SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's acting leader on Tuesday turned down the resignation offers made by senior advisers to ousted President Park Geun-hye. The Constitutional Court ruled Friday to formally end the presidency of Park, who was impeached by parliament in December over a huge corruption scandal. Thirteen policy advisers and other officials at the presidential Blue House tendered their resignations to Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who serves as government caretaker, on Monday. But Hwang turned down the resignations to help ensure stability in state affairs, according to Hwang's office. Hwang's office said those presidential officials have provided policy advice to Hwang since Park's impeachment.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's health minister said Monday that the government will give relatives of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half brother two to three weeks to claim his body before deciding what to do with it. Malaysian authorities say Kim Jong Nam died after two women smeared his face with the banned VX nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur's airport on Feb. 13, but North Korea — which is widely suspected to be behind the attack — rejects the findings. North Korea has demanded the body back from Day One and objected to Malaysia's autopsy. Pyongyang also has refused to acknowledge that Kim Jong Nam was the victim and has referred to him as Kim Chol, the name on the passport Kim was carrying when he was attacked in a crowded airport terminal.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The senior advisers to ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye offered to resign on Monday, news reports said, three days after the country's Constitutional Court formally ended her rule over a corruption scandal. Park, whose power had been suspended in a parliamentary impeachment vote in December, was formally removed from office Friday after the court dismissed her from the top post. Park vacated the presidential office on Sunday. Nine senior presidential advisers tendered their resignations to acting leader Hwang Kyo-ahn, Yonhap news agency reported, citing unidentified government officials. Other South Korean media carried a similar report.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea on Monday tried to shift the blame for the deadly attack in Malaysia on the estranged half- brother of its leader Kim Jong Un to the United States and South Korea. North Korea's deputy U.N. ambassador, Kim In Ryong, told a news conference that "from A to Z, this case is the product of reckless moves of the United States and South Korean authorities," who he said are trying to tarnish the North's image and bringing down its social system. Malaysian authorities say Kim Jong Nam died after two women smeared his face with the banned VX nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur's airport on Feb.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plunges this week into the increasingly volatile situation in North Asia with visits to Japan, South Korea and China, the region's central players for dealing with North Korea's missile launches and nuclear tests. Complicating the mission are Chinese concerns about how the U.S. has responded so far. Beijing strenuously objects to the initial deployment to South Korea of a U.S. missile defense system. One of Tillerson's chief tasks will be to assuage Asia's biggest country and arrange a much-anticipated visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the United States. Tillerson's four-day trip will be closely watched for signs of how the Trump administration will approach the escalating tensions with North Korea, whose leader has disregarded international appeals to disarm and accelerated weapons development.
BEIJING (AP) — Damaging the reputation and honor of heroes and martyrs could be a civil offense under a proposed draft of China's civil law, as the Communist Party further tightens the space for dissent and academic discourse on historical issues. The official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday that delegates to China's ceremonial parliament had introduced the provisions for ratification this week. In recent months, top Communist Party officials, including the education minister, have openly warned about the trend of historical revisionists "smearing" the party by offering unsanctioned views about past events, something that could now amount to an offense. The proposed law comes at a time when liberal academics and intellectuals are already under rising political pressure to toe the party line.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — It's one thing to talk about changing allegiance to another country when a new president is elected. It's another thing to go ahead and do it. But that's exactly what seems to be happening, at least in one distant corner of the world. In New Zealand, the number of Americans who applied for a grant of citizenship rose by 70 percent in the 12 weeks following the election of President Donald Trump when compared to the same period a year earlier, immigration records obtained by The Associated Press show. Figures also show the number of Americans who obtained a New Zealand work visa in January was up 18 percent from a year earlier, as was the number of Americans who visited the country.
SOUTH ARI ATOLL, Maldives (AP) — In early versions of a story March 13 about dying coral reefs, The Associated Press misspelled the name of the organization that documents reefs worldwide. The correct spelling is XL Catlin Seaview Survey, not XL Caitlin Seaview Survey. A corrected version of the story is below: Scientists race to prevent wipeout of world's coral reefs Coral reefs, unique underwater ecosystems that sustain a quarter of the world's marine species and half a billion people, are dying on an unprecedented scale due to rising ocean temperatures By ELENA BECATOROS Associated Press SOUTH ARI ATOLL, Maldives (AP) — There were startling colors here just a year ago, a dazzling array of life beneath the waves.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Walt Disney has shelved the release of its new movie "Beauty and the Beast" in mainly Muslim Malaysia, even though film censors said Tuesday it had been approved with a minor cut involving a "gay moment." The country's two main cinema chains said the movie, due for to begin screening Thursday, has been postponed indefinitely. No reason was given. Film Censorship Board chairman Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid said he did not know why the film was postponed as was been approved by the board after a minor gay scene was axed. He said scenes promoting homosexuality were forbidden and that the film was given a P13 rating, which requires parental guidance for children under 13 years of age.
BEIJING (AP) — China's top political advisory body voted Monday to appoint Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to the ceremonial post of vice chairman, ahead of his departure from office in July. Leung announced in December that he wouldn't seek a second term as leader of the Chinese-controlled territory, a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997. His five-year term has been marked by increasingly bitter political divisions between pro-democracy activists and Beijing loyalists. Leung has said Hong Kong is an "inalienable" part of China and independence is not possible. Members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference voted to appoint him on the final day of their annual 10-day meeting.