Top Asian News 3:55 a.m. GMT

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A Lion Air flight with 188 people on board crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital on Monday. Indonesia's disaster agency posted photos online of a crushed smartphone, books, bags and parts of the aircraft fuselage that had been collected by search and rescue vessels that have converged on the area. Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the aircraft, on a 1 hour and 10 minute flight to Pangkal Pinang on an island chain off Sumatra, was carrying 181 passengers, including one child and two babies, and seven crew members. Indonesian TV broadcast pictures of a fuel slick and debris field.

Indonesia's disaster agency says a Lion Air passenger jet crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta and was carrying 188 passengers and crew. Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho posted photos on Twitter of debris including a crushed smartphone, books, bags and parts of the aircraft fuselage that had been collected by search and rescue vessels that have converged on the area. He said the flight was carrying 181 passengers, including one child and two babies, and seven crew members. Indonesian TV broadcast pictures of a fuel slick and debris field.

BANGKOK (AP) — Thai billionaire and Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who died when his helicopter crashed in a parking lot next to the soccer club's stadium, was known to fans as a smiling, benevolent man who gave away free beers and hot dogs on his birthday and brought the club its fairytale English Premier League title in 2016. He was 60. The business world remembers Vichai as the retail entrepreneur who started with one shop and grew Thailand's massive King Power duty-free chain. The sight of his personal helicopter taking off from the middle of the field — to take Vichai to his English base near London in Berkshire — was a regular feature after Leicester's home games.

LEICESTER, England (AP) — Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha achieved what seemed impossible in modern soccer: Gaining promotion with a modest club and winning the English Premier League title within two years. Bankrolling Leicester City but without the lavish spending of the bigger clubs, the Thai billionaire oversaw one of the greatest underdog successes in sports when the 5,000-1 outsiders won soccer's richest competition in 2016. In an era of often-absentee foreign owners in the Premier League, Vichai also broke the mold by forging close ties with supporters and the local community. While Vichai did not seek the limelight and was far from flamboyant, the wealthy entrepreneur's grandiose mode of transport from the King Power stadium named after his duty-free empire became symbolic of the club's newfound status in the game.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The top U.S. envoy for North Korea has expressed confidence about achieving North Korea's nuclear disarmament. There are worries about the slow pace of nuclear diplomacy since U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's fourth trip to Pyongyang earlier this month. Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, was in Seoul on Monday to meet with South Korean officials. Biegun says he's "absolutely confident" that "the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea" is "within the reach." His South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon says "denuclearization process is at a critical juncture and we need to meet up as often as possible." North Korea has taken some measures like dismantling his nuclear testing sites, but the United States wants the North to take more significant steps toward denuclearization.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea is exploring a grand plan to become a regional transportation hub, inspired in part by the successes of Singapore and Switzerland, and would be open to joining world financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund if current member states give up their "hostile" policies toward it, a senior government economist has told The Associated Press. Ri Ki Song, a senior researcher with the Economic Institute of the North's Academy of Social Sciences, said that although sanctions aimed at getting his country to abandon its nuclear and missile programs have increased over the past year, the country's economy has maintained steady growth — with its GDP increasing from $24.998 billion in 2013 to $29.595 billion in 2016 and $30.704 billion in 2017.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president said Sunday he sacked his prime minister mainly because of the alleged involvement of a Cabinet minister in a plot to assassinate him. In a televised address to the nation, President Maithripala Sirisena said a person questioned by investigators had revealed the name of a minister in an alleged plot to assassinate him and a former defense secretary. He said the only choice for him under the circumstances was to dismiss Ranil Wickremesinghe and invite his former nemesis and ex-strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa to take over as prime minister and form a new government.

BANGKOK (AP) — The main political party that will oppose Thailand's ruling military government voted in new leadership on Sunday as it prepares for elections scheduled for early next year. It was the first time the Pheu Thai party had officially convened with all its members since Thailand's military overthrew a Pheu Thai-led government from office in a 2014 coup and introduced a ban on political gatherings of over five people. The ban was partially lifted last month to allow political parties to conduct basic functions. Pheu Thai named 86-year-old senior party member Viroj Pao-in as its official leader, while Phumtham Vechayaychai keeps his role as secretary-general.

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese princess has married a commoner in a ceremony at Tokyo's Meiji Shrine. Princess Ayako is the 28-year-old daughter of the emperor's cousin, and the groom, 32-year-old Kei Moriya, works for major shipping company Nippon Yusen. The couple was shown on national news walking slowly before guests at the shrine Monday morning. She wore a Heian-era style hairdo and a traditional robe splashed with red and green patterns while Moriya wore coattails. Women who marry into the imperial family become members of the family, but those who marry commoners, like Ayako, must leave. The eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito is set to marry a commoner in 2020.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Duchess of Sussex on Sunday congratulated New Zealand on becoming the first country in the world to allow women to vote 125 years ago, and said that effort had paved the way for others around the world. "Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote but also about what that represents," Meghan said. "The basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future, and for your community." Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, are on the final leg of their 16-day tour of the South Pacific, which has taken in four countries.