BEIJING (AP) — When Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen departs Sunday for Latin America, she'll be traveling to a region she's already visited three times in two years. She doesn't have many other options. As Tsai crosses the halfway mark of her first four-year term, an eight-day swing through Paraguay and Belize is a reflection of how Taiwan's diplomatic isolation has worsened in the midst of a suffocating Chinese pressure campaign. Just 18 countries — mostly clustered in Latin America, the South Pacific and Caribbean — still maintain formal ties with the self-ruling island, down from 22 when Tsai entered office in 2016.
TANJUNG, Indonesia (AP) — Scientists say the powerful Indonesian earthquake that killed more than 300 people lifted the island it struck by as much as 25 centimeters (10 inches). Using satellite images of Lombok from the days following the Aug. 5 quake, scientists from NASA and the California Institute of Technology's joint rapid imaging project made a ground deformation map and measured changes in the island's surface. In the northwest of the island near the epicenter, the rupturing faultline lifted the earth by a quarter of a meter. In other places it dropped by 5-15 centimeters (2-6 inches). Some 270,000 people are homeless or displaced after the earthquake, which damaged and destroyed about 68,000 homes.
MAYONG, India (AP) — The rice farmer doesn't know how it happened. Abdul Mannan just knows a mistake was made somewhere. But what can you say when the authorities suddenly insist one of your five children isn't an Indian? What do you do when your wife and daughter-in-law are suddenly viewed as illegal immigrants? "We are genuine Indians. We are not foreigners," said Mannan, 50, adding his family has lived in India's northeastern Assam state since the 1930s. "I can't understand where the mistake is." Neither can nearly 4 million other people who insist they are Indian but who now must prove their nationality as the politics of citizenship — overlaid with questions of religion, ethnicity and illegal immigration — swirls in a state where such questions have a long and bloody past.
BEIJING (AP) — Thousands of Muslims gathered at a mosque in northwestern China on Friday to protest its planned demolition in a rare, public pushback to the government's efforts to rewrite how religions are practiced in the country. A large crowd of Hui people, a Muslim ethnic minority, began congregating at the towering Grand Mosque in the town of Weizhou on Thursday, local Hui residents told The Associated Press by phone. "People are in a lot of pain," said Ma Sengming, a 72-year-old man who was at the protest from Thursday morning until Friday afternoon. "Many people were crying. We can't understand why this is happening." Ma said the group shouted "Protect faith in China!" and "Love the country, love the faith!" The protest comes as faith groups that were largely tolerated in the past have seen their freedoms shrink as the government seeks to "Sinicize" religions by making the faithful prioritize allegiance to the officially atheist ruling Communist Party.
MATARAM, Indonesia (AP) — After a deadly earthquake devastated the Indonesian island of Lombok last weekend, Husni Handayani thought the worst was over. The powerful quake claimed hundreds of lives, wounded thousands more and displaced over 270,000 people. But it left her own home in the provincial capital, Mataram, still standing and nobody in her family was harmed. On Thursday, though, a strong aftershock shook the walls of Handayani's kitchen, prompting the pregnant 27-year-old to run outside in a panic. On a curb outside, she tripped and fell, glimpsing blood on her clothes before blacking out. "When I woke up ...
NEW YORK (AP) — An Australian tourist biking in New York City died after colliding with a garbage truck as she swerved to avoid a vehicle blocking the bike lane near Central Park. Police say 23-year-old Madison Jane Lyden veered into traffic around 4:45 p.m. Friday when a stopped taxi suddenly pulled in front of her. Lyden was pronounced dead at a hospital. A transportation advocacy group says it was "a crash waiting to happen" because "lazy and entitled drivers" are parking, dropping people off and idling in bike lanes. Transportation Alternatives says Lyden's death "underscores the need for every major street in New York City to have a safe, protected space to travel by bike."
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A brazen and bloody overnight assault Friday by the Taliban on a key provincial capital in central Afghanistan has increased pressure on U.S.-backed Afghan forces that are withering under relentless attacks, prompting President Ashraf Ghani to call an emergency meeting of his security officials. While government security forces in the city of Ghazni repulsed the multipronged attack with the help of U.S. air support, Taliban insurgents remained hunkered down on its outskirts, and some were still holed up in residential areas, according to Interior Ministry deputy spokesman, Nasrat Rahimi. At least 39 insurgents were killed, while 14 police died and 20 were wounded in the fighting, said provincial Police Chief Farid Ahmad Mashal.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The battle lines for Indonesia's 2019 presidential election were drawn Friday as the incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo formally registered as a candidate after choosing a conservative Islamic cleric as his running mate. Jokowi, the first Indonesian president from outside the military and political elite, announced his vice-presidential candidate, Ma'ruf Amin, on Thursday after weeks of fevered speculation in local media. Jokowi's pick has become bigger news in Indonesia, the world's third-largest democracy, than an earthquake on the island of Lombok that killed more than 300 people. The decision disappointed liberals but analysts say it shores up Jokowi's position among conservative Muslims who demonstrated their political power last year with the ouster of Jakarta's minority Christian governor, a Jokowi ally, who was later imprisoned for blasphemy.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea said a total of 35,000 tons of North Korean coal and pig iron worth $5.8 million illegally entered its ports last year, in possible violations of UN sanctions. Reporting on preliminary results from a 10-month investigation, the Korea Customs Service said Friday it is seeking prosecutions of three local companies and their executives for smuggling or forging documents to say North Korean mineral resources came from Russia. They imported North Korean coal or pig iron in seven separate cases between April and October last year to five South Korean ports, on the Jin Ao, Rich Vigor, Shining Rich and other vessels, the customs office said.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The off-road accessory was shipped in a box emblazoned with the logo of an auto parts brand owned by Mike Braun, a multimillionaire businessman who often rails against foreign outsourcing in his bid to become Indiana's next senator. The words "Made in China" were stamped across the packaging. Braun frequently criticizes his opponent, vulnerable red-state Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, for once owning stock in a family business his brother runs that operates a factory in Mexico. However, the Republican nominee's own parts brand, Promaxx Automotive, sells products that were similarly manufactured abroad, according to a review by The Associated Press.