North Korean officials ‘expressed regret’ over Vietnam citizen’s involvement in Kim Jong Nam murder, source says

North Korean officials informally expressed their regret to Vietnam that a Vietnamese national was charged with killing Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a South Korean government source has told CNN. Kim Jong Nam was killed in February 2017 when he was exposed to VX nerve agent at … Continue reading “North Korean officials ‘expressed regret’ over Vietnam citizen’s involvement in Kim Jong Nam murder, source says”

North Korean officials informally expressed their regret to Vietnam that a Vietnamese national was charged with killing Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a South Korean government source has told CNN.

Kim Jong Nam was killed in February 2017 when he was exposed to VX nerve agent at an airport in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, a murder mystery that attracted worldwide attention and torpedoed a once warm diplomatic relationship between Malaysia and North Korea.The apparent expression of regret, which has been widely reported in South Korean media, was not an apology and would not constitute North Korea admitting responsibility for the killing.

    The North Korean government has vehemently denied it was responsible for Kim’s murder, though the United States and Malaysian authorities have said North Korea was in fact responsible for Kim’s death.Malaysia has charged four North Korean men and two women in Kim’s killing. The women, Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam and Siti Aisyah of Indonesia, are currently on trial and face the death penalty if convicted. The men’s whereabouts are unknown, and Interpol has put out red notices for each of them, asking governments around the world to return them to Malaysia to face trial.Read MoreDoan and Aisyah have pleaded not guilty and claim they were duped by the North Koreans, who said they were TV producing filming a reality prank show. Prosecutors claim the women knew what they were doing. Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, a lawyer for Doan, told CNN he and the rest of his clients are considering using this new information to further impress the court of Doan’s innocence. Teh said the Vietnamese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and Vietnamese Bar association have not responded to his emails. Kim Jong Nam: The plot to murder North Korea's exiled sonNorth Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho visited Vietnam earlier this month, during which he and his Vietnamese counterparts had an “in-depth exchange of views and reached consensus on the issue of further developing the relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries,” North Korea’s state-run news agency KCNA reported at the time. High-ranking Vietnamese officials told the South Korean government they are interested in hosting the expected second summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, the South Korean government source said.The timing of that summit, however, could be affected by when Kim decides to visit Seoul.During South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s visit to Pyongyang in September, Moon told reporters he expected Kim to make an unprecedented visit to Seoul before the end of the year. Kim said that visit would happen “in the near future.”But the probability of Kim Jong Un traveling to Seoul before the end of the year is “close to zero,” according to an official with knowledge of the North Korean position on denuclearization told CNN.

      “There are a lot of logistics involved, and the time window is so short, there’s no time for both sides to agree on a plan and make preparations,” the official said.If a Seoul summit does not take place, the official said it will likely affect the timing of a planned second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim, which Trump and his top advisers claim could happen in January or February.

Second Canadian under investigation in China as diplomatic spat intensifies

A second Canadian is believed to have been detained in China in a potential act of retribution that threatens to escalate the diplomatic dispute between Washington, Beijing and Ottawa, following the arrest of a Chinese Huawei executive in Canada.

On Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that Canadian nationals Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are “being investigated” on suspicion of “activities that endangered China’s national security.”Speaking at a daily press briefing in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said authorities had taken “compulsory measures” on the two men on December 10 and that both cases remain under investigation.

    Lu would not specify when asked by CNN what “compulsory measures” meant, nor would he be drawn on whether the two men remain in custody. The term “compulsory measures” is generally used to refer to detention in China.”As far as I know, Beijing State Security Bureau and Liaoning State Security Department notified the Canadian Embassy separately, and the two persons’ legal rights and interests have been guaranteed.” Lu added.Read MoreSpavor is the founder of the Paektu Cultural Exchange, a company that helps to facilitate trips to North Korea. He had previously assisted in helping former NBA player Dennis Rodman travel to Pyongyang to meet Kim Jong Un, the country’s leader.Confirmation of the dual investigation comes after Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland acknowledged that Chinese authorities had detained Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat who now works for the International Crisis Group (ICG) as its northeast Asia senior adviser. Kovrig is reportedly being held in Beijing.Freeland said Canadian officials had not been able to make contact with Spavor, who is thought to be in Liaoning province in the country’s northeast. “We are working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts, and we have raised this case with the Chinese authorities, and we are in touch with his family,” said Freeland on Wednesday afternoon. Michael Spavor seen here with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in this file photo from 2014.Spavor did not answer his cell phone or respond to messages on WeChat, a popular Chinese messaging app, when CNN tried to get in touch with him Thursday. Experts are concerned that Kovrig and Spavor are being held in retaliation to Canada’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou, a top executive at Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, in Vancouver earlier this month.Meng, who is the daughter of the Huawei founder, is accused of helping her company dodge US sanctions on Iran, according to Canadian prosecutors. She has been released on bail while a Canadian court decides whether to extradite her to the United States to face charges there. Andrei Lankov, a professor at South Korea’s Kookmin University and an expert in North Korean and East Asian affairs, said it appears that China and Canada are engaged in a “hostage game.” “I’m a bit surprised they (the Chinese government) chose Michael, who is from very humble origins,” Lankov said. “He’s definitely not the son of a CEO of a major Canadian company.” Lankov, who has known Spavor for 10 years, described the Canadian as a likable, easy going, charismatic man who wasn’t much interested in international politics. “He sees North Korea as a misrepresented underdog, and as such he wanted to basically improve its image while making some money in the process,” Lankov said.

    Tweet! Here is the MacLean's Magazine interview on sports exchanges with Rodman and the DPRK http://t.co/lHocOnOGOW… pic.twitter.com/1uKh2MCqv2

    — Michael Spavor (@mpspavor) December 2, 2013

    DPRK Students: "We all watched this game and it made us rethink our stereotypes of America” https://t.co/FHIQRMddtd https://t.co/yiZzDMhDQe pic.twitter.com/H8yejm312Q

    — Michael Spavor (@mpspavor) November 1, 2017

    Lankov said China could also be attempting to send a secondary signal by detaining two Westerners who travel to mainland China often for business involving North Korea. “Historically, China was remarkable willing to overlook a great deal of North Korea activity of all kinds … happening on Chinese territory,” Lankov said. “(That) is obviously coming to an end.”

    ‘China’s national interests’

    The Chinese government has detained foreign employees of nongovernmental organizations in the past. In January 2016, Swedish human rights advocate Peter Dahlin was taken into custody for three weeks. China has since passed legislation further restricting what foreign NGOs can do on Chinese soil. The organizations are required to register with the government and are prohibited from endangering “China’s national unity, security, or ethnic unity; and must not harm China’s national interests, societal public interest.”China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on Kovrig’s case Wednesday but said if ICG personnel were operating in China, they would have been in violation of Chinese law. Hugh Pope, the director of communications and outreach for ICG, said his organization has “still received no information about Michael (Kovrig) from China directly since his detention on 10 December and we are above all concerned for his health and safety.”An undated photo of International Crisis Group senior adviser Michael Kovrig.Pope said the ICG closed its Beijing office in December 2016 to comply with the new law. Kovrig joined the ICG in 2017 and works from Hong Kong, which operates under a different legal framework than the rest of mainland China. He regularly visits Beijing “to meet officials, attend conferences at the invitation of Chinese organizations, and on personal visits,” said Pope.”Frankly, we were really surprised by this arrest after a decade of engagement with the Chinese authorities. This is the first time we hear such an accusation. Our Board of Trustees includes two Chinese board members,” Pope said.

      “It goes without saying that neither Crisis Group, nor did Michael have anything to do with the Huawei case in Canada. What is clear to us is that Michael has been doing what all Crisis Group experts do: undertaking objective and impartial research — in his case meeting with Chinese officials so that we can represent their views in our work and developing policies that can help end conflicts.”In a statement Sunday, China’s vice minister of foreign affairs, Le Yucheng, called Meng’s arrest “lawless, reasonless and ruthless.”

Photos from Japan space rovers show rocky asteroid surface

TOKYO – Japan's space agency says more than 200 photos taken by two small rovers on an asteroid show no signs of a smooth area for the planned touchdown of a spacecraft early next year.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said Thursday the two solar-powered rovers have become inactive and are probably in the shade, but are still responding to signals after three months, exceeding their projected life of several days.

The Minerva II-1 rovers, which resemble circular cookie tins, were dropped by the unmanned Hayabusa2 spacecraft onto asteroid Ryugu, about 280 million kilometers (170 million miles) from Earth, in September to collect data and surface information.

Many of the photos show a rocky surface on the asteroid, presenting challenges for Hayabusa2's planned touchdown, which has already been postponed from late October after initial images showed the surface was rockier than expected.

JAXA says it has narrowed down potential landing spots and still plans to attempt the touchdown to collect samples. Scientists are analyzing data sent by the rovers to finalize the plans, including whether to have an additional touch-down rehearsal for the spacecraft, JAXA senior project member Takashi Kubota said at a news conference.

One of the two rovers is believed to have traveled about 300 meters (yards) by hopping on the asteroid, where gravity is too weak for wheeled vehicles, and has sent more than 200 photos and other data to the spacecraft, which then relayed it to Earth, Kubota said. The other rover took about 40 photos and stopped moving after about 10 days, he said. The lower-than-expected surface temperature of the asteroid may have helped slow the rovers' deterioration, Kubota said.

He said the data collected so far shows similarities, including the shape and surface, with Bennu, an asteroid being investigated by NASA with its spacecraft Osiris-Rex. The initial findings show the asteroids are more moist and studded with boulders than initially thought.

Asteroids, which orbit the sun but are much smaller than planets, are among the oldest objects in the solar system and may help explain how Earth evolved.

"We are extremely interested and looking forward to further analysis," Kubota said. "We hope to find anything that may help explain the origin of space and its evolution."

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Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court says president’s actions unlawful

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka's Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that President Maithripala Sirisena's order to dissolve Parliament and hold new elections was unconstitutional, a much-anticipated verdict that further embroils the Indian Ocean nation in political crisis.

A seven-judge bench of the highest court said the president lacks the power to dissolve Parliament at will before 4 ½ years from the day of its first sitting, citing a 19th constitutional amendment that was passed in 2015, according to opposition counsel Jayampathy Wickramaratne.

Sri Lanka's crisis began in October when Sirisena abruptly sacked then-Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place, the culmination of years of infighting over Wickremesinghe's economic reforms and his efforts to investigate alleged abuses during Sri Lanka's long civil war, which ended in 2009. The military under Rajapaksa has been accused of some of the alleged abuses.

"This is a historic judgment delivered by the Supreme Court; for the first time an act of the president has been challenged. That was possible because of the 19th amendment. Prior to that when the president was in office, he had full immunity," said M.A. Sumanthiran, an opposition lawmaker and lawyer who argued for the petitioners.

"We are glad that the conclusion arrived at is unanimous," he said.

While political norms dictate that Sirisena respects the verdict, the court has little ability to force him to do so, legal experts said.

Soon after being appointed prime minister, Rajapaksa sought to secure a majority in Parliament but failed. In response, Sirisena dissolved Parliament and ordered new elections, but those actions were put on hold by the Supreme Court.

Since then Rajapaksa has been defeated twice in no-confidence motions in Parliament and has had his and his ministers' budgets stripped by majority votes.

Nevertheless, Sirisena has resisted calls to reappoint Wickremesinghe, ignoring warnings that such a refusal could amount to a breach of the constitution.

Wickremesinghe on Wednesday won the support of 117 members in the 225-member Parliament to function as prime minister.

Lawmakers could attempt to impeach Sirisena, but that requires 2/3 of the votes in Parliament, and Wickremesinghe commands only a simple majority.

Last month's no-confidence votes against Rajapaksa descended into chaos, with his supporters occupying the speaker's chair and throwing books and water mixed with chili powder to try to prevent a vote. The speaker announced that the votes were passed by voice and that there was no longer a prime minister or Cabinet.

However, Rajapaksa continued in office with Sirisena's backing. Lawmakers opposed to Rajapaksa filed another petition at the Court of Appeal, which ordered him and his ministers to stop functioning in their positions until the case is concluded.

With Sri Lanka effectively lacking a functioning government, some officials worry it will be unable to pass a budget to finance government activities beyond 2018.

Kim Jong Un ‘unification moisture nuclear masks’ taken off shelves after outcry, but demand is still high

Moisturizing masks packaged in bags bearing Kim Jong Un's likeness initially flew off store shelves in South Korea — but the skincare products were soon pulled in some stores amid widespread criticism.

