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

Thursday, 5:02 AM

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police warned of serious consequences if pro-democracy protesters try to occupy government buildings, as they have threatened to do if the territory's leader didn't resign by Thursday. Tensions mounted ahead of the deadline set by students for the city's Beijing-backed Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down — part of broader demonstrations pushing for electoral reforms for the Asian financial center.

Oops! UK council destroys Banksy immigration mural

Thursday, 4:59 AM

In this released by banksy.co.uk on Thursday Oct. 2, 2014 shows a mural by graffiti artist Bansky in Clacton-on-Sea England taken earlier this week. The local authority in Clacton-on-Sea is mortified after telling its workers to remove a mural it later realized was created by the internationally famous graffiti artist Banksy. Banksy’s often satirical works have fetched up to $1.8 million at auction and his images have controversially been stripped from walls and sold for high prices. (AP Photo/banksy.co.uk) NO ARCHIVELONDON (AP) — Authorities in southern England were embarrassed but defensive Thursday after telling workers to destroy a mural they later realized was created by the internationally famous graffiti artist Banksy.


Boko Haram leader dismisses claims of his death in new video

Thursday, 4:51 AM

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau appears on a video obtained by AFP on October 2, 2014Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) - Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau dismissed Nigerian military claims of his death in a new video obtained by AFP on Thursday and said the militants had implemented strict Islamic law in captured towns.


Doubts cast over Cameron's £7.2bn tax cut promise

Thursday, 4:42 AM

Prime Minister David Cameron delivers his keynote speech on the final day of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, on October 1, 2014London (AFP) - Financial experts cast doubts on Thursday about a promise by Prime Minister David Cameron to make massive tax cuts, saying the proposals would take time and might not help taxpayers so much.


Dallas Cowboys player investigated for alleged sex assault: ESPN

Thursday, 12:38 AM

(Reuters) - A Dallas Cowboys player is under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that occurred in the team's hotel last month, ESPN reported on Wednesday. The sports channel named the player, as did other media, but quoted Grapevine Police Department spokesman Barry Bowling as saying he hadn't been charged or arrested. ESPN did not provide details of the alleged Sept. 20 incident. Reuters has not confirmed the player's identity or the alleged crime. The suspected assault occurred at the Gaylord Hotel a day before the team played the St. Louis Rams, ESPN reported. ...

Giants blank Pirates 8-0 to advance in playoffs

Wednesday, 10:40 PM

Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants celebrates after hitting a four-run home run in the fourth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates, during their National League Wild Card game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 1, 2014Pittsburgh (AFP) - Madison Bumgarner threw a four-hit shutout and Brandon Crawford belted a grand slam to lift San Francisco to an 8-0 win over Pittsburgh Wednesday in the National League Wild Card game.


Wonga agrees to write off debts for thousands

Thursday, 5:02 AM

LONDON (AP) — Payday lender Wonga has agreed to write off the debts of 330,000 people it admits shouldn't have gotten loans in the first place.

More than 4,000 hogs die in fire at NC farm

Thursday, 4:57 AM

EAGLE SPRINGS, N.C. (AP) — A fire at a farm in central North Carolina has killed more than 4,000 hogs.

Tesla, Twitter among premarket's biggest movers

Thursday, 4:54 AM

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)By Ryan Vlastelica NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tesla Motors Inc was one of the biggest movers of Thursday's premarket session, after the company's chief executive hinted at a new product that would be unveiled next week. Elon Musk, CEO of the electric car company, wrote on Twitter that it was "about time to unveil the D and something else." An image that accompanied the tweet suggested the unveiling might include a new vehicle model. Shares were up 3 percent to $247.50 before the bell. The stock has rallied about 60 percent in the year to date, building on last year's surge of more than 340 percent. ...


Emirates president says Ebola hits Asian demand for Africa flights

Thursday, 4:43 AM

President of Emirates Airlines Tim Clark speaks during a news conference at the Emirates Terminal at Dubai International AirportBy Matt Smith and Sagarika Jaisinghani DUBAI (Reuters) - The president of Emirates airlines said on Thursday that demand for flights to Africa from Asia has fallen due to concerns over the Ebola virus. West Africa is struggling with the worst Ebola outbreak since the disease was identified in 1976, with 3,338 people known to have died, predominantly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal, according to latest figures. ...