Top Asian News 4:49 a.m. GMT

DANANG, Vietnam (AP) — Trade ministers from 11 Pacific Rim countries said they reached an agreement Saturday to proceed with the free-trade Trans-Pacific Partnership deal that was in doubt after President Donald Trump abandoned it. However, an immediate formal endorsement by the countries' leaders meeting in Vietnam appeared unlikely. A statement issued in the early hours Saturday said an accord was reached on "core elements" of the 11-member pact. The compromise was delayed by last-minute disagreements that prevented the TPP leaders from meeting to endorse a plan on Friday. "Ministers are pleased to announce that they have agreed on the core elements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership," the 11 nations said in a statement.

The Vietnamese trade minister says 11 Pacific Rim countries have reached a "fundamental agreement" on continuing with a free trade pact after the U.S. abandoned it. Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh told a news conference: "We have reached an agreement on a number of fundamental parts." He also says the ministers changed the name of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership. The 11 counties remaining in the trade pact rejected by President Donald Trump in January have been working to revise the deal to allow them to proceed without U.S. involvement. But a basic deal was delayed by unspecified disagreements raised by Canada and possibly other countries that were worked out in talks that extended late into the night Friday.

NEW DELHI (AP) — As thick smog crept over India's capital this week and smudged landmarks from view, Nikunj Pandey could feel his eyes and throat burning. Pandey stopped doing his regular workouts and said he felt tightness in his lungs. He started wearing a triple layer of pollution masks over his mouth. And he became angry that he couldn't safely breathe the air. "This is a basic right," he said. "A basic right of humanity." Pandey is among many people in New Delhi who have become more aware of the toxic air in recent years and are increasingly frustrated at the lack of meaningful action by authorities.

GENEVA (AP) — Sri Lanka's government faced increasing pressure Friday to answer for alleged human rights violations following an Associated Press investigation that found more than 50 men who said they were raped, branded or tortured as recently as this year. The men's anguished descriptions of their abuses come nearly a decade after Sri Lanka's civil war ended and days ahead of a review of the Indian Ocean nation by the U.N.'s top human rights body. Doctors, psychologists, lawmakers and rights groups have appealed to the United Nations to investigate the new allegations published by The Associated Press on Wednesday. The AP reviewed 32 medical and psychological evaluations and interviewed 20 men who said they were accused of trying to revive a rebel group on the losing side of Sri Lanka's 26-year civil war.

DANANG, Vietnam (AP) — President Donald Trump stood before a summit of Asian leaders keen on regional trade pacts and delivered a roaring "America first" message Friday, denouncing China for unfair trade practices just a day after he had heaped praise on President Xi Jinping in Beijing. "We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore," Trump told CEOs on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference. "I am always going to put America first, the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first." The president — who pulled the United States out of the Pacific Rim trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership — said the U.S.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The United States and South Korea on Saturday started joint naval exercises that will involve three U.S. aircraft carriers in what military officials describe as a clear warning to North Korea. The four-day drills that began in waters off South Korea's eastern coast come as President Donald Trump continues a visit to Asia that has been dominated by discussions over the North Korean nuclear threat. The battle groups of the USS Ronald Reagan, the Theodore Roosevelt and the Nimitz will successively enter the exercise area during the drills that run until Tuesday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Another Australian lawmaker has announced his resignation over a constitutional ban on dual citizens sitting in Parliament, triggering a second by-election that could cost the government its fragile grip on power. John Alexander announced on Monday that he was waiting on advice from the British Home Office on whether he had inherited citizenship from his English-born father. On Saturday, the 67-year-old former professional tennis player told reporters he was "most likely" a dual citizen. Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is contesting his seat at a by-election in December after the High Court disqualified him because he had inherited the citizenship of his New Zealand-born father.

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — For more than four months, Ronggao Zhang has walked to his missing daughter's apartment almost every day. At first, he stood outside, hoping she would show up one afternoon. But even after he was told she'd been kidnapped and was presumed dead, he's continued his routine. "It brings peace and comfort to my heart," Zhang explained in Mandarin, through a translator. His daughter, Yingying Zhang (ying ying zahng), a 26-year-old visiting scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, disappeared June 9 on her way to sign an apartment lease. A former graduate student has been charged with kidnapping and killing her.

DANANG, Vietnam (AP) — Asia's two major regional meetings are unfolding in coming days, filling the news cycles with imagery of groups of political luminaries shaking hands, posing, dining, meeting. But is that where the majority of real progress happens? Most times, quite possibly not. Much happens in "bilats" — the "bilateral," one-on-one meetings between ministers or leaders that take place on the sidelines of meetings like APEC and ASEAN, both of which are happening late this week and early next. A meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of APEC in Vietnam on Friday or Saturday, for example, would be a classic "bilat." (Although the two have said they won't meet formally, they haven't ruled out an informal encounter.) Bilats on the sidelines of regional meetings are significant because they allow leaders — particularly those who might have some tension between them — to meet and talk in a place where they already are.

DANANG, Vietnam (AP) — Nations need to stay committed to economic openness or risk being left behind, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Friday in comments that contrasted sharply with U.S. President Donald Trump's remarks to the same business conference. The Chinese president drew loud applause when he urged support for the "multilateral trading regime" and progress toward a free-trade zone in the Asia-Pacific. "We should continue to foster an open economy that benefits all. Openness brings progress while self-seclusion leaves one behind. We, the Asia-Pacific economies, know this only too well from our own development experience," Xi said. The leaders were speaking on the sidelines of an annual summit of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

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