Shiites protest bombing by not burying dead
Smoke rises following a bomb explosion in Quetta, Pakistan, on Saturday.
February 19th, 2013
01:47 AM ET

Shiites protest bombing by not burying dead

Shiite Muslims in the Pakistani city of Quetta are refusing to bury scores of people killed in a devastating weekend bombing until authorities respond to their demands to take military action against the Sunni extremists behind the attack.

The macabre protest is an expression of the anger and frustration among Shiites in the southwestern province of Balochistan, whose capital is Quetta, over the government's failure to shield them from a series of bloody sectarian attacks in recent months.

The outlawed Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has said it carried out the attack Saturday in Quetta in which police say a suicide bomber rammed a water tanker laden with explosives into a crowded marketplace, setting off a huge blast that killed more than 80 people and wounded at least 180 others.

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100th Tibetan self-immolates in China, advocacy groups say
Tibetans-in-exile hold a candlelight vigil following the self-immolation attempt by a monk in Kathmandu on February 13, 2013.
February 14th, 2013
05:42 AM ET

100th Tibetan self-immolates in China, advocacy groups say

The number of Tibetans in China who have set themselves on fire to protest Beijing's rule has reached 100, according to Tibetan advocacy groups.

Lobsang Namgyal, a 37-year-old former monk, set himself on fire earlier this month in Aba prefecture, known in Tibetan as Ngaba, an ethnically Tibetan area of the Chinese province of Sichuan, according to Free Tibet, a London-based advocacy group.

"This grim milestone should be a source of shame to the Chinese authorities who are responsible and to the world leaders who have yet to show any leadership in response to the ongoing crisis in Tibet," said Stephanie Brigden, the director of Free Tibet.

Self-immolation has become a desperate form of protest in recent years for ethnic Tibetans unhappy with Chinese rule, and it shows no sign of abating.

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Filed under: China • Nepal • Tibet • World
U.N. Security Council strongly condemns North Korea's nuclear test
February 12th, 2013
11:09 AM ET

U.N. Security Council strongly condemns North Korea's nuclear test

[Updated at 11:09 a.m. ET] The U.N. Security Council strongly condemned North Korea's nuclear test and will start work on "appropriate measures" in a council resolution, South Korea's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

[Updated at 7:07 a.m. ET] China has summoned the North Korean ambassador to China over its "dissatisfaction" with the country's third nuclear test, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

[Updated at 6:49 a.m. ET] North Korea's Foreign Ministry releases more on today's nuclear test: "This nuclear test is our first measure which displayed our maximum restraint. If the U.S. continues with their hostility and complicates the situation, it would be inevitable to continuously conduct a stronger second or third measure," the ministry says in a statement via state-run media.

[Updated at 6:39 a.m. ET] North Korea's latest nuclear test was a defensive measure against the United States for their "hostile activity against North Korea", the North Korean foreign ministry says in a statement.

[Posted at 6:35 a.m. ET] North Korea says it has conducted a new, more powerful underground nuclear test using more sophisticated technology, jolting the already fragile security situation in Northeast Asia and drawing condemnation from around the globe.

It is the first nuclear test carried out under the North's young leader, Kim Jong Un, who appears to be sticking closely to his father's policy of building up the isolated state's military deterrent to keep its foes at bay, shrugging off the resulting international condemnation and sanctions.

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Filed under: Kim Jong Un • North Korea • World
January 29th, 2013
12:48 AM ET

North Korea on Google Maps: Monuments, nuclear complex, gulags

Ever wondered how to drive from the center of Pyongyang, the showcase capital of North Korea, to Yongbyon, the location of the secretive regime's main nuclear complex?

Well, a recent update to Google Maps has the answer for you.

It has filled in the big, largely blank space that previously lay north of the well-mapped South Korea with streets, towns and landmarks.

Users curious to virtually explore one of the world's most reclusive states can zoom into the heart of Pyongyang and pull up photographs of the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, which houses the bodies of the revered former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

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Filed under: Google • North Korea • World
January 28th, 2013
04:00 AM ET

Doctors: Comatose Israeli ex-PM Ariel Sharon showing 'significant brain activity'

Doctors in Israel said Monday that they had detected "significant brain activity" during tests on former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma since he suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2006.

The tests on Sharon were carried out late last week by brain scientists, the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev said in a statement.

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Filed under: Israel • World
January 23rd, 2013
10:55 PM ET

N.Korea plans nuclear test, rocket launch

North Korea said Thursday that it plans to carry out a new nuclear test and further long-range rocket launches, all of which it said are a part of a new phase of confrontation with the United States.

The North's National Defense Commission said the moves would feed into an "upcoming all-out action" that would target the United States, "the sworn enemy of the Korean people."

Carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, the defense commission statement followed a United Nations Security Council resolution on Tuesday that condemned North Korea's recent rocket launch and expanded existing sanctions.

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Filed under: Kim Jong Un • North Korea • World
Indonesia floods kill 12; thousands flee raging waters
January 18th, 2013
08:08 AM ET

Indonesia floods kill 12; thousands flee raging waters

Heavy flooding in the Indonesian capital this week has killed 12 people, driven thousands from their homes and paralyzed the sprawling city - and officials are warning that more water is on its way.

Caused by unusually strong monsoon rains, the flood waters - often carrying trash and human waste - have inundated the city's central business district, closed schools and offices, and entered the presidential palace.

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February 6th, 2012
03:20 AM ET

China disputes reports of self-immolations by Tibetans

The Chinese authorities have contested reports that three Tibetans set themselves on fire last week in a remote area of southwestern China.

The conflicting accounts followed an increase in security measures by the Chinese authorities in Ganzi, an ethnically Tibetan area of Sichuan Province, in response to violent protests that took place last month.

