Indignant NKorea doesn’t dismiss food-nuke deal
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Wednesday that before Kim Jong Il’s death the United States offered to provide food aid if it halted its uranium enrichment program, and although Pyongyang blasted Washington for “politicizing” food shipments, it appeared to leave the door open for a deal. Comments about the proposed deal, attributed to an unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman in Pyongyang, carried an indignant tone, but the North’s statement also said it would wait and “see if the United States has a willingness to establish confidence” with North Korea.
Japan railway chief not guilty in 2005 derailment
TOKYO (AP) — The former president of a major Japanese railway was found not guilty Wednesday of negligence in a 2005 crash that killed 107 people in western Japan and raised concerns over pressures to sacrifice safety for punctuality. Masao Yamazaki was found not guilty by the Kobe District Court, which ruled he could not be held responsible for the speeding commuter train’s derailment and crash into an apartment in the city of Amagasaki.
US fires 1st drone in Pakistan in 6 weeks; 4 dead
BANNU, Pakistan (AP) — An American drone strike killed four Islamist militants in Pakistan, the first such attack since errant U.S airstrikes in November killed two dozen Pakistan troops and pushed strained ties between the two nations close to collapse, Pakistani intelligence officials said Wednesday. The attack Tuesday took place in North Waziristan, an al-Qaida and Taliban stronghold close to the Afghan border that has been pounded by U.S. strikes, the officials said. Three of the dead were Arab fighters, said the officials, who didn’t give their names because they were not allowed to be named in the media.
Geithner presses Beijing on Iran, currency
BEIJING (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Chinese leaders pledged Wednesday to build economic ties but Beijing gave no sign it would relent in its opposition to American sanctions on Iran. Geithner also planned to press Beijing on U.S. complaints about its currency controls as well as lobby for support in Washington’s effort to rein in Iranian nuclear ambitions. China, a major buyer of Iranian crude, has rejected unilateral U.S. action as improper and industry analysts say it is unlikely to cooperate with an oil embargo.
12 killed when bus falls into gorge in India
LUCKNOW, India (AP) — An official says that a bus in northern India fell down a steep gorge in dense fog, killing 12 people and injuring 13 others. Spokesman Amit Chandola for the state government of Uttarakhand says the bus fell into the 100-meter-deep (340 feet) gorge in the Uttarkashi region early Wednesday.
Pakistani court warns premier over graft probe
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s top court says it could dismiss the prime minister unless he begins corruption proceedings against the president, opening another front against a government already under pressure from the army. The political turmoil comes as the nuclear-armed country is struggling with urgent economic and security challenges and a deteriorating relationship with the United States, which believes Islamabad’s help will be crucial in ending the war in Afghanistan.
3 dead, 37 rescued in Antarctic fishing boat fire
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Fire swept through a South Korean fishing ship near Antarctica early Wednesday, killing three fishermen and leaving two others with severe burns. Rescue coordinators said the outcome could have been worse had it not been for the assistance given by a nearby sister ship and another fishing vessel. Thirty-seven crew members were rescued, including two unconscious men who had been severely burned and were hoisted off the flaming ship by crane. Five crew members suffered moderate burns.
7.3 quake hits off Indonesia; panic, no injuries
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) — A powerful earthquake hit off the coast of western Indonesia early Wednesday, prompting officials to briefly issue a tsunami warning. Panicked residents ran from their homes, some fleeing to high ground by car or motorcycle, but there were no reports of injuries or serious damage. The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-7.3 quake struck 260 miles (420 kilometers) off the coast of Aceh province just after midnight. It was centered 18 miles (30 kilometers) beneath the ocean floor.
Thai official’s behavior at airport causes uproar
BANGKOK (AP) — A Thai customs official has been demoted over a YouTube video that shows him hitting an airport security officer while refusing to be patted down. Footage from a surveillance camera at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport shows the official striding through a security check, fiercely objecting to being searched and then whacking the officer’s ears. The official then pointed to his badge and the junior officer bowed apologetically.
Woman’s body in suitcase found at Manila’s airport
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine police are investigating a gruesome find at Manila international airport’s parking lot: the body of a woman stuffed in a suitcase. A police officer at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport says the woman looks like a Filipino and appears to have been strangled to death before being crammed in a fetal position inside the luggage. Officer Joselito Mutya says it could not immediately be determined if the woman’s name is the same as that on the bag’s identity tag.
North China tourist city of Xi’an bans large dogs
BEIJING (AP) — A popular tourist city in northern China says it will ban residents from keeping large dogs such as German shepherds in its downtown core. The city of Xi’an in Shaanxi province said in a statement posted on its website late Tuesday that the ban will start Feb. 1. The city has three ring roads, and large dogs will be banned in all areas inside the third ring road. They’ll also be banned from some places outside the third ring road.
Northern India train collision kills 4 people
PATNA, India (AP) — A railway official says at least four people were killed when a passenger train collided with a freight train in northern India. Local station master K.P. Singh says a freight train at the Karanpuratu railway station in the northern state of Jharkhand rolled backward onto a track just before a Delhi-bound passenger train pulled into the station on the same track.
Asia stocks up as confidence in US economy grows
BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets were mostly higher Wednesday, amid signs of a strengthening U.S. economy and relief that France won’t lose its sterling credit rating. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.2 percent at 8,435.59, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.3 percent to 19,052.36. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 added 1 percent to 4,193.40.
Half of wrecked cargo ship sinking in New Zealand
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Half of a cargo ship that ran aground on a New Zealand reef three months ago began sinking into the ocean Tuesday, and debris and some oil were drifting from the wreck. The stern section of the Rena began slipping from its previous position on the Astrolabe Reef in the morning and was about three-quarters submerged by noon New Zealand time, Maritime New Zealand spokesman James Sygrove told The Associated Press.
Japan arrests woman who lived with cult fugitive
TOKYO (AP) — A woman claiming to have lived with a senior member of the doomsday cult behind the 1995 nerve gas attack on Tokyo’s subways turned herself in and was arrested Tuesday for helping him evade police for nearly 17 years. Akemi Saito, also a member of Aum Shinrikyo, gave herself up after Makoto Hirata surrendered to police on New Year’s Eve, according to police and Saito’s lawyer.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.