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South Korea police say probing U.S. ambassador attacker's visits to North Korea

Handout photo of U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Lippert leaving after he was slashed in the face by a member of a pro-Korean unification group at a public forum in central SeoulSouth Korean police said on Friday they were investigating possible links between a knife attack on the U.S. ambassador to Seoul and the assailant's frequent past visits to North Korea as they review whether to charge him with attempted murder. The head of the police team probing the attack also said they plan to seek a formal detention warrant on Friday against the Korean nationalist who slashed Ambassador Mark Lippert at a forum discussing Korean reunification on Thursday. Yoon Myeong-seong, chief of police in the capital's Jongno district, told a news briefing the suspect, Kim Ki-jong, visited North Korea seven times between 1999 and 2007. "We are investigating whether there is any connection between the suspect's visits to North Korea and the crime committed against the U.S. ambassador," Yoon said.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 20:33:58 -0500
Islamic State torches oil field near Tikrit as militia advance

Smoke rises from oil wells in the Ajil field east of the city of Tikrit in the Salahuddin provinceBy Saif Hameed and Dominic Evans BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Islamic State militants have set fire to oil wells northeast of the city of Tikrit to obstruct an assault by Shi'ite militiamen and Iraqi soldiers trying to drive them from the Sunni Muslim city and surrounding towns, a witness said. The witness and a military source said Islamic State fighters ignited the fire at the Ajil oil field to shield themselves from attack by Iraqi military helicopters. The offensive is the biggest Iraqi forces have yet mounted against IS, which has declared an Islamic caliphate on captured territory in Iraq and Syria and spread fear across the region by slaughtering Arab and Western hostages and killing or kidnapping members of religious minorities like Yazidis and Christians. Black smoke could be seen rising from the oil field since Wednesday afternoon, said the witness, who accompanied Iraqi militia and soldiers as they advanced on Tikrit from the east.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 12:40:42 -0500
Iran hints might be open to 10-year partial freeze of nuclear work

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif attends Human Rights Council at UN in GenevaBy Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran's foreign minister on Thursday suggested that a 10-year moratorium on some aspects of the country's nuclear program might be acceptable to Tehran, though he declined to discuss the issue in detail. U.S. President Barack Obama told Reuters on Monday that Iran must commit to a verifiable freeze of at least 10 years on sensitive nuclear activity for a landmark atomic deal to be reached between Tehran and six world powers. CNN's Christiane Amanpour asked Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in an interview if Tehran was prepared to accept decade-long limits on a nuclear program it insists is peaceful.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 17:42:32 -0500
Blast in Syria kills top al Qaeda commander, three others

Members of al Qaeda's Nusra Front gesture as they drive in a convoy touring villages in the southern countryside of IdlibBy Mariam Karouny BEIRUT (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's official Syrian wing, the Nusra Front, announced on Thursday the death of its top military commander, who insurgent sources said fell victim to a blast targeting a high-level militant meeting. General Military Commander Abu Humam al-Shami, a veteran of Islamist militant fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, was the senior-most member of the group to die in the Syria war, an insurgent source said. The sources said at least three other Nusra Front commanders were also killed in the blast, which they said hit the town of Salqin, near the border with Turkey. The blast comes at a time of flux for the Nusra Front, which is waging war on other insurgents and also looking for support from Gulf states, sources in Nusra have said.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 16:06:25 -0500
Exclusive: Scribbled note shows Nemtsov on trail of Russian deaths in Ukraine

Visitor holds flowers and a book by Russian leading opposition figure Nemtsov before funeral in MoscowBy Darya Korsunskaya and Gabriela Baczynska MOSCOW (Reuters) - It may have been the last note Boris Nemtsov ever wrote, a hurried scrawl in blue pen on a plain white sheet of A4 paper. A day before he was shot dead near the Kremlin last week, the Russian opposition figure and his close aide Olga Shorina were discussing a sensitive investigation he was preparing into Moscow's backing for separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine. Since last summer, reports have been circulating inside the country that many serving Russian troops have died in combat in eastern Ukraine, where the separatist war has killed more than 6,000 people. Despite what Ukraine and its Western allies say is overwhelming evidence, Moscow adamantly denies sending arms or troops to the region, saying any Russians fighting in Ukraine are volunteers.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 11:56:57 -0500
U.N. Security Council to vote on chlorine arms use in Syria
The United Nations Security Council is due to vote on Friday on a U.S.-drafted resolution to condemn the use of chlorine as a weapon in Syria and threaten to take action if such arms are used again in the conflict. French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre, president of the council for March, said on Thursday that he hoped the resolution would be adopted unanimously by the 15-member council. Diplomats said it was unclear how Russia, a Syrian ally, would vote. The new draft resolution, obtained by Reuters, does not lay blame for previous chlorine attacks in Syria.
Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:42:31 -0500
Iraq says Islamic State militants 'bulldozed' ancient site
BAGHDAD (AP) — Islamic State militants "bulldozed" the renowned archaeological site of the ancient city of Nimrud in northern Iraq on Thursday using heavy military vehicles, the government said.
Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 20:59:15 -0500
Idaho ex-governors say U.S. wants state to be nuclear waste dump
By Laura Zuckerman SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - Former Idaho Governors Cecil Andrus and Phil Batt threatened on Thursday to sue the U.S. Energy Department to prevent what they said was its efforts to turn the state into "a nuclear waste dumping ground." In a letter notifying the Energy Department of a possible lawsuit, the pair accused it of violating a federal environmental law by planning to ship spent nuclear fuel from elsewhere for study at the Idaho National Laboratory, the department's flagship nuclear research facility. A 1995 agreement hammered out between Idaho and the Energy Department bans shipments of commercial spent nuclear fuel.
Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 20:56:51 -0500
'Informal' talks on Michael Phelps competing at worlds
Michael Phelps possibly could swim at the world championships in July if his ban is overturned by USA Swimming.
Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 20:56:06 -0500
Knifed US envoy to Seoul in pain as officials investigate

