SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea says it has entered ‘a state of war’ with South Korea in the latest of a string of threats that have raised tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
A statement Saturday by Pyongyang said all matters between the sides will be dealt with in a manner befitting war. Analysts say a full-scale conflict is suicidal for Pyongyang and the threats are aimed at drawing Washington into talks and building up their leader’s image. North Korea is also threatening to shut down a factory complex that’s the last major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation. A spokesman for the North’s office controlling the Kaesong industrial complex says it will close the factory park just across the border in North Korea if South Korea continues to undermine its dignity. Continue Reading
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is wishing a joyful Easter to those who celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says the Easter and Passover holidays give millions of Christians, Jews and people of other faiths a chance to slow down and recommit themselves to loving their neighbors and seeing everyone as a child of God. Jews celebrated Passover at sundown on Monday. Easter is Sunday. In the Republican address, Rep. Terry Lee of Nebraska called for approval of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to bring oil from Canada’s tar sands to Texas Gulf Coast refineries. Continue Reading
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A senior U.S. commander says American special operations forces have handed over their base in eastern Afghanistan’s Nirkh district to local Afghan commandos — meeting a demand by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that U.S. forces withdraw from the district after allegations that their Afghan counterparts committed human rights abuses there.
Maj. Gen. Tony Thomas, who is the top U.S. special operations commander in Afghanistan, told the Associated Press Saturday that Afghan special forces have taken the Americans’ place and will work alongside local Afghan policemen to keep insurgents from using the area to attack the capital Kabul. Thomas says U.S. commandos will continue to operate throughout the rest of Wardak province. Afghan security officials reached Saturday were not yet aware of the change. Continue Reading
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he and his wife, Christie, are buying a house in Iowa.
Vilsack was in Des Moines on Friday to visit DuPont Pioneer. He says the house is near Booneville in Dallas County, about 18 miles west of Des Moines. Vilsack, a two-term Iowa governor, laughed when a reporter suggested buying a house in Iowa might be an opportunity to re-establish residency for a future run again at the governor’s office. He says he’s always been an Iowan and he’s focused now on his job as Agriculture Secretary. Continue Reading
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The St. Louis Blues have told the operators of the Peoria Civic Center that the NHL club’s minor league affiliate in Peoria will leave after this season.
The Journal Star in Peoria says the Civic Center recently received an email from the Blues saying the Rivermen will be gone when the current season ends in April. It isn’t clear what will happen to the minor league team. Continue Reading
A dance instructor accused of using her Zumba fitness studio as a front for prostitution pleaded guilty Friday to 20 counts in a scandal that captivated a quiet seaside town. The plea agreement spares Alexis Wright from the prospect of a high-profile trial featuring sex videos, exhibitionism and pornography, and more than a thousand texts and emails detailing the operation. Prosecutors will recommend a prison sentence of 10 months. The 30-year-old Wright was accused of conspiring with insurance agent Mark Strong Sr. to run a prostitution business in which she kept detailed records indicating she made $150,000 over an 18-month period. She was also accused of using a hidden camera to record sex acts without her clients’ knowledge. Continue Reading
A grand jury has indicted about three dozen educators in a standardized test cheating scandal that rocked Atlanta’s public school system. The indictment was released Friday afternoon. The cheating scandal was one of the largest in the nation. A state investigation in 2011 found cheating on standardized tests by nearly 180 educators in 44 Atlanta schools. Investigators say educators gave answers to students or changed answers on tests after they were turned in. Continue Reading
Evan Ebel was released from prison more than three months early, largely due to his participation in programs designed to coax troubled offenders from solitary confinement that were championed by the man he is suspected of killing, Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements, authorities said Friday. Ebel, a 28-year-old member of a white supremacist prison gang with a long felony record, died in a shootout in Texas earlier this month. Investigators say he may be linked to the slaying of Clements as well as a pizza delivery man who was shot to death shortly before the prison chief’s death. Records released Thursday show that Ebel was released on Jan. 28 after serving seven years, 11 months and 24 days in prison. Continue Reading
A Navy SEAL was killed in a training accident in Arizona Thursday after colliding with another SEAL during a parachute jump, Lt. Cmdr. David McKinney confirms to Fox News. The SEAL was transported to the University of Arizona Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The second SEAL was also injured and is in stable condition at the same hospital. A press release with the names of the SEALs was expected Friday night, 24 hours after the family was notified. The training was taking place at Pinal Airpark in Marana, north of Tucson. Continue Reading
A South Carolina high school teacher who talked glowingly about the U.S. and the importance of embracing freedom while stomping on an American flag in his classroom has agreed to resign at the end of this school year. The attorney for Chapin High School teacher Scott Compton and the Lexington-Richland 5 School District released a joint statement Friday announcing Compton’s decision. The district’s superintendent recommended that Compton be fired after parents complained about the lesson. But the teacher had been deciding whether to appeal to the school board. Compton’s lawyer says he stomped the flag to show the idea of what America stands for is greater than the material objects like the flag that represent it and that the teacher did not intend to show any disrespect to military members to the country. Continue Reading
Trade talks fail to break TPP deadlock
US-led plans to seal a landmark Pacific Rim trade deal by the end of this year suffered a major blow on Friday as trade ministers from the 12 countries involved failed to break deadlocks on key issues, potentially complicating further the politics of ...