US – KOREA – KARACHI – THAILAND – OKLAHOMA – MISSOURI – NSA – AFGHANISTAN – RUSSIA SOCHI – DENMARK
North & South Korea to hold new round of talks Friday
Seoul has said senior officials from the rival Koreas will meet for a second time this week on Friday, AP reported. Their first round of talks Wednesday ended with little progress. A key sticking point in talks was North Korea‘s demand that Seoul delay the start of annual military drills with the US until the reunions end between families divided by the Korean War.
At least 11 police killed in Karachi car bomb attack
Eleven Pakistani policemen were killed Thursday when a suicide car bomber struck their bus in the commercial hub of Karachi, AFP reported. An explosive-laden car reportedly hit the police bus transporting officials, also wounding 47 people. The attack came as Pakistan has negotiated with the Taliban to end a seven-year insurgency.
Old coin of Arakan, today Rakhine, Myanmar. Minted by Shams al-din Muhammad Ghazi, sultan of Bengal. Dated AH962 (= 1554/5 AD). Obverse: kalima within square. Reverse: (above and right:) Shams al-Dunya wa al-Din abu al-Muzaffar (within square:) Muhammad Shah Ghazi khalled Allah mulkahu wa sultanat (below:) sanah 962 (left:) zarb Arakan (with low “a”). More or less similar to this coin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Thai authorities said Thursday they deported about 1,300 of Rohingya boat people back to Myanmar late last year, despite protests from human rights groups. The deportations took place in waves from September through November. The asylum seekers were held in detention centers and shelters across the country, police said, adding that deportations were “voluntary.” Muslim Rohingyas face widespread discrimination in Myanmar, the AP said, where sectarian violence over the last two years has left hundreds dead and more than 140,000 displaced from their homes.
English: Image is similar, if not identical, to the Missouri Department of Corrections patch. Made with Photoshop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Oklahoma pharmacy blocked from selling drug to Missouri for execution
A US federal judge has temporarily blocked an Oklahoma compounding pharmacy providing a drug to the Missouri Department of Corrections, AP reported. The judge issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday night in a federal lawsuit filed by Missouri death row inmate Michael Taylor. The Department of Corrections contracts with The Apothecary Shoppe, to provide the drug set to be used in his lethal injection on February 26, according to Taylor’s attorneys. Their lawsuit says recent executions involving the drug, compounded pentobarbital, indicate it will likely cause severe and “ultimately inhumane pain.” The state has not confirmed the pharmacy is the source for the drug, and it was not clear whether the ruling could delay the execution.
Great Seal Bug from NSA archives (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Employee who allowed Snowden to use his NSA log-in resigns
A civilian National Security Agency employee recently resigned for allowing former contractor Edward Snowden to use his personal log-in credentials to access classified information, NBC News reports, citing an agency memo. Also, an active duty member of the US military and a contractor have been barred from accessing NSA facilities after they were “implicated” in actions that may have aided Snowden, according to the memo. Their status is now being reviewed.
65 accused Afghan militants freed from former US prison – official
The Afghan government has freed 65 accused militants from a former US prison, officials in Kabul say. Prison spokesman Maj. Nimatullah Khaki said all 65 were freed from the Parwan Detention Facility on Thursday morning, AP reported. Washington earlier called the men “dangerous” fighters who will likely return to the battlefield. President Hamid Karzai ordered their release several weeks ago, drawing angry denunciations from the US.
Russian ambassador to Denmark outraged by media coverage of Sochi Olympics
The Russian ambassador to Denmark has sent letters to a number of Danish publications accusing them of insulting coverage of the Sochi Olympic Games. Mikhail Vanin was indignant at the coverage by the Danish press, assuming that Danish reporters didn’t have enough spectacles of “bears in caps with the red stars, drinking vodka from a samovar,” at the opening ceremony. “The freedom of speech assumes a measure of professionalism and responsibility for unbiased coverage of what the journalists write about,” the letter states. Vanin also recalled that the Olympics give the host country the opportunity to show the world their culture and to demonstrate their hospitality.