TOKYO (AP) — America's top diplomat left Tokyo for Pyongyang on Sunday after pledging that the U.S. will coordinate with allies Japan and South Korea on efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. On the eve of his fourth visit to North Korea, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Saturday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to try to unify the countries' positions as he looks to arrange a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and chart a path toward denuclearization. Japan has been wary of Trump's initiative, fearing it could affect its long-standing security relationship with the U.S.
America's top diplomat left Tokyo for Pyongyang on Sunday after pledging that the U.S. will coordinate with allies Japan and South Korea on efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. On the eve of his fourth visit to North Korea, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Saturday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The American is trying to unify the countries' positions as he looks to arrange a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and chart a path toward denuclearization. Japan has been wary of Trump's initiative, fearing it could affect its long-standing security relationship with the U.S.
PALU, Indonesia (AP) — Search teams pulled bodies from obliterated neighborhoods in the disaster-stricken Indonesian city of Palu on Saturday as more aid rolled in and the government said it was considering making devastated areas into mass graves. Indonesia's disaster agency said the death toll from the powerful earthquake and tsunami climbed to 1,649, with at least 265 people still missing, though it said that number could be higher. More nations sent aid and humanitarian workers fanned out in the countryside. The dead were still being recovered more than a week after the double disaster. Eight victims in black body bags of the national search and rescue agency were arranged in a row in the crumpled Palu neighborhood of Balaroa, destined for a mass grave.
PALU, Indonesia (AP) — From the mountain range, the bay was a sparkling blue and the small city huddled around it a mosaic of bright buildings and mosque minarets. Suddenly a blaring siren and clouds of dust shattered the tranquility. An ambulance bumped along a dirt road, racing to the top. An idle excavator whirred into life. People, some wearing surgical masks, others with scarfs across their faces, walked toward a wide mass grave dug into the flat top of the range. "How many?" shouted a man, running to the ambulance as it drove by. "Two," a voice replied. The ambulance backed toward the shallow end of the trench.
PARIS (AP) — Interpol said Saturday it has made a formal request to China for information about the agency's missing president, a senior Chinese security official who seemingly vanished while on a trip home. The Lyon-based international police agency said it used law enforcement channels to submit its request to China about the status of Meng Hongwei. Its statement said the agency "looks forward to an official response from China's authorities to address concerns over the president's well-being," China, in the midst of a weeklong holiday, has yet to comment on the 64-year-old security official's disappearance. Calls and faxed questions to the foreign and public security ministries went unanswered.
LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani court on Saturday said it would allow the country's anti-graft body to hold opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif for 10 days to interrogate him about alleged links to a multi-million dollar housing scam, his party said. Maryam Aurangzeb, spokeswoman for the Pakistan Muslim League party, said the National Accountability Bureau arrested Sharif for political reasons and that their leader was not involved in corruption. Sharif's angry supporters and police briefly clashed when he was brought to court in an armored vehicle. The decision comes a day after authorities arrested Sharif in the city of Lahore. Sharif is opposition leader in the lower house of parliament.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian police said Saturday that eight suspected militants, including seven foreigners, have been arrested for allegedly spreading religious extremism that could threaten national security and fan terrorism in the region. National police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the suspects are connected with an Islamic religious school in Yemen that promotes the Salafi Jihadi teachings, which permit the killings of non-Muslims as well as Muslims who don't follow their ways and denounce democracy as un-Islamic. He said the foreigners, aged between 24 and 38, include five people from a country in Europe, one from the Americas and one from the Middle East.
HONG KONG (AP) — Britain has expressed concern over freedom of speech in its former colony Hong Kong after authorities refused to renew the work visa of a senior editor of the Financial Times. A statement dated Friday said Britain has asked for an explanation as to why Victor Mallet's visa renewal application was rejected. "Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and its press freedoms are central to its way of life, and must be fully respected," the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement posted on its website. Mallet is a vice president of Hong Kong's Foreign Correspondents' Club, which recently drew criticism from the authorities for hosting a talk by the leader of a now-banned pro-Hong Kong independence party.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday in a corruption case that has badly tainted his status as the country's first leader with a business background who once symbolized the country's economic rise. Lee's conviction came six months after his successor and fellow conservative Park Geun-hye was convicted in a separate corruption scandal that triggered the country's greatest political turmoil in decades. She is serving a 33-year prison term. The back-to-back scandals severely wounded conservatives in South Korea and deepened a national divide. Few past South Korean leaders are free from corruption scandals.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — A defense lawyer says Pakistan's top court will hear the final appeal of a Christian woman who has been on death row since 2010 after being convicted of insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Asia Bibi's lawyer Saiful Malook said Saturday the Supreme Court will take up her appeal on Monday. Bibi's first appeal was dismissed by a Lahore High Court in 2014, but the Supreme Court stayed her execution in 2015. Her case is being closely watched internationally and nationally as a test of Pakistan's tolerance for its minorities. Bibi was arrested in 2009 after a quarrel with Muslim women and since then she has languished in prison.