfer allegiance from God to the Commonwealth, ordered to pay more than AUD 2 million to Taxation Office, their 2.44-hectare property was seized and sold in 2017, Associate Justice Stephen Holt rhetorically asks for Bible passage saying "thou shalt not pay tax"

Clashes break out between protesters and police in Hong Kong suburb, driven by fears of China tightening grip over former British colony, Christian hymn "Sing Hallelujah to the Lord" has emerged as anthem of protests, some demonstrators appealing to Donald Trump to liberate Hong Kong and defend its Constitution

South Koreans eat boiled dog meat in counter-rally on dog meat day, defending their right to consume the traditional delicacy in response to protest by animal rights activists, killing of dogs for meat is illegal, but consumption of dog meat is not

Turquoise lake in Siberia popular resort, nicknamed "Novosibirsk Maldives" by Instagram users, is actually a power plant's ash dump, Russian power company that runs the plant urges people on VKontakte not to go near the water, but it seems to have only made people even more determined to visit

16 women and children killed in tribal massacre in Papua New Guinea, two of the victims pregnant, motive not known but could be in retaliation for earlier incident, the Prime Minister warns he is coming for killers

India hikes income tax on high earners, top effective rate 42.7% for individuals making more than USD 730,000 per year

Two dozen countries formally calls for UN Human Rights Council investigation into extrajudicial executions in Philippine, Manila-based activist group iDefend says 27,000 killed in Duterte’s war on drugs

Australian student Alek Sigley, who was detained by North Korean authorities, is released and flies to Tokyo to join his wife, declines to comment on why he was held in custody saying he intends to return to normal life, senior Australian minister warns him to steer clear of North Korea in future

Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters storm parliament after hours-long siege on anniversary of city's handover to Chinese rule, spray-painting messages on walls and tearing down portraits of political leaders, at midnight hundreds of police charged towards the building as most demonstrators had left

India's population growth and rapid urbanization leads to water shortage, 21 major cities poised to run out of groundwater next year, almost two-thirds of its reservoirs are running below normal water levels

Three men in Vietnam sentenced to 12, 10 and 8 years in prison respectively for "attempt to overthrow" the Communist government, one man a US citizen, Human Rights Watch ranks Vietnam among countries with the least freedom of expression

Christian rugby player Israel Folau appeals for public donations for his legal case against Rugby Australia, was sacked after post on social media saying hell awaits gay people

Swedish man arrested on Koh Chang in Thailand for alleged money-laundering and wire and securities fraud, Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson was wanted by US for duping 3,575 victims of more than USD 11 million, US Department of Justice states he could face two 20-year prison sentences

New Zealand man sentenced to 21 months prison for sharing Christchurch mosque shooting video, judge claims the man committed a hate crime, the man argues his right to distribute the video under the banner of freedom to pursue his political beliefs

Two Italians using George Clooney's name to con victims into investing in bogus clothing company detained in Bang Lamung district near Pattaya, sued by Clooney and sentenced by Milan court to over eight years in jail they fled before being apprehended in Thailand

Hong Kong government pauses controversial plan to allow extraditions to mainland China, Chief Executive Carrie Lam says no date set for next step forward, protesters say marches to continue until law is cancelled

Hong Kong government not backing down on extradition to mainland China as crowds largely disperse after 72 are injured in the violence, administrator of Telegram group with 30,000 members arrested for conspiracy to commit public nuisance

Riot police in Hong Kong clashes with a number of demonstrators in million-strong protest against new government bill allowing suspects wanted in mainland China to be sent across the border for trial

Only 530 out of 300,000 guns turned in following New Zealand's new restriction of gun rights, government attributes lack of gun turn-ins to citizens wanting proper compensation, however poll suggests citizens feel safer holding on to their guns

Four bodies of deceased climbers and 11 tonnes of garbage removed from Mount Everest, 11 climbers have died so far this season, mountain has recently seen dangerous traffic jams on way to summit

Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism issues US travel warning to its citizens, given recent shootings, robbery and gun violence, claims US law enforcement agencies are harassing its citizens upon entry or exit, comes amid power struggle between China and US over trade

