MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's name is not on the ballot but Monday's midterm elections are seen as a crucial referendum on his rise to power with a brutal crackdown on illegal drugs, unorthodox style and contentious embrace of China. Nearly 62 million Filipinos have registered to choose among 43,500 candidates vying for about 18,000 congressional and local posts in one of Asia's most rambunctious democracies. The most crucial race is for 12 seats in the 24-member Senate, which Duterte wants to fill with allies to bolster his legislative agenda. That includes the return of the death penalty, lowering the age for criminal liability of child offenders and revising the country's 1987 constitution primarily to allow a shift to a federal form of government, a proposal some critics fear may be a cover to remove term limits.
NEW DELHI (AP) — Indians are voting in the next-to-last round of 6-week-long national elections, marked by a highly acrimonious campaign with Prime Minister Narendra Modi flaying the opposition Congress party rival Rahul Gandh's family for the country's ills. Sunday's voting in 59 constituencies, including seven in the Indian capital, will complete polling for 483 of 543 seats in the lower house of Parliament. The voting for the remaining 60 seats will be held on May 19. Votes will be counted on May 23. India has a total of 900 million voters. Turnout in the first five phases averaged 67%, nearly the same as in 2014 elections that brought Modi to power.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has heightened tensions with China by escalating his tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 10% to 25%. As a tool of national policy, tariffs had long been fading into history, a relic of the 19th and early 20th centuries that most experts came to see as harmful to all nations involved. Yet more than any other modern president, Trump has embraced tariffs as a punitive tool — against Europe, Canada and other key trading partners but especially against China , the second-largest economy after the U.S. The Trump administration asserts, and many independent analysts agree, that Beijing has deployed predatory tactics to try to give Chinese companies an edge in such advanced technologies as artificial intelligence, robotics and electric vehicles.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's combative approach to trade has been one of the main constants among his often-shifting political views. And he's showing no signs of backing off now, even as the stakes intensify with the threat of a full-blown trade war between the world's two biggest economies. The president went after China on Day 1 of his presidential bid, promising to "bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places." Trump's views on trade helped forge his path to victory in states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio, where he linked the loss of manufacturing jobs to the North America Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals.
QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — Four insurgents armed with rifles and grenades attacked a luxury hotel in the southwestern coastal town of Gwadar on Saturday, triggering an intense, hours-long shootout in which one hotel guard and all the attackers were killed, officials said. In a statement, the military said troops quickly responded to the attack on the Pearl Continental hotel and that all the guests were safely evacuated. The hotel guard was killed as the assailants opened fire with small arms. A Baluch separatist group, the Baluch Liberation Army, claimed responsibility, saying its four fighters were involved. In a statement, the group released pictures of the attackers, who authorities say were killed in the ensuing gun battle.
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (AP) — A North Korean cargo ship seized by the U.S. because of suspicion it was used to violate international sanctions arrived Saturday at the capital of this American territory. The Wise Honest was slowly towed to the port of Pago Pago during a cloudy Saturday morning and docked at the main docking section of the port that afternoon. The trip from Indonesia took about three weeks and American Samoa, in the South Pacific, was chosen because of "its central strategic location," U.S. Coast Guard public affairs officer Amanda Wyrick said. "We also have a good strong relationship and partnership with the American Samoan government," Wyrick said.
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong's legislative assembly descended into chaos Saturday as lawmakers for and against controversial amendments to the territory's extradition law clashed over access to the chamber. At least one lawmaker was taken from the chamber on a gurney after apparently fainting during the morning melee, in which legislators pushed and shoved each other on the floor, amid seats and tables and in an adjoining hallway. The amendments have been widely criticized as eroding the semi-autonomous Chinese territory's judicial independence by making it easier to send criminal suspects to mainland China, where they could face vague national security charges and unfair trials.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Unidentified gunmen shot and killed an adviser to the country's parliament in the capital Kabul on Saturday, an Afghan official said. In eastern Ghazni province, at least seven children were killed when a roadside bomb exploded, according to a provincial official. Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said that Mena Mangal, a cultural adviser for the lower house of parliament and former TV presenter, was killed when she was on her way to work around 7:30 a.m. Rahimi said one or more assailants escaped from the scene. Kabul police have launched an investigation. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
GAUHATI, India (AP) — At least 300 rare Himalayan yaks have died of starvation in the high mountains in the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim, close to the border with China, authorities said Saturday. A team of local administrators and veterinarians visiting the heights of Muguthang and Yumthang in northern Sikkim discovered the animals' corpses on Friday, said government official Raj Yadav. He said the semi-domesticated animals became trapped in December after their passage to the nearest village got blocked due to heavy snowfall. Yadav said authorities tried several times to drop feed for the Yaks by helicopter but failed due to inclement weather.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk will have to go to trial to defend himself for mocking a British diver as a pedophile in a verbal sparring match that unfolded last summer after the underwater rescue of youth soccer players trapped in a Thailand cave. A federal court judge in Los Angeles set an Oct. 22 trial date in a Friday court filing that rejected Musk's attempt to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by British diver Vernon Unsworth. Musk called Unsworth a "pedo" in a July 15 post on this Twitter account after Unsworth, in an interview with CNN, dismissed Musk's attempts to help rescue the soccer players as a "PR stunt." Unsworth also derided the submarine that Musk had built for a rescue mission, prompting Musk to lash back on this Twitter account, which had 22.5 million followers at the time Musk contended his insult was protected from legal action, but the judge overseeing the case disagreed.