South Korean protesters burn North Korean flags and a photo of a suspect of slashing U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert, during a rally denouncing the attack and demanding the alliance between South Korea and the United States, in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, March 5, 2015. Lippert was in stable condition after a man screaming demands for a unified North and South Korea slashed him on the face and wrist with a knife, South Korean police and U.S. officials said Thursday. The letters read "Strengthen South Korea-U.S. alliance." (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to South Korea struggled with pain as he recovered Friday from a knife attack, while police searched the offices of the anti-U.S. activist who they say slashed the envoy while screaming demands for Korean reunification.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 20:41:50 -0500
Timea Bacsinszky advances to Monterrey Open quarterfinals
MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) — Fourth-seeded Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland advanced to the Monterrey Open quarterfinals Thursday, beating Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 20:39:03 -0500
Top Asian News at 1:30 a.m. GMT
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A U.S. ambassador struggled with pain as he recovered Friday from a knife attack, while police searched the offices of the anti-U.S. activist who they say slashed the envoy while screaming demands for Korean reunification. The attack Thursday on Mark Lippert, which prompted rival North Korea to gloat about "knife slashes of justice," left deep gashes and damaged tendons and nerves. It also raised questions about security in a city normally seen as ultra-safe, despite regular threats of war from Pyongyang.
Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 20:32:54 -0500
Ex-crew recognizes photos of sunken Japanese battleship

This Sunday March 1, 2015, image provided by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen and captured with a high-definition camera mounted on an underwater probe, shows what Allen’s team believes is a catapult system from a massive Japanese World War II battleship off the coast of the Philippines. In a statement Allen’s team says it found the battleship just off the Sibuyan Sea, using an autonomous underwater vehicle in its third dive after narrowing down the search area using detailed undersea topographical data and other locator devices. Japanese experts said that they were eager to study the images to try to confirm the ship’s identity. (AP Photo/Paul Allen)TOKYO (AP) — A former crewmember on a Japanese battleship that sank during World War II said Thursday he recognized photos of wreckage discovered this week off the Philippines by a team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 20:27:45 -0500
IS 'bulldozed' ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, Iraq says

File photo of an Iraqi standing next to an ancient statue of a winged bull with a human face, an indication of strength in the Assyrian civilization, at the archaeological site of Nimrud, south of Mosul in northern IraqThe Islamic State group began bulldozing the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud in Iraq, the government said, in the jihadists' latest attack on the country's historical heritage. IS "assaulted the historic city of Nimrud and bulldozed it with heavy vehicles," the tourism and antiquities ministry said on an official Facebook page. An Iraqi antiquities official confirmed the news, saying the destruction began after noon prayers on Thursday and that trucks that may have been used to haul away artefacts had also been spotted at the site. Nimrud, one of the jewels of the Assyrian era, was founded in the 13th century BC and lies on the Tigris River around 30 kilometres (18 miles) southeast of Mosul, Iraq's second city and the main hub of IS in the country.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 20:24:39 -0500
Amid crisis, Venezuelans remember Chavez 2 years after death

Elena de Chavez stands at the tomb of her son, Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez, as she, family members and government officials gather on second anniversary of Chavez's death inside the 4F military museum in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 5, 2015. Chavez died of cancer at age 58 on March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Early morning fireworks burst over Venezuela's capital Thursday for a commemoration of Hugo Chavez on the second anniversary of his death, even as economic crisis threatens to undo his legacy of lifting many out of poverty.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 20:19:33 -0500
Phil Moss fired as coach of A-League's Central Coast side
GOSFORD, Australia (AP) — England-born Phil Moss has been fired by the Central Coast Mariners and replaced on an interim basis by technical director Tony Walmsley for the remainder of the A-League season.
Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 20:04:06 -0500
Libya rivals meet for talks in Morocco as UN seeks unity deal

