CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — The family of a slain 3-year-old boy and a Jordanian prince are among those visiting a New Zealand mosque as it reopens for the first time since a terrorist killed 42 people there. Hundreds of people stopped at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch on Saturday to lay flowers or pray after police removed a cordon and those running the mosque decided to reopen even though they haven't yet had time to replace the carpet. Inside the mosque, there were few signs of the carnage from eight days earlier. Crews had replaced windows that worshippers smashed in a desperate attempt to escape when the attacker mowed them down during Friday prayers.
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — As soon as vascular surgeon Adib Khanafer received the call March 15, he started running toward the operating theater at Christchurch Hospital. At that point, he had no idea a white supremacist had slaughtered 50 people. But he could hear an urgency in the request for help. "When I walked in, I found a young girl, a 4-year-old, on the table, with three pediatric consultants working on her trying to stop the bleeding," he says. "So this was a shock for me really. I just could not believe what I was seeing." Khanafer, who is Muslim and knew some of those killed in the attacks at two Christchurch mosques, says he typically fixes veins and arteries on adults in controlled environments.
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — Their voices have thundered across this heartsick city, in parks and at flower memorials and schools. Day after day, the students of Christchurch have gathered, feet smashing the ground in unison as they chant the words of their nation's indigenous people in an outpouring of grief and love and support. In the aftermath of last week's deadly shooting spree on two mosques blamed on a white supremacist, the young people of Christchurch have found solace in an old tradition: a Maori ceremonial dance called the haka. To much of the world, the haka is largely associated with New Zealand's rugby team, the All Blacks, who perform it before games.
President Donald Trump says he is reversing his administration's decision to slap new sanctions on North Korea, ordering them withdrawn. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump "likes Chairman Kim and he doesn't think these sanctions will be necessary." Trump says in a tweet that, "It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea." But he says, "I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!" The White House did not immediately respond to questions about which sanctions Trump was referring to. His administration on Thursday sanctioned two Chinese shipping companies suspected of helping North Korea evade sanctions — the first targeted actions taken against Pyongyang since Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (gihm jung oon) met in Hanoi last month.
BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's election Sunday is likely to produce a weak unstable government whether it's a civilian or military-backed party that cobbles together a coalition, setting off a new phase of uncertainty in a country that's a U.S. ally in Southeast Asia and one of the world's top tourist destinations. The election is Thailand's first since its military seized power from an elected government in May 2014. It was the conservative establishment's third major attempt by either military or legal coup to eradicate the influence of Thaksin Shinawatra, a tycoon who made his fortune in telecommunication and upended Thailand's politics with a populist political revolution nearly two decades ago.
HONG KONG (AP) — Thailand's exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra won't know until Sunday whether people in his homeland are still fans of his politics, but he was happy as he hosted a wedding reception in Hong Kong for his youngest daughter. Though ostensibly a family affair with a raft of VIP guests, the timing of Friday ceremony two days ahead of Thailand's first general election since a 2014 military coup seemed to carry an implicit message to Thaksin's countrymen: Don't forget me and my political allies when you go out to vote. Thai Princess Ubolratana Mahidol, who made an abortive attempt last month to be a prime ministerial candidate for a political party allied to Thaksin, was a special guest.
BEIJING (AP) — A massive explosion at a chemical plant in eastern China with a long record of safety violations has killed at least 62 people and injured hundreds of others, 90 of them seriously. The death toll appeared likely to rise still further, with another 28 people still listed as missing, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday. Just 26 of those confirmed dead in Thursday's explosion have been identified, it said. The blast in an industrial park in the city of Yancheng, north of Shanghai, was one of China's worst industrial accidents in recent years. State-run television showed crushed cars, blown-out windows and workers leaving the factory with bloodied heads.
BEIJING (AP) — A fire on a tour bus traveling along a highway in central China has left 26 people dead and as many as 30 injured, local authorities reported Saturday. Five of those injured remained in critical condition, according to the Hunan province's spokesman's office. The incident occurred at around 7:15 p.m. (1115 GMT) Friday along a stretch of Hanshou County in the city of Changde. Aboard were 56 people, including 53 passengers, a tour guide and two drivers, both of whom have been detained as authorities investigate the cause of the accident. Changde authorities put the number of injured at 30.
SYDNEY (AP) — A vast and powerful cyclone made landfall Saturday along a remote stretch of the northern Australian coast, bringing fierce winds and heavy rains amid safety fears for a small number of residents who've stayed in the area. A category 4 storm, with 5 being the strongest, Cyclone Trevor crossed the Gulf of Carpentaria coast at 9:50 a.m. local time (2250 GMT) in the far east of the Northern Territory, near its border with Queensland state. Most of the sparsely populated area has been evacuated, with more than 2,000 people put up in temporary accommodation in the Northern Territory capital Darwin, and the nearby town of Katherine.
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnamese authorities have ordered monks at a popular Buddhist pagoda to stop "soul summoning" and "bad karma eviction" ceremonies after an investigation found the rituals were a scam. Tens of thousands of worshippers have been paying the 18th century Ba Vang pagoda in northern Quang Ninh province between 1 million and several hundred million dong ($45-$13,500) to have their bad karma vanquished, according to the state-run Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper. The Committee for Religious Affairs, a government body, issued a statement on its website on Friday saying "the ritual goes against Buddhist philosophy and violates Vietnam's law on religion and folk beliefs." "It has a negative impact on social order and security," it added.