CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's ruling conservative coalition won a surprise victory in the country's general election on Saturday, defying opinion polls that had tipped the center-left opposition party to oust it from power and promising an end to the revolving door of national leaders. "I have always believed in miracles," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a jubilant Sydney crowd. He compared his Liberal Party's victory for a third three-year term to the births of his daughters, Abbey, 11, and Lily, 9, who were conceived naturally after 14 years of in vitro fertilization had failed. His wife, Jenny Morrison, suffered endometriosis.
President Donald Trump has spoken by phone with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia to congratulate him on his conservative coalition's surprise election victory. According to the White House, the two leaders reaffirmed the "critical importance" of the long-standing alliance and friendship between the United States and Australia, and they pledged to continue their close cooperation on shared priorities. Morrison's Liberal Partly has defied pre-election polls to clinch a third term in office. But the tight race for the 151-seat House of Representatives raises the prospect of the coalition forming a minority government.
KOLKATA, India (AP) — Indians are voting in the seventh and final phase of national elections, wrapping up a 6-week-long long, grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. The voting on Sunday also covers Modi's constituency of Varanasi, a holy Hindu city where he was elected in 2014. He spent Saturday night at Kedarnath, a temple of Hindu god Shiva nestled in the Himalayas in northern India. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. The election is seen as a referendum on Modi's five-year rule. He has adopted a nationalist pitch in trying to win votes from the country's Hindu majority by projecting a tough stance against Pakistan, India's Muslim-majority neighbor and archrival.
NEW DELHI (AP) — India's marathon general election, the world's largest democratic exercise, is nearing the finish line. The first of the election's seven staggered phases was held on April 11. On Sunday, the final phase will take place, with voting to be held for the remaining 60 seats in the 543-member lower house of Parliament. Vote counting is scheduled to start on Thursday. India has 900 million eligible voters. The election has taken place in a charged atmosphere as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party seeks a second term by pushing policies that some say have increased religious tensions and undermined multiculturalism.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A former CIA officer was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison on charges that he spied for China and allegations he sought to expose human assets who were once his responsibility. The sentence issued by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in federal court in Alexandria for Kevin Mallory, 62, of Leesburg, Virginia, is less than the life sentence sought by prosecutors but more than the 10-year term requested by the defense. A jury convicted Mallory last year under the Espionage Act for providing classified information to Chinese handlers in exchange for $25,000. Mallory's scheme began to unravel when he was selected for secondary screening at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in April 2017 on a flight back from Shanghai with his son and customs agents found $16,500 in unreported cash.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and China have been trading punches over trade for months. And the slugfest has only intensified this month. Claiming that the Chinese had reneged on earlier commitments in trade negotiations, the United States on May 10 more than doubled tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods. Beijing lashed back by raising tariffs on $60 billion worth of American imports. And on Monday the United States spelled out plans to impose 25% tariffs on the $300 billion or so of Chinese stuff it hasn't already targeted — items ranging from sneakers to door chimes. The events have cast doubt on the conventional wisdom, dominant just two weeks ago, that the world's two biggest economies were edging toward a compromise on trade.
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Gay couples in Taiwan plan a mass wedding registration after lawmakers voted to legalize same-sex marriage, a first in Asia and a boost for LGBT rights activists who had championed the cause for two decades. Legislators pressured by LGBT groups as well as by church organizations opposed to the move on Friday approved most of a government-sponsored bill that recognizes same-sex marriages and gives couples many of the tax, insurance and child custody benefits available to male-female married couples. That makes Taiwan the first place in Asia with a comprehensive law both allowing and laying out the terms of same-sex marriage.
BEIJING (AP) — Iran's foreign minister praised his country's relations with China during talks with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing amid heightened tensions and efforts by Tehran to keep its world markets open following the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. Mohammad Javad Zarif met Frriday with Wang Yi, whose country has been a major customer for Iranian oil, at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse. "We consider (China) one of our closest partners in the world," Zarif said in opening remarks at the start of the meeting. Iran wishes to cooperate with China "bilaterally and multilaterally, in order to preserve the interests of our two peoples ...
KOLKATA, India (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken his ruling party's fight to the state of West Bengal, where it hopes to retain a majority in staggered general elections concluding this week by diluting the strength of a formidable opponent, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The battle pitting the Bharatiya Janata Party's Hindu nationalism against Banerjee's Trinamool Congress Party's big-tent politics has come to a head in the state, which stretches from the Himalayas in the north to the Bay of Bengal in the south and shares a language and border with Muslim-majority Bangladesh. That border is another battleground: the BJP has backed a bill that would make it easier to deport millions of Bangladeshis who migrated to India since Bangladesh's 1971 independence while easing a path to citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Parsees and Jains — conspicuously non-Muslim — who arrived from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The policy differences between the two major political parties vying for power at Australian elections on Saturday have been described as the widest divide at a federal contest in 26 years. The center-left opposition Labor Party is regarded as pursuing a "big target strategy" with a diverse range of policies aimed at creating a more equitable society under the slogan "A Fair Go for Australia." To give someone "a fair go" is an Australian colloquialism for providing justice. The conservative Liberal Party-led coalition government is promising a steady course in uncertain times under the banner "Building Our Economy, Securing Your Future." The government warns voters that Australia's slowing economy would be damaged by Labor's ambitious agenda.