Methamphetamine seizures across much of the Asia-Pacific region have quadrupled over five years, the UN said Tuesday, citing rising wealth as one reason for a boom in production and consumption. Growing economic integration across the region was also enabling cross-border criminal networks to cooperate in peddling amphetamine-type stimulants and so-called "legal highs", the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report. The study, which was released in Bangkok, covers Southeast Asia, East Asia and Oceania, but excluded South Asia.
Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian went on trial behind closed doors in Iran Tuesday on charges of spying, a case that has clouded a rapprochement with the United States. Rezaian's wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who is also a journalist, appeared in court alongside her husband and a female press photographer, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported. The trial is being held in Branch 15 of the Tehran revolutionary court, which usually presides over political cases or those related to national security.
By Megha Rajagopalan BEIJING (Reuters) - China outlined its defense strategy to boost its naval capability farther from its shores on Tuesday, saying it faced a grave and complex array of security threats including in the disputed South China Sea. The document comes as tensions rise over China's increasingly assertive posture in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has engaged in land reclamation in the Spratly archipelago. China, which claims most of the South China Sea, criticized Washington after a U.S. spy plane flew over areas near the reefs last week, with both sides accusing each other of stoking instability.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq formally announced on Tuesday the start of a military operation to liberate the western province of Anbar from Islamic State insurgents. Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for the Shi'ite paramilitaries known as Hashid Shaabi, which are taking part, said in a news conference broadcast on the state TV channel that the operation had been named "Labeyk Ya Hussein". (Editing by Catherine Evans)
A tornado ripped into a town in northern Mexico, killing at least 13 people and flattening hundreds of homes in a deadly six-second blast of carnage, officials said. The savage twister roared through the Mexican border town of Ciudad Acuna at dawn, tossing cars and big rig trucks into the air before they smashed into houses and buildings. The tornado came as ferocious weather battered swathes of Mexico and the southern United States, where rescuers hunted for 12 people missing in flash floods across Texas and Oklahoma that left three people dead.