Top Asian News 3:49 a.m. GMT

SYDNEY (AP) — Australia police said Saturday a man who fatally stabbed another and injured two in what they described as an Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack in central Melbourne had also planned to set off an explosion. The attacker, Hassain Khalif Shire Ali, 30, had his passport canceled in 2015 after it was learned he planned to travel to Syria, police said. The attack occurred on Friday when Shire Ali got out of a pickup vehicle, which he then set on fire, and stabbed three men, one of whom died at the scene. The attack horrified hundreds of onlookers during the afternoon rush hour in Australia's second-biggest city.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved Parliament and called for fresh elections amid a deepening political crisis. An official notification signed by Sirisena announced the dissolution of Parliament effective midnight Friday. It said the names of candidates will be called before Nov. 26, and the election held on Jan. 5. The new Parliament is to be convened on Jan. 17. Sri Lanka has been in a political crisis since Oct. 26, when Sirisena fired his prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and replaced him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa. Wickremesinghe has insisted his firing is unconstitutional. He has refused to vacate his official residence and demanded that Parliament be summoned immediately to prove he had support among its members.

HONG KONG (AP) — Concerns have been raised about freedom of expression in Hong Kong following the cancellation of literary and artistic events and the refusal to allow an editor from the Financial Times to enter the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. A look at three recent incidents and the effect they're having on freedom of speech and civil rights: ___ AUTHOR MA JIAN'S EVENT CANCELED A Hong Kong arts venue has canceled the appearance at a literary festival of exiled Chinese writer Ma Jian, known for his novels criticizing China's ruling Communist Party. Ma tweeted that the Tai Kwun venue, which is hosting the Hong Kong International Literary Festival, said his two scheduled events had been scratched.

WASHINGTON (AP) — China bluntly told the United States to stop sending ships and military aircraft close to islands claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea, during talks Friday that set the stage for a meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping later this month. The U.S. pushed back, insisting it will continue to "fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows." In late September, U.S. and Chinese vessels nearly collided near a disputed reef. Despite the frank airing of differences at the meeting in Washington of the two nations' top diplomats and military chiefs, both sides stressed the need to tamp down tensions, which have flared amid a bitter trade dispute that Trump and Xi are expected to tackle at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina.

South Korea soccer international Lee Chang-min has been questioned by police after he was involved in a car crash that left one person dead and two injured. Lee, who has played seven times for the national team and is a midfielder with leading K-League club Jeju United, has admitted that his SUV crossed the center line while driving on Jeju Island on Monday and collided with another vehicle that was traveling in the opposite direction. "We have to collect more evidence and need to conduct more of the investigation on Lee," an official at Seogwipo Police Station in Jeju said on Friday.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Philippine court found former first lady Imelda Marcos guilty of graft and ordered her arrest Friday in a rare conviction among many corruption cases that she plans to appeal to avoid jail and losing her seat in Congress. The special anti-graft Sandiganbayan court sentenced Marcos, 89, to serve 6 to 11 years in prison for each of the seven counts of violating an anti-corruption law when she illegally funneled about $200 million to Swiss foundations in the 1970s as Metropolitan Manila governor. Neither Marcos nor anyone representing her attended Friday's court hearing. Marcos said in a statement that the decision was being studied by one of her lawyers who notified the Marcos family that he intends to appeal the decision.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The uproar surrounding Aasia Bibi — a Pakistani Christian woman who was acquitted of blasphemy charges and released from death row but remains at a secret location for her protection — has drawn attention to the plight of the country's Christians. The minority, among Pakistan's poorest, has faced an increasingly intolerant atmosphere in this Muslim-majority nation where radical religious and sectarian groups have become more prominent in recent years. Here is a look at some of the issues involved. ___ WHY HER RELEASE IGNITED AN UPROAR Bibi's Oct. 31 acquittal by Pakistan's supreme court triggered large-scale protests, with religious extremists demanding the 54-year-old mother of five be publicly executed — and that the three judges who set her free also be put to death.

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday voiced hope that a conference on Afghanistan taking place in Moscow could help pave the way for peace talks. "The Moscow format of talks is aimed at establishing an inclusive inter-Afghan dialogue in the interests of advancing the process of national reconciliation," Lavrov said as he opened the meeting that has brought together representatives of the Afghan authorities and the Taliban. He emphasized the threat posed by the Islamic State group in Afghanistan, saying that it has relied on foreign sponsors in a bid to "turn Afghanistan into a springboard for its expansion in Central Asia." The conference is Moscow's effort to get the Afghan authorities and the Taliban together at a table.

BEIJING (AP) — Lu Yushan, a retired salesman, has advice for investors in China's slumping stock market: Sell. Lu's shares soared over the past decade. But the 65-year-old cashed out this year, driven away by plunging prices, insider trading scandals, a cooling economy and a tariff war with Washington. "Investors should get out," said Lu, watching flickering prices on a wall-mounted display at a Beijing brokerage. "I am here just for fun and not to make money." President Xi Jinping's government is struggling, with limited success, to dispel such gloom and talk stock prices back up with promises of tax cuts, more bank lending and a media campaign led by its economy czar.

HONG KONG (AP) — The Asia editor of the Financial Times has been refused entry to Hong Kong, weeks after he was denied a new work visa in what critics call an ominous sign of Beijing encroaching on the semi-autonomous Chinese territory's civil liberties. The newspaper reported that Victor Mallet was turned away at the border on Thursday after being questioned for several hours. He had sought to enter as a visitor. Mallet's visa rejection in October came shortly after he hosted a talk at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents' Club by the head of a now-banned political party advocating the financial hub's independence from China.