SRINAGAR, India (AP) — India's prime minister warned of a "crushing response" to the suicide bombing of a paramilitary convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 41 people and was the deadliest in the divided region's volatile history. Prime Minister Narendra Modi placed the blame for Thursday's bombing squarely on neighboring Pakistan, which India accuses of supporting rebels in Kashmir. "Our neighboring country thinks such terror attacks can weaken us, but their plans will not materialize," he said Friday, adding that government forces have been "given total freedom" to deal with the militants. "Security forces have been given permission to take decisions about the timing, place and nature of their response," he said.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump claimed Friday that Japan's prime minister had nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize for opening a dialogue with North Korea. Trump also complained about President Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize and doubted he would be similarly honored. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe "gave me the most beautiful copy of a letter that he sent to the people who give out a thing called the Nobel Prize," Trump said at a White House news conference when asked about his late February summit in Vietnam with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "He said, 'I have nominated you, respectfully, on behalf of Japan.
BEIJING (AP) — President Donald Trump said that "there's a possibility" he would extend a March 2 deadline in trade talks with China if the two countries are closing in on a deal. Trump made the remarks after two days of high-level negotiations broke up in Beijing Friday, and the two countries announced plans to resume talks next week in Washington. The world's two biggest economies are locked in a dispute over China's aggressive push to challenge American technological dominance. The U.S. is scheduled to hike import taxes on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on March 2. But Trump told reporters that he might extend the deadline "if I see that we're close to a deal or the deal is going in the right direction." He had made similar comments on Tuesday.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani officials say the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been delayed by a day. Without giving any explanation for the delay, the Foreign Ministry says Prince Mohammad will now arrive in Islamabad on a two-day visit on Sunday and that his program remains unchanged. The crown prince is expected to sign investment agreements worth billions of dollars. He will also travel to neighboring India amid heightened tension between Islamabad and New Delhi over this week's attack on a paramilitary convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 41 people. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi blamed Pakistan for Thursday's bombing.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite President Donald Trump's tough talk on trade, his administration has granted hundreds of companies permission to import millions of tons of steel made in China, Japan and other countries without paying the hefty tariff he put in place to protect U.S. manufacturers and jobs, according to an Associated Press analysis. The waivers from the import tax show how pliable his protectionist policies can be. Trump has positioned himself as an "America First" trade warrior, using tariffs as a club against countries he's accused of playing unfairly. Although China has been the principal target of Trump's ire, he also has criticized Japan and American allies in Europe.
BANGKOK (AP) — The political party seen as the main challenger to military-dominated government in Thailand held its first rally in the capital on Friday, as campaigning heats up for the first election since a 2014 military coup. Several thousand Pheu Thai party supporters gathered outside Bangkok's city hall, waving signs of support as they listened to hours of speeches seeking to fire up the faithful for the March 24 polls. Pheu Thai is the flagship party of the political machine of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, which has won every national election since 2001. Thaksin was accused of abuse of power and disrespect toward the monarchy and deposed by a 2006 military coup.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom says she is "very upset" over meetings arranged by the country's ambassador to China between the daughter of a detained Swedish publisher and two businessmen who allegedly threatened the woman. Ambassador Anna Lindstedt has been recalled to Sweden and is being investigated. Wallstrom said on Swedish public radio Friday that her ministry didn't have advance knowledge of the meetings in Stockholm arranged by Lindstedt. She declined to elaborate, citing the probe. The daughter, Angela Gui, published an account Wednesday detailing a "strange" meeting with businessmen arranged by the ambassador. She said they threatened her after offering to help secure her father's release from prison in China.
MUNICH (AP) — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said Friday the response by the United States to China detaining two Canadians in apparent retaliation for the arrest of a Chinese Huawei executive has not been strong enough. Graham also told Munich Security Conference delegates the international reaction to China's arrest of ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor hasn't been enough to persuade China that its apparent use of hostage diplomacy won't be tolerated. "The president has been tough on China but this is one area where I think we need to make a more definitive statement, because the two people arrested in China had nothing to do with the rule of law.
BANGKOK (AP) — As Pinit Ngarmpring, he was a CEO and sports promoter, well known in the world of Thai soccer. Now, under her preferred new name of Pauline Ngarmpring, she's pursuing a bid to become the country's first transgender prime minister. The 52-year-old is one of three candidates put forward by a political party for the post in next month's general election. She says she wants her nomination to bring hope to the marginalized and to open up political space for future generations of LGBT people. With over a month to go before the March 24 polling day, she campaigned this week in one of Bangkok's more infamous nightlife areas.
MOSCOW (AP) — Sitting in her living room, 65-year-old Tatyana Rybalchenko goes through a stack of black-and-white photos from more than 30 years ago. In one of them, she is dressed in a nurse's coat and smiles sheepishly at the camera; in another, she shares a laugh with soldiers on a road with a mountain ridge behind them. The pictures don't show the hardships that Rybalchenko and 20,000 Soviet women like her went through as civilian support staff during the Soviet Union's 1979-1989 invasion of Afghanistan. Although they did not serve in combat roles, they still experienced the horrors of war.