North Korea

U.S. tightens ship sanctions

The Trump administration escalated pressure on North Korea on Friday by slapping sanctions on scores of companies and ships accused of illicit trading with the pariah nation. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. has now blacklisted virtually all ships being used by the North. The administration billed it as the largest installment of North Korean economic restrictions to date as it intensifies its campaign of “maximum pressure” to get the North to give up its nuclear weapons. President Donald Trump went further, declaring in a speech Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference that it was “the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before.” While that claim was questionable — previous U.S. measures have targeted bigger players in the North Korean economy, including Chinese and Russian business networks — it significantly tightens the noose on North Korean trading.

Watchdog: Terror financed

The Financial Action Task Force, a watchdog that monitors global and illicit misuse of funds, cited North Korea as a top source of “ongoing and substantial” money laundering and terrorist financing in a report released Friday. It urged countries to keep North Korea at arm’s length and close its banks.

France

Plan aims to halt radicals

France unveiled a wide-ranging new program Friday to counter radicalization, as French jihadis return from the battlefields of Syria and Iraq and the watch list grows of people showing risk signs. The plan, made up of 60 measures, puts the accent on prevention.

Somalia

At least 18 die in bombings

Two car bomb blasts killed at least 18 people Friday and shattered a monthslong calm in Mogadishu, the capital, which is often the target of the al-Shabab extremist group.

Myanmar

Government bulldozes homes

First, their villages were burned down. Now, Myanmar’s government is using bulldozers to erase them from the earth — in a vast operation rights groups say is destroying crucial evidence of mass atrocities against the nation’s ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority. Satellite images of troubled Rakhine state, released to the Associated Press by Colorado-based DigitalGlobe on Friday, show that dozens of empty villages have been completely leveled in recent weeks, far more than previously reported.

Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires