A number of North Korean officials cancel meeting with US vice president

US officials said Vice President Mike Pence had earlier been scheduled to meet with officials from North Korea earlier this month but North Korea canceled the meeting at the last minute.

The meeting was scheduled for February 10, during a visit by the Pence to South Korea to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang held a day earlier.

North Korea Unexpectedly Cancels the Meeting with the US Vice President

Pence was originally scheduled to held talks with Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and Kim Yong-nam, head of North Korean regime's government. Both North Korean figures led the North Korean delegation to the opening ceremony. According to The Washington Post, the meeting is scheduled to take place in the Blue House, the residence of the president of South Korea.

Baa also: America Indicates Willingness to Speak with North Korea

Ministry spokesman US Foreign Secretary Heather Nauert said Pence was ready to use the opportunity to urge North Korea to abandon its ballistic and nuclear missile programs. However, Nauert said North Korean government officials canceled the meeting ahead of its implementation.

The administration of President Donald Trump initially denied any meeting between Pence and some North Korean officials ahead of the Pence trip. But The Washington Post, based on information from a White House official, said the meeting was scheduled after the CIA was informed that North Korea wants to meet the US vice-president during a visit to the Korean Peninsula. [ab/uh]

The Number of Civilians in Afghanistan Down 9 Percent

The UN noted a 9 per cent drop in civilian casualties in Afghanistan by 2017, but cautioned that this year the danger faced by civilians is likely to increase as warring parties become more hostile.

Armed conflict and then caused civilian casualties of up to 10,543, including 3,438 deaths, according to UNAMA's annual UN Assistance Mission report on Afghanistan (UNAMA) released Thursday (15/2).

UNAMA Chairman Tadamichi Yamamoto, at a press conference in Kabul, he feared this year the danger faced by civilians increases unless all parties take the necessary steps to prevent civilian casualties.

By 2016, the number of civilian casualties due to armed conflict in Afghanistan reaches 11,434, including 3,510 deaths.

UN human rights official Danielle Bell on Thursday, in the same press conference, described a decline of 9 p urgent number of civilian casualties last year as an important step to reduce the danger faced by Afghans who are not involved in the fighting.

"But I must affirm that 2017 is the fourth consecutive year in which UNAMA records the number of civilian casualties of more than 10,000 people annually," Bell said.

The report also revealed that suicide attacks with homemade bombs accounted for 40 percent the number of UNAMA-registered civilian casualties. [ab/lt]

The number of death toll rises to 6 as a result of the earthquake in Taiwan

SAR teams in Taiwan, Wednesday (7/2), are still searching for victims in the rubble following the earthquake on Tuesday (6/2). [6] Six people were reportedly killed and at least 225 others injured after an earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter Scale rocked the coastal city of Hualien, almost before midnight Tuesday.

Hualien is a coastal city visited by many tourists. The city on the east coast of Taiwan has a population of about 100,000 people.

The quake split the streets, and made about 40,000 homes without water supplies and about 2,000 houses without power.

SAR teams look for at least 145 people which is still declared missing from a partially collapsed apartment complex and currently in a sloping position.

According to the official website of his Facebook, Taiwan President Tsai Ingwen was in Hualien to evaluate rescue efforts.

Taiwan is located at the junction of two tectonic plates and is often hit by an earthquake.

Tuesday's earthquake coincides with a warning two years of magnitude 6.4 earthquake that killed 117 people. More than 2,000 people were killed by the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that rocked Taiwan in 1999. [ab/uh]

Thai Student Sindir Orang Number 2 Junta Militer

Thai students with big banners and critics on Saturday gave a new allusion to the number two man in the military ruling council, dubbed "General Rolex" for his unofficial collection of luxury watches.

Scandal hours it has increased the disillusionment of military rule in the kingdom and led to a series of creative protests that challenged restrictions by the military ruling council against criticism.

On Saturday, students leading ceremonies before a football match in Bangkok showed several large ornamental vehicles circling the field including some vehicles that make fun of the number two junta of the military, Prawit Wongsuwan.

The 72-year-old general has been subjected to general resentment since the release of his December photograph showing him raising his hand to protect his eyes against the sun and showing a single ring in diamonds and an expensive Richard Mille watch.

Since then, online activists have revealed photographs of high-ranking junta officials wearing about 25 luxury watches that reportedly were not included in the list when he reported his assets. [gp]

The number of "Unwanted" Girls in India Reaches 21 Million People

The Indian government on Monday said there were 21 million "undesirable" girls across the country, as many families across social and economic groups preferred boys to girls.

In its annual economic survey report, the Indian government blamed an illegal gender-based abortion in which 940 girls were aborted in each of the births of 1,000 boys, according to the latest census data.

"Families with boys tend not to have children again compared to families with girls. This shows parents who used the formula "just stopped having children after the birth of a boy," the report excerpts.

The pressure on spouses – especially girls – to have boys over girls is very strong, especially in society rural areas where girls are often only lowly educated and married at an early age

. But the report shows that gender preferences are also seen in some rich families, who often prefer boys to take over family business or inherit property, even though girls legally able to do so.

That preference has led to the existence of 21 million "undesirable" girls in India, many of whom have fewer food and education than their brothers. [em/ii]