North Korea's vice foreign minister says it will conduct its next nuclear test whenever its supreme headquarters sees fit. Vice Minister Han Song Ryol made the comments in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in Pyongyang on Friday. He also said the situation on the Korean Peninsula was in a "vicious cycle" as tensions with the U.S. and its allies deepen. Outside experts say the North could conduct its sixth nuclear test at virtually anytime. Meanwhile, the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to the region and is conducting its biggest ever joint military exercises with South Korea. Han told AP that Pyongyang won't "keep its arms crossed" in the face of a U.S.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Handcuffed and facing the judge, two young women accused of poisoning Kim Jong Nam appeared in court Thursday as their lawyers said Malaysian police still have not handed over security camera footage and documents crucial to the defense. Siti Aisyah, from Indonesia, and Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam are the only suspects in custody in the Feb. 13 killing of Kim, the estranged half brother of North Korea's ruler. Four North Korean suspects fled the country the day of the murder, police say. "The accused person should not be denied her fundamental right to a fair trial," said Aisyah's attorney Gooi Soon Seng.
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea's vice foreign minister on Friday blamed President Donald Trump for building up a "vicious cycle" of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, saying that his "aggressive" tweets were "making trouble." In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in Pyongyang, Vice Minister Han Song Ryol also said Pyongyang won't "keep its arms crossed" in the face of a pre-emptive strike by the U.S. Tensions are deepening as the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to waters off the peninsula and is conducting its biggest-ever joint military exercises with South Korea. Pyongyang, meanwhile, recently launched a ballistic missile and some experts say it could conduct another nuclear test at virtually anytime.
BEIJING (AP) — China's foreign minister said Thursday that the conflict in Syria needs to be addressed through a political settlement after Beijing abstained from a U.N. resolution condemning the reported use of chemical weapons by Syria's government. The resolution brought by Britain, France and the United States was vetoed by Russia on Wednesday. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said a political settlement is the "only reliable and right way" to handle Syria. He called on the U.S. and Russia to improve communication to avoid further confrontation after Russia sharply criticized last week's U.S. bombing of a Syrian air base. Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters Thursday that China condemns the use of chemical weapons but revisions were needed to the U.N.
DOLJEVAC, Serbia (AP) — Fatima Bakhshi stays close to her mother and two sons, afraid she might lose them as they trudge through the cold Balkan darkness. The smuggler they've paid to escort them safely into Western Europe orders them to squeeze into a car with more than a dozen other migrants. Bakhshi, the boys in her lap, is crammed so tightly in the back that she can barely breathe. The driver swerves and she yells at him to stop. Other migrants snap at her to keep quiet and she dozes off. All she wants is a new life with relatives in Ireland, away from a brutish husband and a controlling father back in Afghanistan.
BANGKOK (AP) — Efforts by authorities in military-ruled Thailand to impose order on the chaotic capital city have a fresh target: cheap and tasty pad thai. The latest crackdown by Bangkok city officials is going after the vendors whose carts sell everything from Thailand's signature noodles to spicy tom yum goong soup have become institutions on the capital's hot and humid sidewalks. The stalls with their metal folding tables and rickety plastic stools serve as a gastronomic go-to for budget-conscious locals and adventurous tourists alike. "Street food is a big part of daily life," said Nont Nontiskul, 29, a stockbroker who has lived in the city's trendy Thonglor area for more than a decade.
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. forces in Afghanistan on Thursday struck an Islamic State tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan with "the mother of all bombs," the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the U.S. military, Pentagon officials said. The bomb, known officially as a GBU-43B, or massive ordnance air blast weapon, unleashes 11 tons of explosives. When it was developed in the early 2000s, the Pentagon did a formal review of legal justification for its combat use. The Pentagon said it had no early estimate of deaths or damage caused by its attack, which President Donald Trump called a "very, very successful mission." The U.S.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Unsafe seafood. Insufficiently refrigerated meats. Rusty shelving. Cooks without hairnets. Reports show Florida health inspectors cited President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort with 15 violations in late January, days before the U.S. leader hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a diplomatic visit. Still, the state inspectors allowed the luxury resort's main restaurant and beach club grill to remain open as staff scrambled to make several immediate corrections. Among the "high priority" problems described as "potentially hazardous" were faulty fridges with meats stored well above the required 41 degrees Fahrenheit. For example, in the restaurant's walk-in cooler the duck and beef were measured at 50 degrees, while a ham was at 57.
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Malala Yousafzai (mah-LAH'-lah YOO'-suhf-zeye) is using her honorary Canadian citizenship to call on the country's leaders to take real action to improve educational opportunities for girls. The teenage Nobel prize winner spoke to the Canadian Parliament after becoming an honorary citizen Wednesday. She asked lawmakers to make education for girls a top priority when it hosts the G7 summit next year. Yousafzai was 15 when she shot in the head by Taliban militants in Pakistan in 2012. She was targeted due to her advocacy for women's education. Yousafzai was originally scheduled to receive the honor on Oct.
NEW DELHI (AP) — Authorities in Bangladesh have executed a top leader of a banned militant group and two accomplices for their involvement in a grenade attack against a British diplomat at a popular Islamic shrine in 2004. The attack killed three people and wounded several others. The main target was then-British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury, who narrowly escaped. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said Thursday that Harkatul Jihad chief Mufti Hannan and one accomplice were hanged at Kashimpur Jail outside the capital, Dhaka, late Wednesday. The third man was executed in the northeastern district of Sylhet, also late Wednesday. The High Court and the Supreme Court had upheld their death sentences given by a trial court in 2008 and the president rejected their clemency appeals.