The masks, called “unification moisture nuclear masks” or “nuke masks,” feature a package with a beauty mask superimposed on a photo of a waving Kim. The package, which sells for 4,000 won or about $3.55, also includes slogans such as, “Should we now go over the border with a whitened face?”

NORTH KOREA TELLS CHINA IT’S COMMITTED TO DENUCLEARIZATION

The products were launched by skincare company 5149 in June and some 25,000 units have been sold, Sky News reported. Kwak Hyeon-ju, the company’s chief executive, said she hoped the masks would be seen as a celebration of the “once-in-a-lifetime” meeting earlier this year between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Despite their popularity, the masks were pulled from some store shelves, including the chain Pierrot Shopping, after public criticism for portraying Kim in a light-hearted manner, The New York Times reported.

Video

NORTH KOREA’S ‘PEACE GIFT’ PUPPIES TO SOUTH KOREA PICTURED FOR FIRST TIME

“The fact that the worst dictator in the world — who violates human rights of its residents — is portrayed as someone who can be part of making world peace shows that South Korean society has lost the ability to filter through and control the situation,” Kang Dong-wan, a professor at Dong-A University, said, according to The New York Times.

South Korean law makes it illegal for citizens to depict the Hermit Kingdom favorably, but the law is not enforced often. So far, the South Korean government has not officially commented about the masks.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

Myanmar rally urges release of ‘Person of Year’ journalists

YANGON, Myanmar – Several dozen journalists and activists held a rally Wednesday in Myanmar's biggest city to mark the anniversary of the arrest of two reporters for the Reuters news agency who are among a group of journalists being honored by Time magazine as its "Person of the Year."

The protesters wore T-shirts calling for the release of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who had reported on a brutal military-led crackdown on the Muslim Rohingya minority. They were arrested a year ago and charged with illegal possession of official documents. The two, who were sentenced in September to seven years' imprisonment, denied the charge and said they were framed by police. Their appeal is expected to be heard later this month.

The protesters near Myanmar's High Court carried placards with the cover of some editions of Time's next issue that show a picture of the men's wives holding photos of their husbands. They also released black balloons into the sky and lit candles.

Paling Soe Oo, one of the journalists who joined the rally, said the magazine's focus on the jailed journalists was an honor for Myanmar and its journalism community. "But I don't think the government feels shame for its part, and isn't considering releasing them, not even a little," he said.

The reporting by the two men about the military campaign that drove 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh is believed to have drawn the government's wrath because of worldwide condemnation of military abuses, which it denies.

"A year ago, Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in a setup by police, intended to interfere with their reporting on a massacre in Myanmar," Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen J. Adler said in a statement prepared for the anniversary of their arrests.

"The fact that they remain in prison for a crime they did not commit calls into question Myanmar's commitment to democracy, freedom of expression and rule of law. Every day they continue to be behind bars is a missed opportunity for Myanmar to stand up for justice. The people of Myanmar deserve the freedoms and democracy they have long been promised, and Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo deserve to be returned to their families and colleagues immediately," he said.

More than 50 major international, regional, and Myanmar-based human rights and free speech organizations have condemned the arrest and conviction of the two men.

Prosecution testimony at the men's trial was weak and inconsistent, and a police officer gave testimony confirming defense allegations of a setup. After testifying, the officer was dismissed from his job and sent to prison for violating police regulations.

The case is widely seen as an example of how democratic reforms in long-isolated Myanmar have stalled under the civilian government of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, which took power in 2016. Although the military, which ruled the country for a half century, maintains control of several key ministries, Suu Kyi's rise had raised hopes for an accelerated transition to full democracy, and her stance on the Rohingya crisis and press freedom has disappointed many former admirers.

Philippine Congress votes to extend martial law in south

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Congress on Wednesday approved a request by the president to extend martial law in the country's volatile south by a year due to continuing threats by Islamic State group-linked militants and communist insurgents.

An overwhelming majority in the Senate and House of Representatives voted to extend martial rule, which expires at the end of the month, by another year in southern Mindanao region, scene of decades-long Muslim and communist rebellions in the largely Roman Catholic nation.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed the southern region under martial law after hundreds of Islamic State group-linked militants attacked the Islamic city of Marawi on May 23, 2017, in the worst security crisis he has faced. Troops quelled the siege after five months but officials say surviving militants continue to recruit new fighters and plot bombings and other attacks.

"Now more than ever, we cannot afford to show our enemies a moment of weakness in our resolve to defeat them," Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea told the joint session of Congress.

He warned that if Muslim militants and communist insurgents are allowed to regroup, "this government will not be able to function fully, basic services to the people will continuously be hindered, and the safety of the general public will remain to be under constant threat."

Muslim militants, backed by foreign extremists, are fighting to turn the Philippines into a province of a so-called Muslim caliphate, while other armed groups aim to establish a separate Muslim homeland, Medialdea said.

Opponents argue that extending martial law is unconstitutional because it is an "extreme measure" that can only be imposed when an actual rebellion against the government exists. They say the move could be a prelude for Duterte to declare martial law throughout the Philippines.

Opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman said the government's repeated requests for extensions of martial law show the military and police have failed to achieve their objectives under martial rule.

"I think this undue prolongation of martial law in Mindanao would amount to perpetuity," Lagman said.

Other opposition lawmakers argued that government forces could fight insurgents in remote rural areas and allow economic growth without martial law.

At least 143 suspected militants have been arrested and charged with rebellion since martial rule was imposed across the south, where a number of extremist groups, including the brutal Abu Sayyaf group which still has more than 400 fighters, continue to pose threats, military officials said.

Left-wing lawmakers questioned a military claim that not one case of human rights violations has occurred under martial law in the south. Outside the House, activists staged a noisy protest, expressing fears that left-wing groups and human rights defenders will be targeted under martial law.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana pledged that the military will protect "the democratic way of life of our people, with full respect for human rights, international humanitarian law and the primacy of the rule of law."

Filipinos remain hypersensitive to threats to democracy and civil liberties after they ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos in a 1986 "people power" revolt that became a harbinger of change in authoritarian regimes worldwide. Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines in 1972 in a period marked by massive human rights abuses.