Man kills four people and injures another in Australian city of Darwin, using a prohibited 12-gauge pump-action shotgun, was on parole and wearing an electronic tag, searching for a person called Alex, perpetrator arrested

Japanese ex-top farm ministry official and former ambassador to Czech Republic Hideaki Kumazawa arrested over murder of his son, says he was worried his son would commit acts of violence after exhibiting violent behavior, Kumazawa called the police and confessed after the incident

More than 50 degrees Celsius in northern India heatwave, only 0.4 degrees below country's highest-ever temperature, water shortages as rivers and lakes dry up, monsoon season to begin one week later than expected

Rodrigo Duterte says he was once gay but cured himself after meeting his former wife, part of attack where opponent Antonio Trillanes is said to still be a homosexual

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha recommends Thai people read George Orwell's Animal Farm, says it teaches people it is impossible to satisfy everyone's needs and "every living thing must help each other", opposition leader Thanathorn responds his party will not let anybody be "more equal than others" adding the hashtag "time's up for the ruling pig"

Australian teenager Will Connolly, known as Egg Boy for breaking an egg on conservative senator Fraser Anning, gives USD 69,000 to survivors of Christchurch mosque attacks, money taken from fundraising campaigns set up to cover any potential legal fees for Connolly

Knife-wielding man kills two as he attacks group of schoolchildren waiting for a bus in Kawasaki, near Tokyo, the dead an 11-year-old girl and a man believed to be the parent of another child, the suspect stabs himself in the neck and dies in hospital, at least 18 people injured

Rare albino Panda spotted in Wolong nature reserve in Sichuan province, first photo of the bear issued, will be monitored to see if it has any relationship with giant panda population in surrounding areas

More than 40% of Indian MPs face criminal charges, according to study by Association of Democratic Reforms, charges include 11 murders, 30 cases of manslaughter and three cases of rape

John Fund: Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election, Conservatives shocks pollsters and pundits and wins Australian election, working-class voters reject Labour's climate policy, mainstream media describes Australians as dumb, mean-spirited, and greedy, saying it's unfair morons outnumber thinking people at election time

Poland's Ambassador to Israel physically and verbally assaulted by man outside embassy, attacker shouts "Polish, Polish" and spits at the diplomat, police arrests the assailant 90 minutes later

19-year-old crane operator Lan Junze saves 14 people from burning building in Fushun, China using his crane, drove to the scene from nearby construction site after hearing screams for help

Reports of escalating anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka, Police Chief Chandana Wickramaratne warns officers will respond to rioters with maximum force, curfew remains in North-Western province, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appeals for calm

Australian family finds 624g gold nugget worth USD 37,000 while walking their dog Lucky, the unexpected windfall came at a crucial time as the family has been struggling financially

Australian central bank misspells "responsibility" on 46 million new AUD 50 bank notes, microscopic typo found by eagle-eyed citizen, Reserve Bank of Australia say they will correct error at next print run later this year

Sri Lanka expels 600 foreign nationals, including 200 Islamic clerics, after Easter jihadist terror attacks, tightens visa restrictions for religious teachers, state of emergency remains in effect

Petition to stop plans to build hydroelectric dam in Tapanuli Orangutans' habitat Batang Toru on Sumatra gains almost 1 million signatures, only 800 left in the wild of red listed ape, calls on Bank of China to stop financing dam

Elderly Australian couple receives package containing USD 7 million worth of methamphetamine accidentally sent to their house, calls police after opening parcel and discovering it containing bags of white substance, 21-year-old man arrested in nearby town of Bundoora where a further 20 kilograms of methamphetamine is found

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn marries deputy head of his personal guard force and gives her title Queen Suthida, the former flight attendant was appointed by Vajiralongkorn in 2014, who also made her full general in 2016, marriage a surprise as he is yet to be officially crowned following a mourning period for King Bhumibol

Sri Lanka bans any face garment in public which hinders identification to ensure security, following the suicide attacks on Christians, 10% of country's 21-million population are Muslim, of which only a small number of women are thought to wear niqab or burka

15 dead in gun battle between Sri Lankan military police and suspected jihadists, three suicide bombers among the dead, believed to be members of domestic group National Towheed Jama’at, believed to have partnered with ISIS, police say they estimate 140 members of ISIS are in the country, of which 70 have been taken into custody

