Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1600 GMT, Oct. 31

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NAHA, Japan -- The main building of Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was burned down in a predawn fire in Japan's southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, local police said Thursday.

The fire started shortly before 2:40 a.m. local time at the historical castle in Naha, the prefectural capital of Okinawa. The police and local fire department said more than 10 fire engines were dispatched to bring the blaze under control. (Japan-Shuri castle-Fire)

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ISLAMABAD -- The death toll from a train fire in Pakistan's east Punjab province has risen to 74, and investigation into the matter is going on to determine the individual or factors responsible for the horrific incident, Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad said on Thursday.

He confirmed at a media briefing that the incident happened due to explosions of two gas cylinders and a stove inside the running train, on which passengers were preparing their breakfast. (Pakistan-Train-Fire)

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HONG KONG -- Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam said on Thursday that Hong Kong's economy now faces challenges both externally and locally, but its institutional strengths and core competitiveness remain intact.

"The situation we are facing now is obviously very different, more challenging and inevitably distressing. The challenges are complicated, both externally and locally," she said when addressing a joint business community luncheon at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. (Hong Kong-Economy)

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TOKYO -- Japan's Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai resigned on Thursday over allegations that his wife violated the election law, with the abrupt departure creating another setback for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who has now lost two cabinet members in less than a week.

Kawai, 56, stepping down came amid allegations made by the Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine that his wife, Anri Kawai, 46, who was elected to the upper house in July, made payments to staff members that were over the legal limit. (Japan-Politics) Enditem

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