North Korea fired about 500 artillery shells into South Korean waters on Monday – which the U.S. called "dangerous and provocative" – and the South responded by firing back. The tension on the border forced evacuations in five front-line South Korean islands.
The two rival nations traded fire into the Yellow Sea, north of the Koreas' disputed maritime boundary, according to The Associated Press.
The North fired 500 rounds of artillery shells for over three hours, and about 100 of them fell south of the sea boundary, according to South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok. The South also fired about 300 shells into North Korean waters. more >>
Three weeks after the mid-air disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, an Australian navy warship with a U.S. black box locator Sunday joined the search in the Indian Ocean. However, a U.S. Naval Officer says the search could take years.
The search involved 10 ships and 10 aircraft in the Indian Ocean far off the coast of the western Australian city of Perth on Sunday, the day the Australian defense force ship, Ocean Shield, and its flight recorder detector started for the location where the Boeing 777 is presumed to have crashed.
Many objects have been spotted since Friday, when Australian authorities moved the search about 700 miles after a new analysis suggested that the plane flew faster and therefore burned fuel at a quicker rate than previously estimated. However, investigators have not been able to confirm if any of the objects sighted were actually from that flight. more >>
Pakistan's opposition parties protested and international human rights groups condemned the death penalty given to a Christian sanitation worker about a year after he was accused of blasphemy.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party and the Pakistan People's Party on Friday strongly protested in parliament the sentencing of 27-year-old Sawan Masih, who was convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad while conversing with a Muslim friend in the eastern Lahore city's Joseph Colony in March last year.
Ghulam Murtaza Chaudhry, additional session judge of Lahore, sentenced Masih to death Thursday, saying he "must be hanged and fined," Reuters quoted the lawyer of the accused, Nameem Shakir, as saying. The sentencing includes a fine of Rs.200,000 (roughly U.S. $2,050). more >>
Brian C. Houston, leader of one of the world's largest Christian churches, is denying allegations that he promotes "Chrislam," a theological blend of Christianity and Islam, after stating in a December 2013 sermon, "Do you know – take it all the way back into the Old Testament and the Muslim and you, we actually serve the same God. Allah to a Muslim, to us Abba Father God."
With a firestorm raging online among his critics for more than a week, the influential Sydney, Australian pastor of the 30,000-member Hillsong Church finally issued a statement Thursday night (or late Friday morning his time) regarding allegations that he was promoting "Chrislam."
"The spirit of the message was exactly the opposite of what some critics are claiming. If you listened to the message in its entirety, my point was that; who a Muslim extremist believes God is, determines what they believe God does, and what they believe God loves," Pastor Houston insists in the statement, titled "Correction of Misinformation," which can be read in full below. more >>
First Lady Michelle Obama has been criticized by a women's rights group for failing to speak out during her week-long visit to China against forced abortions and human rights abuses.
"I am extremely disappointed that Mrs. Obama has deliberately ignored egregious women's rights abuses while in China," said Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, on Wednesday. "Mrs. Obama has positioned herself as an international women's leader. She could have done so much good if she had been willing to use her position to advance women's rights in a nation that tramples them.
"Mrs. Obama has chosen to ignore the intense suffering of hundreds of millions of women who have been victims of forced abortion, involuntary sterilization, gendercide and sexual slavery." more >>
Male university students in North Korea have reportedly been ordered to get the same haircut as leader Kim Jong Un, according to new state-sanctioned guidelines introduced by Pyongyang two weeks ago.
"Our leader's haircut is very particular, if you will," one source reportedly told Radio Free Asia on Tuesday. "It doesn't always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes."