1 March 2017

10-country summit in Pakistan ends on call for closer ties

Pakistani police officers stand guard at a barricaded road leading to the venue of the Economic Cooperation Organization summit in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has opened a key economic summit aimed at improving trade ties amid unprecedented security. Islamabad is hosting 13th Economic Cooperation Organization summit consisting 10 countries to finalize a plan for expanding trade and prosperity among member nations.
A regional economic summit in Pakistan on Wednesday concluded with participants pledging to collectively fight the "challenge of terrorism" and push for greater collaboration in areas of trade, energy and infrastructure development.

Islamabad hosted the day-long 10-nation Economic Cooperation Organization summit that finalized a "Vision 2025" plan for expanding trade and prosperity among member nations.

From LOL shirt to bulletproof vest, hit suspects go to court

Vietnamese suspect Doan Thi Huong, second from right, in the ongoing assassination investigation, is escorted by police officers out from Sepang court in Sepang, Malaysia on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Appearing calm and solemn, two young women accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korea's leader, were charged with murder Wednesday.
Because of a grainy security camera photo that went viral online, she is now known to many as the LOL assassin.

But as Doan Thi Huong left a courthouse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, after being formally charged with the murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half brother two weeks ago, she had a very different look — red, puffy eyes and a bulletproof vest.

The strange life, and sudden death, of a North Korean exile

In this June 4, 2010, file photo, dressed in jeans and blue suede loafers, Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of then North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, waves after his first-ever interview with South Korean media in Macau. Kim Jong Nam had spent years in exile, gambling and drinking and arranging the occasional business deal as he traveled across Asia and Europe. His fortunes had apparently declined in recent years, and he’d moved his family from a luxurious seafront condominium complex in Macau to a more affordable apartment building.
The heavy-set man got out of a taxi one night last September and headed for the lobby bar of the swank Wynn Macau — a quiet place, where women are often in evening dresses and gamblers can relax with $300 Cuban cigars. He was dressed casually. There were no bodyguards, no flashy women.

It wasn't what you'd expect of a man once tipped to be the next dictator of North Korea.

Crowds greet Saudi king on rare visit to Indonesia

Saudi King Salman, left, listens to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak during the MOU signing ceremony in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. Salman arrived in Malaysia on Sunday to kick off a multi-nation tour aimed at boosting economic ties with Asia.
The first Saudi monarch to visit Indonesia in nearly half a century arrived Wednesday to an elaborate official welcome and crowds of thousands.

King Salman exited his plane at Halim airport in Jakarta using an escalator, with a portable lift carrying him the final meter or so to the ground.

Early bird special: Spring pops up super early in much of US

Tulip Magnolia trees bloom in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Crocuses, cherry trees, magnolia trees are blooming several weeks early because of an unusually warm February. Some climate experts say it looks like, because of an assist from global warming, spring has sprung what may be record early this year in about half the nation.
Spring has sprung early — potentially record early — in much of the United States, bringing celebrations of shorts weather mixed with unease about a climate gone askew.

Crocuses, tulips and other plants are popping up earlier than usual from Arizona to New Jersey and down to Florida. Washington is dotted with premature pink blossoming trees. Grackles, red-winged blackbirds and woodpeckers are just plain early birds this year.

The unseasonably warm weather has the natural world getting ahead of — even defying — the calendar, scientists said Tuesday.