Concerns over Duterte's martial law have been sparked in part by his perceived authoritarian bent and the killings of thousands of suspects in a crackdown on illegal drugs that he launched after taking office in 2016.

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Associated Press journalist Alberto "Bullit" Marquez contributed to this report.

The Latest: Ex-VP Gore thinks Trump may help climate cause

KATOWICE, Poland – The Latest on the climate talks taking place in Poland (all times local):

9:00 p.m.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore says he thinks President Donald Trump's stance on global warming may actually advance the cause of tackling climate change.

Gore has spent years raising awareness of global warming and advocating prevention strategies. He said on Wednesday "it may be a perverse step forward to have Donald J. Trump as the global face of climate denial because so much of what he says is nonsense."

But he told an audience on the sidelines of the U.N. climate summit in Poland he thinks conservative Republicans "are beginning to really worry that they're going to be associated with that."

Gore also called out the Trump administration for joining Saudi Arabia last week in blocking the endorsement of a scientific report on the options governments have to prevent catastrophic climate change.

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8:20 p.m.

An American diplomat attending the U.N. climate talks in Poland says the United States is planning to help its allies adapt to climate change.

Judith G. Garber, an assistant secretary in the State Department's environment division, said the U.S. also wants to help other countries cut greenhouse gas emissions and respond to natural disasters.

Unlike scientists and nearly every other speaker at the two-week summit, Garber drew no explicit links between emissions, climate change and natural disasters.

Her comments echoed the wording of previous statements from Washington and reflected the views of President Donald Trump, who has questioned whether climate change is man-made.

Garber restated the U.S. intention to withdraw from the landmark Paris climate accord on curbing climate change "absent the identification of terms that are more favorable to the American people."

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8:00 p.m.

The Polish government official serving as president of a U.N. climate summit says the international talks have entered a "critical phase" and require dedication from all involved if they are to end in success.

Deputy Environment Minister Michal Kurtyka said Wednesday that ministers from almost 200 countries are working to "unlock issues which are outstanding and which require political involvement of leaders."

The conference runs through Friday in Katowice, Poland. The goal of this year's annual climate event is working out ways to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) during this century.

Kurtyka told The Associated Press that negotiators were moving forward on a wide array of issues.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres revisited the talks Wednesday to urge progress.

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7 p.m.

Dozens of rich and poor countries are announcing that they will step up action to curb global warming in an effort to kick start stalled climate talks.

The so-called High Ambition Coalition, which includes the Germany, Britain, Canada, Sweden, Spain and Argentina, also backed a drive to keep average temperature rise at 1.5 Celsius.

The announcement at the climate talks in Katowice, Poland, comes hours after UN chief Antonio Guterres made a dramatic appeal for negotiators to find a compromise to end the meeting successfully this week.

The coalition also counts several Pacific and Caribbean island nations.

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6:50 p.m.

A Ukrainian official has used the U.N. climate summit as an opportunity to criticize Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Ukraine's Minister of Ecology Ostap Semerak spoke Wednesday at the summit in Katowice, Poland, aimed at deciding on ways of counting and reporting carbon gas emissions by almost 200 participating countries, as they effort to combat global warming.

Semerak urged the participants to pay attention to the count for the Crimea Peninsula, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014, to prevent a "double count" — because both Ukraine and Russia may report the figure from there.

He said Ukraine is stepping up its efforts in fighting global warming and cutting its traditional reliance on its coal.

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4 p.m.

Climate activists from Asia have protested on the sidelines of the U.N. climate talks against the Japanese government's financing of coal mines and power plants in the region.

Burning coal is considered a major source of global warming. Japan has opened eight coal power plants since the 2011 Fukushima power plant disaster undermined public support for nuclear power. It is planning to add over 30 coal plants in the next decade.

The protesters called on Japan to stop financing coal.

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2:50 p.m.

The United Nations secretary-general has made a dramatic appeal for countries to compromise to tackle climate change for future generations.

Speaking Wednesday at the U.N. climate talks in Poland, Antonio Guterres told ministers and senior diplomats from almost 200 countries that reaching agreement "means sacrifices, but it will benefit us all."

The U.N. chief cited a key scientific report which found that curbing greenhouse gas emissions sooner is the most effective way to keep global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit).

Guterres said failure in the talks "would compromise our last best chance to stop runaway climate change," adding: "It would not only be immoral, it would be suicidal."

Guterres said that while most people in the room would not be around by the end of the century, their grandchildren would be and "they would not forgive us if uncontrolled and spiraling climate change would be our legacy to them."

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2:45 p.m.

The United Nations secretary-general says countries must increase their contributions to international funds to help poor nations to tackle climate change.

Antonio Guterres told ministers and senior officials gathered in Poland on Wednesday that failing to agree on financial support "would send a disastrous message."

He also called for a strong framework to ensure transparency among countries' efforts to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris accord that aims to keep global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit).

Guterres said scientists say the world has the ability to reach the target. He added: "What we need is the political will to move forward."

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2:35 p.m.

The United Nations secretary-general is urging negotiators at the U.N. climate summit to speed up their work if an agreement is to be reached by the end of the week.

Antonio Guterres told ministers and senior officials gathered in Poland on Wednesday that fresh reports highlight the urgent need to tackle global warming.

The U.N. chief said he recognized negotiators had made some progress since Dec. 2 but warned that "the key political issues remain unresolved."

Guterres told envoys that "we need to accelerate those efforts to reach consensus if we want to follow up on the commitments made in Paris."

One of the key tasks at the talks is to finalize the rules of the 2015 Paris accord.

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1:55 p.m.

Saudi Arabia's negotiators at the U.N. climate summit want scientists to spend more time examining global warming before countries decide on policies to tackle it.

A senior Saudi negotiator told reporters that his country wants to wait for a U.N.-appointed panel to complete a further review in 2022 before countries decide whether to endorse the science.

The negotiator briefed reporters on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to be identified by name.

Saudi Arabia drew anger from environmental groups and other countries Saturday after blocking endorsement of a special report on the Paris climate agreement's target of keeping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit).

They were joined by Russia, Kuwait and the United States.

The Saudi negotiator said his country supports the Paris agreement, despite recent comments by a former Saudi climate envoy calling it "dead."

