SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The United States signaled a tougher strategy toward North Korea on Friday that leaves open the possibility of pre-emptive military action and rejects talks with the communist nation until it gives up its weapons of mass destruction. "Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended," said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. "We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table." Tillerson was speaking after visiting the heavily militarized border between the rival Koreas. His comments are likely to displease Beijing, where he travels this weekend.
TOKYO (AP) — Back in 1976, all it took to bring the Korean Peninsula back to the brink of a war was a brawl over an attempt to trim a poplar tree. That escalated quickly into the death of two American GIs by ax-wielding North Korean soldiers. Three days later, with an aircraft carrier battle group and nuclear-capable B-52 bombers at the ready, the tree was chopped down. For sure, the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Koreas is one of most volatile strips of Cold War-style weirdness left on the planet. On Friday it was weirder than usual, with President Donald Trump's new top diplomat, Rex Tillerson, standing on one side of the North-South demarcation line with his coterie and North Korean soldiers standing at one point just a meter (a few feet) away.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand authorities say they're unable to investigate an incident involving a U.S. Embassy staffer based in Wellington after the U.S. government elected to shield him by invoking diplomatic immunity. Police said Saturday they responded to an incident in Lower Hutt near Wellington early on March 12. They said the American had left the scene before police arrived, and nobody was taken into custody. In their statement, police declined to release further details of the incident but said they're keeping the investigation open. The day after the incident, police asked New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to seek a waiver of immunity from the U.S.
BEIJING (AP) — China plans to build the first permanent structure on a South China Sea shoal at the heart of a territorial dispute with the Philippines, in a move likely to renew concerns over Beijing's robust assertions of its claims in the strategically crucial waterbody. The top official in Sansha City that has administered China's island claims since 2012 was quoted by the official Hainan Daily newspaper as saying that preparations were underway to build an environmental monitoring station on Scarborough Shoal off the northwestern Philippines. The preparatory work on the stations and others on five other islands in the strategically vital waterway was among the government's top priorities for 2017, Sansha Communist Party Secretary Xiao Jie was quoted as saying in an interview published in the paper's Monday edition seen online Friday in Beijing.
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Four men accused of involvement in the murder of a top legal adviser to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi's ruling party appeared in a Yangon court on Friday to hear the charges against them. The alleged hired gunman, Kyi Lin, and three accused plotters were read the murder charge against them for the Jan. 29 shooting of lawyer Ko Ni. A fifth suspect is on the run. Ko Ni was noted for criticizing army interference in politics and advised Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy on ways to get around articles in the army-imposed constitution that give the military wide powers even after Myanmar's transition to democracy last year.
TOKYO (AP) _ A court held Japan's government and a utility liable on Friday for neglecting tsunami safety measures at the Fukushima nuclear plant and ordered them to pay more money to dozens out of the thousands of people who fled radiation released during the March 2011 disaster. The ruling is the first from about 30 lawsuits filed by thousands of evacuees and could set a precedent for the other cases. About half of the 150,000 people forced to leave their homes still cannot return, six years after a massive earthquake and tsunami destroyed the plant and caused reactor meltdowns.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — From the deserts of southern New Mexico and Nevada to islands in the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. government conducted dozens of nuclear weapons tests from the 1940s until the early 1960s. Vintage rolls of film collected from high-security vaults across the country show some of the blasts sending incredible mushroom clouds into the sky and massive fireballs across the landscape. Others start with blinding flashes of light followed by rising columns of smoke in the distance. A team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory this week published more than five dozen films salvaged from government installations where they had sat idle for years.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand police shot and killed a young security dog at the Auckland Airport on Friday after it escaped its handler and ran loose for more than three hours on the tarmac, disrupting at least 16 flights. Many people in New Zealand were upset that the dog was killed and some questioned why it couldn't have been tranquilized instead. Named Grizz, the dog was being trained to detect explosives by New Zealand's Aviation Security Service and was about six months from graduating. Police Inspector Tracy Phillips said in a statement that the security service and airport staff had made considerable efforts over several hours to recapture the dog and had called in police as a last resort.
BALI, Indonesia (AP) — An American woman convicted in her mother's "suitcase murder" in Indonesia gave custody of her young daughter on Friday to an Australian woman until her release from prison. Heather Mack is serving a 10-year sentence for assisting her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer in Sheila von Wiese-Mack's murder, in which the body was stuffed in a suitcase. Schaefer was sentenced to 18 years in prison. The baby girl, Stella Schaefer, was born shortly before her parents were convicted in 2015. Under Indonesian law, she was allowed to live with her mother in her cell in Kerobokan prison until she turned 2 years old on Friday.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Tin, her husband and five children have cleared years of refugee hurdles to come to the U.S.: blood tests, interviews, DNA and fingerprints, background checks. She has her one must-bring possession within reach, a well-worn Bible, and keeps their phone charged for the U.S. Embassy to call. But the odds of that happening dropped precipitously. President Donald Trump's 16-page redone travel ban "to keep the bad dudes out" aims to stop people from six Muslim countries from entering the U.S. this year and suspends refugees from arriving for 120 days. But the order also includes a sweeping 55 percent reduction in refugee visas overall, from a planned 110,000 to 50,000 this year.