Top Asian News 1:09 a.m. GMT

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Australia's PM says referendum on republic not his priority

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who had started laying the groundwork for an Australian republic after elections in May, said Sunday that now was the time not for a change but for paying tribute to the life of Queen Elizabeth II. Many regarded Australians’ respect and affection for the late monarch as the biggest obstacle to the country becoming a republic with its own head of state. Albanese, who describes himself as the first candidate with a “non-Anglo Celtic name” to run for prime minister in the 121 years that the office has existed, had created a new position of Assistant Minister for the Republic and appointed Matt Thistlethwaite to the role in June.