Top Asian News 4:56 a.m. GMT

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency airworthiness directive on how to handle erroneous data from a sensor that investigators believe malfunctioned on a new Boeing jet that plunged into the sea in Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board. The directive gives regulatory weight to Boeing's safety bulletin that it sent to operators of Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 planes based on findings from the ongoing Indonesian investigation into the Oct. 29 crash of a Lion Air jet. FAA directives are usually followed by other airline regulators internationally. The FAA said erroneous data from the "angle of attack" sensor, which helps prevent the plane from stalling and diving, could cause flight crew to have difficulty controlling the airplane and lead to "excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss, and possible impact with the terrain." The directive instructs airlines to make specific changes to flight manual procedures for responding to the problem.

MOUNT KUMGANG, North Korea (AP) — The two-lane highway south from North Korea's Mount Kumgang into and across the Demilitarized Zone is lined by tall green fences and street lamps that are only turned on for special occasions. Children play on a parallel stretch of railroad that hasn't been in regular use since before they were born. Behind a solitary guard stands a sign saying it's 68 kilometers (40 miles) to Sokcho, a town just across the DMZ in South Korea. At the height of South Korea's policy of engagement with the North, the "Diamond Mountain Resort" area was a symbol of cooperation.

CANBERRA., Australia (AP) — Australia's prime minister on Thursday outlined plans to increase investments in infrastructure in the South Pacific as China's influence in those nations grows. Prime Minister Scott Morrison also detailed plans for greater military and diplomatic engagement with Australia's island neighbors who are increasing looking to China for aid through Beijing's "Belt and Road" infrastructure program. "My government is returning the Pacific to where it should be — front and center of Australia's strategic outlook, foreign policy and personal connections, including at the highest levels of government," Morrison said in a speech. The 2 billion Australian dollar ($1.4 billion) Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific will provide grants and long-term loans for investments in telecommunications, energy, transport and water infrastructure, Morrison said.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's competition watchdog on Thursday approved the proposed merger of television network Nine Entertainment and newspaper publisher Fairfax Media into a media giant to be known only as Nine. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims said the merger, proposed in July, reduced the number of corporations focused on Australian news from five to four. Nine has been Australia's most popular free-to-air television network in recent decades and Fairfax had traditionally been a quality newspaper publisher in Australia and New Zealand. "While the merger between these two big name media players raised a number of extremely complex issues, and will likely reduce competition, we concluded that the proposed merger was not likely to substantially lessen competition in any market in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act," Sims said in a statement.

BEIJING (AP) — The foreign ministers of China and Australia are meeting in Beijing on Thursday in a sign of a thaw in the recently frosty relationship between the key economic partners. Wang Yi was to meet with his counterpart Marise Payne after months of tension over accusations of Chinese interference in Australian politics, media and academia. In an earlier announcement, Payne said she looked forward to talks on "strategic, economic and people-to-people connections." China took particular offense at a new law passed after allegations of Chinese meddling in Australian politics and media exposes about the Communist Party's dealings with Chinese university students and the expatriate Chinese community in Australia.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A draft U.N. resolution would strongly condemn the continuing "gross human rights violations and abuses" against Rohingya Muslims and urgently call on Myanmar's government to end discrimination and provide a path to citizenship for the embattled minority. The draft resolution, sponsored by the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, more than 25 European countries and Canada, was officially circulated Wednesday. The General Assembly's human rights committee is expected to vote on the measure on Nov. 15. The draft expresses deep concern that violence against the Rohingya has forced over 723,000 people to flee to Bangladesh since August 2017.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists have found the oldest known example of an animal drawing: a red silhouette of a bull-like beast on the wall of an Indonesian cave. The sketch is at least 40,000 years old, slightly older than similar animal paintings found in famous caves in France and Spain. Until a few years ago, experts believed Europe was where our ancestors started drawing animals and other figures. But the age of the drawing reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, along with previous discoveries in Southeast Asia, suggest that figurative drawing appeared in both continents about the same time. The new findings fuel discussions about whether historical or evolutionary events prompted this near-simultaneous "burst of human creativity," said lead author Maxime Aubert, an archaeologist and geochemist at Griffith University in Australia.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's foreign minister says the United States has confirmed that North Korea initiated the cancellation of a meeting this week between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a senior North Korean official on nuclear issues. Kang Kyung-wha told lawmakers on Thursday that U.S. officials told Seoul that North Korea sent a notification to Washington to call off the meeting aimed at discussing the North's denuclearization and setting up a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Kang provided no information on why North Korea canceled the meeting. Trump says the United States is "in no rush" and that the meeting would be rescheduled.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Christian woman acquitted after eight years on death row for blasphemy has been freed from jail and while an offer from the European Parliament has been made to protect her family, those familiar with her whereabouts say she is still in Pakistan. Aasia Bibi was with her family and under heavy security on Thursday after being transferred to Islamabad under cover of darkness from her prison cell in south Punjab the night before. That information comes from two people who are familiar with Bibi's whereabouts but insisted on anonymity because of fear for their safety. A letter from European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, a copy of which was seen by The Associated Press, invited the family to Europe.

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam and the United States have finished the cleanup of dioxin contamination at Danang airport caused by the transport and storage of the herbicide Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. The 30 hectares (74 acres) of land cleansed of the toxic chemical were handed over to Vietnam at a ceremony Wednesday where Vice Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh praised the U.S. government's involvement in the cleanup. "It is proof that we are opening a future of good cooperation between the governments of Vietnam and the United States," Vinh said. "Today marks the day that Danang airport is no longer known as a dioxin hotspot, the day that Danang people can be assured that their health will not be destroyed by chemicals left over from the war." Large amounts of Agent Orange, which contains dioxin, were stored at Danang airport during the war and sprayed by U.S.