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Authorities say five people have died in a shooting in China’s Inner Mongolia region.

The Kailu county public security bureau said an individual shot and killed five people Monday afternoon before being apprehended by police.

The bureau did not say whether anyone else was injured.

Gun crime is rare in China, where private firearm ownership is almost entirely forbidden. But guns can be purchased on the black market through online dealers.

Regulations introduced in 2014 mandate that police officers carry guns — a change after decades in which Chinese police were unarmed.

Source: Fox News World

The Latest on Thailand’s first election since a 2014 coup (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

A military backed party says it won the most votes in Thailand’s first election since a 2014 coup, based on unofficial results, and will try to form a government. That comes after a rival party also claimed it had the right to govern.

The head of the Palang Pracharat party that is backed by junta leader and prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha says it will contact like-minded parties to form a new administration.

The leader of the Pheu Thai party allied with exiled leader Thaksin Shinawatra said earlier Monday it would try to form a government because it won the most constituency races in Sunday’s election. That was also based on unofficial results.

Separately, the Election Commission has announced the preliminary results of 350 constituency races but full vote counts, which are needed to determine the allocation of 150 other seats in the House of Representatives, won’t be available until Friday.

The commission says it will release full vote counts from the first election since a 2014 coup on Friday

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3:05 p.m.

Thailand’s election commission says it will release full vote counts from the first election since a 2014 coup on Friday as an anti-junta party claimed it won the most seats and will try to form a government.

The commission said Monday it will announce the results of 350 constituency seats later in the day but full vote counts, which are needed to determine the allocation of 150 other seats in parliament, won’t be available for several days.

The Pheu Thai party, which was ousted from government in the coup, said it won the most constituency seats in Sunday’s election and will try to form a government with similar-minded parties.

Unofficial results show the military-backed Palang Pracharat party won the popular vote.

Source: Fox News World

Pakistan has charged a former police officer in last year’s high-profile killing of a 27-year-old aspiring male model whose death triggered nationwide protests by members of his tribe.

Prosecutor Jabran Nasir says the former officer, Rao Anwar, pleaded not guilty at Monday’s hearing. He says the trial will begin in April.

The aspiring model, Naqeeb Ullah, was killed under suspicious circumstances in January 2018 in what authorities initially described as shootout during a raid on a militant hideout in the southern port city of Karachi.

Following the shootout, Anwar and several other officers were arrested. At the time, Anwar claimed Ullah had links to militants.

A subsequent government probe concluded that Ullah, who hailed from the South Waziristan region, once a Taliban stronghold, had no ties to militants.

Source: Fox News World

China says New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit next week, in a possible easing of recent tensions.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang announced Monday that Ardern will be in China on Sunday and Monday, but gave no details about her itinerary.

Relations between China and New Zealand have been strained in recent months after New Zealand’s spy agency in November halted mobile phone company Spark from using Huawei equipment in its planned 5G upgrade.

Since taking office in 2017, Ardern has promised to make an official visit to China to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

New Zealand was shaken earlier this month by a deadly shooting spree on two mosques in Christchurch.

Source: Fox News World

A former senior Philippine police official says President Rodrigo Duterte has been photographed with two Chinese men involved in illegal drugs and sent a report to warn him about the two.

Dismissed Senior Superintendent Eduardo Acierto told a news conference late Sunday that he’s unaware what government action has been taken after he submitted his report about the Chinese men to top police officials starting in December 2017. Instead, Acierto said he’s now facing illegal drugs complaints and has been the target of drug threats that forced him to go into hiding recently.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Aaron Aquino says he received Acierto’s report and the allegations against the Chinese are being validated.

Source: Fox News World

Thailand’s election commission says it will release full vote counts from the first election since a 2014 coup on Friday as an anti-junta party claimed it won the most seats and will try to form a government.

The commission said Monday it will announce the results of 350 constituency seats later in the day but full vote counts, which are needed to determine the allocation of 150 other seats in parliament, won’t be available for several days.

The Pheu Thai party, which was ousted from government in the coup, said it won the most constituency seats in Sunday’s election and will try to form a government with similar-minded parties.

Unofficial results show the military-backed Palang Pracharat party won the popular vote.

Source: Fox News World

An Afghan official says a devastating Taliban attack over the weekend on an army outpost in southern Helmand province killed 26 soldiers and seven policemen — casualties the country’s defense ministry has refused to disclose.

Provincial council chief Attahullah Afghan told The Associated Press on Monday that the attack took place in Sangin district on Friday and that it also left 31 soldiers wounded.

The Taliban claimed the attack a day later, on Saturday. There was no government statement on the attack.

Afghan military spokesman Nawab Shah said government jets aided the besieged troops and eventually sent reinforcements to Helmand, an old Taliban heartland. He refused to discuss casualties.

The insurgents stage near-daily attacks on Afghan forces, inflicting staggering casualties, even as they hold peace talks with the United States.

Source: Fox News World

A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves:

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a weekly look at developments in the South China Sea, the location of several territorial conflicts in the region.

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PHILIPPINE FOREIGN SECRETARY PRAISES CHINA

The Philippine foreign secretary heaped praise on China’s ruling Communist Party during a visit to Beijing, underscoring the growing distance between the Philippines and the United States as China’s regional political and economic influence rises.

Teodoro Locsin said Wednesday that China’s authoritarian one-party system has provided opportunities for developing economies to grow and has given them a certain momentum for improvement that Western democracies currently lack.

