Sister of North Korean leader to come to South for Olympics

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his sister Kim Yo Jong, left, during their visit to a military unit in North Korea. (AP)
Updated 07 February 2018
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Sister of North Korean leader to come to South for Olympics

SEOUL, South Korea: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, an increasingly prominent figure in the country’s leadership herself, will be part of the North’s delegation coming to South Korea for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Seoul said Wednesday.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry said North Korea informed it Wednesday that Kim Yo Jong, 1st vice director of the Central Committee of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, would be part of the delegation led by the country’s nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam.
North Korea also said the delegation will include Choe Hwi, chairman of the country’s National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the North’s agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs.
Seoul previously said the delegation would arrive Friday but the statement Wednesday was the first confirmation a member of the North’s ruling family would be included.
Kim Yo Jong, believed to be in her late 20s or early 30s, was promoted by her brother last year to be an alternate member of the decision-making political bureau of the ruling party’s central committee, which analysts said showed that her activities are more substantive and more important than previously thought. She is believed to be one of Kim Jong Un’s closest confidants. They were born to the same mother, Ko Yong Hui.
The war-separated rivals are cooperating for a series of conciliatory measures during the Olympics, which Seoul sees as an opportunity to ease tensions with Pyongyang following an extended period of animosity over its nuclear weapons and missiles program. Skeptics think the North is trying to use the Olympics to weakened US-led sanctions and pressure against the country and buy more time to advance its nuclear weapons and missiles program.


Trial starts for suspect in tourist killings in Tajikistan

Updated 46 min 14 sec ago
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Trial starts for suspect in tourist killings in Tajikistan

  • Man who swore allegiance to Daesh before killing four foreign cyclists in ex-Soviet Tajikistan went on trial
  • Four of Abdusamadov’s accomplices were killed by police during a manhunt

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan: A man who swore allegiance to Daesh before killing four foreign cyclists in ex-Soviet Tajikistan went on trial Tuesday in a process closed to the public.
Tajikistan’s Supreme Court spokesperson told AFP Tuesday the trial for the “brutal murder of four foreign cyclists” had begun in the suspect’s high-security detention center.
Hussein Abdusamadov, 33, already confessed to killing American cycling tourists Lauren Geoghegan and Jay Austin, Dutch citizen Rene Wokke and Swiss citizen Markus Hummel in July.
The victims were struck by a car as they cycled along the remote Pamir Highway, a popular route among adventure tourists, before being set upon with knives and firearms.
Four of Abdusamadov’s accomplices were killed by police during a manhunt.
A video of the five men pledging allegiance to Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was released by an official Daesh media channel.
Tajik authorities have so far ignored the video evidence, instead blaming a former opposition party — the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan — that was banned by the government in 2015.
The fact the trial is closed has raised concerns about due process in a country with a poor record on political freedoms and human rights.
Abdusamadov implicated the IRPT as the ultimate organizer of the attack in a televised confession, but critics say the government is using the case to tar the opposition.
A dozen senior members of the IRPT are serving long sentences up to life on charges government critics say are trumped up.
In addition to Abdusamadov, 16 other people stand accused of not offering information to the authorities that could have prevented the attack, a source in the police told AFP.