PM to attend enthronement
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon plans to visit Japan next week to attend Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony on behalf of President Moon Jae-in, Yonhap news agency said, citing presidential officials. Lee is likely to hold talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which would be the highest-level dialogue since tension flared up last year over the issue of Japan’s wartime use of Korean forced labor, Yonhap said. “We hope his visit would help improve relations,” an unidentified presidential official was quoted as saying by Yonhap.
Khan visiting Iran
Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Iran yesterday after a request from the US and Saudi Arabia for him to try to defuse rising tensions in the Persian Gulf. Khan’s office said his visit, the second this year, was part of an initiative “to promote peace and security in the region,” and that he was scheduled to hold talks with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. He is then expected to visit Saudi Arabia, but no details of that visit have been released.
Hostages seized from bus
Suspected ethnic Rakhine rebels disguised as a sports team stormed a bus and took 31 hostages — mostly off-duty firefighters and construction workers — officials said yesterday. The state-backed Global New Light of Myanmar said the bus — travelling to the Rakhine state capital of Sittwe — was flagged down by a man dressed in civilian attire before 18 rebels in sportswear emerged from the forest and ordered the passengers off at gunpoint. “We are still following them,” Colonel Win Zaw Oo said, adding the insurgents might have mistaken the firemen for troops.
Attack on mosque kills 16
Armed men on Friday evening stormed the Grand Mosque in the northern town of Salmossi, killing 16 people and sending residents fleeing, security sources and locals said on Saturday. One source said 13 people died on the spot and three succumbed to their injuries later. Two of the wounded were critical condition. “Since this morning, people have started to flee the area,” one resident from the nearby town of Gorom-Gorom said. He said there was a “climate of panic despite military reinforcements” that were deployed after the attack.
Shelling kills family
A shell hit a truck carrying civilians in the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, killing at least nine people from one family, security officials and medics said. The shell exploded in the small town of Bir al-Abd and at least six others were wounded and taken to a hospital, they said. The family was returning home from their olive farm, two local residents said. Meanwhile, seven members of security forces were wounded on Saturday when two explosive devices hit armored vehicles in Bir al-Abd and the town of Rafah near the border with the Gaza Strip.
Two officials slain
Taliban insurgents on Saturday shot and killed a government official from eastern Maidan Wardak Province in Kabul, Maidan Wardak governor’s spokesman Mohibullah Sharifzai said yesterday. Raz Mohammad was the chief of Jaghatu district. In Parwan Province, a provincial appeal court’s prosecutor was shot and killed on Saturday by unknown gunmen in the capital Charakar, local police chief Mohfoz Walizada said.