SRINAGAR, India (AP) — The Indian army says at least three soldiers and two suspected rebels have been killed in Indian-controlled Kashmir after militants stormed a military camp close to the Line of Control dividing the disputed region between India and Pakistan. Army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia says the militants on Thursday used guns and grenades to target soldiers northwest of Kashmir's main city of Srinagar. There was no independent confirmation of the incident and no rebel group fighting against Indian rule since 1989 immediately issued any statement. Kashmir is divided between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan. Both counties claim the territory in its entirety.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration told lawmakers Wednesday it will apply economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, as an extraordinary White House briefing served to tamp down talk of military action against an unpredictable and increasingly dangerous U.S. adversary. President Donald Trump welcomed Republican and Democratic senators before his secretary of state, defense secretary, top general and national intelligence director conducted a classified briefing. The same team also met with House members in the Capitol to outline the North's escalating nuclear capabilities and U.S. response options to what they called an "urgent national security threat."
The White House says President Donald Trump did not attend the entire meeting with senators who gathered to discuss the crisis in North Korea. An administration official says Trump attended only the first five minutes of the meeting. He delivered opening remarks before handing it over to his national security team. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presided over the full meeting. The official spoke anonymously because the details of the meeting have not been made public. The meeting lasted about one hour and discussed various financial and military options available for pressuring North Korea to end its nuclear program.
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — India has ordered internet service providers in Indian-controlled Kashmir to block Facebook, Twitter and 20 other social media sites and online applications for one month, after several videos and photos depicting alleged abuses of Kashmiris by Indian security forces sparked outrage and fueled protests. The government said the restrictions ordered Wednesday were made "in the interest of maintenance of public order." But Pranesh Prakash, policy director for the Indian advocacy group the Center for Internet and Society, called it a "blow to freedom of speech" and "legally unprecedented in India." "It not only violates the Indian constitution but also violates international law," he said.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Amid alarm over North Korea's expanding nuclear weapons and missile arsenal, Washington and Seoul are speeding ahead with the installment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea to cope with the growing threats. Despite the seemingly straightforward purpose, the deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, remains a controversial topic in South Korea and even has become an issue in the upcoming presidential election. Here's a look at how THAAD works and why it became a debated issue in South Korea. ___ SYSTEM PROTECTS AGAINST MIDRANGE MISSILES A THAAD battery, including the one currently being installed in southern South Korea, consists of six truck-mounted launchers that can fire up to 48 interceptor missiles.
BEIJING (AP) — China on Wednesday launched the navy's second aircraft carrier, its first to be entirely homebuilt. While the 50,000-ton ship still needs considerable work before commissioning, analysts say its launch telegraphs China's ambitions to become the region's most powerful and influential country. That's an alarming prospect to others. Here's a look at how the new carrier came into being and what impact it is expected to have. ___ CARRIER SHOWS CHINA'S MILITARY PROGRESS China's carrier program got off the ground with the purchase of the Varyag, an incomplete carrier begun during the 1980s and then inherited by Ukraine after the breakup of the former Soviet Union.
BAGAN, Myanmar (AP) — The moment of takeoff was silent, and mesmerizing. Within seconds, our hot air balloon was floating above the treetops, gliding toward what Marco Polo called "one of the finest sights in the world" when he saw it 700 years ago: the ancient Myanmar city of Bagan. Below us, the baked brick spires of hundreds of 11th and 12th century Buddhist temples poked skyward through the purple-red horizon of dawn, graceful and serene. When I spotted the giant golden dome of the Dhammayazika Pagoda, glittering like a jewel in the first rays of light, my heart skipped a beat.
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A Taiwanese man who was missing on a mountain in Nepal for 47 days was rescued Wednesday, but his girlfriend died just three days before they were discovered, trekking officials said. Asian Trekking agency official Madhav Basnet said 21-year-old Liang Sheng Yueh was found Wednesday on a ledge under a waterfall and was flown by helicopter to a hospital in the capital, Kathmandu. He said the body of his girlfriend, 19-year-old Liu Chen Chun, was also taken to the capital. They were on a long trek on the Ganesh Himal trail, which is not as crowded as other popular routes, and were caught in a snowstorm in March and lost their way.
BEIJING (AP) — China has launched its first aircraft carrier built entirely on its own, in a demonstration of the growing technical sophistication of its defense industries and determination to safeguard its maritime territorial claims and crucial trade routes. The 50,000-ton carrier was towed from its dockyard just after 9 a.m. Wednesday following a ceremony in the northern port city of Dalian, where its predecessor, the Soviet-built Liaoning, underwent extensive refurbishing before being commissioned in 2012, the Ministry of National Defense said. Development of the new carrier began in 2013 and construction in late 2015. It's expected to be formally commissioned sometime before 2020, after sea trials and the arrival of its full air complement.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan officials say Islamic State militants have attacked the Taliban in the northern Jawzjan province, igniting heavy clashes in which dozens of fighters were killed. Mohammad Reza Ghafori, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said Wednesday that the fighting, which began the day before, has killed 76 Taliban fighters and 15 from the IS affiliate. He says the IS militants seized two districts from the Taliban. The Taliban and IS are both fighting to overthrow Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government and impose a harsh version of Islamic rule, but they are bitterly split over leadership and tactics. The IS affiliate is largely made up of disgruntled former Taliban fighters.