Top Asian News 4:51 a.m. GMT

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics on Friday apologized for the sickness and deaths of some of its workers, saying it failed to create a safe working environment at its computer chip and display factories. The announcement by the South Korean technology giant came weeks after the company and a group representing ailing Samsung workers agreed to accept compensation terms suggested by a mediator and end a highly-publicized standoff that went on for more than a decade. The company's apology was part of the settlement. Kinam Kim, president of Samsung's device solutions division, said the company failed to "sufficiently manage health threats" at its semiconductor and liquid crystal display manufacturing lines.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China's pressure campaign looms large as Taiwan holds local elections Saturday in what is seen partly as a referendum on the policies of independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen. Driven from power two years ago, the opposition Nationalists are hoping to regain territory by leaning on their pro-business image and a more accommodating line toward Beijing, which detests Tsai for her refusal to endorse its stance that the self-governing island democracy is a part of the Chinese nation. The China factor and the potential impact on the next presidential election are giving added weight to the polls, said Alexander Huang, strategic studies professor at Taiwan's Tamkang University.

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan Motor Co. fired Carlos Ghosn as chairman Thursday, curtailing the powerful executive's nearly two-decade reign at the Japanese automaker after his arrest for alleged financial improprieties. In an hourslong meeting, the company's board of directors voted unanimously to dismiss Ghosn as chairman and as a representative director, Nissan said in a statement. It said its own internal investigation, prompted by a whistleblower, found serious misconduct including under-reporting of his income and misuse of company assets. It was a stunning downfall for one of the biggest figures in the auto industry. Ghosn had helped drive turnarounds at both France's Renault SA and at Nissan and then managed an alliance between them that sold 10.6 million cars last year, besting its rivals.

BANGKOK (AP) — All the usual rituals of international summits were there: the group photos, the gala dinners, the noticeably vibrant shirts leaders force themselves into. But eclipsing all of that at Asia's two big meetings was some unusually forthright criticism that exposed deepening divisions rattling the region. Front and center was the rivalry between the U.S. and China. The two countries are locked in a widening trade war and their representatives used the summits to exchange barbs and maneuver to expand their influence. Competition between the great powers is not new to the region. But over decades of war, financial crises and other setbacks, countries across Asia and the Pacific Rim have used these annual meetings to talk through such problems, usually opting to sideline disagreements in a show of unity.

VIENNA (AP) — The head of the U.N.'s atomic watchdog on Thursday called on North Korea to allow inspectors back into the country to monitor its nuclear program. Speaking at a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Director General Yukiya Amano noted that Pyongyang had in September talked about denuclearization measures including the "permanent dismantlement of the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon" — a reactor where it produces plutonium. Amano said there has been activity observed at Yongbyon, but "without access the agency cannot confirm the nature and purpose of these activities." At a news conference later Thursday, he said he couldn't elaborate on when exactly the activity was observed.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Powered by hash browns and chocolate milkshakes, a New Zealander has run the length of his country in a record time of 18 days and eight hours. A former drug addict, 64-year-old Perry Newburn is not your typical endurance athlete. His nutrition plan included plenty of stops at McDonald's restaurants. He kept his pace in his head rather than using a fancy GPS watch. And his support crew for half the distance consisted of his mate Graeme driving ahead in Perry's Toyota Corolla wagon. But Newburn ran and ran and ran, averaging close to three full marathons each day along the 2,100 kilometer (1,300 mile) journey, which he finished Wednesday.

MINGORA, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani police say three children have been killed in the northwestern Swat Valley while handling an abandoned mortar shell they thought was a toy. Police official Bakhat Khan said Friday two children were also wounded in Wednesday's incident in the village of Matta. He says the mortar round might have been lying there since 2009, when the army evicted the Pakistani Taliban from the area. He says security officials have launched a search to clear the region of other unexploded ordinance. The Swat Valley is the home of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot and wounded in 2012 by militants for promoting girls' education.

Laborers stand on scaffolding while working at a construction site for a hospital near New Delhi, after such work was suspended for several days in the capital region to try to ease its severe air pollution. In other images from the Asia-Pacific region this week, a fighter jet lands on the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea. The carrier's battle group was making a port call in Hong Kong in what was seen as a friendly gesture amid tensions between Beijing and Washington over trade and territorial disputes over the regional waters. Papua New Guinea greeted global leaders attending the APEC summit, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was making the first state visit to Manila by a Chinese leader in 13 years.

BEIJING (AP) — Dolce&Gabbana goods disappeared Thursday from Chinese e-commerce sites as the fallout grew over remarks insulting to China that were apparently made by two of its Instagram accounts. The company has blamed hackers. Searches for Dolce&Gabbana turned up no items on major online retailers such as Alibaba's Tmall and Both companies didn't respond to requests for comment. A duty-free shop at the Haikou Meilan airport on China's Hainan island posted a photo of empty shelves on its social media account, saying that it had pulled all Dolce&Gabbana products. It wrote in another post that "Even if our power is small, we have to show our stance.

SHANGHAI (AP) — The young woman is panting, panicked, her thin arm pointing at four men in police uniforms who had let themselves into her hotel room near midnight. "You cannot treat me like this," she shouts, her voice high and reeling. "You cannot barge in like this late at night, OK? I didn't do anything illegal." The men, one carrying a pair of thin white plastic restraints, tell her they are doing a "routine inspection," according to a video of the Nov. 11 incident seen by The Associated Press. Only there was nothing routine about this. Their target was Zhou Chen, an environmental reporter for Caixin, one of China's most respected business media groups.