Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1600 GMT, July 18
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Jul. 18, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1600 GMT, July 18

CANBERRA -- Australian Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan on Sunday admitted that the way of former prime minister Kevin Rudd was toppled from the Labor leadership has been troubling voters from state Queensland.

A Galaxy poll, published in News Ltd papers on Sunday, found a majority of voters nationally, 57 percent, believe the treatment of the former prime minister has harmed Labor's chances for re- election. (Australia-Kevin Rudd-Election)


CANBERRA -- Australian Labor Party has an election-winning lead going into the first full day of election campaigning for the August 21 federal poll, data showed on Sunday.

A Galaxy opinion poll, published in News Ltd newspapers on Sunday, showed Labor maintaining a two-party preferred lead, 52-48 percent, over the Tony Abbott-led Coalition.

But there has been a worrying sign for Labor. Its primary vote support has dropped two points to 39 percent. (Australia-Election)


AUCKLAND -- New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Sunday announced changes to existing workplace laws, including allowing workers to cash up their fourth week of leave and extending the 90- day worker trial to all businesses.

Key told the National party's annual conference in Auckland on Sunday that, as with the existing employment scheme, the employer and potential employee will have to enter into a written agreement for a 90-day probation period. (NZ-Policy)


KATHMANDU -- The Central Working Committee of Nepali Congress ( NC) party has unanimously selected Parliamentary Party leader and NC vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel as the party 's prime ministerial candidate to lead a new government, The Rising Nepal reported on Sunday.

According to the daily, at a meeting held here Saturday, former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba proposed Poudel as the new Prime Minister. (Nepal-PM Candidate)


HERAT, Afghanistan -- An explosion apparently carried out by militants enabled 20 inmates to escape from a prison in Farah province west of Afghanistan on Sunday, police said.

"The explosion occurred at 03:00 a.m. local time next to the main jail of Farah province facilitated 20 detainees to escape," the regional police chief in west Afghanistan Ikramudin Yawar told Xinhua. (Afghanistan-Prison Break)


ISLAMABAD -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has arrived in Islamabad on Sunday on a two-day visit to consult with Pakistani leaders on bilateral and regional issues, according to local media reports.

She will participate with her delegation in a meeting of the bilateral Ministerial-level Strategic Dialogue, which she will chair with her Pakistani counterpart, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, said the U.S. embassy spokesman. (Pakistan- Clinton Visit)


HONG KONG -- Hong Kong's financial services sector can take advantage of the "One country, Two systems" principle to help China's mainland further open up while helping Hong Kong become a global financial hub, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the Hong Kong government K C Chan said Sunday.

Chan also said Hong Kong could work together with Shanghai in the gradual internationalization of the mainland market, and the two cities could be in a complementary relationship and help each other. (HK-Shanghai-Cooperation)


KABUL -- An explosion rocked east of Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday, leaving two people dead and 20 others injured, all civilians," deputy to Kabul police chief Syed Abdul Ghafar Syedzada said.

"School children were also among the injured in the blast," Syedzada told journalists at the site of the incident, without revealing further details. (Afghanistan-Rocket Attack)


KABUL -- The spokesman for NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Sunday said that more than 180 Afghan civilians have been killed by Taliban insurgents since last June as Taliban Mullah Mohammad Omar ordered his men to attack specific targets.

"Since June 1, 188 civilians have been killed by insurgents," Josef Blotz told reporters at weekly press briefing in ISAF fortified headquarters. (Afghanistan-Taliban)


COLOMBO -- Sri Lankan leftist trade union alliance will begin its series of protests from Monday demanding immediate pay hike for state employees, a senior trade unionist said on Sunday.

Convener of the National Trade Union Center (NTUC) Samantha Koralearachchi said they are demanding 8,000 rupees (72.4 U.S. dollars) pay hike per month as the cost of living is skyrocketing. (Sri Lanka-Protest)


MANILA -- The death toll from typhoon Conson that wrecked havoc last week in three Philippine regions has risen to 68 people with 84 others still missing, an official of the National Disaster Coordinating Council said on Sunday.

NDCC executive officer Benito Ramos said 30 were reported to have been injured. Many of the casualties were caused by sea mishaps involving 40 fishing boats and 22 other vessels. ( Philippines-Typhoon)


JAKARTA -- There was no immediate report of fatalities or damage in Indonesia's Papua Province after strong quakes hit Papua New Guinea on Sunday, Indonesian officials said.

The main shock occurred at 20:04 Jakarta time (1304 GMT) with epicenter at 503 km northeast Port Moresby and with the depth at 77 km under land, an official of the agency Andri Sembiring told Xinhua.

An aftershock struck at 20:35 Jakarta time (1335 GMT) with epicenter at 537 km northeast of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea with the depth at 26 km under sea bed, the agency said.

Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency lifted tsunami warning after a 7.1 magnitude aftershock and a 7.2 magnitude main shock in Papua New Guinea on Sunday. The agency issued the warning immediately after an aftershock taking place on sea. (Indonesia- Quake)


ISLAMABAD -- At least three people were killed and 26 others injured in a suicide blast which went off Sunday night at a crowded mosque in the city of Sargodha in the Punjab province of Pakistan, reported local media.

Among the injured people, at least ten persons were in critical condition, said hospital sources.

According to the reports, the blast took place at about 8:00 p. m. (local time) at the Shia mosque located in Block 19 area of the city, in which there were at least 300 prayers. (Pakistan-Blast)



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