The negotiator accused some countries at the talks in Poland of trying to shift the focus away from emissions targets toward the phasing out of fossil fuels. The oil-rich kingdom is trying to pushing technology it hopes can remove carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions.

— By Frank Jordans

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12:50 p.m.

The head of environmental group Greenpeace hopes U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will inject a sense of urgency in the stumbling climate summit in Poland.

Jennifer Morgan told The Associated Press on Wednesday that there's been a lack of leadership from major players in the talks, including the European Union.

Guterres, who flew back to Poland late Tuesday amid fears the meeting could collapse without agreement, is scheduled to take the floor shortly after 2 p.m. (1300 GMT).

Morgan said he "needs to make it very clear that he expects this COP to send a signal that all countries are going to increase ambition."

The 24th Conference of the Parties, or COP, is meant to finalize the rules of the 2015 Paris Agreement, but Morgan said current drafts include serious loopholes.

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10:25 a.m.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has flown back to Poland in an effort to support struggling talks on ways of fighting climate change.

Guterres was expected to make a statement Wednesday during the U.N. climate summit in Katowice, southern Poland, where negotiators from almost 200 countries are trying to work out an agreement this week on ways of keeping global warming in check.

The talks hit a hurdle Saturday when the United States and three other countries blocked endorsement of a landmark study on global warming.

A U.N. official who was not authorized to release the information told The Associated Press that Guterres, who opened the talks last week, has returned to Katowice to encourage progress.

— By Frank Jordans

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10 a.m.

Germany's environment minister wants more European Union funds to support regions affected by the closure of coal mines.

Svenja Schulze told reporters on the sidelines of the U.N. climate talks Wednesday that Germany is committed to phasing out the use of coal, though the exact deadline has yet to be determined.

She praised the measures Spain has taken to achieve a so-called just transition for miners in that country.

In a nod to the recent protests in France over fuel prices, Schulze warned that governments that force through measures would lose public support "faster than you can spell climate protection, and then people pull on yellow vests."

The climate talks in Katowice, Poland, have entered a crunch phase, with some delegations calling for stronger leadership to ensure agreement is reached.

The Latest: France issues wanted poster for shooting suspect

STRASBOURG, France – The Latest on a shooting attack at a Christmas market in France (all times local):

8:15

French authorities have issued a wanted poster and are calling for witnesses amid a massive manhunt for the suspected shooter nearly 24 hours after a deadly attack at the Strasbourg Christmas market.

A photo of Cherif Chekatt, 29, who was born in Strasbourg, was distributed publicly Wednesday evening.

The poster warns: "Dangerous individual, above all do not intervene." It asks anyone with information that could help locate him to contact authorities.

Chekatt has been on the run since allegedly spraying gunfire at the city's famous Christmas market on Tuesday night, killing two and leaving one person brain-dead. A dozen others were injured.

Hundreds of police and soldiers were combing Strasbourg in a search of him, blocking bridges that cross the border into Germany. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced a strengthening of security forces to secure Christmas markets.

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7:55 p.m.

The pope has expressed strong condemnation of the attack on the Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, that killed two, left one person brain dead and injured 12 others.

Pope Francis said in a telegram to the archbishop of Strasbourg, Monsignor Luc Ravel, on Wednesday that he learned of the attack "with sadness and concern," and expressed his compassion to all those affected by the attack.

Francis also offered "a special thought" to the professionals and volunteers who responded to the wounded.

The pope also sent a separate telegram to the head of the Brazilian archdiocese of Campinas, where a man opened fire in a cathedral on Tuesday, killing four people. The pope said he was "deeply disturbed by the dramatic attack during the celebration of Holy Mass."

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5:50 p.m.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner says that the suspect in the deadly attack on the Christmas market in Strasbourg has had a long criminal record, with his first conviction at the age of 13.

Castaner said that at age 10 the suspect "already had behavior that fell under penal law."

The minister was addressing parliamentarians on Wednesday, a day after the suspect, identified as Cherif Chekatt, 29, sprayed gunfire around the Christmas market in the eastern city, killing two, leaving a third person brain dead and injuring 12 others.

Chekatt was still on the run, with hundreds of police and soldiers seeking him in a massive manhunt.

Authorities said earlier that Chekatt had more than two dozen convictions, mostly in France but also in Switzerland and Germany. They said that Chekatt had been flagged for extremism and under watch.

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5:10 p.m.

A minute's silence will be held at all soccer stadiums in the French first and second division this weekend following Tuesday night's deadly Christmas market attack in Strasbourg.

Authorities say two people were killed, one left brain dead and 12 others injured in the shooting rampage.

Three matches in the first division have been postponed this weekend at the request of authorities, with police resources stretched.

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4:30 p.m.

A young Italian radio journalist who was in Strasbourg to cover a session of the European Parliament is in critical condition after being shot in the Christmas market attack.

The news agency ANSA said Wednesday that 28-year-old Antonio Megalizzi was struck by a bullet at the base of his cranium. ANSA says his parents, sister and girlfriend have traveled to France to join him.

Megalizzi is a journalist with the Europhonica radio consortium linked to universities. Italian daily La Repubblica reports that he traveled Strasbourg on Sunday to follow the European Parliamentary session. Megalizzi is from the northern city of Trento, and is working on a masters focusing on European institutions.

Europhonica has posted a Facebook message saying it cannot confirm any news about his health.

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4:15 p.m.

French lawmakers have held a minute's silence at the National Assembly for victims and their families following Tuesday night's deadly Christmas market attack in Strasbourg.

Interior minister Christophe Castaner has paid tribute to three people who tried to stop the gunman in streets near the famous market, including a woman who suffered stab wounds.

He said Wednesday their actions highlighted "our compatriots' ability to be heroic." Lawmakers from all parties applauded his comments.

Socialist and far-left lawmakers have asked to postpone a no-confidence vote against the government linked to its handling of the Yellow Vest protests, saying they want to preserve the nation's unity at difficult times. The vote had been scheduled for Thursday

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3:55 p.m.

A Thai Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says the country's embassy in Paris has confirmed that a Thai national, 45-year-old Anupong Suebsamarn, was killed in a deadly Christmas market shooting in the French city of Strasbourg.

Anupong had been traveling with his wife.

The English-language website of the newspapaer Khao Sod said Anupong was the owner of a noodle factory in Chachoengsao province, east of Bangkok, and also sold clothes in the Thai capital's garment district.