Group of 800 Ahmadi Muslims hiding under police protection in Sri Lankan city, after fleeing port city of Negombo in aftermath of terrorist attack on Christians, locals calling for group of Pakistan refugees to be removed from area

Rodrigo Duterte demands Canada to solve issue with waste shipped to Manila by private company five years ago, says containers were falsely labelled as containing recyclable goods but were in fact filled with household waste, joint group examining how to solve situation

Parked Tesla Model S emits smoke and bursts into flames in Shanghai, car maker sends team onsite to investigate, cause of explosion not yet ascertained, at least 14 Tesla cars have caught fire since 2013, with majority occurring after a crash

More than 200 killed and hundreds injured in Sri Lanka after six or more coordinated bombings targeting churches and hotels

Pet deer gores man to death in southern Australia while the man was feeding the stag, wife suffers life-threatening injuries after going to her husband's aid, police euthanises the deer which was a cross between a red deer and an elk

61-year-old Japanese professor teaches his students how to make MDMA, faces up to 10 years in prison as his license had expired, eleven of his students and an assistant professor suspected of being involved in producing the drugs, the professor has been conducting research on "dangerous drugs"

Stranded dog discovered paddling in middle of Gulf of Thailand rescued by oil rig workers 130 miles from shore, the pooch was delivered to animal charity Watchdog Thailand and is said to have a lot of energy

Leader of Isis-affiliated Maute Group in Philippines Abu Dar killed, DNA tests confirm, the charismatic leader and very effective recruiter, whose real name was Benito Marohombsar, likely successor of Isis emir killed in Marawi in 2017, Isnilon Hapilon

Thai navy files a police complaint against sea steading project 12 nautical miles off coast of Phuket, American Chad Andrew Elwartowski and his Thai wife, Supranee Thepdet, believed to be setting up independent state inside Thai maritime territory which is punishable by death or life imprisonment

South Korea's ban on abortion ruled unconstitutional in court decision and must be revised by end of 2020, despite the law, 50,000 abortions were carried out in 2017 and women who end their pregnancies are rarely prosecuted

Christchurch police look for man wearing black t-shirt with "Trump" written on back, seen outside Al Noor Mosque around 4.30pm and allegedly abused worshippers who claim being left shaken, two armed officers were outside mosque at the time

Scientology Church members in New Zealand offer therapy members of Muslim community at Christchurch Mosque, Scientology Church regularly sends volunteers to help after disasters, but speech at Prayer for Peace event perceived by many as call to conversion

New Zealand MPs vote 119-1 to outlaw most semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles, bill needs approval of New Zealand’s governor general, a formality, before becoming law on Friday, only dissenting voice was from the libertarian ACT party

Auckland scales back Anzac Day commemoration events in wake of Christchurch attacks, day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand which commemorates those who served and died in wars, last year's 84 events cut down to 26, downsize said to be made over safety concerns

Malaysia's Kelantan Crown Prince Tengku Muhammad Faiz Petra to marry Swede Louise Johansson, crown prince brother of former king Sultan Muhammad V who abdicated for medical reasons in January, every five years the throne changes hands between the male Muslim sultans heading nine of country’s 13 states

Social media companies criticize new Australian law that obliges them to "expeditiously" remove "abhorrent violent material" on demand, exceptions for "professional journalists" exists in the law that can give up to 3 years in prison or fines up to 10 % of global turnover

New Zealand rugby club Crusaders considers name change after Christchurch mosque attack, will work with independent research company to seek recommendations on team name and brand, Sports Minister Grant Robertson calls it a "responsible action"

Pakistan expresses grave concern over Indian anti-satellite weapon test, echoes concerns of NASA over debris and its ramifications for long-term sustainability of peaceful space activities, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hails test as sign of India's arrival as a space power

New Zealand High Court judge rules no filming or photos allowed in court during the Brenton Tarrant trial, Federation of Islamic Associations backs the decision, at the same time a debate is raging about whether to mention the shooters name, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she will never utter his name

