North Korea: Detained American disguised ID Libya bans Gadhafi officials Bangladesh death toll at 622 Malaysia's leader wins vote Abbas arrives in China
SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea on Sunday revealed a few more details about a Korean-American recently sentenced to 15 years' hard labor, saying he entered the country with a disguised identity. Pyongyang also rejected speculation that it intends to use Kenneth Bae as a bargaining chip.
In remarks carried by state media, an unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman did not specify the Washington state man's crimes but said he confessed. He said Bae entered North Korea "with a disguised identity in an intentional way under the back-stage manipulation of the forces hostile toward" the country.
Bae, 44, was arrested in early November in Rason, a special economic zone in North Korea's far northeastern region bordering China and Russia, according to the North's state media. The exact nature of Bae's alleged crimes has not been revealed.
Friends say Bae is a devout Christian and tour operator based in China who traveled frequently to North Korea to feed orphans.
TRIPOLI, Libya -- Under pressure from armed militias, Libya's parliament passed a sweeping law Sunday that bans anyone who served as a senior official under Moammar Gadhafi during his 42 year-long rule from working in government.
The Political Isolation Law could lead to the dismissal of many current leaders, some of whom had defected to the rebel side during the country's 2011 civil war or had been elected to office since Gadhafi's ouster and killing.
The law was partially driven by the unpopularity of Libya's current crop of politicians among many of the still-powerful former rebels who toppled Gadhafi, and others who say little has improved since.
But critics say that the law was passed at gunpoint, as militias have surrounded several government buildings in Tripoli for the past several days barring officials from work.
DHAKA, Bangladesh -- More than 600 bodies have been recovered from the garment-factory building that collapsed well over a week ago, police said Sunday.
Police said Sunday night that the death toll had reached 622. More than 200 bodies have been recovered since Wednesday, when authorities said only 149 people had been listed as missing.
An architect whose firm designed the building said Sunday that it had not been designed to handle heavy industrial equipment, let alone the three floors that were later illegally added. The equipment used by the five garment factories that occupied Rana Plaza included huge generators that were turned on shortly before the building crumbled.
Masood Reza, an architect with Vastukalpa Consultants, said the building was designed in 2004 as a shopping mall and not for any industrial purpose.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia's long-governing coalition won national elections Sunday to extend its 56 years of unbroken rule, fending off the strongest opposition it has ever faced but exposing vulnerabilities in the process.
The Election Commission reported that Prime Minister Najib Razak's National Front coalition captured 127 of Malaysia's 222 parliamentary seats to win a majority Sunday. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's three-party alliance seized 77 seats, and other races were too close to call.
It was the National Front's 13th consecutive victory in general elections since independence from Britain in 1957.
Najib urged all Malaysians to accept his coalition's victory. "We have to show to the world that we are a mature democracy," he said.
HONG KONG -- The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, arrived in China on Sunday seeking support from its leaders. His visit comes days before the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, also will visit Beijing, although Israeli officials have said there are no plans for a meeting between the two.
China has tried to keep firm ties with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, while supporting Palestinian demands for statehood and occasionally chiding the Israeli government for its policies toward the Palestinians. But China has shown scant appetite for a major role as a broker in that and other conflicts in the Middle East.