By James Pearson and Ju-min Park SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert underwent two-and-a-half hours of surgery after he was slashed in the face by a Korean nationalist in an attack at a forum held in Seoul on Thursday to discuss Korean reunification, officials said. In 2010, Kim tried to attack the Japanese ambassador to Seoul by throwing a piece of concrete and was given a suspended jail term, according to police. U.S. President Barack Obama called Lippert to wish him a speedy recovery, a White House official said. The assailant was dressed in traditional Korean clothing and shouted that North and South Korea should be reunited just before he attacked Lippert.
By Lincoln Feast SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's foreign minister said on Thursday she had proposed a prisoner swap to her Indonesian counterpart in an 11th hour effort to save the lives of two Australian drug smugglers expected to face a firing squad within days. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tension between Australia and Indonesia following repeated pleas for mercy on their behalf. Also facing execution are citizens of France, Brazil, the Philippines, Ghana and Nigeria, as well as Indonesia.
By Arshad Mohammed MONTREUX, Switzerland (Reuters) - Simply demanding Iran's capitulation is no way to get a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday as he wrapped up three days of talks with a veiled dig at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Kerry said he and Iranian counterpart Mohammad Jawad Zarif made some progress in their negotiations in the Swiss lakeside town of Montreux and would resume them on March 15. Kerry aides said many obstacles remained before a late March deadline for an outline accord between Iran and six world powers. On Tuesday, Netanyahu said in a speech in the U.S. Congress that Washington was negotiating a bad deal with Iran that could spark a "nuclear nightmare," drawing a rebuke from President Barack Obama and exposing a deepening U.S.-Israeli rift.
By John Irish PARIS (Reuters) - The head of Syria's Western-backed political opposition is trying to ally with opposition groups based in Syria to boost its legitimacy and help revive peace talks that center on a political transition in the country. Khaled Khoja, who became president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces in January, told Reuters in an interview that the group's goal was still for President Bashar al-Assad to leave power, but that it was no longer a precondition to begin talks. "The ultimate objective is to have a general assembly that includes all parties who want a new Syria and have a common stance towards any negotiation process with the regime based on the Geneva 1 agreements." There currently is no serious peace process in place.
Britain's Prince William won praise Thursday from Chinese Internet users after he visited an elephant reserve in the country and condemned illegal wildlife trafficking as "a vicious form of criminality". William's speech in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province, capped off a four-day visit to China during which he also met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing and chatted with students at a Shanghai football clinic. The trip was William's first to China, and made him the highest-profile royal visitor since Queen Elizabeth II in 1986.
PERTH, Australia (AP) — Defending champion India can clinch a quarterfinal place at the Cricket World Cup on Friday with a win over a West Indies lineup that is having the kind of run that poses as many questions as it answers when the team steps onto the field.
By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Democrat Hillary Clinton on Wednesday broke her silence over a budding controversy involving her use of personal email for work when she was secretary of state, saying she wanted the U.S. State Department to release them swiftly. Clinton's statement was aimed at cooling a political firestorm over allegations that she inappropriately used her personal email for work while secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. The State Department said it will review the emails provided by Clinton "using a normal process that guides such releases." "We will undertake this review as quickly as possible. Clinton's tweeted statement came hours after a congressional committee investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, issued subpoenas for her emails.
By Chen Aizhu, Dominique Patton and Kathy Chen BEIJING (Reuters) - China will boost efforts this year to rid itself of a strong addiction to coal in a bid to reduce damaging pollution as well as cut the energy intensity of its economy, which is expected to grow at its lowest rate in 25 years. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in its annual report on Thursday that it would implement policies aimed at reducing coal consumption and controlling the number of energy-intensive projects in polluted regions. China is trying to strike a balance between improving its environment and restructuring away from an economy dominated by energy intensive industries like steel making and construction towards one focused more on consumption and the service sector. China's Premier Li Keqiang said the government planned to cut the country's energy intensity, the amount of energy used per unit of GDP growth, by 3.1 percent in 2015, compared with a 4.8 percent fall in 2014.
Australia on Thursday proposed a prisoner swap with Indonesia in an 11th-hour bid to save two drug smugglers facing execution, while voicing "deep concern" about Jakarta's international reputation if they are killed. Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" drug-trafficking gang, could be shot within days after being moved on Wednesday to the Indonesian island where they are due to face a firing squad. Authorities must give convicts 72 hours' notice before they are executed and in a last-ditch effort to save them, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop suggested a prisoner swap.
Syrian rebels launched a fierce attack on an intelligence headquarters in Aleppo, leaving at least 34 dead, days after the opposition rejected a UN ceasefire plan for the city. At least 20 members of regime security forces and 14 rebels were killed Wednesday in a powerful blast and attack targeting air force intelligence offices in the west of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. It came as President Bashar al-Assad insisted he continues to enjoy the support of the Syrian people despite nearly four years of war and international pressure on his regime. "The goal was to storm the building and to control it, but they failed," Rami Abdel Rahman, the director of the Britain-based monitoring group, told AFP.
Concern mounted over the fate of civilians in Tikrit where Iraqi forces were trying to trap Islamic State group jihadists on the third day of a huge offensive to retake the city. Around 30,000 security forces and allied fighters launched Monday the biggest anti-IS ground operation yet in Iraq, closing in on Tikrit from at least three directions.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert was in stable condition after a man screaming demands for a unified North and South Korea slashed him on the face and wrist with a knife, South Korean police and U.S. officials said Thursday.
BEIJING (AP) — Jackie Chan might still be popular in China, but nowadays the pro-Beijing actor is as well-known as fodder for jokes as he is for his gritty martial arts and slapstick humor on screen. His latest contribution to the country's mass culture and entertainment: "duang."
The United States is pushing the UN Security Council to threaten tough measures against the Syrian regime over its alleged use of chlorine in attacks, according to a draft resolution circulated to members. The US move at the United Nations followed a report by the OPCW chemical watchdog in January that concluded "with a high degree of confidence" that chlorine gas had been used in attacks on three villages in Syria last year.
Libya urged the UN Security Council to approve a request for military purchases as it struggles to combat Islamic State extremists and protect its oil fields. The internationally-recognized government, one of two bodies that claims to rule troubled Libya, has asked the council's sanctions committee to grant an exemption to an arms embargo and allow it to beef up its air force. "The leadership of the Libyan army has submitted specific requests for exemptions from the arms embargo to the sanctions committee," Libyan Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi told the 15-member council.