Top Asian News 4:51 a.m. GMT

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Two bombs exploded outside a Roman Catholic cathedral on a southern Philippine island where Muslim militants are active, killing at least 19 people and wounding nearly 50 during a Sunday Mass, officials said. The first bomb went off in or near the Jolo cathedral in the provincial capital, followed by a second blast outside the compound as government forces were responding to the attack, security officials said. Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde said that at least 19 people died and 48 were wounded. Police and military reports said the casualties included both troops and civilians. Photos on social media showed debris and bodies lying on a busy street outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which has been hit by bombs in the past.

The Philippine national police chief says two bombs that exploded during a Sunday Mass at a cathedral on southern Jolo Island have killed at least 19 people and wounded nearly 50. Oscar Albayalde gave the latest casualty figures as military and police are responding to the blasts targeting the Jolo cathedral. Security officials say the first bomb went off in or near the cathedral during Mass, followed by a second blast outside the compound as government forces were arriving in the area. Jolo Island has long been troubled by the presence of Abu Sayyaf militants, who are blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines as a terrorist organization because of bombings, kidnappings and beheadings.

TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fired Canada's ambassador to China after the envoy said it would be "great" if the U.S. dropped its extradition request for a Chinese tech executive arrested in Canada. Trudeau said Saturday that he had asked for and accepted John McCallum's resignation Friday night. McCallum made the remark to the Toronto Star on Friday. That came a day after he issued a statement saying he misspoke about the case earlier in the week and regretted saying Meng Wanzhou has a strong case against extradition. The arrest of the daughter of the founder of Huawei Technologies Ltd.

The International Olympic Committee has backed FIFA's calls for a Bahraini soccer player to be allowed to return to Australia from Thailand where he is detention while being pursued for extradition by Bahrain. But Asian soccer's leadership is declining to publicly back the campaign to secure the release of Hakeem al-Araibi, who has refugee status in Australia. The IOC said its president, Thomas Bach, "has personally discussed this worrying situation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees." FIFA asked the Thai government earlier this week to ensure al-Araibi was released at the "earliest possible moment." The IOC said its "full support for the FIFA actions in order to find a solution based on 'basic human and humanitarian values'" has been conveyed to the Thai government by IOC member Khunying Patama Leeswadtraku.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S. peace envoy to Afghanistan said Saturday that "significant progress" was made during lengthy talks with the Taliban in Qatar and that he was traveling to Afghanistan for more discussions aimed at ending the country's destructive 17-year war. Zalmay Khalilzad said on his official Twitter account that he wants to build on six days of meetings in Doha, the capital of Qatar. "Meetings here were more productive than they have been in the past," he said without providing details. "We made significant progress on vital issues." Taliban officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media said they have reached an understanding on the withdrawal of U.S.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Eka Tjipta Widjaja, patriarch of one of Asia's richest families and the founder of a sprawling Indonesian conglomerate, has died. He was 97. Widjaja passed away on Saturday evening, according to Gandi Sulistiyanto, a managing director at the Sinarmas conglomerate. The son of migrants from Fujian in China, Widjaja was a coconut oil trader on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in the 1930s before building businesses in palm oil, pulp and paper and mining. Forbes estimated Widjaja's fortune at $8.6 billion last year, making him Indonesia's third-richest person and the family among the 25 richest in Asia.

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A U.N. human rights envoy said that hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees won't be able to return to Myanmar soon because of threats to their safety in the Buddhist-majority nation. Myanmar has been criticized by global rights groups and many nations for state-sponsored violence against ethnic minorities. Yanghee Lee, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, on Friday also criticized India and Saudi Arabia for mistreatment of the Rohingya in those countries. Lee spent 10 days in Thailand and Bangladesh, speaking to refugees living in Bangladesh, authorities, U.N. agencies and international experts. More than 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled into Bangladesh since late August 2017.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Muslims in the southern Philippines overwhelmingly approved in a referendum the creation of a new autonomous region in hopes of ending nearly half a century of unrest, election officials said. The Commission on Elections announced late Friday that the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is deemed ratified following a referendum on Monday. It says 1.5 million people voted in favor. Bangsamoro replaces an existing poverty-wracked autonomous region with a larger, better-funded and more powerful entity. It is the result of a tumultuous peace effort by the government in Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the main Muslim rebel group, to seal a deal that was signed in 2014 but languished in the Philippine Congress until it was finally approved last year.

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — So close to victory, Naomi Osaka suddenly was letting the Australian Open final slip away. Three championship points? Gone. A sizable lead? Soon all gone, too. She was playing poorly. She yelled at herself. Slammed a ball. Tugged at her visor's pink brim. Trudged to the locker room between sets with a towel draped over her head. And then, after returning to the court, Osaka turned it all around just as quickly as she had dropped 23 of 27 points. Refocusing and reasserting herself, Osaka edged Petra Kvitova 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 on Saturday night to win the Australian Open for a second consecutive Grand Slam title.

NEW DELHI (AP) — Thousands of Indians converged on a ceremonial boulevard in the Indian capital to watch a display of the country's military power and cultural diversity amid tight security during Saturday's national day celebrations. Schoolchildren, folk dancers, and police and military battalions marched through the capital's parade route on a cold morning, followed by a military hardware display that included M777 Howitzer artillery guns, T-90 main battle tanks, locally made nuclear-capable missile systems and infantry combat vehicles. Similar parades were held in other Indian states, including Jammu-Kashmir and Manipur, where separatist militants don't accept Indian rule and called for general strikes.