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Lata Mangeshkar, legendary Indian singer, dies at 92

NEW DELHI (AP) — Lata Mangeshkar, a legendary Indian singer with a prolific, groundbreaking catalog and a voice recognized by more than a billion people in South Asia, has died. She was 92 years old. The iconic singer died of multiple organ failure on Sunday morning at Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai, her doctor, Dr Pratit Samdani, told reporters. She was hospitalized on January 11 after contracting COVID-19. She was taken off the ventilator after her condition improved in late January, but her health deteriorated on Saturday and was put back on life support. Mangeshkar was given a state funeral and Prime Minister Narendra Modi came from New Delhi to pay his last respects.

Xi meets with Poland, Pakistan’s Olympic diplomacy leaders

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Polish and Pakistani leaders on Sunday in a flurry of diplomacy on the sidelines of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Xi told President Andrzej Duda that China was seeking to further improve its relations with Poland, whose warm relations with Beijing have not gone down well with the main rival, the United States. Poland was the only European Union country to send an elected leader to the Games despite a diplomatic boycott led by the United States. The meeting also comes amid concerns over a possible Russian attack on Ukraine, with which NATO member Poland shares a long border. Xi, who has not left China since 2019, has met with several world leaders in recent days, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom China is building a closer informal alliance.

UN experts: North Korea seeks to produce materials for nuclear weapons

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea has continued to expand its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, including its ability to produce components for nuclear devices in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, experts say of the United Nations in a new report. The panel said in the executive summary of the report obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday evening that there was “a marked acceleration” of Pyongyang’s testing and demonstrations of new short-range and possibly medium-range missiles until in January, “incorporating both rocket and guidance technologies and using both solid and liquid propellants. “New technologies tested included a possible hypersonic guidance warhead and a maneuverable re-entry vehicle,” the panel said.

An Olympic question that does not go unnoticed: Where is Peng Shuai?

BEIJING (AP) — The question that won’t go away for the International Olympic Committee and Beijing Olympics organizers: Where is Peng Shuai? And the corollary: when and where will the three-time Olympian and former doubles tennis No. 1 meet IOC President Thomas Bach? Bach has promised to dine with her during her stay in the Chinese capital. Peng’s sexual assault accusations against former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, once a member of the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, were erased almost immediately from the internet in China when they surfaced three months ago . Peng is absent from the headlines in China, but the IOC received two questions about her during Sunday’s daily Olympic briefing.

Schools in Nepal demand reopening as virus cases drop

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Schools across Nepal on Sunday asked the government to open physical classrooms that have been closed for weeks as the number of COVID-19 cases began to decline. Teachers say online education was restricted to only a small portion of the population living in urban areas of the Himalayan country, while a majority of students were deprived of their chance to learn. The number of coronavirus cases powered by the omicron variant has peaked in recent weeks but has declined in recent days. “We are ready to open schools, students are eager to return, guardians are ready to send their children and the number of virus cases is down, so there is no reason for the government to maintain the ban on schools,” said Tika Ram Puri, chairman of the Organization of Private Schools and Boarding Schools of Nepal.

Pakistan. Areas cleared after militant attacks kill 9 soldiers

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — The Pakistani military said security forces cleared two areas of a southwestern province of separatist militants after attacking two military camps, killing nine soldiers and injuring six. Twenty militants were killed in intense firefights lasting several hours and follow-up operations, he said. The military statement released on Saturday night said militants attacked security force camps in Balochistan province in Naushki and Panjgur districts on Wednesday night and both attacks were eventually repelled. A newly formed separatist group, the Balochistan Nationalist Army, claimed responsibility for the attacks in a Twitter post. The army said nine assailants were killed in Naushki, while four soldiers, including an officer, were killed.

In Beijing, Olympic ideals coexist with an authoritarian regime

With his collar rolled up against the cold, the head of the International Olympic Committee gazed out over the stadium and spoke of the ideals that had united athletes from around the world. “In our fragile world, where division, conflict and mistrust are growing, we are showing the world that it is possible to be fierce rivals while living together in peace and respect”, Thomas Bach, a medalist fencer gold almost 40 years ago, said Friday at the opening ceremony of the Winter Games. The Olympic mission is clear, he said: “Always build bridges, never erect walls.” Critics of Bach and the IOC say these ideals are absurd, and discussions of respect and building bridges are overshadowed by Olympic officials who are closing in on some of the world’s most powerful authoritarian leaders.

Xi says China and Egypt have ‘similar visions and strategies’

BEIJING (AP) — China and Egypt “share similar visions and strategies in defending their own interests,” Chinese leader Xi Jinping said Saturday during a meeting with authoritarian Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el- Sisi. The Egyptian leader was among half a dozen heads of state who met Xi after attending the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics, seeking closer ties with China while avoiding Western criticism on their authoritarian regime. Xi “welcomed the strengthening of political trust” between the countries, citing cooperation in the fight against the pandemic. Their comprehensive strategic partnership is a model of “China-Arab, China-Africa and China-developing world solidarity”, Xi said, according to CGTN, the international arm of state broadcaster CCTV.

What message did China send by choosing a Uyghur torchbearer?

BEIJING (AP) — As soon as a Uyghur athlete helped light the Olympic flame at the Beijing Olympics, the debate began: Was it a signal of defiance from Chinese leaders or proof that protests around the world had a impact? Dinigeer Yilamujiang’s selection for the top honor of being the last Olympic torchbearer at the opening ceremony of the Winter Games in Beijing on Friday night came as a huge surprise. What that meant – because Olympic gestures like this still have meaning – was unclear. US human rights lawyer Rayhan Asat – whose brother Ekpar Asat is among more than a million Uyghurs jailed by China – was initially appalled.

PREVIEW: Bonds forged in shared thrills at the Olympics

BEIJING (AP) — She stood alone, bundled up against the cold, as the bus doors opened at the most remote mountain venue of the Beijing Olympics. His job was to tell visiting reporters where to go – not that they had many options in these locked games. All you could see behind the mask were his eyes and hair tinted gold, and barely. The plastic face shield she wore to protect against the coronavirus had fogged up and frosted over in the freezing Zhangjiakou air. Foreign visitors to these Olympics are strictly separated from the public as part of China’s zero-tolerance virus containment strategy.

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