SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A latest missile launch by North Korea on Wednesday appeared to have ended in a failure, South Korean defense officials said, three days after the North claimed a major breakthrough in its rocket development program. The reported launch failure come as U.S. and South Korean troops were conducting their annual military drills that the North calls an invasion rehearsal. Earlier this month, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles that landed in waters off Japan, triggering strong protests from Seoul and Tokyo. On Wednesday morning, the North fired a missile from the eastern coastal town of Wonsan but the launch was believed to have ended in a failure, Seoul's Defense Ministry said in a statement.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's just-ousted president returned home early Wednesday after being grilled by prosecutors in a long-awaited investigation of corruption allegations that ended her rule and now threaten to put her in jail. The questioning of Park Geun-hye came 11 days after the Constitutional Court unanimously ruled to dismiss her over suspicions she colluded with a confidante to extort money from businesses and committed other wrongdoings. Her powers had been suspended since she was impeached by parliament in December. "I am sorry to the people. I will sincerely undergo an investigation," Park told reporters, without elaborating, when she arrived at the prosecutors' office on Tuesday.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Several months into their investigation into the country's biggest political scandal in decades, South Korean prosecutors on Tuesday finally met and questioned recently ousted President Park Geun-hye to determine whether to seek a warrant to arrest her. Park, who no longer has immunity from prosecution following a March 10 court ruling that ended her presidency, could face multiple charges such as extortion, bribery and abuse of power. A bribery conviction could carry up to life imprisonment. A look at the criminal allegations against Park, who has steadfastly denied any legal wrongdoing, and the potential impact her fate could have on South Korean politics: ___ EXTORTION AND ABUSE OF POWER Park is accused of conspiring with longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil to pressure 16 business groups, including Samsung, to donate 77.4 billion won ($69 million) to the Mir and K-Sports foundations, two nonprofits that Choi controlled.
DILI, East Timor (AP) — An unofficial vote count shows a former guerrilla leader has won East Timor's presidency in the first election without U.N. supervision since peacekeepers left in 2012. The tally announced Tuesday by the country's election office indicated that Francisco "Lu-Olo" Guterres had a commanding lead over the Democratic Party's Antonio da Conceicao, who is minister of education and social affairs. Official results are not expected until next week, but with more than 70 percent of the ballots tallied, Lu-Olo, a 62-year-old former guerrilla commander representing Fretilin, the traditional party of resistance to Indonesian rule, had 60 percent of the votes.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. military expects another North Korean missile launch in the next several days, American defense officials said Tuesday. The officials said the U.S. has increased its surveillance over the isolated, communist country and has seen a North Korean missile launcher moving around, as well as construction of VIP seating in the eastern coastal city Wonsan. The officials, who weren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the new surveillance includes satellites, drones and other aircraft. North Korea, which is banned by the U.N. from conducting long-range missile tests, says it is in the final stages of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile, fitted with a nuclear warhead, that could reach the U.S.
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam's aviation authority has suspended three air traffic controllers, including one who fell asleep while on duty, for causing delays for two flights. The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said in a statement on its website late Tuesday that it had recommended that the sleeping controller and one other controller also be fined. The statement said the incident was a threat to safety, adding that the head of the air traffic control was also suspended. The online Dan Tri newspaper reported that the crews on two flights of budget airline Vietjet Air— one departing for South Korea and one arriving from Ho Chi Minh City — could not contact the air traffic control at Cat Bi international airport in northern city of Hai Phong for 33 minutes on March 9.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An earthquake has hit Indonesia's resort island of Bali, causing some panic among residents, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. The United States Geological Survey said the magnitude 5.5 earthquake that struck at 7:10 a.m. Wednesday (23:10 GMT Tuesday) was centered 2 kilometers (1.4 miles) northeast of Banjar Pasekan, a town in the southeastern part of Bali, at a depth of 118 kilometers (74 miles). Witnesses said many residents and tourists ran out of their homes and hotels toward higher ground, but the situation returned to normal after they received text messages saying the quake had no potential to trigger a tsunami.
BEIJING (AP) — Led by cutbacks in China and India, construction of new coal-fired power plants is falling worldwide, improving chances climate goals can be met despite earlier pessimism, three environmental groups said Wednesday. A joint report by the groups CoalSwarm, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace follows a warning this week by two international agencies that the world needs to shift quickly away from fossil fuels to curb global warming. Environmentalists were dismayed by President Donald Trump's U.S. government budget proposal last week that would cut spending on renewable energy. Construction starts for coal-fired plants in China and India were down by 62 percent in January from a year earlier while new facilities starting operations declined 29 percent, according to the report.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's National Assembly has passed a constitutional amendment that would continue the practice of trying terrorism suspects in military courts. The measure was approved by the lower house on Tuesday, but has yet to be voted upon by the senate. It would essentially extend the system which has already been in place for two years. A previous 2015 amendment established the practice with a two-year mandate that expired in January. The move to send terror suspects to military courts came in the wake of a December 2014 Taliban attack on an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar, which killed 154 people — mostly schoolchildren.
HONG KONG (AP) — The three candidates vying to be Hong Kong's next leader squared off in a feisty debate in front of hundreds of voters who peppered them with questions. They wrangled over policy proposals for the semiautonomous Chinese city and took jabs at each other at Sunday night's forum. In one particularly testy exchange, frontrunner Carrie Lam, a former chief secretary, sniped at rival John Tsang for keeping a clean desk during his time as the city's finance chief, implying that he hadn't kept himself busy enough. "No files, no papers, so I really envied him," Lam said, adding that her desk was always covered in documents.