It quoted his uncle as saying the couple had originally planned to be in Paris, but the yellow vest protests there caused them to change plans and go to Strasbourg instead.

Spokeswoman Busadee Santipitaks said Thai officials had asked French authorities and members of the Thai community in Strasbourg to help Anupong's widow, and Thai consular officials were traveling there Wednesday to provide further assistance.

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3:45 p.m.

A judicial official says that the father and two brothers of the man suspected of attacking the Strasbourg Christmas market are among four people in custody in the investigation.

The suspected gunman himself, identified by police union officials as 29-year-old Cherif Cherkatt, is at large.

He was on a police watch list for radicalism before Tuesday's attack. The judicial official says that other members of Cherkatt's family are also known for radical views.

The official was not authorized to be publicly named speaking about an ongoing investigation.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told parliament Wednesday that 720 security officers are mobilized to search for the gunman.

Authorities say two people were killed, one left brain dead and 12 others injured in the shooting rampage.

— By Angela Charlton

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1:30 p.m.

The German government says it has stepped up controls on the country's border with France following Tuesday night's attack in Strasbourg, but sees no change to the threat level in Germany.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Eleonore Petermann said there's no reason to stay away from Christmas markets in Germany. A Christmas market in Berlin was targeted in a deadly attack two years ago.

Petermann and Germany's justice ministry said that German authorities had no information on links between the suspected attacker, who previously spent prison time in Germany for robbery, and Islamic extremists.

The suspect, who killed at least two and injured about a dozen others Tuesday, was convicted in Germany in 2016 and reportedly deported to France in 2017. Petermann said, however, that his freedom of movement within the European Union had been removed.

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1:20 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron is holding an emergency security meeting at the presidential palace in Paris following Tuesday's attack in the eastern city of Strasbourg that killed at least two and injured about a dozen others.

The defense council is taking place in the presence of top military officials and government members, including the prime minister, interior, defense and foreign affairs ministers.

They will discuss the progress of the investigation and other security measures as the government raised the alert level nationwide and sent police reinforcements to Strasbourg in a manhunt for the suspect.

Interior minister Christophe Castaner was back Wednesday in Paris after travelling to Strasbourg overnight to supervise police operations.

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1:10 p.m.

Neighbors of the man suspected of attacking Strasbourg's Christmas market have described him as destabilized by his time in prison.

"You can just tell," said one of the young men from the apartment block where suspected gunman Cherif Chekatt lived, lightly touching the side of his head. They feared being publicly named because the gunman is still being hunted by police.

A neighbor, who also asked not to be named, said he was rarely home. She said she last saw him Monday from her window, which looks out on a common hallway, and he was with another man.

The lock of the door is broken at the suspect's apartment. Police were guarding the building where the gunman was believed to have lived, in an outer neighborhood of Strasbourg.

Hundreds of police and soldiers are hunting for Chekatt, 29, who opened fire near Strasbourg's Christmas market Tuesday, killing two and leaving one brain dead.

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12:50 p.m.

A French prosecutor says witnesses heard the suspected gunman shout "God is great" in Arabic during the shooting spree in Strasbourg that killed two people and left another brain dead.

Prosecutor Remy Heitz said the suspected gunman was shot in the arm during an exchange of fire with French soldiers in the city center and then took a taxi to another part of the city during the rampage on Tuesday night.

He said the man was armed with a handgun and a knife, using them to attack his victims. He also left 12 people injured.

Previously, French authorities had said the gunman killed three people. But Heitz said two people were confirmed dead while the third was brain dead.

He also said police found a grenade, a rifle and four knives during a search Tuesday morning of the 29-year-old's house. They had wanted to take him into custody as in an investigation for suspected murder.

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11:25 a.m.

Two police officials have identified the suspected Strasbourg gunman as 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt.

One police source said Chekatt's criminal record mentions 25 judicial cases, including several serious cases of robbery.

The official said his apartment was searched by police on Tuesday morning — hours before the shooting — in an investigation for attempted murder. He was not at home at the time.

The two officials spoke anonymously because they were not allowed to speak publicly on an ongoing investigation.

The suspect was still on the run on Wednesday after he fired gunshots near the famous Christmas market of Strasbourg, killing three and wounding at least 13.

— By Sylvie Corbet

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11:10 a.m.

The European Parliament is planning a minute of silence at noon to remember the victims of the Strasbourg shooting, which happened only a few kilometers (miles) from the legislature.

European Parliament Antonio Tajani called the shooting "a criminal attack against peace, against democracy, against our model of life."

He said that even as the Parliament went into a lockdown late Tuesday, legislators continued their work until midnight. "We have to go forward and not change our ways," Tajani said.

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10:50 a.m.

The suspected Strasbourg gunman was convicted of robbery in Germany in 2016 and sentenced to two years and three months in prison for breaking into a dental practice and a pharmacy.

The verdict from a district court in Singen, obtained by The Associated Press, says he was also sentenced to prison in France in 2008 and in Basel, Switzerland in 2013 for various robberies. News agency dpa reported that he was deported to France in 2017.

According to the verdict, the suspected attacker grew up with six siblings in Strasbourg, worked for local authorities after leaving school and had been unemployed since 2011. He said he had been traveling a lot and had already spent four years in prison. The German robberies took place in Mainz, near Frankfurt, in 2012 and in Engen, near the Swiss border, in 2016.

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8:35 a.m.

A senior French government official says that five people have been detained as police hunt for the man who attacked the Strasbourg Christmas market, but the gunman remains at large.

Laurent Nunez, secretary of state for the interior ministry, said Wednesday on France-Inter radio that the attacker could have fled to neighboring Germany.

He said that three people were killed and 13 injured, eight of them seriously. He denied reports of a police intervention at the city's famed cathedral but said the search for the attacker is constantly evolving.

Nunez said the assailant had been identified as a suspected extremist during his past stays in prison but said the motive for the attack remains unclear. A terrorism investigation was opened.

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8 a.m.

France is hunting for a suspected extremist who sprayed gunfire near the famous Christmas market in the eastern city of Strasbourg, killing three and wounding at least 11.

The government raised the security alert level and sent police reinforcements to Strasbourg where some 250 security forces are searching for the assailant.

