Top Asian News 9:04 a.m. GMT
BAGAN, Myanmar (AP) — Using brooms and their hands, soldiers and residents of an ancient Myanmar city famous for its historic Buddhist temples began cleaning up debris Thursday from a powerful earthquake that shook the region, damaging nearly 200 pagodas. At least four people were killed and at least 171 pagodas were damaged in Bagan after a 6.8 magnitude quake struck the area on Wednesday. The tremor was centered about 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of Chauk, just south of Bagan. The city is one of Myanmar's top tourist attractions, drawing visitors from all over the world who can view a panorama of temples stretching to the horizon flanked by the Irrawaddy River.
Parched Zimbabwe faces dire water shortages as new dry season nears
By Andrew Mambondiyani GUTAURARE, Zimbabwe (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The only dam in this small-scale farming community in eastern Zimbabwe used to provide water for both people and cattle. As a small boy tries to fill two containers with the muddy water, a herd of cattle crowd in for a drink. The dam refilled during the recent rainy season, he said, but the water is not sufficient to last until the next rains start in late October or early November.
Hope Solo suspended from US soccer team for 6 months
CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. women's goalkeeper Hope Solo was suspended Wednesday for six months by U.S. Soccer for disparaging comments about Sweden following the Americans' early departure from the Rio Olympics.
Jean Ping, former top diplomat out to topple Gabon dynasty
Gabon's leading presidential challenger Jean Ping is a career diplomat determined to wrest power from the Bongo dynasty in Saturday's election after serving the family for two decades. Foreign minister of the small oil-rich nation from the late 1990s until being elected to the high-profile post of chair of the African Union (AU) Commission in 2008, he is among a few Gabonese figures to be well-known internationally. The Paris university graduate was one of late president Omar Bongo's closest and longest-serving ministers, holding a succession of prestigious posts before turning against President Ali Bongo who stepped in after his father's death in 2009.
Top Asian News 3:18 a.m. GMT
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Rescue workers surveyed the damage Thursday after a powerful earthquake shook Myanmar, killing at least four people and damaging 185 ancient Buddhist pagodas in the former capital of Bagan, a major tourist site. The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.8 quake on Wednesday was centered about 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of Chauk, a town south of Bagan. It was located fairly far below the Earth's surface at a depth of about 84 kilometers (52 miles), it said. Deep earthquakes generally cause less surface damage. At least 185 brick pagodas in Bagan were damaged, the state newspaper reported.
Smith rests, Warner skippers Aussies in Sri Lanka
Australia's Steve Smith has been rested to focus on next month's tour of South Africa leaving David Warner to lead the side for the remainder of the Sri Lanka series. Smith captained Australia to an 82-run loss in the second one-day international Wednesday which tied the series 1-1. "I hate missing cricket, but in the long run it will do me a world of good," said Smith who returns home with three one-day internationals and two Twenty20s still to be played.
'Best yet' Murray poised to pounce at US Open
Andy Murray admits he's playing the best tennis of his life as he looks to capitalise on the growing frailties of his rivals and capture a second US Open title. Ahead of Monday's start to the season's final Grand Slam in New York, the 29-year-old Scot is the sport's man of the moment. Since losing the French Open final to Novak Djokovic in June, Murray has won Queen's Club, a second Wimbledon title and successfully defended his Olympic crown in Rio.
Violence has taken years off of life expectancy in Syria
LONDON (AP) — The ongoing violence in Syria has taken years off of people's life expectancy, according to a new analysis published in the journal Lancet on Wednesday.
Tutu hospitalised for recurrent illness: daughter
South Africa's retired archbishop Desmond Tutu was on Wednesday hospitalised for a nagging infection, one of his daughters said. The 84-year-old Nobel Peace laureate "admitted himself to a Cape Town hospital today for treatment to a recurring infection," said Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe in a statement. The much-loved anti-apartheid activist "underwent similar treatment last year," Tutu-Gxashe said.
South Africa documents may offer clues on UN chief's death
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday pushed for a further inquiry of the mysterious 1961 plane crash that killed ex-UN chief Dag Hammarskjold, saying documents from South Africa may help shed light. Of particular interest is whether South Africa will be able to recover the original documents detailing a purported plot to kill Hammarskjold code-named Operation Celeste. The alleged plot came to light in 1998 when South Africa's truth and reconciliation commission received a file on the clandestine operation that may have involved a maritime research institute acting as a front for mercenaries.