ShowBiz: K-Pop, Loughlin, Smollett

South Korean police questioning two K-pop stars in sex scandals; Lori Loughlin posts $1 million bail in bribery case; Judge to be assigned to Jussie Smollett’s case at hearing. (March 14)

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K-pop star Jung Joon-young arrives at police station

South Korean singer-songwriter Jung Joon-young arrives for questioning at Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency amid a burgeoning sex scandal in the K-pop industry . IMAGES

South Korea’s Moon arrives in Malaysia

South Korean president Moon Jae-In receives a state welcoming ceremony at the Malaysian Parliament as he arrives in the Southeast Asian nation for a diplomatic working visit. IMAGES.

Inside ISIS’s Final Fight (HBO)

In a deserted farmhouse on the Deir Ezzor frontline, a group of Arab YPG fighters and foreign volunteers — an American, a Scotsman, an Australian and a South Korean — took up position on the edge of Islamic State territory, firing wildly from the hollow windows onto ISIS fighters hiding in the orchards below.

Unseen from the house, ISIS militants crept forward into the building’s garden, launching a sudden assault on this isolated position, targeting the group with snipers, machine gun and anti-tank rocket fire before they attempted to storm it.

After years of bloody conflict across northern and eastern Syria, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have pushed ISIS to the brink of total defeat. The remaining ISIS fighters now wait out their days in a cluster of tiny villages nestled between the Euphrates river and the Iraqi border.

Surrounded, outnumbered, and outgunned, the jihadist group’s last diehard fighters aren’t giving up. And they’re being met by US-backed forces and foreign volunteers, many of whom have traveled thousands of miles for the final fight.

Huddling in the central stairwell for cover, deafened by the roar of rockets hitting the rooms around them, YPG fighters argued furiously over their next move.

“We’re surrounded,” shouted the Australian YPG fighter, “We’re going to have to jump from the balcony and make a run for it.”

They quickly gathered blankets, mattresses and curtains, throwing them to the ground outside to soften the fall. Escaping through the alleyway, the fighters retreated to safety in a nearby outpost as Coalition airstrikes rained down on the besieged house.

On the map, the war against the Islamic State is all but won. But here in the middle Euphrates river valley, where much of the population resents the US-backed forces as alien occupiers, these fighters are likely to face many more sudden ambushes and assaults from within this dense patchwork of orchards and villages, even after the battle for Baghuz is won.

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AP Top Stories March 4 A

Here’s the latest for Monday March 4th: Deadly tornado hits eastern Alabama; South Korean president hopes to restart US-North Korea talks; US closes Jerusalem consulate; Snow slams East Coast.

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Indian PM Modi makes offering at War Memorial of Korea

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes an offering at the War Memorial of Korea during a visit to the South Korean capital. IMAGES

S. Koreans getting fed up with military service

Young South Korean men share their thoughts and concerns ahead of their military conscription that will last almost two years to serve a country that has been technically at war since 1953. The bulk of South Korea’s 600,000-strong military are conscripts, who are required to serve for some 20 months.

ONLY ON AP: Adoptee deported by US to South Korea sues

(23 Jan 2019) A South Korean man who was deported from the United States to South Korea in 2016 is suing the Seoul government and a private adoption agency over what he calls gross negligence. (Jan. 23)

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South Korean prosecutor jailed in #MeToo case

A former senior South Korean prosecutor is convicted of abuse of power and jailed for two years in connection with a high-profile case that triggered the country’s #MeToo movement. IMAGES of Ahn Tae-geun, former senior South Korean prosecutor arriving at court