SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan into the northern Pacific Ocean on Friday, U.S. and South Korean militaries said, its longest-ever such flight and a clear message of defiance to its rivals. Since President Donald Trump threatened the North with "fire and fury" in August, Pyongyang has conducted its most powerful nuclear test and launched two missiles of increasing range over U.S. ally Japan. It tested its first-ever intercontinental ballistic missiles in July. The growing frequency, power and confidence displayed by these tests seems to confirm what governments and outside experts have long feared: North Korea is closer than ever to its goal of building a military arsenal that can viably target both U.S.
An emergency response official on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido says business has been usual most of the morning after a North Korean missile flew over the island. Warning sirens to alert residents blared twice — once immediately after the launch Friday and the second time just after the missile passed above their heads. Hokkaido prefectural emergency official Shuji Koshida said local trains and subways briefly stopped for safety checks but there was no panicking or traffic jams. Koshida said there were no reports of debris or damage and business was usual. It occurred while many people were still at home, waking up or getting ready for school or work.
North Korea launched an intermediate-range missile that flew over Japan in its longest-ever flight, showing that leader Kim Jong Un is defiantly pushing to bolster his weapons programs despite U.S.-led international pressure. A look at the recent weapons tests: __ May 14: North Korea fires a newly developed intermediate-range Hwasong-12 missile it says can carry a heavy nuclear warhead. May 21: North Korea tests a Pukguksong-2 missile that uses solid fuel, which is harder to detect by outsiders before launch. June 8: North Korea fires several projectiles believed to be short-range surface-to-ship cruise missiles. July 4: North Korea test-launches its first intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-14, at a highly lofted trajectory.
COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh (AP) — Nearly three weeks into a mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar, thousands were still flooding across the border Thursday in search of help and safety in teeming refugee settlements in Bangladesh. The crisis has drawn global condemnation, with U.N. officials demanding Myanmar halt what they described as a campaign of ethnic cleansing that has driven nearly 400,000 Rohingya to flee Rakhine state. One of the dozens of boats carrying Rohingya to the Bangladeshi border town of Teknaf capsized Thursday and at least two people drowned, police said. That brought known drownings in the Naf River to 88 since the crisis began.
SHAH PORIR DWIP, Bangladesh (AP) — The wooden boat packed with Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar was a few meters (yards) away from shore in Bangladesh on Thursday when it capsized. AP photographer Dar Yasin says what happened next will haunt him: a young mother's horrified discovery that her infant son, Abdul Masood, had drowned in the waist-high waters. Hanida Begum's wails filled the air as she mourned her dead boy. She had given birth to twin boys just 40 days ago. Now one was gone. "She kept on kissing him. She held him and kept kissing his body," Yasin said.
GENEVA (AP) — Amnesty International says it has turned up evidence of an "orchestrated campaign of systematic burnings" by Myanmar security forces targeting dozens of Rohingya villages over the last three weeks. The human rights group is releasing a new analysis of video, satellite photos, witness accounts and other data that found over 80 sites were torched in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State since an Aug. 25 militant attack on a border post. The U.N. children's agency estimates that as many as 400,000 people have fled to Bangladesh since then. Top U.N. officials, including Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, have previously expressed concerns about possible "ethnic cleansing" perpetrated against the Rohingya.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Thursday he will retaliate against a U.S. halt on the issuing of most visas to senior foreign ministry officials and their families by suspending missions by U.S. military-led teams searching for the remains of Americans missing in action from the Vietnam War. Cambodia's pro-government Fresh News website reported that Hun Sen said cooperation with the United States on the MIA search would be suspended until the two countries resolve several issues, especially the visa ban. Government spokesman Phay Siphan confirmed the report. The U.S. government lists 48 Americans still unaccounted for in Cambodia.
BEIJING (AP) — One of China's biggest bitcoin exchanges says it will stop trading at the end of the month following reports regulators have ordered all Chinese exchanges for the digital currency to close. BTC China said on its website it was acting "in the spirit of" a central bank order last week that banned initial coin offerings. It gave no indication it had been directly ordered to close. Interest in China in bitcoin surged last year as the currency's price rose. But trading dwindled after regulators tightened controls and warned the currency might be linked to fraud. News reports Thursday said regulators had given verbal instructions to Chinese bitcoin exchanges to close.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A fire that blocked the only exit to an Islamic school dormitory killed 23 people, mostly teenagers, on the outskirts of Malaysia's largest city early Thursday, officials said. A government official said a wall separating the victims from a second exit "shouldn't have been there." Firefighters and witnesses described scenes of horror — first of boys screaming for help behind barred windows as neighbors watched helplessly, and later of burned bodies huddled in corners of the room. Islamic teacher Arif Mawardy said he woke up to what he thought was a thunderstorm, only to realize it was the sound of people screaming.
TOKYO (AP) — Japan's nuclear policy-setting Atomic Energy Commission called Thursday for nuclear power to remain a key component of the country's energy supply despite broad public support for a less nuclear-reliant society. The commission recommended in a report that nuclear power account for at least 20 percent of Japan's energy supply in 2030, citing a previous government energy plan. It said rising utility costs caused by expensive fossil fuel imports and slow reactor restarts have affected Japan's economy. The 322-page "nuclear white paper" is the commission's first since a serious accident at a nuclear plant in Fukushima in 2011. Much of it explains government efforts to clean up the damaged plant and tighten safety standards.