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Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A Malaysian military officer was back in a New Zealand court Saturday to face sexual assault charges five months after he left the country under the protection of diplomatic immunity. Muhammad Rizalman Ismail did not say anything during his brief appearance at the Wellington District Court. He was taken into police custody and scheduled to reappear before a judge Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (AP) — North Korea may be capable of fielding a nuclear-armed missile that could reach U.S. soil, but because it has not tested such a weapon the odds of it being effective are "pretty darn low," the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea said Friday. In remarks at the Pentagon, Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti noted that North Korea claims to have such a missile, capable of being launched from a road-mobile vehicle and therefore difficult to monitor via satellite. Some, however, have questioned whether the North Koreans have achieved all of the key technological breakthroughs, including manufacturing a nuclear warhead small enough for a long-range missile.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday urged North Korea to release two detained Americans to build goodwill with the United States, but ruled out providing a U.S. apology to Pyongyang to win their freedom. Kerry said North Korea should free Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae for humanitarian reasons and because they are being held "inappropriately."

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Le Minh Thai, a photojournalist who covered the Vietnam War for The Associated Press and Time Life, has died. He was 93. Thai died Oct. 10 at a nursing home in Encinitas, where he had been living for the past seven years, his daughter, Quynh Thai, told The Associated Press.

HONG KONG (AP) — Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong plan to hold a spot referendum Sunday on whether to stay in the streets or accept government offers for more talks and clear their protest camps. The three main groups behind the demonstrations said Thursday they would register public opinion at the main downtown protest site, where thousands remain camped out.

CHUNCHEON, South Korea (AP) — The whistleblower who exposed breakthrough cloning research as a devastating fake says South Korea is still dominated by the values that allowed science fraudster Hwang Woo-suk to become an almost untouchable national hero. In an interview with The Associated Press after almost a decade of silence, Ryu Young-joon, one of Hwang's former researchers, said the cost of telling the truth still weighs on him but he doesn't regret his decision to out Hwang as a false prophet.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — American forces are guarding Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, yet a ring of Filipino troops surrounds them. The seemingly redundant security effort around the suspect in a Philippine murder case reflects Manila's uneasy ties with Washington, its former colonial master. Pemberton, 19, is accused of killing Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipino, in a motel room Oct. 11 in the city of Olongapo. He was initially been held on a U.S. Navy warship at the Subic Bay Freeport, northwest of Manila, but on Wednesday he was transferred to the Philippine military's main camp, where Filipino troops and two of his fellow Marines continue to guard him.

BEIJING (AP) — Twenty-one Asian nations have signed on to a China-driven initiative to create a new development bank for Asia that's aimed at boosting infrastructure investment of all kinds. Beijing sees that as a way to raise its international standing, but Washington opposes the move as an unnecessary and potentially damaging rival to established institutions such as the World Bank. — WHO'S IN THE GROUP?

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in a remote patch of the Indian Ocean is progressing well but will likely take many months because of the huge area involved, an Australian official said Friday. Peter Foley, an Australian search coordinator, said there is optimism with two ships using high-tech sonar devices to search for the Boeing 777, which disappeared in March while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — After an American was released from North Korean custody, the attention has now focused on two other U.S. citizens still in its jails, and at least one North Korean legal expert has some unusual advice to offer: let Washington formally apologize to Pyongyang, and the country's leader will consider pardoning them. The suggestion on Thursday by Sok Chol Won, a professor of international law, offers a look at North Korean thinking — academics, government officials and ordinary people alike. While the idea of an apology may appear ludicrous to outsiders in democracies, autocratic North Korea assumes that a government is responsible for its citizens' actions.

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar's army shot dead a journalist who was detained while covering clashes between the army and ethnic rebels at the rugged border, saying he reached for a soldier's gun during an attempted escape, the press council said Friday. It released a military statement that said Aung Naing was arrested Sept. 30 after an attack on the army near Kyaikmaraw in Mon state in eastern Myanmar, and that an interrogation revealed he was an information officer for an armed ethnic Karen group. The journalist's full name, not given in the statement, is Aung Kyaw Naing.

PARIS (AP) — A French appeals court has authorized the extradition to Russia or Ukraine of a Kazakh dissident banker whose legal case is tangled up in at least five countries. His lawyer immediately announced a decision to appeal, which blocks the procedure.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Providing enough food to feed the nation is always a struggle for North Korea. But it looks like the residents of Pyongyang won't be lacking for cabbage and vegetables come next month, when the crops will be harvested. The nation, which suffered a near cataclysmic famine in the 1990s, has since managed to increase its agricultural production to what international organizations believe is closer to the self-sufficiency level than the country has seen in years.

JAYAPURA, Indonesia (AP) — Two French television journalists were sentenced to two and a half months in jail Friday for illegal reporting in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua. Thomas Dandois, 40, and Valentine Bourrat, 29, were detained for tourist visa violation in August in Jayapura, the capital of Papua, after filming a documentary about separatist movement in a mountainous area of Wamena along with three suspected rebels.

TOKYO (AP) — Disney executives call their next film "a love letter to Japanese culture." No wonder: This nation can't get enough of animation, especially Disney's. Walt Disney Animation Studios is practically bending backward to woo Japanese moviegoers after the stupendous success of "Frozen." The fifth-highest-grossing movie of all time made more than $250 million of its total in Japan alone, nearly a third of its overseas numbers and more than five times what it made in France, according to Box Office Mojo.

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