"Without the new China there will be no prospect whatsoever for the developing world to grow into emerging economies," Locsin said.

The secretary’s remarks reflected sentiment in the Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has frequently praised China and criticized his county’s long-standing alliance with the U.S.

Earlier this month, the Philippine defense secretary said his country’s defense treaty with the U.S. needs to be re-examined, bringing expressions of concern from Washington.

The newfound goodwill comes despite the fact that China and the Philippines have competing claims to territory in the South China Sea. The Philippines has been successful at international arbitration to contest China’s claim to virtually the entire crucial waterway, but Beijing has ignored the ruling.

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EX-PHILIPPINE OFFICIALS CLAIM CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

Two former Philippine officials are filing a complaint with the International Criminal Court accusing Chinese President Xi Jinping of crimes against humanity over his government’s assertive actions in the South China Sea.

The two former officials contend that China’s actions have deprived thousands of fishermen of their livelihood and wrecked the environment.

Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and ex-chief anti-graft prosecutor Conchita Carpio Morales said Thursday that they filed the complaint with the tribunal before the current Philippine president’s move to withdraw the country from the tribunal took effect.

They accused Xi and other Chinese officials of turning seven disputed reefs into islands, causing extensive environmental damage, and of blocking about 320,000 Filipinos and other counties’ fishermen from their fishing grounds.

"This has seriously undermined the food and energy security of the coastal states in the South China Sea, including the Philippines," del Rosario and Carpio Morales said in a statement.

China’s island building, which started in 2013 in an effort to construct air and naval bases in the disputed waters, reportedly destroyed large expanses of coral reefs and endangered fisheries.

"It presents one of the most massive, near permanent and devastating destruction of the environment in humanity’s history," they said.

There was no immediate reaction from China.

Duterte decided to withdraw the Philippines from the ICC last year in a move that took effect March 17. Duterte’s move has been challenged by human rights advocates before the Philippine Supreme Court.

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US NAVY PROTESTS CHINESE BEHAVIOR

A senior U.S. Navy commander says the U.S. won’t alter its so-called "freedom of navigation" sailings in the disputed South China Sea and has pressed ahead with such operations despite a dangerous maneuver by a Chinese navy ship against an American destroyer.

Vice Adm. Phillip Sawyer, commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, told reporters in Manila that Washington protested that "unprofessional behavior" by the Chinese ship, which maneuvered very close to the USS Decatur as the latter sailed closely by a Chinese-occupied island in the Spratlys in September.

"No, it’s not going to change where we do our freedom of navigation operations," Sawyer said when asked if the Sept. 30 incident off Gaven Reef would change such U.S. Navy operations. Several such sail-bys have been undertaken by American naval ships since that close encounter in the disputed waters, he said.

"It was concerning because the ships got too close," Sawyer said, adding that U.S. officials have voiced "our displeasure with what we consider to be unprofessional behavior."

The USS Decatur had sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven Reef when a Chinese destroyer approached within 45 yards (41 meters) of the bow of the U.S. Navy ship, which changed course to prevent a collision. The Decatur was also warned to leave the area, U.S. Pacific Fleet officials said at the time.

China said the Luoyang, a Chinese missile destroyer, was deployed to identify the U.S. warship and drive it away near Chinese territory. Beijing protested the Decatur’s action as provocative.

One of seven disputed reefs transformed by China into militarily fortified islands in recent years, Gaven is claimed by China, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Malaysia and Brunei also have claims in the South China Sea.

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Associated Press writer Jim Gomez reported from Manilla, Philippines.

Source: Fox News World

The Latest on the mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand (all times local):

7 p.m.

The body of a 26-year-old Pakistani who was among 50 worshippers killed during attacks on mosques in New Zealand has arrived at an airport in the southern port city of Karachi.

Syed Areeb Ahmed was among nine Pakistanis who were killed on March 15 when a white supremacist shot people inside two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

On Monday, his sobbing father Syed Ayaz Ahmed, family members and government officials received his body.

Ahmed was an only son who had immigrated to New Zealand for work, according to his uncle Muhammad Muzaffar Khan.

Last week, Pakistan observed a day of mourning for the victims and honored another Pakistani, Naeem Rashid, who died along with his son after trying to tackle the gunman.

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3 p.m.

New Zealand’s prime minister has announced a top-level inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the massacre of 50 people in two Christchurch mosques.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the country’s highest form of investigation, a royal commission of inquiry, was appropriate for "matters of the gravest public importance."

Her Cabinet had previously agreed on holding an inquiry, but had not decided what kind of investigation would be held.

She said the Cabinet agreed Monday a royal commission of inquiry "will look at what could have or should have been done to prevent the attack."

An Australian white supremacist has been charged with murder for the March 15 attacks.

Source: Fox News World

South Korea says some North Korean officials have returned to an inter-Korean liaison office three days after the North abruptly withdrew its entire staff citing unspecified instructions from "higher-level authorities."

Seoul’s Unification Ministry says four to five North Korean officials showed up for work Monday at the liaison office in the North Korean border town of Kaesong.

It wasn’t immediately clear why North Korea sent some workers back to the office or whether it will restore a full staff.

The North’s decision to withdraw its staff came a week after its vice foreign minister threatened to pull out of nuclear negotiations with the United States following the collapse of a nuclear summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

Source: Fox News World


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