Top Asian News 4:29 a.m. GMT (Yahoo Security)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A paranoid dictator’s estranged brother. Two young female assassins. A crowded international airport. And a mysterious poison that kills within hours. It’s the perfect recipe for a thrilling cloak-and-dagger spy novel. Except some — or possibly even all — of this tale could be true in the apparent assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the older half brother of reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. And just like similar intriguing cases from the past, the public is hanging on to every detail because there’s just something about murder by poison that captivates. “A gun announces its mischief; poison can sneak in with a sip of champagne,” said Robert Thompson, a pop culture expert at Syracuse University.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The apparent assassination of the North Korean leader’s estranged half-brother is strengthening bipartisan calls for the U.S. to re-list North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, a designation lifted nine years ago. Doing so would increase the country’s isolation, while potentially complicating any future diplomacy to halt its nuclear and missile programs. The U.S. kept North Korea on its terrorism blacklist for two decades after the 1987 bombing of a South Korean airliner killed 115 people. But President George W. Bush lifted the designation in 2008 to smooth the way for aid-for-disarmament negotiations. The concession proved of little value as the talks collapsed soon after and have yet to resume.

BEIJING (AP) — China on Sunday began a suspension of all coal imports from North Korea for the rest of the year as it increases pressure on its communist neighbor to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The ban is in line with U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed in November in response to North Korea’s fifth nuclear test two months earlier, the Commerce Ministry said in an online statement Saturday. China had already banned coal imports from North Korea in April last year, but those restrictions allowed some imports for civilian use. China is North Korea’s largest source of trade and aid and Sunday’s suspension will deprive Pyongyang of an important source of foreign currency.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — At a hospital morgue in Malaysia’s capital, the tightly guarded corpse of a middle-aged man has become the focus of a dizzying case of international intrigue involving five countries, combative North Korean diplomats and an apparently duped female assassin. Investigators are still trying to piece together details of what appears to be the brazen assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of North Korea’s mercurial ruler and an exiled member of the country’s elite. Malaysian police said Saturday that they had arrested a fourth suspect, a 46-year-old North Korean man. Kim, who had been estranged from his younger half sibling for years, was attacked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Monday.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — As Malaysian police continue their inquiry into the death of Kim Jong Nam, the outcast half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, there’s plenty of speculation surrounding what seems to be one of the stranger killings the world has recently seen. North Korea killed Kim Jong Nam because he planned to create an exile government around defectors, says one rumor. Kim Jong Un was furious after learning about secret Chinese plans to enthrone his estranged sibling in Pyongyang if something happens to him, says another. Or maybe Pyongyang wasn’t involved at all. Perhaps, Kim Jong Nam, known for his carefree lifestyle and gambling habits, angered crime organizations over money problems and that got him killed, say some online arguments.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani authorities shut down a second key border crossing into Afghanistan, halting trade supplies to the neighboring landlocked country and increasing tensions between the two nations in the wake of a bloody suicide bombing at a beloved shrine in Pakistan, officials said Saturday. The border closure at Chaman in southwest Baluchistan province came after an attack on a Sufi shrine in southern Pakistan on Thursday left 88 worshippers dead. The move was seen as an effort to pressure Kabul to take action against militants who Pakistan says have sanctuaries in Afghanistan. Responsibility for the attack at Lal Shahbaz Qalander shrine in Sehwan was claimed by the Islamic State group.

The Afghan government has summoned Pakistan’s ambassador in protest of recent shelling in Afghanistan’s eastern provinces. Afghanistan’s foreign ministry summoned Ambassador Abrar Hussain in Kabul, where Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai asked for an explanation but also gave his condolences regarding recent suicide attacks in Pakistan. At least two people have been killed and two others wounded in the shelling from Pakistan, according to reports. Karzai also said the Afghan government wants Pakistan to take strict action against terrorists that are hiding in Pakistan. Karzai expressed concern over the closure of the Torkham and Chaman border crossings and asked for the reopening of the gates.

SIEM REAP, Cambodia (AP) — Angelina Jolie said Saturday that she hopes her new film about Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge will help educate the world about the brutality of the 1970s regime and shed a light on the plight of young people in war zones today. “First They Killed My Father” is based on author and human rights activist Loung Ung’s account of her survival as a child under the 1975-79 communist Khmer Rouge regime, believed to be responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million Cambodians from starvation, disease and execution. Speaking at a news conference ahead of the film’s premiere, the actress-turned-director said she hopes the movie will “remind everybody that there are little Loung’s all around the world today” in various war zones and corners of the world.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Thousands of Catholics joined a march with church leaders in Manila on Saturday in one of the largest shows of opposition against President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly crackdown against illegal drugs and attempts to revive the death penalty. Police estimated that at least 10,000 people joined the “Walk for Life” march and rally starting at dawn at Rizal Park, carrying placards that read “Choose life” and “No to death penalty.” Organizers gave a larger estimate of the crowd. It’s the latest sign of the Roman Catholic Church’s increasing activism against a government crackdown that has left thousands of drug suspects dead and efforts by pro-Duterte legislators to reimpose capital punishment as early as next month.

HYDERABAD, India (AP) — Nowhere is the search for jobs more desperate than in India, where around 13 million young people enter the job market every year. High levels of unemployment, even among the educated, create immense pressure on young people to find work, and more so for a secure government job. In the congested southern city of Hyderabad, the open grounds outside the City Central Library turn into a giant outdoor classroom every day when hundreds of young college students and job-seekers, armed with books and other study materials, sit and prepare for examinations till late at night. Many of them bring their own chairs, which they chain overnight to the outer metal grill of the building.

Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ February 19, 2017 at 12:45PM