Top Asian News at 7:00 a.m. GMT

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will outline his vision for Japan’s defense role in regional security to promote peace and prosperity amid tension over China’s growing assertiveness and maritime activity. Abe will deliver a keynote speech Friday at the Asia Security Summit in Singapore, becoming a first Japanese leader to do so at the gathering.

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities detained another activist amid increasingly intense efforts to suppress commemorations of next week’s 25th anniversary of the 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, his lawyers said Friday. Wang Aizhong, a founder of the Southern Street Movement, which calls for an end to one-party rule, was detained in the southern city of Guangzhou on suspicion of picking quarrels and provoking troubles, according to his lawyers Zhang Xuezhong and Wu Kuiming.

BEIJING (AP) — China’s president has promised to raise incomes and education spending in the country’s restive Muslim northwest in an effort to cool rising ethnic tensions, while calling for tougher security following a deadly terror attack in the region’s capital. At a top-level meeting, President Xi Jinping called Thursday for “copper walls and iron barriers” as well as “nets spread from the earth to the sky” in the Xinjiang region to stop terrorism, according to a statement from China’s central government.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A Cambodian court on Friday convicted almost two dozen factory workers and rights activists for instigating violence during protests that rocked the government earlier this year, but in a surprise move gave them suspended sentences and granted them freedom. The Phnom Penh Municipal Court ruled that the 23 defendants, who were detained since their arrests in January, had served enough time behind bars and were free to return home.

OXON HILL, Maryland (AP) — Two spellers were declared co-champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee — the first time in 52 years. Indian-Americans Sriram Hathwar of New York and Ansun Sujoe of Texas shared the title Thursday after a riveting final-round duel in which they nearly exhausted the 25 designated championship words. After they spelled a dozen words correctly in a row, they both were named champions.

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s consumer prices rose 3.2 percent from a year earlier in April to the highest level since 1991, the government said Friday, largely due to a sales tax increase that is expected to dent growth this quarter. Other April data for the world’s third-largest economy were largely in line with forecasts. Industrial production fell 2.5 percent from a year earlier and household spending sank 4.6 percent. Unemployment was 3.6 percent, the same as in March.

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities have arrested a man for allegedly taking bribes while serving as an admissions official at Beijing’s elite Renmin University. The prosecuting office in the eastern city of Nanjing said Friday that Cai Rongsheng was arrested on allegations that he took more than 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) in exchange for the help he extended to those seeking admission to the university.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Investigators searching for the missing Malaysian jet have concluded an area where acoustic signals were detected is not the final resting place of the plane after an unmanned submersible found no trace of it, the search coordinator said Thursday. The U.S. Navy’s Bluefin 21 finished its final underwater mission in the southern Indian Ocean on Wednesday after scouring 850 square kilometers (330 square miles), the Joint Agency Coordination Center said.

SYDNEY (AP) — Thursday marked a bleak moment for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. For the first time since it disappeared March 8 with 239 people on board, no one is looking for it. An unmanned sub that spent weeks scouring the area of the Indian Ocean where searchers had detected acoustic signals they hoped were from the aircraft finished its work Wednesday, after finding nothing. Australian officials leading the search acknowledged that the area can be ruled out as the aircraft’s final resting place.

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (AP) — Days after the U.S. and China traded new accusations of cyberspying, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday he will press the same issues in a face-to-face meeting with a top military officer from Beijing this weekend. Hagel said he also plans to raise many of the territorial disputes that have raised tempers in the Asia Pacific region and talk about “where we think China is overplaying its hand and presenting new challenges and new tensions to this area.”

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Two teenage sisters in rural India were raped and killed by attackers who hung their bodies from a mango tree, which became the scene of a silent protest by villagers angry about alleged police inaction in the case. Two of the four men arrested so far are police officers. Villagers found the girls’ bodies hanging from the tree early Wednesday, hours after they disappeared from fields near their home in Katra village in Uttar Pradesh state, police Superintendent Atul Saxena said. The girls, who were 14 and 15, had gone into the fields because there was no toilet in their home.

BANGKOK (AP) — More than 1,000 Thai troops and police sealed off one of Bangkok’s busiest intersections Thursday to prevent a planned protest, as authorities said they would no longer allow any demonstrations against last week’s military coup. Truckloads of soldiers blocked all incoming roads to the capital’s Victory Monument in a massive show of force at the height of evening rush hour in an area that serves as one of the city’s commuter bus hubs.

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — The husband of a woman stoned to death in Pakistan killed his first wife four years ago, police and relatives said Thursday, a shocking twist both showing how complicated justice can be and how dangerous life is for women in the country. A mob of family members, including her father and brothers, beat 25-year-old Farzana Parveen to death Tuesday with bricks stolen from a construction site in the eastern city of Lahore as onlookers stood by, authorities said. Initially, many in Pakistan offered their condolences to Parveen’s husband, Mohammed Iqbal, after the killing as the family apparently didn’t want her to marry him.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A Cambodian woman internationally recognized for her work against sexual slavery has resigned from the foundation she helped create following reports that she distorted parts of her own history. Somaly Mam’s memoir, “The Road of Lost Innocence,” said she was abused and sold into prostitution as a child — one of several claims now being questioned

TOKYO (AP) — North Korea has agreed to open a new investigation into the fate of Japanese citizens it abducted in the 1970s and 1980s in return for the lifting of some sanctions, the two countries said Thursday. Japan will lift the sanctions after it confirms that a committee has been set up and has begun work, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said. It will also consider possible humanitarian aid to North Korea depending on the progress of the investigation, which is expected to start in about three weeks, he said.

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