The attacker is a 29-year-old with a police record in France and neighboring Germany who had been flagged for extremism. A terrorism investigation was opened.

While authorities urged people in the area to stay inside, Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries told BFM television Wednesday that "life must go on" so that the city doesn't cede to a "terrorist who is trying to disrupt our way of life."

Strasbourg is considered one of Europe's capitals. It's home to the European Parliament.

Scores of migrant girls quietly vanishing from Indonesia

FATUKOKO, Indonesia – The stranger showed up at the girl's door one night with a tantalizing job offer: Give up your world, and I will give you a future.

It was a chance for 16-year-old Marselina Neonbota to leave her isolated village in one of the poorest parts of Indonesia for neighboring Malaysia, where some migrant workers can earn more in a few years than in a lifetime at home. A way out for a girl so hungry for a life beyond subsistence farming that she walked 22 kilometers (14 miles) every day to the schoolhouse and back.

She grabbed the opportunity — and disappeared.

The cheerful child known to her family as Lina joined the army of Indonesians who migrate every year to wealthier countries in Asia and the Middle East for work. Thousands come home in coffins, or vanish. Among them, possibly hundreds of trafficked girls have quietly disappeared from the impoverished western half of Timor island and elsewhere in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province.

The National Agency for Placement and Protection of Indonesian Workers has counted more than 2,600 cases of dead or missing Indonesian migrants since 2014. And even those numbers mostly leave out people like Lina who are recruited illegally — an estimated 30 percent of Indonesia's 6.2 million migrant workers.

On that night in 2010, Lina didn't seem to sense the danger posed by the stranger named Sarah. But Lina's great-aunt and great-uncle, who had raised her, were hesitant.

Sarah insisted they could trust her; she was related to the village chief. And Lina would only be gone two years.

Lina's aunt, Teresia Tasoin, knew a Malaysian salary could support the whole family. Her husband — fighting both a teenager's excitement and a crushing headache — doubted he could stop Lina from going.

Still, the couple wanted to hold a Catholic prayer service for Lina before she left. Sarah promised she would only take Lina to the provincial capital of Kupang for one night to organize her paperwork, then bring her back the next day. It was a lie.

Less than one hour after Sarah walked into their home, she walked back out with Lina. And just like that, their girl was gone.

Looking back on it now, Tasoin crumbles under the weight of what-ifs. "I regret it," she says through tears.

"I regret letting her go."

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When it comes to tracking the fate of migrants, Asia is the blackest of black holes.

It has more migrants than any region on earth, with millions traveling within Asia and to the Mideast for work. Yet it has the least data on those who vanish. In an exclusive tally, The Associated Press found more than 8,000 cases of dead and missing migrants in Asia and the Mideast since 2014, in addition to the 2,700 listed by the U.N.'s International Organization for Migration. More than 2,000 unearthed by the AP were from the Philippines alone. And countless other cases are never reported.

These workers reflect part of the hidden toll of global migration. An AP investigation documented at least 61,135 migrants dead or missing worldwide over the same period, a tally that keeps rising . That's more than double the number found by the IOM, the only group that has tried to count them.

While it's not clear how many left for jobs, in general workers make up about two-thirds of international migrants, according to the International Labor Organization; the rest are fleeing everything from drug violence to war and famine. Migrants may die on perilous journeys through deserts or at sea, while many others like Lina disappear into networks that traffic in people.

In deeply Christian East Nusa Tenggara, the church has become one of the few advocates for the dead and disappeared. With the impoverished province home to the highest number of trafficking cases in the country, nuns and priests have transformed themselves into counter-trafficking crusaders.

Inside a little church across from Lina's house, Sister Laurentina is praying before a riveted crowd. Slight and soft-spoken, the nun — who like many Indonesians goes by only one name — is nonetheless a giant presence before the parishioners. There is danger in trusting illegal recruiters, she warns. There is death.

Her words are not hyperbole. She waits at the airport for the arrival of nearly every migrant worker's corpse that is flown back to Kupang, a ritual that has earned her the nickname "Sister Cargo." One day after her warning to parishioners, she will be back at the airport, praying over the 89th coffin this year that has returned from Malaysia with the remains of a local migrant. Some die from accidents or illness, she says. Others from neglect and abuse.

Laurentina is one of the few people in West Timor even trying to track the missing. Since 2012, she has traveled across the island to educate villagers on the dangers of traffickers. She has held at least 20 meetings this year alone.

Laurentina asks each audience if anyone has lost contact with a relative who migrated for work. And at every meeting, for six years, at least one or two people have told her: Yes, my child is missing. Most are girls.

The remoteness of West Timor and a lack of education mean many people just don't understand the danger. But even for those who do, a trip through the drought-punished region makes clear why they risk their lives to leave.

Gnarled trees cling to barren hills. Many of the rivers have run dry. Emaciated dogs lick desperately at cracked-open coconuts lying on the dusty ground.

With no real industry here, generations of villagers have migrated to Malaysia to work as maids or on plantations. But in the past few years, migrant trafficking has picked up, as traffickers move to the most remote areas in search of fresh, unsuspecting prey. Many victims end up overworked and underpaid, and some are forced into prostitution.

In the village of Oe'Ekam, priest Maximus Amfotis watches as locals line up at a water tank, filling containers some will have to lug several kilometers home. He regularly hears of local teens migrating to Malaysia for work, never to return. There was a new case just two weeks ago, he says. The cycle seems endless.

"If we cannot stop this problem," he says, "I fear that the current generation will be lost."

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Unlike Lina, Orance Faot was betrayed by her own flesh and blood.

The road to her house is so rocky that by the time you arrive, it feels like you've gone through an hours-long earthquake. The sunny, hardworking girl was just 14 when she traveled down that same rocky path four years ago on a motorbike bound for Kupang.

That morning, Orance told the grandmother she lived with, Margarita Oematan, that she was going with her older cousin Yeni to a priest's house to study the Bible. When she failed to return, her uncle went looking for her. He walked as far as the river where she sometimes swam, but found no trace of his niece or Yeni. A driver later told the family that the girls had hired a bike.

When the family finally got hold of Yeni, she denied knowing what had happened to Orance. But the Faots suspected Yeni had turned Orance over to a recruiter. Eventually, they did something few here do — they went to the police.

