Top Asian News at 4:30 p.m. GMT

Associated Press

HYDERABAD, India (AP) — Eighteen children were killed Thursday when a train crashed into their school bus at an unmanned railroad crossing in southern India, police said. The bus driver also died while another 20 children ages 7 to 14 were injured and hospitalized, 15 of them in critical condition, said Telangana state education minister G. Jagdishwar Reddy.

XIXI, Taiwan (AP) — Firefighters uncovered ID cards and body fragments as they picked through wreckage Thursday for evidence to identify the victims of a plane crash that killed 48 people on a Taiwanese island. Hydraulic cranes, meanwhile, lifted twisted chunks of the aircraft from a narrow alley in a village to help about 100 criminal investigators, police and soldiers sort through the rubble for clues on what caused the ATR-72 to crash in stormy weather late Wednesday.

KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster departed for the Netherlands Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash scene which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels. All 298 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 — most of them Dutch citizens — were killed when the plane was shot down on July 17. U.S. officials say the Boeing 777 was probably shot down by a missile, most likely by accident.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. science advisory report says a key lesson from Japan's Fukushima nuclear accident is that the nation's nuclear industry needs to focus more on the highly unlikely but super-serious worst case scenarios. A National Academy of Sciences report says that means thinking about earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, solar storm, multiple failures and situations that seem freakishly unusual. Those kind of things triggered the world's three major nuclear accidents.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia has sent 50 police to London in anticipation of deploying them to Ukraine to secure the Malaysian plane crash site as part of a potential U.N. team that's under consideration, the Australian prime minister said Thursday. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he accepted "there is potential for difficulty" in deploying police in an area of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatists who are suspected to have shot down the airliner.

BEIJING (AP) — For many of today's Chinese youth looking for a partner, love takes second place to parental pressure, moving up the social ladder and a heavy dose of fear drummed into women that they will end up as "leftover." These aspects and others relating to love, dating and women's status in the Middle Kingdom will be examined on Saturday in a China-inspired version of "The Vagina Monologues," a Broadway hit exploring womanhood that got actresses voicing women's most intimate feelings to packed theaters.

BEIJING (AP) — Tropical storm Matmo brought heavy rains and winds to parts of eastern China on Thursday following another typhoon that killed at least 56 people in the country's south. Matmo was traveling north through the mountainous eastern province of Fujian after making landfall on Wednesday, packing gusts of up to 85 miles (137 kilometers) per hour. It was forecast to bring thunderstorms to Shanghai and surrounding areas later Thursday.

HONG KONG (AP) — As activists vow to shut down Hong Kong's financial district in protest at China's attempt to hobble democratic elections in the city, businessman Bernard Chan is preparing for the worst. Chan's investment company has added backup phone lines, bought extra laptops and stockpiled instant noodles in case its headquarters downtown is caught in the middle of the protest.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Gunmen riding on a motorcycle opened fire and killed two Finnish women aid workers in the western Afghan city of Herat on Thursday, officials said, the latest in a series of attacks on foreign civilians that has rattled aid workers, contractors and journalists. The two women were riding in a taxi when they were shot dead, said Sami Wafa, the chief of staff of the Herat governor. Herat police spokesman Raouf Ahmadi said the taxi driver had been detained as part of the investigation.

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Authorities in Myanmar's Rakhine state have said international aid organizations are welcome to return to the area they left in April after Buddhist mobs disrupted their work helping displaced Rohingya Muslims. They also specifically invited back the humanitarian agency Doctors Without Borders, which had been kicked out in February after it publicized casualties suffered by Rohingyas, allegedly at the hands of a Buddhist mob.

TOKYO (AP) — Improvements in life spans, education and incomes are slowing due to natural disasters, misguided government policies and worsening inequality in a world where the 85 richest people have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest, the United Nations said Thursday in its annual human development report. With nearly a third of humanity poor or vulnerable to poverty, governments need to put a higher priority on creating jobs and providing basic social services, the United Nations Development Program said in the report, launched in Tokyo.

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's railway authority said on Thursday it will re-launch women- and children-only carriages in main routes nationwide after a 13-year-old girl was raped and killed in her berth on an overnight train earlier this month. The State Railway of Thailand said in a statement that the special carriages will start operating on trains traveling to the north, the northeast and the south on Aug. 1. Female passengers and boys younger than 10 and shorter than 150 centimeters (4 feet 11 inches) can ride in the carriages, which will be run by female employees.

BEIJING (AP) — Police in northeastern China have detained a man accused of cutting off the testicles of three patients in a nursing home, state media and officials said Thursday. The man is suspected of tying up two bedridden patients and a mentally disabled one and using a dull razor to castrate them on Tuesday, Xinhua News Agency reported. A 60-year-old victim lost both his testicles while the other two victims, aged 53 and 80, lost one each.

In a bedroom in a townhouse near Amsterdam, Miguel Panduwinata reached out for his mother. "Mama, may I hug you?" Samira Calehr wrapped her arms around her 11-year-old son, who'd been oddly agitated for days, peppering her with questions about death, about his soul, about God. The next morning, she would drop Miguel and his big brother Shaka at the airport so they could catch Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the first leg of their journey to Bali to visit their grandmother.

In a bedroom in a townhouse near Amsterdam, Miguel Panduwinata reached out for his mother. "Mama, may I hug you?" Samira Calehr wrapped her arms around her 11-year-old son, who'd been oddly agitated for days, peppering her with questions about death, about his soul, about God. The next morning, she would drop Miguel and his big brother Shaka at the airport so they could catch Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the first leg of their journey to Bali to visit their grandmother.

View Comments (4)