Top Asian News at 11:00 a.m. GMT

Associated Press

JINDO, South Korea (AP) — One by one, coast guard officers carried the newly arrived bodies covered in white sheets from a boat to a tent on the dock of this island, the first step in identifying a sharply rising number of corpses from a South Korean ferry that sank nearly a week ago. Dozens of police officers in neon green jackets formed a cordon around the dock as the bodies arrived Tuesday. Since divers found a way over the weekend to enter the submerged ferry, the death count has shot up. Officials said Tuesday that confirmed fatalities had reached 104, with nearly 200 people still missing.

TOKYO (AP) — President Barack Obama's travels through Asia in coming days aim to reassure partners about the renewed U.S. commitment to the region, with an eye both to China's rising assertiveness and the fast-growing markets that are the center of gravity for global growth. The question: Will it be enough?

MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — As the ferry sank, some crew members gave their lifejackets to passengers. One refused to leave until she shepherded students off the ship, and was later found dead. Others worked from rescue boats to break windows with hammers and pull people trapped in cabins to safety. Nearly a week after the sinking of the South Korean ferry, with rising outrage over a death count that could eventually top 300, the public verdict against the crew of the Sewol has been savage and quick. "Cowards!" social media users howled. "Unforgivable, murderous," President Park Geun-hye said Monday of the captain and some crew.

SYDNEY (AP) — An air search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet was suspended for a day due to stormy weather on Tuesday as the painstakingly slow sonar scanning of a targeted patch of seabed continued. Up to 10 planes were to scour the ocean surface for debris on Tuesday over an area covering 49,500 square kilometers (19,000 square miles) centered 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) northwest of the Australian west coast city of Perth, the search coordination center said in a statement.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The mayor of Manila flew to Hong Kong Tuesday to apologize to the families of eight Hong Kong tourists who were killed in a mishandled hostage taking in 2010 which soured relations between the Philippines and Hong Kong. Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said other officials, including a top aide of President Benigno Aquino III and the national police chief, are joining him on the trip. The delegation hopes to meet Hong Kong's chief executive Leung Chun-ying and other Hong Kong officials. It was not immediately clear if the Philippine national officials will also offer an apology.

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepalese authorities were meeting with Sherpa mountain guides Tuesday in an attempt to avert a climbing strike after the deadliest avalanche ever recorded on Mount Everest killed at least 13 of the guides. A boycott by Nepal's ethnic Sherpa community could critically disrupt the Everest climbing season, which is key to the livelihood of thousands of Nepali guides and porters. Without Sherpa support, it would be almost impossible for climbers to reach the summit.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A leader of ethnic Kachin rebels battling government forces in Myanmar has urged the U.S. to play a role in peace talks to quell decades of conflict in the country's lawless border regions. Clashes in northern Myanmar intensified this month despite efforts to forge a nationwide cease-fire agreement between the government and all armed ethnic groups. Rebel Gen. Sumlut Gun Maw said Monday that the spike in violence is an effort by Myanmar's army to militarily weaken the Kachin forces before any cease-fire is signed.

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese and U.S. negotiators are struggling to reach a preliminary agreement on a free trade pact that might have served as a centerpiece for President Barack Obama's visit to Tokyo this week. Japan's economy minister Akira Amari told reporters Tuesday that the two sides remained "at a considerable distance" over trade in farm products and vehicles a day before Obama arrives.

QINGDAO, China (AP) — Naval officials from the U.S. and nearly two dozen Asia-Pacific nations adopted an agreement Tuesday aimed at heading off accidents and miscommunication at sea to reduce the possibility of conflict amid rising frictions between an increasingly assertive China and its neighbors. The Code For Unplanned Encounters at Sea was approved unanimously at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium held in the eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao.

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Suspected rebels in India-controlled Kashmir gunned down two village elders and one victim's son in attacks that police said were aimed at scaring off voters in the country's general election. The attacks late Monday led the ruling Congress party to cancel a nearby election rally, said Ghulam Nabi Monga, a lawmaker with the party.

SYDNEY (AP) — Britain's Prince William and his wife, Kate, have received a traditional Aboriginal welcome during a visit to the Australian Outback. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived Tuesday in the tiny town of Yulara, near the bright red sandstone monolith Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock.

NEW YORK (AP) — The Associated Press has named Seoul news editor Foster Klug as its chief of bureau for South Korea. The appointment was announced Tuesday by Ted Anthony, the Asia-Pacific news director based in Bangkok, to whom Klug will report.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A prominent campaign worker in Afghanistan's presidential election was shot dead outside his home in the country's east, officials said Tuesday. The Taliban denied they were involved in the killing. Campaign worker Esmatullah, who like many Afghan men uses only one name, was returning home from visiting a friend on Monday afternoon when unknown gunmen opened fire outside his house in Logar province, provincial spokesman Din Mohammad Darwish said.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Two militant attacks in northwestern Pakistan killed eight people, including five policemen, on Tuesday, officials said. In one of the attacks, gunmen ambushed a police patrol on the outskirts of the city of Peshawar, killing five policemen and a civilian, said police officer Fazal Wahid. He said the police chased the attackers and killed some of the militants in a shootout.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's military says it has successfully test-fired a short-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. A military statement says the Hatf III Ghaznavi missile with a range of 290 kilometers (180 miles) was launched on Tuesday from an undisclosed location.

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