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Japan arrests North Korean crew amid mystery boat arrivals

Thompson Reuters

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TOKYO — Japanese police have arrested three crew of a North Korean boat on Saturday for stealing a generator from a hut on an uninhabited island, public broadcaster NHK said, the latest drama amid increasing arrivals of North Korean fishing boats off Japan.

The boats, some in distress, some abandoned and some with dead bodies on board, have raised fears about infiltration by spies as tension with North Korea surges over its missile and nuclear programs. North Korea has test-fired two missiles over Japan, a country it has threatened to destroy.

Most experts say the wooden boats are just carrying fishermen including soldiers drafted to fish. There has been no suggestion the crew are defectors.

A boat, with 10 crew on board, was found moored at the island, off Hokkaido, last month and several crew said they picked up electronic goods from the hut, according to NHK.

Police arrested three of them for theft and other crew members will be sent to the Immigration Bureau, NHK said.

Hokkaido police were not immediately available to comment. A spokesman at the Japan coast guard declined to comment.

There were 28 cases of boats adrift off Japan or grounded on its shores in November, the coast guard has said, compared with just four in November last year.

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Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih wins presidency

Gorkha Post

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MALE — Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has beaten incumbent Abdulla Yameen according to provisional results, the country’s Elections Commission says.

Results released by the Elections Commission showed Mr Solih securing 133,808 votes (58.3 percent) compared to the 95,526 for incumbent Abdulla Yameen. The voter turnout was over 88 per cent out of the 262,000-strong electorate.

The Maldives government has acknowledged the opposition’s victory after the vote on Sunday, a surprise defeat for President Abdulla Yameen who was widely expected to win.

There were no other candidates.

Mr Solih had the backing of a united opposition trying to oust Mr Yameen, but struggled for visibility with the electorate, with local media fearful of falling afoul of heavy-handed decrees and reporting restrictions.

“I call on Yameen to respect the will of the people and bring about a peaceful, smooth transfer of power,” Solih said on television, shortly after interim results from the country’s election commission.

“We have won this election with a comfortable majority,” Solih said.

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