Top Asian News at 12:00 a.m. GMT

Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) — A Thai court on Thursday dismissed a murder case against ex-premier Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy, who were both indicted for their role in ordering a deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters in 2010. The judges ruled the Criminal Court has no authority to handle the case because the two accused were holders of political office at the time they gave the orders.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — For more than 30 years, chef and restaurant owner Oh Keum-il built her expertise in cooking one traditional South Korean delicacy: dog meat. In her twenties, Oh traveled around South Korea to learn dog meat recipes from each region. During a period of South Korean reconciliation with North Korea early last decade, she went to Pyongyang as part of a business delegation and tasted a dozen different dog dishes, from dog stew to dog taffy, all served lavishly at the Koryo, one of the North's best hotels.

NEW DELHI (AP) — India's state-owned banks are conducting a massive campaign to open millions of accounts for poor Indians who are off the financial grid and vulnerable to black market money lenders. Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially launched the program on Thursday, saying it would give the poor "renewed strength to fight poverty."

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Shortly after the missing Malaysian airliner disappeared from radar, airline officials on the ground tried repeatedly to call the crew of the Boeing 777 using a satellite phone that might have left clues to the jet's flight path. Now an analysis of those failed attempts to reach Flight 370 could alter the search for the plane.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A massive audit of Afghanistan's disputed presidential election won't be done until around Sept. 10, the U.N. said Thursday, quashing hopes the new president would be determined before an upcoming NATO summit. The U.N. has been helping supervise an audit of eight million ballots to see who will succeed President Hamid Karzai, with the goal that the new president would be inaugurated by the end of August. But the audit has become increasingly contentious, which has slowed down the process.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's powerful military returned to the political arena on Thursday, agreeing to mediate between the government and protesters who have camped out in the capital for two weeks demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over alleged voting fraud. Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who have led parallel anti-government protests, met with army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif late Thursday after saying they had agreed to his role as "mediator and guarantor" in talks with the premier.

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong anti-corruption police on Thursday searched the homes of a media magnate who is an outspoken critic of Beijing and a pro-democracy legislator after receiving a complaint alleging that lawmakers had taken bribes. Wielding search warrants, officers from the Independent Commission Against Corruption paid a morning visit to the homes of Jimmy Lai and Lai's top aide Mark Simon, Simon said. Pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan's home and office also were searched.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Led by a Japanese pro wrestler-turned-politician, about 20 mixed martial artists from around the world — including a former NFL lineman — arrived in North Korea on Thursday to put on a series of exhibition matches this weekend. The exhibition will be the first major sports event with marquee foreigners in Pyongyang since former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman and a team of former NBA players put on a basketball game in January that was widely criticized in the United States.

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Thousands of villagers stayed in shelters near the disputed region of Kashmir's de facto border Thursday after Indian and Pakistani border troops traded gunfire and shelling overnight despite an attempt by their commanders to defuse escalating tensions. A recent flare-up in violence has left two civilians and a border guard dead on the Indian side of what's widely recognized as an international border between the two countries.

BEIJING (AP) — China said Thursday it will continue responding to U.S. military surveillance flights off its coast, rejecting American accusations that one of Beijing's fighter jets acted recklessly in intercepting a U.S. Navy plane last week. Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said China's military would closely monitor U.S. flights and reiterated calls for the U.S. to scale back or end such missions altogether.

In this photo by Kin Cheung, panda triplets are examined at their 1-month medical checkup at the Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou, China. The official Xinhua News Agency says the girl and two boys are healthy and have grown to about a kilogram in weight since their birth July 29. The cubs were only the fourth triplets known to have been born in artificial breeding programs, but it wasn't clear how many survived previously. China devotes major resources to increasing the population of its unofficial mascot and regularly announces the births of giant pandas at zoos and at the Wolong breeding center in the southwestern province of Sichuan, where most wild pandas live.

SYDNEY (AP) — Shaun the shaggy Australian sheep has at last been shorn smooth. But the woolly wanderer wasn't the wooliest of them all. The sheep apparently had been hiding for years on a farm on the island state of Tasmania and had never been shorn. The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Thursday that Shaun lost 23.5 kilograms (52 pounds) of wool at his first haircut.

BALI, Indonesia (AP) — Often-testy neighbors Indonesia and Australia signed a new security agreement on Thursday to mend a relationship badly damaged by allegations last year that Australia was listening to the telephone conversations of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife. "With the signing of the code of conduct, we are back to where we have been in terms of Indonesia and Australia relations," Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said after the signing on the island of Bali. He said the deal would lead to enhanced intelligence operations and the restoration of full military cooperation between the countries.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — New counterterrorism units have been working at Australia's two largest airports since last week and had already prevented two suspected jihadists from leaving the country, officials said. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday that the units operating at Sydney and Melbourne airports would soon be introduced at all Australian international airports to monitor the movements of travelers on security watch lists. Biometric screening of passengers will also be introduced at the airports.

BEIJING (AP) — Six people died and 21 others were missing after a landslide hit a village in southwestern China, Chinese state media reported Thursday. The official Xinhua News Agency said 77 houses collapsed or were buried in the landslide Wednesday night in the village of Yingping in Guizhou province. It said 21 people were injured.

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