First new New Zealand gun law passes first reading, supported by all parties in Parliament apart from ACT, but its leader David Seymour failed to oppose the speed of new gun law as he was talking to media instead, ban covers almost all semi-automatic weapons with exemptions for firearms for pest-control and specially licensed dealers and collectors

Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande on "offensive lyrics" list presented to members of parliament in Singapore as part of statement on hate speech, comes a month after Swedish black metal group Watain’s concert was banned on concerns about its history of "denigrating religions and promoting violence"

Thousands take to Hong Kong streets against proposal to extradite suspects to mainland China, Taiwan and Macau, police put turnout at 5,200 at its peak while organisers say 12,000 took part

15 Japanese men arrested by Thai police for running a telephone scam operation targeting older Japanese citizens, duped 500 victims out of between USD 12.6 million and USD 15.8 million, the suspects entered Thailand on tourist visas and will be charged with working without legal permission before being sent back to Japan

King Maha Vajiralongkorn recalls royal decorations bestowed on former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, referring to Supreme Court sentencing Shinawatra to two years in jail in 2008 and him fleeing the country, was in 2015 stripped of his police lieutenant colonel rank

Guangzhou introduces rewards up to USD 1,500 for reports on illegal religious activities and information leading to arrest of clerics from outside mainland China, crackdown mainly directed at unregistered Protestant churches, but also Catholic churches and convents, Buddhist statues, temples and mosques

Two men charged with having Christchurch mosque attack video in possession remain behind bars without bail, joining several others charged with either possessing or distributing the video

Hong Kong's MTR Corporation fined USD 3,2 million for crash which caused an unprecedented suspension of service between two of its busiest stations for 48 hours, also given a USD 1,3 million penalty for overnight suspension of express rail services to the airport due to mechanic fault on overhead power cable

Number of asylum-seekers in Japan down 47% in 2018 amid stricter rules, out of 10,493 applicants 42 people were granted asylum

Brunei introduces new laws that allow whipping and stoning to death for Muslims found guilty of same-sex relations, adultery, sodomy and rape, delayed implementing laws after an international backlash in 2014

New Zealand bans Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant's manifesto, Chief Censor David Shanks says writing crosses line between hate speech and publications "deliberately constructed to inspire further murder and terrorism", "knowingly" possessing or sharing objectionable material carries up to 14 year jail term

At least 64 killed and more than 90 severely injured in explosion at chemical plant outside Yancheng city in eastern China, explosion powerful enough for seismological bureau to detect small earthquake in area, according to state media

Nursultan Nazarbayev steps down as president of Kazakhstan at the age of 78, has run Kazakhstan since 1989, plans to hand the presidency to a lieutenant

Kaitaia gun club in New Zealand burns down, police suspect arson as it's not the first time the club has been a target

Major Australian telcos blocks Zerohedge, 4chan, Liveleak and several other websites for hosting footage of the Christchurch mosque attack

ISIS terrorist spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir calls for extremists to take revenge for Christchurch mosque shootings, orders the supporters of the caliphate to wake up avenge their religion, compares Christchurch slaughter to battle over terror group's last remaining territory in Syria

Ethiopian Airlines says flight data from Flight 302 crash suggest clear similarities with Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610 crash last October, both Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft's data show altitude fluctuated sharply as the planes experienced erratic climbs and descents, system repeatedly forced the plane's nose down, possibly due to a faulty sensor, pilots tried to correct this by pointing the nose higher

Arne Murke knocked from a yacht off the New Zeeland coast, survives by using his pair of jeans as makeshift lifejacket before being rescued by Bay Rescue helicopter three hours later, Murke brothers from Germany had taken a commission to deliver the 12-metre yacht from Auckland to Brazil

Malaysian jailed for more than 10 years over insults against Islam and the Prophet Muhammad on social media, three additional people charged, Inspector-General of Police says people should avoid "causing racial tensions within this country's diverse community" by abusing social media, unit to monitor insults against Islam and Muhammad set up by Islamic Affairs Department

In debt Air India instructs crew to end every in-flight announcement by saluting the motherland, inspires tweets of imaginary in-flight announcements ending with the phrase "Jai Hind", the airline has long been the butt of jokes focusing on its customer service and old planes

India and Pakistan exchange aerial attacks over Line of Control in Kashmir, Pakistan claims it has captured an Indian pilot after downing a MiG-21 fighter

India claims airstrike targeting camp of Islamic terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pakistan killed large number of militants, response to suicide bombing earlier this month killing 40 Indian soldiers, Pakistan says there was no damage or casualties as they scrambled fighters and the Indian jets "released payload in haste"

Over 70% of Okinawan voters oppose relocating US military base within the prefecture in 52% turnout referendum – Japan Prime Minister Abe says he acknowledges the residents' strength of feeling but that construction work would continue, hopes for continued dialogue to seek understanding

At least 133 dead and 200 hospitalized in Indian Assam after consuming poisonous alcohol, 65-year-old woman and her son presumed to have caused the poisoning by using methyl alcohol instead of ethyl alcohol in the sulai hooch

Chinese "social credit" penalty system bars millions annually from internal and external travel, 17.5 million air travelers, 5.5 million train travelers stopped from purchasing tickets for existing offenses, Chinese government believes it will improve public order as many have outstanding fines or unpaid taxes, state media repeat the slogan "Once you lose trust, you will face restrictions everywhere"

Australia's Home Affairs Department cancels British conspiracy theorist David Icke's visa a month before his five-city tour, cancellation on "character grounds" according to sources to ABC

Indian protestors believed to be behind "Google hijacking" which sends "best toilet paper in the world" to Pakistani flag results, comes in response to Pulwama suicide attack against Indian police claimed by jihadists

India vows retaliation after 38 police die in suicide bombing, CRPF bus rammed by jihadist vehicle carrying 100 kg of explosives in Pulwama, Jaish-e-Mohammad claims responsibility

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon aims to put pressure on city's last dog slaughterhouses to move, says he has closed down almost all of them through various measures, dog farm owners protest to protect their livelihoods

Police in India arrest eight bootleggers after more than 70 people died from liquor laced with poisonous methanol, deaths from illegally brewed alcohol common in India where the poor can hardly afford licensed brands

Thai King Vajiralongkorn says Princess Ubolratana is not allowed to be prime minister candidate, the king made clear the princess is still a royal family member although she has resigned by law, and bringing a high-ranking member of the royal family into politics is an act in violation of the royal tradition and is against the intention of the constitution

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn's older sister Princess Ubolratana nominated as prime ministerial candidate for the Thai Raksa Chart Party, which are friends of the Shinawatra family, the move a serious blow to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and the Palang Pracharath Party

Bangladesh serial killer "Hercules" kills a third accused rapist this year, all victims shot dead with notes tied to their necks with details of their alleged crimes, citizens are rejoicing while rights group director says "country's law enforcement agencies are well capable of conducting fair investigation"

"Human rights mayor" Fusaho Izumi disgraced after threatening to set fire to a building, the mayor of Akashi admits he was frustrated after protracted redevelopment negotiations missed their scheduled deadline, the painful outburst was recorded and shared with multiple news organizations leading the politician to reflect and apologize

Pilot emotional breakdown together with crew failing to follow standard operating procedure cause US-Bangla Airlines flight BS211 crash in Katmandu in 2018 killing 51, report says pilot smoked in cockpit and "engaged in unnecessary, unprofessional and lengthy conversation even in the critical phase" of the flight, was released from the Bangladeshi Air Force in 1993 because of depression

Chinese government condemns scientist He Jiankui who created world's first genetically engineered twins, says he violated ethics, scientific research integrity and relevant state regulations in the pursuit of personal fame and gain

US-China trade war shows impact as China registers slowest economic growth since 1989, 2018 growth of Chinese economy was 6.6% versus 6.9% a year earlier according to government statistics

Chinese birth rate falls to lowest annual figure since 1949, 2018 saw 10.94 births per thousand population versus 12.43 per thousand in 2017, China reversed the "One Child" policy in 2016 but the birth rate has continued to decline

Two monks killed and two injured after group of 10 men dressed like soldiers riding motorcycles attacked Narathiwat temple, violence escalating in the three southernmost provinces this year after death toll dropped to a record low last year