The unrest has been fueled in part by reports of a string of self-immolations by Tibetans over the past year amid anger and despair over Chinese rule.

Radio Free Asia, a U.S.-based nonprofit group, reported over the weekend that the three Tibetans had set fire to themselves on Friday morning in a village known as Phuwu and that one of them had died as a result. The group, which broadcasts in Asian countries that it says lack "full and free news media," attributed the information to unidentified sources.

According to Radio Free Asia, Phuwu is in the county of Seda in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, which is home to a population that is nearly 80% Tibetan. Seda is known by Tibetans as Serthar.

Free Tibet, a London-based organization that campaigns against Chinese rule in the Tibetan region, also reported the self-immolations on its website. It did not specify where it got the information from.

But Global Times, an English-language newspaper run by the Chinese Communist Party, published an article Monday that disputed that version of events. It cited local government officials as saying that no self-immolations had taken place recently.

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February 2nd, 2012
07:47 AM ET

Philippine military: Airstrikes kill top terrorists, including one on FBI list

The Philippine military said it killed a man who is on the FBI most-wanted terror list and two other senior militants Thursday in a predawn airstrike on a remote southern island.

About 15 militants died in the early morning airstrike on the island province of Sulu, part of the autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao, according to a spokesman for the Philippines armed forces.

The dead included two senior figures in Jemaah Islamiyah and members of the militant group Abu Sayyaf, said Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, the spokesman.

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December 29th, 2011
01:04 AM ET

Thousands of North Koreans gather for Kim Jong Il memorial

Huge crowds assembled in Pyongyang on Thursday at a national memorial service for the North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the second day of state-orchestrated ceremonies to mourn the dictator who died earlier this month.

The authoritarian regime used a mixture of somber music, hyperbolic speeches, booming artillery fire and blaring horns to honor the man who oversaw 17 years of despotic rule in the secretive nation.

The ceremony took place a day after a funeral procession for Kim spent three hours winding through the snow-laden streets of Pyongyang lined with thousands of wailing mourners.

Once again, the regime placed Kim Jong Un, the son and chosen successor of Kim Jong Il, at the center of proceedings, proclaiming him the "supreme leader" of North Korea - a fresh indication that the leadership transition is progressing smoothly.

The footage broadcast Thursday by North Korean state television showed thick rectangular blocks of people gathered in the snowy expanse of Kim Il Sung Square - named after Kim Jong Il's father, the founder of North Korea.

Kim Jong Un and other senior members of the regime stood solemnly on a viewing platform overlooking the square.

During the ceremony, a string of top officials took to the microphone to praise Kim Jong Il's life and reinforce Kim Jong Un's leadership credentials.

"Kim Jong Un is the greatest leader who has inherited Kim Jong Il's beliefs, leadership, courage and guts," said Kim Yong Nam, the president of the North Korean parliament.

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December 19th, 2011
03:19 AM ET

Kim Jong Il's death leaves a combustible region on edge

The death of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has ushered in a period of tremendous uncertainty in Northeast Asia, with every move by countries in the region risking unpredictable reactions from others.

South Korea ramped up its level of military alert Monday following the announcement of Kim's death, while Japan held emergency military meetings. The United States said it was in close contact with the South Korean and Japanese governments.

"It's a moment that's rife for miscalculation and unintended consequences," said CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

The region is a combustible geopolitical mix. The South, which has the support of the United States, and the nuclear-armed North, allied with China, have technically remained at war since the conflict that split the peninsula in the 1950s.

Even before Kim's death, tensions had spiked between the two Koreas last year. The North was accused of sinking a South Korean naval vessel in the Yellow Sea and fired artillery at a South Korean island in November 2010, killing two civilians.

But the United States and other parties had appeared to make progress in recent weeks to try to rekindle negotiations over the North's nuclear program, known as the six-party talks.

Those efforts now seem to have been in vain.

Kim's death makes the negotiations "seem even further out of reach than they were before," said Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, project director for Northeast Asia at the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit organization that works to prevent and resolve conflicts.

Kim had controlled the opaque, authoritarian North Korean regime for more than 15 years. The sudden announcement of his death thrusts his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, onto center stage. But the younger Kim's intentions and leadership capabilities remain murky.

Kim Jong Un is young and inexperienced, said Mike Chinoy, a senior fellow at the US-China Institute. He added that it remained to be seen whether he would be able to consolidate his power and whether he would actually lead or just be a figurehead.

The danger, according to Kleine-Ahlbrandt of the International Crisis Group, is if the younger Kim and his close supporters find themselves in a weak position domestically and feel the need to make a show of military muscle to appear stronger.

"Then you get into the fireworks and provocation side of North Korean policy," she said.

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December 8th, 2011
04:46 AM ET

American woman missing in Japan threatened suicide, husband says

The husband of an American woman, who has been missing for six weeks in Japan, said Thursday that she had threatened to kill herself the night she disappeared after the two argued.

Vince Abad, an airman at a major U.S. Air Force facility in Japan, said he and his wife, Kelli, had fought over the phone on the night of October 26 after he had gone to see their pastor, who had helped resolve disputes between them in the past.

When he returned home, his wife was gone and their two children were in bed.

"We'd had arguments before - it didn't feel too out of place," Abad, 30, said. He said he assumed she had gone to stay with a friend.

But when Kelli Abad, 27, didn't come back by the following morning, he became concerned and raised the alarm.

Two days later, the wife's car, a Toyota SUV, was found at Cape Zanpa on the island of Okinawa, about 10 miles from the base, with her cell phone and purse inside.

Also inside the car was a note, Abad said, that read, "Love my kids, love my hubby and parents. Bye."

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