Police in the Maldives say they have raided the main campaign office of the opposition presidential candidate on the eve of an election that is seen as a referendum on whether democracy will survive in the country. Police spokesman Ahmed Shifan says police raided Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's campaign office late Saturday. He did not give any other details. The move is a sign of a crackdown against the opposition by the government that has raised fears that Sunday's election may be rigged to favor President Yameen Abdul Gayoom's party.
MALE, Maldives (AP) - Opposition supporters in the Maldives demanded Saturday that officials ensure a free and fair presidential election, as the country prepared to vote in what is seen as a referendum on whether democracy will stay. Since Sunday's election was announced, opposition leaders have feared the vote may be rigged to favor President Yameen Abdul Gayoom's party. The European Union said Friday it is not sending election observers because the country had failed to meet the basic conditions for monitoring. But the archipelago nation's election chief, Ahmed Shareef, said Saturday that all measures had been taken to hold the election in a free and fair manner and without violence.
WASHINGTON (AP) - North Korea's Kim Jong Un is "little rocket man" no more. President Donald Trump isn't a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard." In the year since Trump's searing, debut U.N. speech fueled fears of nuclear conflict with North Korea, the two leaders have turned from threats to flattery. And there's fresh hope that the U.S. president's abrupt shift from coercion to negotiation can yield results in getting Kim to halt, if not abandon, his nuclear weapons program. Trump will address world leaders at the United Nations on Tuesday on the back of an upbeat summit between South and North Korea, where Kim promised to dismantle a major rocket launch site and the North's main nuclear complex at Nyongbyon if it gets some incentive from Washington.
VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican on Saturday announced it had signed a "provisional agreement" with China aimed at defusing tensions over the appointment of bishops, a breakthrough on an issue that stymied diplomatic relations for decades. Beijing's long-held insistence that it must approve the appointments in China clashed with absolute papal authority to pick bishops. On Saturday, the Vatican said in a statement that Pope Francis had decided to approve seven bishops named by Beijing, not the Vatican, over the years, "with the view of sustaining the proclamation of the Gospel in China." Francis decided to "readmit to full ecclesial communion the remaining 'official' bishops ordained without pontifical mandate," the statement said.
HONG KONG (AP) - Hong Kong on Saturday opened a new high-speed rail link to inland China that will vastly decrease travel times but also raises concerns about Beijing's creeping influence over the semi-autonomous Chinese region. Costing upward of $10 billion and taking more than eight years to build, the system aims to transport more than 80,000 passengers daily between the Asian financial center of 7 million people and the neighboring manufacturing hub of Guangdong province. The train travels the 26 kilometers (16 miles) through Hong Kong to Shenzhen across the border in China in just 14 minutes, down from about 1 hour currently.
PHNOM PEHN, Cambodia (AP) - An Australian filmmaker was awaiting deportation from Cambodia on Saturday after receiving a royal pardon for his conviction on spying charges for flying a drone over a political rally. A spokesman for immigration police said that James Ricketson will be deported on Saturday morning, a day after being released from prison. "We are now checking a flight for him," Gen. Keo Vanthan told The Associated Press. Ricketson, 69, was sentenced to six years in a trial his sympathizers described as farcical because prosecutors never specified whom he was spying for and failed to present evidence that he possessed or transmitted any secrets.
NEW DELHI (AP) - India called off a planned meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session in New York this month, aggravating tensions between the longtime rivals. External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said Friday that India's decision to pull out of the meeting, which had been announced just a day earlier, follows the killing of an Indian border guard in Kashmir and Pakistan's glorification of insurgents fighting Indian rule in the Himalayan territory. The Indian government's decision to hold talks with Pakistan was strongly criticized by the Congress party and other opposition groups after rebels in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir killed the border guard and later raided over a dozen homes of police officers and abducted three.
SRINAGAR, India (AP) - Anti-India rebels in disputed Kashmir raided over a dozen homes of police officers and abducted three whose bullet-riddled bodies were recovered Friday, officials said. Also Friday, Indian government forces killed five suspected militants, ending a two-day gunbattle. The police killings came days after the region's largest rebel group asked officers to quit the Kashmiri police force and stay away from counterinsurgency operations. Militants in Kashmir have increasingly targeted police working with India's forces, accusing them of being collaborators. Early Friday, nearly two dozen rebels stormed the homes in two southern Kashmir villages, took away three off-duty officers and a fourth person who had resigned from the police days earlier.
MALE, Maldives (AP) - As election officials made final preparations for nationwide elections in the Maldives, the European Union said it is not sending observers because the country has failed to meet the basic conditions for monitoring. In the capital, Male, pink and green campaign banners hung in the streets. Election commission spokesman Ahmed Akram said the country was fully prepared to hold a free and fair election on Sunday. But in neighboring Sri Lanka, exiled former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, a leader of the opposition, said Friday that the vote could be rigged. A decade after Maldivians took to the streets to welcome democracy to the series of coral atolls in the Indian Ocean, voters head to the ballot box in what has become a referendum on whether democracy will stay.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - About 500 refugees have been relocated from a Nebraska apartment complex after units were deemed unlivable. The Omaha World-Herald reports the Myanmar refugees were living at the Yale Park Apartments in north Omaha, including about 175 school-age children and dozens of toddlers and babies. City inspectors evacuated the apartments Thursday, citing of a myriad of problems ranging from unsafe electrical circuits and natural gas leaks to units infested with mice, bedbugs, lice and maggots. The refugees are now being housed at community centers where they can sleep, shower and eat. Joanie Poore is with Heartland Family Service.