Top Asian News 4:43 a.m. GMT

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan's ruling party was handed a major defeat in local elections Saturday that were seen as a referendum on the administration of the island's independence-leaning president amid growing economic and political pressure from China. Soon after the results came in, President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as head of the Democratic Progressive Party. She will remain as president and her resignation will have no direct effect on the business of government, although the results bode ill for her re-election chances in two years. Rival China said the results reflected a desire of Taiwanese for better relations with the mainland.

Voters in Taiwan have approved a referendum opposing same-sex marriage while rejecting a proposal to change the name of its Olympic team to Taiwan from the current Chinese Taipei. The referendums were among 10 on the ballot during island-wide city mayoral elections Saturday that dealt a major setback to President Tsai Ing-wen's independence-leaning party. Ballot initiatives are advisory only in Taiwan, but the vote in favor of restricting marriage to male-female couples will put lawmakers in a difficult position. They face both a court order to make same-sex marriage legal by 2019 and elections in 2020. The proposal to use the name Taiwan at future international sports events was opposed by China, which considers Taiwan a part of its territory.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Voters in Taiwan passed a referendum asking that marriage be restricted to one man and one woman, a setback to LGBT couples hoping their island will be the first place in Asia to let same-sex couples share child custody and insurance benefits. The vote on Saturday, organized by Christian groups that make up about 5 percent of Taiwan's population and advocates of the traditional Chinese family structure, goes against a May 2017 Constitutional Court ruling. Justices told legislators then to make same-sex marriage legal within two years, a first for Asia where religion and conservative governments normally keep the bans in place.

NEW DELHI (AP) — Police said they have mapped the area of a remote Indian island where tribespeople were seen burying the body of an American adventurer and Christian missionary after allegedly killing him with arrows this month. But before they can even attempt to recover the body of 26-year-old John Allen Chau, authorities have to learn from experts "the nuances of the group's conduct and behavior, particularly in this kind of violent behavior," said Dependra Pathak, the director-general of police of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where North Sentinel Island is located. During their visit to the island's surroundings on Friday, investigators spotted four or five North Sentinel islanders moving in the area from a distance of about 500 meters (1,600 feet) from a boat and studied their behavior for several hours, said Pathak.

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — News reports say Indian security forces have killed four suspected insurgents in the Indian portion of disputed Kashmir. Press Trust of India says they were killed in an encounter Sunday in the Kulgam district of south Kashmir. The agency quoted the army as saying security forces are searching the area following the clash. It's not clear which group they belonged to. Rebel groups have been fighting Indian rule since 1989, demanding Kashmir's independence or merger with Pakistan. About 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Pakistan denies.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea said Saturday that the United Nations Security Council granted an exemption to sanctions that will allow surveys on North Korean railroad sections the Koreas want to connect with the South. The surveys would require the South to bring to the North fuel and a variety of goods, including possibly cars to test on northern tracks. The Koreas plan to hold a groundbreaking ceremony by the end of the year on an ambitious project to connect their railways and roads as agreed by their leaders. But beyond surveys and tape-cuttings, they cannot move much further along without the lifting of U.S.-led sanctions against North Korea, which isn't likely before Pyongyang takes firmer steps toward relinquishing its nuclear weapons and missiles.

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — The suicide bomber that targeted the Chinese consulate in Karachi used a foreign-made C-4 plastic explosive, said Pakistani police, who suggested Saturday that the attack was orchestrated in India. Counter-terrorism officer Umar Khitab said that authorities are investigating whether Baluch separatist commander Aslam Achhu, who they believe masterminded the attack, is in India. The Baluch Liberation Army claimed the attack, and Khitab said the group is backed by "the enemy country," a reference to India. There was no immediate comment from India's External Affairs Ministry. Two other Pakistani officials said four suspects, who allegedly facilitated three attackers, were arrested in Karachi and other Sindh province towns.

MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) — Police in an ongoing crackdown arrested some 1100 supporters of a detained radical Islamic cleric, who disrupted daily life with nationwide rallies following the acquittal of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, officials said Saturday. Senior police officer Tahir Mahmood said that supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik party were picked up in sweeps across the country, mainly in Punjab province, following the arrest of its leader, Khadim Hussain Rizvi. Mahmood said police teams raided Labbaik party seminaries, the homes of party leaders and supporters and hiding places to net them. He said police also arrested scores of Rizvi's supporters as they took to streets to protest his overnight arrest.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An explosion ripped through a mosque inside an Afghan army base in the country's volatile eastern Khost province as Friday prayers were drawing to a close, killing 27 soldiers and wounding 57, the military said. The blast may have been set off by a suicide bomber or a remotely detonated bomb but nothing was officially confirmed and details were sketchy. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion. President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack in a statement as "anti-Islamic and inhumane." He also wanted to know how the army's security was breached, demanding a swift investigation and the officials responsible held accountable.

BANGALORE, India (AP) — At least 25 people, many of them schoolchildren, were killed when a speeding bus fell into a canal in southern India on Saturday, an official and media reports said. The accident occurred in Mandya district as the driver lost control of the vehicle while going at a high speed, said G. Parameshwaran, the Karnataka state deputy chief minister. Parameshwaran said a rescue operation was underway, with police rushing divers to the spot. The area is 105 kilometers (65 miles) southwest of Bangalore, the state capital. The Press Trust of India news agency reported that many of the dead were children who were returning from school.