Top Asian News at 12:00 a.m. GMT

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — More than 30 police commandos were killed in a clash with Muslim insurgents Sunday in the southern Philippines in the biggest single-day combat loss for Filipino forces in many years, officials said. Dozens of commandos had entered the far-flung village of Tukanalipao at dawn looking for a top terror suspect, but had a "misencounter" with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Mayor Tahirudin Benzar Ampatuan of Mamasapano town told The Associated Press by telephone.

TOKYO (AP) — From the prime minister to ordinary people, Japanese were shocked Sunday at a video purportedly showing one of two Japanese hostages of the extremist Islamic State group had been killed. With attention focused on efforts to save the other hostage, some also criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's drive for a more assertive Japan as responsible for the hostage crisis.

TOKYO (AP) — The father of the Japanese hostage purportedly shown in a video as having been killed by Islamic State militants is hoping against hope his son could still be alive. "My mind went totally blank," Shoichi Yukawa told reporters Sunday, a day after news broke of the video footage. "I am hoping deep in my heart that it is not true."

NEW DELHI (AP) — President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday declared an era of "new trust" in the often fraught relationship between their nations as the U.S. leader opened a three-day visit to New Delhi. Standing side by side at the stately Hyderabad House, Obama and Modi cited progress toward putting in place a landmark civil nuclear agreement, as well as advances on climate change and defense ties.

NEW DELHI (AP) — President Barack Obama was so honored to be invited to India's Republic Day celebration that he showed it. After arriving at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the presidential palace, for an elaborate welcome ceremony, Obama clasped his hands in the traditional "namaste" greeting. During namaste, a person's head is slightly bowed and the hands are pressed together, palms touching, fingers pointed skyward and thumbs touching the chest.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A Taliban truck bomb exploded in the Afghan capital Sunday, wounding two people in the first attack targeting Kabul in almost three weeks, officials said. Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi suggested the blast, which happened just before 6 a.m. (0130 GMT, 8:30 p.m. EST) at a gas station near Kabul's military airport, might have been a premature suicide attack. The bombing wounded two civilians, Sediqqi said.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A massive blackout struck Pakistan early Sunday, leaving as much as 80 percent of the country without electricity at its height as officials rushed to restore power. By mid-morning Sunday, officials said power had been restored to roughly half this country of 180 million people.

PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia (AP) — The second attempt to lift the fuselage of the crashed AirAsia jetliner failed Sunday as the wreckage sank back to the ocean floor when a rope linking the lifting balloons broke. Navy spokesman Manahan Simorangkir said strong current was the main obstacle. The rope had been fastened and linked to a ship, but broke again as the fuselage was lifted.

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal's ruling coalition on Sunday took a step toward drafting a new constitution, angering the opposition and pushing the Himalayan country further into political turmoil. Opposition members in the Constituent Assembly protested noisily behind rows of security personnel in parliament as Speaker Subash Nemwang ignored them and announced a proposal committee would proceed with voting on the constitution.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani warplanes pounded militant sanctuaries near the northwestern Afghan border Sunday, killing 35 militants, the army said. The airstrikes took place in the town of Datta Khel in the North Waziristan tribal region, the army said in a statement.

NEW DELHI (AP) — President Barack Obama says his administration is "deeply concerned" about the latest deadly flare-up in eastern Ukraine, but he says he won't change how he's handling the situation. Obama says he'll keep trying to isolate Russia and he will examine options short of military conflict with Russia.

NEW DELHI (AP) — President Barack Obama defended his counterterrorism strategy in tumultuous Yemen Sunday, saying efforts to root out a dangerous al-Qaida affiliate there would not be affected by the political vacuum in the country. The U.S. campaign against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is heavily dependent on using drone strikes to take out terror targets. Obama has held up that approach as a model for the military mission against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, which relies on airstrikes instead of U.S. ground troops.

BEIJING (AP) — Rosalia Amarilla stepped into the international terminal of Beijing's cavernous main airport on the afternoon of July 24, 2012, wearing more than 7 pounds (3 kilograms) of cocaine stuffed into her underwear and bra. An acquaintance named Carlos had given the 31-year-old Paraguayan the drug-filled undergarments to wear in Sao Paulo, Brazil, before she boarded a flight to Doha, Qatar, and then Beijing. Security officials nabbed her before she could meet two Chinese waiting for her outside the airport.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is sending its highest-level diplomatic visitor to Thailand since last year's military coup, although a return to democracy there remains a distant prospect. The top U.S. envoy for East Asia, Daniel Russel, will be holding talks with Thai officials on Monday, days after the military-appointed legislature voted to ban ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from politics for five years. Yingluck is also facing criminal charges that carry a 10-year prison term.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Police released a deputy head of Indonesia's top anti-corruption body early Saturday following his arrest and interrogation that posed a serious challenge for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's efforts to battle graft. The arrest of Bambang Widjojanto came days after the Corruption Eradication Commission named a three-star police officer a corruption suspect, sparking accusations of police retaliation and demands that the president defend the agency.

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