MASHIKI, Japan (AP) — Aftershocks rattled communities in southern Japan as businesses and residents got a fuller look Friday at the widespread damage from an unusually strong overnight earthquake that killed nine people and injured about 800. Rescue workers were combing through the wreckage in hard-hit areas to make sure there were no more trapped people, said Shotaro Sakamoto, a Kumamoto prefecture official. Concern about aftershocks was keeping many people from starting the huge task of cleaning up, police said. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters the government wants to prevent any secondary disasters from aftershocks. The magnitude 6.5 quake struck at 9:26 p.m.
TOKYO (AP) — Key facts about the deadly earthquake in Japan: THE QUAKE: A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck at 9:26 p.m. Thursday at a depth of 11 kilometers (7 miles). WHERE: The epicenter was near Kumamoto, a city of 740,000 people on Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's four main islands. DEATHS AND INJURIES: Nine have been confirmed dead, and more than 800 injured, including 53 seriously. HARDEST-HIT AREA: Town of Mashiki, 15 kilometers (9 miles) east of Kumamoto city. Eight of the dead were from Mashiki. DAMAGE: Widespread and still being assessed. Houses have collapsed, roads buckled, shelves toppled in offices and stores.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A North Korea missile launch meant to celebrate its founder's birthday has apparently failed, South Korean and U.S. officials said Friday, an embarrassing setback in what was reportedly the inaugural test of a new, powerful mid-range missile. The U.S. and South Korean officials provided few details, including the type of missile. But South Korea's Yonhap news agency carried an unsourced report that a "Musudan" missile, which could one day be capable of reaching far-off U.S. military bases in Asia and the Pacific, exploded in the air a few seconds after liftoff. Despite the failure, the North has another Musudan loaded on a mobile launcher and Pyongyang will likely fire it, according to South Korean and U.S.
SHAHAPUR, India (AP) — Shantabai Babulkar's day begins before dawn with a 5-kilometer (3-mile) trek across barren fields and dusty scrubland to fetch water from a distant well. She balances two metal pots of muddy water atop her head, and carries a third in the crook of her arm — the only water she and her family of five will have for the day's needs of drinking, cooking and washing. Babulkar's village of Shahapur, in Thane district of the west Indian state of Maharashtra, is in the grips of one of the worst droughts in decades. Parched fields, burnt crops and wasted cattle have helped drive up the number of suicides by distressed farmers unable to repay their loans.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says $681 million banked into the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's bank accounts was a "genuine donation." Najib's office said Friday that the confirmation by Adel Al-Jubeir vindicates Najib against allegations that the money was siphoned from heavily indebted state investment fund 1MDB. Al-Jubeir says Saudi authorities were aware of the donation, and that it was given without any strings attached. Malaysia's foreign ministry provided a video clip of Al-Jubeir's comments, made Thursday to Malaysian reporters in Istanbul after a meeting with Najib. Najib has been battling allegations that the money was funneled from 1MDB into his accounts.
HONG KONG (AP) — The operators of the world's only museum chronicling the Chinese government's brutal 1989 crackdown on student protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square say it faces closure because of a legal dispute. The pro-democracy group behind the tiny Hong Kong museum said Friday that they have decided to look for another space rather than fight a costly lawsuit launched by other owners of the building where the museum is located. The June 4th Museum, which opened two years ago, is dedicated to preserving the memory of one of the darkest chapters of modern Chinese history through photos, videos, artifacts and written histories.
BEIJING (AP) — Responding to what it says are provocative plans for stepped-up U.S.-Philippine military cooperation, China says it will "resolutely defend" its interests and accuses the two longstanding allies of militarizing the region and harboring a "Cold War mentality." The ministry's comments came shortly after Thursday's announcement that the U.S. would send troops and planes to the Philippines for more frequent rotations and will increase joint sea and air patrols with Philippine forces in the South China Sea. In a move likely to further anger Beijing, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter says he will be visiting an aircraft carrier — a potent symbol of U.S.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Afghan military says its air force has hit Islamic State militants in the eastern province of Nangarhar, killing at least 40 insurgents. Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Dawlat Waziri says the airstrike took place late Thursday night in Achin district and also wounded several IS fighters. District governor Gahlib Mujahid says the airstrike targeted a meeting of IS fighters that was underway in the Pikha Lataband area. He says most of the dead were foreign fighters and that their bodies were collected by the local villagers and handed over to the Islamic State group, which has gained a foothold in Nangarhar.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Taiwan on Friday was trying to prevent Malaysia from deporting 52 Taiwanese criminal suspects to China amid an ongoing battle over jurisdiction involving the self-ruled island. A Foreign Ministry statement said an initial group of 20 of those detained on suspicion of committing wire fraud had been due to be returned to Taiwan on Friday. However, it said Malaysian officials had delayed the flight, saying they were awaiting legal approval. Taiwan's statement said its officials were actively engaged in talks to pressure Malaysia to "bring home our citizen suspects to be investigated." Malaysian officials, speaking anonymously because they weren't authorized to talk to media, confirmed that Chinese officials had requested the suspects be sent to China.
TOKYO (AP) — Russia's top diplomat is holding talks with his Japanese counterpart in Tokyo to discuss preparations for meetings between the two leaders this year. Sergey Lavrov's trip comes days after Japan hosted foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations. Russia is barred from G-7 because of its annexation of Crimea in 2014. That has also shelved Russian President Vladimir Putin's Japan visit for nearly two years. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing to make progress in the dispute over Russian-held islands. It has kept the two countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending their World War II hostilities.