North Korea has released 85-year-old U.S. veteran Merrill Newman after holding him for more than a week for allegedly making plots against Pyongyang, but American Christian missionary Kenneth Bae is still being held at a labor camp.
"I'm delighted to be home," Newman told reporters at the San Francisco airport after arriving there on Saturday. "It's been a great homecoming. I'm tired, but ready to be with my family," The Associated Press quoted him as saying amid applause from supporters gathered there.
Vice President Joe Biden had offered to bring the 85-year-old veteran in his Air Force Two, but Newman preferred to board a direct flight from Beijing, where he flew from North Korea after being freed. more >>
International human rights group Amnesty International has obtained satellite images of North Korea that expose some of its largest prison camps, where hundreds of thousands of people, including children, are believed to be kept "in horrific conditions."
"The gruesome reality of North Korea's continued investment in this vast network of repression has been exposed. We urge the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those prisoners of conscience held in political prison camps and close the camps immediately," said Rajiv Narayan, Amnesty International's East Asia researcher.
Amnesty's detailed report said that the new findings are of "grave concern," as it shows that North Korean authorities are investing in and maintaining political prison camps – described as places of "systematic, widespread and grave human rights violations, such as forced hard labor, denial of detainee's food quota as punishment, torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment." more >>
A baby left in an elevator was brutally beaten and murdered by a 10-year-old girl in Chongqing, China recently. The child's mother had stepped off the lift momentarily when the schoolgirl picked up her child and threw him off a balcony, resulting in his death from fatal injuries a short time afterwards.
The baby's name was Yuanyuan, and he was accompanied by his mother and a small green bike, according to Daily Mail. When they reached their floor, the mother struggled to get the bike out while the 10-year-old girl stepped onto the elevator and picked up the 2-year-old. The mother waited outside the elevator doors expectantly, but as they closed, she realized the girl wasn't giving her child back.
The CCTV footage captured the horrific violence that took place. more >>
China revealed that roughly 20,000 officials of the nation's Communist Party have been punished or reprimanded over the past year in reaction to the Chinese citizens growing angry over rampant waste and corruption.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who announced last year that he would reduce government bureaucracy, has made good on his promise while trying to minimize the lavish lifestyles of members of the Chinese government.
Still some are skeptical that the number of arrests was more eye-catching than those who were punished. more >>
A Christian missions organization believes that a seven-year-old Indian Christian boy who was drowned and tortured last month was killed because of his religion.
"It's unthinkable that this would happen to a little child like this," K.P. Yohannan, founder and international director of Gospel for Asia, said in a press release. "Persecution against Christians is an ongoing matter that we see happening every week. In fact, it's increased by 400 percent in the last several years, but the killing of a little child like this is unheard of. Our people are already there to comfort and meet the needs of the family."
Anmol, whose last name has not been released, was reported missing on Nov. 18, after he did not return home after playing with his friends. His body was found in a pond and recovered by authorities later that night. more >>
The White House has urged North Korea to release Christian missionary Kenneth Bae, who has been imprisoned at a labor camp for over a year, and Merrill Newman, an 85-year-old U.S. veteran of the Korean War who has been held there since October.
"We remain deeply concerned about the welfare of the U.S. citizens held in custody," Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said, according to The Associated Press.
"Kenneth Bae has been in DPRK custody for over a year, and we continue to urge the DPRK authorities to grant him amnesty and immediate release," Hayden said. more >>