CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — Many people were killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, a witness said. Police have not yet described the scale of the shooting but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors. And New Zealand media reported a shooting at a second mosque in a Christchurch suburb. Witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch at about 1:45 p.m. and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.
Police have warned people to avoid mosques anywhere in New Zealand following two shootings with multiple fatalities at two mosques in Christchurch. New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said anyone thinking of going to a mosque should stay put and close their doors. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a Friday afternoon news conference that one suspect was in custody but "there could be others involved." A man who lives near the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch said many people were dead there. A witness to a second shooting told New Zealand media he saw two wounded people being transported by rescuers afterward.
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — A senior North Korean official says the United States threw away a golden opportunity at the Hanoi summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and suggested the North Korean leader will decide soon whether to keep talking with the U.S. and maintaining his moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests. Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui told a meeting of diplomats and foreign media in Pyongyang on Friday the North has no intention of compromising or continuing talks unless the U.S. takes measures that are commensurate to the changes it has taken — such as the 15-month moratorium on launches and tests — and changes its "political calculation." Choe said Kim would make a decision soon on whether to continue the launch and test moratorium.
BANGKOK (AP) — You could call it the 7 million-voter question: Will young people like the ones who turned out on a recent Saturday night to listen to politically hip rappers also make it to the polls for Thailand's upcoming general election? And do they share the anger at the established order being sung and shouted about onstage? The country in which this year's 7 million eligible first-time voters have grown up has experienced two army coups since 2006, violent political polarization and a nasty crackdown on freedom of expression by the military clique that has held the reins since a 2014 takeover.
BEIJING (AP) — China's top economic official says the country needs "strong measures" to counteract downward pressure on growth but Beijing plans to promote market-oriented reforms instead of relying on more lending and deficit government spending. Premier Li Keqiang, speaking in a nationally televised news conference, said Friday the communist government will cut taxes and take other steps to "boost the vitality of the market." Li said, "We certainly need to take strong measures to cope with rising uncertainties that we face this year." However, he added that boosting lending or government spending might "lead to future problems." Li expressed confidence Beijing can achieve its annual growth target of 6 to 6.5 percent.
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese legislators on Friday endorsed a law meant to help end a costly tariff war with Washington by discouraging officials from pressuring foreign companies to hand over technology. The measure is part of an investment law that aims to address complaints by the United States, Europe and other trading partners that China's system is rigged against foreign companies despite Beijing's commitments to treat competitors equally. The 3,000-plus delegates to the ceremonial National People's Congress rarely do lawmaking work. But their annual session, the highest-profile political event of the year, gives President Xi Jinping's government a platform to advertise changes aimed at ending a bruising battle with Washington that has disrupted trade in soybeans, medical equipment and other goods.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — About 6.8 million people have been affected by a water shortage in and around the Philippine capital, with long lines forming for rationed water and businesses and some hospitals struggling to cope after faucets ran dry. Water supplies will be cut for at least six hours a day for more than a million households until the rainy season fills dams and reservoirs in May or June, a spokesman for Manila Water Co. Inc., Jeric Sevilla, said Thursday. The company, one of two government-authorized water suppliers in the densely populated Manila metropolis and nearby Rizal province, said a spike in demand and reduced water levels in a dam and smaller reservoirs in the sweltering summer are the culprit, exacerbated by El Nino weather conditions.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday publicly named 46 government officials, including three congressmen, he said are involved in illegal drugs, and added that criminal investigations against them are underway. Although critics have warned him against making such public announcements without solid evidence, Duterte said in a peace and order meeting shown on nationwide TV that he trusted the government agencies that provided the information. "My decision to unmask these drug personalities was anchored on my trust in the government agencies who had vetted and validated the narco list," Duterte said. He said the Department of Interior and Local Government has filed administrative complaints against the politicians.
SHAH ALAM, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's attorney-general ordered the murder case to proceed against a Vietnamese woman accused in the killing of the estranged half brother of North Korea's leader, prosecutors said in court Thursday. Prosecutor Iskandar Ahmad gave no explanation for the refusal to drop the murder charge against Doan Thi Huong, who is the only suspect in custody after the stunning decision Monday to drop the case against Indonesian Siti Aisyah. The decision to move forward with Huong's case was slammed by both her lawyer and Vietnam's ambassador, who had hoped she would be given the same leniency as Aisyah.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Police on Thursday questioned two K-pop stars over interlocking sex scandals that have fascinated South Korea and prompted both men to announce they are retiring from the entertainment industry. Seungri, a member of the superstar group Big Bang, bowed deeply at a Seoul police station before more than 100 journalists. Police said they are investigating allegations that the 28-year-old attempted to arrange illegal sexual services for his business investors. "I once again lower my head and apologize to the people and all others who were hurt," Seungri said before entering the police station. "I'll faithfully undergo an investigation and give sincere answers" to police questioning.