In much of West Timor's remote interior, electricity, phones and cars are a luxury. So absolute is the isolation that some islanders have never even seen the sea. So when a child goes missing, many families don't know who can help.

Families also hesitate to contact officials because they often accept payment from the recruiters, who exploit a tradition known as okomama. The practice involves placing a small gift — a bit of money or betel nut — in a basket in exchange for a favor. The offering is a show of respect. It is also a contract.

The Faots, though, say they never received anything for Orance.

Yeni told police she had introduced Orance to a Chinese man, according to an investigator. The Chinese man told officials he had handed Orance over to a recruiter who often sends girls to work as maids in Malaysia. But the recruiter — who would later be convicted in a different trafficking case — denied knowing Orance, said the investigator, who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to discuss the case.

Orance's case is hardly an anomaly, the investigator says. In his visits to nearly 150 villages, most of the families he's interviewed say they have lost contact with at least one relative who migrated for work. And most of the missing, he says, are girls.

The fact that Orance appears to have been lured by her own cousin is also typical. Field recruiters almost always have some connection to their victims, making them seem trustworthy. For each person they hand over, a field recruiter gets anywhere from a few hundred to more than a thousand dollars from agents up the chain, police and experts say.

Officials searched immigration records for Orance, without success. That's not surprising, as traffickers often falsify names, birthdays and addresses on migration papers.

Finding these girls is virtually impossible, says Among Resi, head of the IOM's counter-trafficking and labor migration unit in Indonesia. The families have almost no details on where their child has gone. They rarely even have a photo.

The assumption, Resi says, is that many of the girls are trapped in their employers' homes. Domestic workers are highly vulnerable to abuse, because they toil behind closed doors for families who often take their passports to stop them from fleeing. Other girls, Resi says, may have run away and ended up in abusive relationships or encountered other dangers.

Some answers to the fate of the missing can be found by talking to those who returned. Yunita Besi, the daughter of a village chief, was 18 when she went with a recruiter promising work as a maid in Malaysia. For months, she says, she and a group of girls were bounced from one locked house to another, forbidden from going outside or using phones. Those who broke the rules, she says, were beaten.

She eventually ended up in the port town of Dumai, and knew she'd soon be shipped to Malaysia. One day, when the security guards were away, she managed to call her father. He ordered her to put the recruiter on the line, then threatened to call the police if his daughter was not released. Yunita was set free.

Orance's family is still hoping for a call of their own. But after four years of silence, much of that hope has given way to dread.

In their home today, Orance exists only on paper. A report card cataloguing her cleverness. A school photo capturing her big brown eyes. A birth certificate memorializing the day she entered their world, and a police report memorializing the day she left.

"So many coffins are coming back with bodies," Oematan says. "I'm always afraid that someday, it will be Orance inside one."

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Adelina Sau's long journey home came in a shrink-wrapped coffin marked "Fragile."

Her grave lies along the side of a lonely road. Staring out from the tombstone's tiles is a blurry picture of her face, an image taken from a photo a cop snapped of her passport.

That grainy picture-of-a-picture is the only photo of Adelina that her family has. A copy hangs on the wall of their tin-roofed house, above a few sacks of rice that will feed the family half the year. The rest of the time, they will survive on their corn and cassava crops.

Tall and sturdy, Adelina was strong enough as a child to help her parents lug buckets of rice from the farm to their home. Though obedient, she grew tired of their poverty, and envied her friend's new clothes.

So Adelina got excited when a recruiter visited her house in 2013, offering a babysitting job in Malaysia for $200 a month. At 15, Adelina was too young to legally migrate for work, but the recruiter promised he would take care of her documents. Which is how Adelina entered Malaysia on a passport listing her age as six years older, her family says.

The recruiter's other promises fell apart. Adelina returned home after a year, having been paid just $200 total.

A few weeks later, another recruiter came knocking.

This time, her family says, it was a neighbor's friend named Flora. She offered Adelina a job as a maid in Malaysia, an offer flatly rejected by Adelina's mother, Yohanna Banunaek. Her daughter had just been cheated by the last recruiter, she told Flora.

But the next morning, while Banunaek was working on the farm, Flora returned to the house and left with Adelina.

When Banunaek came home, she was frantic. She ordered a relative of Flora's to try and contact her. A week later, she says, a gift from Flora arrived: Around $30. The family never heard from her again. They didn't report Adelina's disappearance because they didn't know how.

A year passed with no news. Still, in 2015, Adelina's sister, Yeti, accepted a job as a babysitter in Malaysia. Two years later, Yeti returned home safely, having been paid what she was promised. For her, the deal had been a dream. For Adelina, a nightmare.

Word of Adelina's fate finally arrived in February this year. So painful were the details that her mother couldn't eat for a week.

Adelina had been working as a maid for a Malaysian family when a local lawmaker's office received a tip from neighbors who suspected she was being abused. Officials found bruises on her head and face and infected wounds on her hand and legs, police said. She was hospitalized, but died the next day. An autopsy found septicemia and cited possible abuse and neglect.

A grim photo of Adelina on local news sites showed her sleeping outside the home on a ragged mat near the family's dog. A 59-year-old woman was charged with murder. Her trial is pending.

Adelina's parents kept their daughter's coffin inside their home for two days before laying her to rest.

A few months later, Yeti gave birth to a baby girl. She named her Adelina. Banunaek believes the baby holds her daughter's soul.

Banunaek clings to this belief, and to the sweet memories of her lost girl. Along with the blurry photo, there's little else she has left.

___

Five years after Lina went missing, the military paid a chance visit to her village. Lina's uncle, Laurencius Kollo, told them about the night his niece walked out the door with Sarah. The soldiers alerted the police, who took an official report.

Kollo and his wife waited for news. It never came.

The years dragged on. Kollo prayed every night for his niece's return. He would walk and walk around the village to try and release his pain.

And then, one day in March this year, word arrived that a neighbor's daughter was returning home from Malaysia. Maybe, Kollo thought, Lina was coming with her.

In a rush of hope and excitement, the frail 69-year-old climbed a tree to pick some betel leaves. As he clung to the branches, he watched the sun set and daydreamed about Lina. Maybe this would be the day he could finally hug her.

Lost in his memories, Kollo slipped. He crashed to the earth and blacked out.

When he awoke, his arm was broken. And so was his heart.

Because Lina never came home that day.