Iran's leader seen for 1st time in weeks
TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke to students in person Saturday after being out of the public eye for nearly two weeks.
Khamenei, 83, who normally speaks while sitting down, gave a seven-minute speech at the Imam Khomeini Hosseinieh, or congregation hall, in the capital of Tehran while standing.
Khamenei called the pilgrimage of some 2 million Iranians to the Iraqi city of Karbala for the Arbaeen religious observance a "miraculous move," his website reported.
Arbaeen comes 40 days after Ashura, the anniversary of Imam Hussein's 7th-century death at the hands of Muslim Umayyad forces in the Battle of Karbala during the tumultuous first century of Islam's history.
Japan on alert as typhoon due today
Half of Japan was under weather advisories Saturday as a "violent typhoon" named Nanmadol edged toward the country's south, with landfall expected today.
The storm was likely to traverse almost the entire length of Japan after making landfall, bringing with it "heavy rain, strong winds and high waves," according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Nanmadol was about 280 miles east of Okinawa on Saturday afternoon, with maximum sustained winds of about 123 mph near its center and peak gusts reaching 168 mph.
The agency classified the storm as a "violent typhoon," its most severe category of storm based on wind speeds. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center, a U.S. military command in Hawaii, designated Nanmadol a "super typhoon" this month.
Parts of Kyushu, the southernmost of the country's four main islands, were under evacuation orders, the Japan agency said. Forecasters are expecting heavy rain, flooding and landslides, airlines grounded flights and authorities suspended train service in many parts of Japan.
After passing over Okinawa, Nanmadol is expected to weaken and become a "very strong typhoon" by the time it reaches mainland Japan, the meteorological agency said. Maximum winds of 112 mph were anticipated at that point, it said.
It is projected to curve northeastward and trace almost the entire length of the main islands that make up Japan. Nearly the entire country was in the storm warning area.
The storm will probably head back to sea Wednesday or Thursday, according to the meteorological agency. Forecasters in South Korea said it could also affect southern parts of the country that were battered by Typhoon Hinnamnor.
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan in talks after clash
MOSCOW -- The security chiefs of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan sat down for talks Saturday to stop fighting on the border between the two countries that so far has killed at least 24 people and wounded more than 100.
The Kyrgyz border service announced the new round of talks as the two ex-Soviet nations traded blame for shelling that resumed Saturday morning after what appeared to be a brief respite overnight.
The fighting, which started Wednesday for no obvious or publicly announced reason, intensified on Friday. Kyrgyzstan's Health Ministry said Saturday that the bodies of 24 people killed in the clashes were delivered to hospitals in the Batken region that borders Tajikistan.
Kyrgyz hospitals and clinics also treated 103 people wounded in the shelling, the ministry said.
It wasn't immediately clear whether there were any casualties on Tajikistan's side. Tajik authorities, however, accused Kyrgyz forces of destroying a mosque and targeting civilian infrastructure, including residential buildings.
Kyrgyzstan's Emergencies Ministry said 136,000 people were evacuated from the area engulfed by the fighting.
The border guard chiefs of the two countries met around midnight and agreed to create a joint monitoring group to help end the hostilities.
Kazakh chief extends term, redubs capital
MOSCOW -- The president of Kazakhstan signed Saturday constitutional amendments that extended the presidential term to seven years and brought back the old name of the country's capital.
The changes are among political and economic reforms that President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has called for after violent protests in January that killed more than 200 people. The unrest was sparked by a sharp rise in fuel prices, but also reflected widespread dismay with the country's politics, which for over 30 years had been dominated by former President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his party.
The amendments extend the presidential term to seven years from the current five, but also bar any president from running for a second term in office. The changes also rename the country's capital, now called Nur-Sultan, back to Astana.
This month, he called for an early presidential election and announced the move to bring back the old name of the country's capital.
Tokayev previously said he would run in the election. It wasn't immediately clear whether the new amendments would allow him to, but similar constitutional changes in Russia and Belarus allowed incumbent leaders to run again.