ASIA NEWS BITES: Philippines Troops Storm City; Forbidden City Broadcast; Hong Kong Seeks Non-Chinese Students; AlphaGo Wins Again

ASIA NEWS BITES: Philippines Troops Storm City; Forbidden City Broadcast; Hong Kong Seeks Non-Chinese Students; AlphaGo Wins Again
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

What you need to know

A quick roundup of the most important news from around the region.


Philippine troops using tanks and helicopters stormed the southern city of Marawi on Thursday in an effort to defeat militants linked to the Islamic State who has besieged the city for days, setting fire to buildings and taking hostages. - The New York Times


For the second game in a row, a Google computer program called AlphaGo beat the world’s best player of what many consider the world’s most sophisticated board game. AlphaGo is scheduled to play its human opponent, the 19-year-old Chinese prodigy Ke Jie, one more time on Saturday in the best-of-three contest. - The New York Times

Authorities in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin have forcibly demolished a number of buildings in a village populated by minority Hui Muslims, amid a vocal protest campaign over alleged corruption surrounding years of property deals by ruling Chinese Communist Party officials in their neighborhood. - Radio Free Asia

Microsoft Corp. has unveiled a new Windows 10 software customized for the Chinese government to improve security, including modifying the program to prevent data that is typically collected from being transmitted to other devices. - The Wall Street Journal

China’s Ministry of Culture has punished a live-streaming platform for allowing a performer to broadcast a video that was purportedly filmed live from the Empress Dowager Cixi’s bedroom in Beijing’s Forbidden City. - Hong Kong Free Press


Taiwan’s giant step towards allowing same-sex marriage has reverberated across Asia, but activists warn the fight for equality isn’t over in a region where gay sex remains illegal in some countries. - Hong Kong Free Press

Taiwan's government is considering adopting measures to prohibit blacklisted Chinese human rights violators from entering the country in response to the detention of a Taiwanese human rights activist in China, Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), deputy head and spokesperson of the Mainland Affairs Council said on Thursday. - Central News Agency

Hong Kong:

A Hong Kong University is launching an overseas promotional drive in an effort to more than double the number of non-mainland foreign student admissions within the next five years. - South China Morning Post

The number of mainland Chinese teenagers emigrating to Hong Kong doubled to over 10,000 last year, after having remained stable for the past five years. - Hong Kong Free Press


Islamic State-linked to Indonesia suicide bombing that killed 3 police officers. Indonesian authorities have long worried that Islamic State could develop a following in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. - The Wall Street Journal


Supporters of detainees who staged a nearly two-week hunger strike at the Tokyo immigration center criticized immigration authorities on Thursday and urged Japan to respect the human rights of detainees. - The Japan Times


A master plan for the conservation and development of 27 old cities is expected to be complete within three years, after a decade-long delay. - The Bangkok Post


Documents leaked to media reports this week suggest Prime Minister Hun Sen, his eldest son Hun Manet and son-in-law Sok Puthyvuth, and other prominent CPP-affiliated officials, were involved in an ongoing campaign to spread CPP rhetoric, monitor opposition supporters on social media and attack CNRP leaders. - The Cambodia Daily

Cambodia has resettled its seventh refugee as part of a controversial, multimillion-dollar deal it struck with Australia in 2014, an Interior Ministry official confirmed on Thursday. - The Cambodia Dialy

South Korea:

Kang Kyung-wha, President Moon Jae-in's pick for foreign minister, said Thursday humanitarian aid to North Korea should come with no strings attached. - The Korea Times

Holt Children's Services in Korea is being criticized by the Korean adoptee community, after the funeral service it held for Phillip Clay — a deported Korean adoptee — Tuesday and Wednesday. The remarks made by its chairwoman, Molly Holt, about Clay are at the height of the criticism; adoptees have described her comments as "insensitive" and "irresponsible," and they highlight the agency's disregard of the adoptee community. - The Korea Times

North Korea:

North Korean imports of Chinese gasoline and diesel were not exceptionally low in April, despite reports that Pyongyang and other parts of the country were seeing a spike in prices at the pump. - North Korea News