Top Asian News 1:38 a.m. GMT (Yahoo Security)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Investigators are looking for four North Korean men who flew out of Malaysia the same day Kim Jong Nam, the North Korean ruler’s outcast half brother, apparently was poisoned at an airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian police said Sunday. Since Kim’s death last week, authorities have been trying to piece together details of what appeared to be an assassination. Malaysian police have so far arrested four people carrying IDs from North Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Malaysia’s deputy national police chief, Noor Rashid Ibrahim, said four other North Korean suspects were on the run. The men arrived in Malaysia on different days beginning Jan.

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.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A local government official says an avalanche has killed seven people in northern Pakistan. Taimour Khan, an official with the provincial disaster management department, says another eight people were injured. Those people have been retrieved from a building buried by the avalanche Sunday near Lowari Tunnel in Upper Dir. Khan says there could be additional victims under the debris. Khan says rescue work is underway to open the blocked road and the tunnel, which connects northwest Pakistan to northern mountain regions.

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.

MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani police say that counter-terrorism forces killed five militants in an overnight raid and seized weapons and explosives from their hideout. Nayab Haider, a spokesman for the counter-terrorism department, says Sunday that the militants were members of the banned Jamaat-ul Ahrar — which has claimed responsibility for several recent terrorist attacks. Haider says the militants opened fire when police raided their hideout in Punjab province. Five militants were killed in the ensuing firefight, while four escaped. He says that maps recovered from the raid show the gang was planning attacks on shrines and an air base in Multan.

PATHUM THANI, Thailand (AP) — Police in Thailand who spent three days in an orderly but unsuccessful search of a vast Buddhist temple for a prominent monk accused of financial wrongdoing kept up the pressure Sunday, sending fresh forces to confront devotees and monks at the compound’s gates. Around 3,000 police had surrounded the Dhammakaya sect temple north of Bangkok from Thursday through Saturday, while smaller squads searched for its chief, Phra Dhammajayo, who is accused of accepting $40 million in embezzled money. Both security forces and Dhammajayo’s followers gathered in growing numbers at the temple on Sunday after the Department of Special Investigation — Thailand’s FBI — ordered all people not residing there to leave.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — At least 11 people were killed and 24 others rescued Sunday after the boat they were traveling in capsized off of Sri Lanka’s southwestern coast, police said. The boat was among 19 that took part in a religious festival procession from the fishing town of Beruwala, around 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of the capital, Colombo, said police spokesman Priyantha Jayakody. The tragedy occurred when the boats were returning from the festival. Jayakody said in a statement that seven women and four men died. The 24 people who were rescued were being treated at a hospital.

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.

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.

Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ February 19, 2017 at 08:21PM