Saleh al-Makzom, Libyan deputy president of the General National Congress, speaks ahead of the UN-brokered talks in Skhirat, near the Moroccan capital Rabat, on March 5, 2015Representatives of Libya's two rival parliaments on Thursday held UN-brokered talks in Morocco aimed at reaching an agreement on a national unity government and finding someone to head it, officials said. The meeting took place in a "positive and constructive" spirit, UN special envoy Bernardino Leon, who has been trying to bring the two sides together for weeks and who chaired the talks, told a press conference. Libya has been wracked by conflict since the 2011 armed uprising against Moamer Kadhafi, with two governments and powerful militias battling for control of key cities and the North African country's oil riches. Libya's internationally recognised parliament is based in the eastern city of Tobruk while the rival Islamist-backed General National Congress is in the capital Tripoli.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:58:40 -0500
Scott goes to short putter, and it works!

Dustin Johnson studies his second putt on the 18th green during the first round of the Cadillac Championship golf tournament in Doral, Fla., Thursday, March 5, 2015. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)DORAL, Fla. (AP) — Adam Scott said going to a short putter was not a big deal. But it certainly was a good start.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:51:29 -0500
Turkish minister urges fight against extremists in Syria
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The world never had a plan to end the worsening Syrian conflict, Turkey's prime minister said Thursday.
Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:38:50 -0500
Hong Kong freedoms 'eroded' by China: British MPs

Demonstrators display colonial flags during a march for democracy in Hong Kong on February 1, 2015Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy from China is being "eroded", an influential committee of British MPs warned Friday, voicing concern about the former colony's "direction of travel". In a report on Britain's relations with Hong Kong, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee warned the city could face a "crisis of governance" unless tensions over how it is ruled are resolved. Last year saw weeks of protests after China announced that candidates to be the city's next leader in a 2017 vote would be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee. Members of parliament (MPs) were barred from entering Hong Kong by China in December to research the report as the demonstrations continued, with Chinese officials accusing them of acting as a colonial power.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:37:32 -0500
Mexico: Troops kill 4 in gunbattle near border with Texas
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Security officials in the northeast Mexico state of Tamaulipas say they have killed four gunmen in a town near the U.S. border.
Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:32:04 -0500
White powder sent to four Canada ministers: police

Envelopes containing a suspicious white powder were sent to the Quebec regional offices of three Canadian government ministers, including Denis Lebel, pictured in Lac-Megantic on July 8, 2013Montreal (AFP) - Four Canadian government ministers were sent envelopes of a suspicious white powder on Thursday that was later believed to be harmless, police said.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:31:54 -0500
Plane skids off New York runway as winter storm hits US

This image provided by @NYPDSpecialops shows Delta flight 1086 from Atlanta after it skidded off the runway on March 5, 2015 at La Guardia Airport in New YorkAn airliner skidded off a runway at New York's La Guardia airport Thursday and slid to a halt just yards from frigid waters, as a snow storm battered the US coast from Texas to Boston. Heavy snow was falling as Delta flight 1086 from Atlanta careered off the runway, plowed up an embankment and demolished a fence after its late morning landing. New York firefighters said 24 people suffered non-life-threatening injuries, including three who were transported from the scene. The McDonnell Douglas MD-88 was carrying 127 passengers and five crew.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:29:55 -0500
Holmes opens 4-shot lead at Blue Monster

J.B. Holmes hits on the second fairway during the first round of the Cadillac Championship golf tournament, Thursday, March 5, 2015, in Doral, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)DORAL, Fla. (AP) — J.B. Holmes never liked the old Blue Monster at Doral because he thought it was too easy for a World Golf Championship.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:07:15 -0500
Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia agree basis of Nile water deal

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti (R) attends a press conference on the sidelines of meetings in Khartoum on March 3, 2015 between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia to try to resolve a dispute over a dam being built by Addis Ababa on the NileThe foreign ministers of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia said early on Friday they had reached the basis of an agreement on the sharing of Nile waters and Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam. "A full agreement has been reached between our three countries on the principles of the use of the eastern Nile Basin and the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam," Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti told reporters early on Friday morning. Egypt fears Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam project would diminish its share of the river waters.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:04:02 -0500
UK lawmakers say China eroding freedoms in Hong Kong
British lawmakers banned from entering Hong Kong last year said Chinese regulations were eroding freedoms in the former British colony, and urged their government to take a harder stance against Beijing. Pro-democracy protests shut down parts of Hong Kong for two and a half months last year in response to a decision by China to pre-screen candidates in a 2017 election which will choose the city's next chief executive. On Friday a report by British parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee said China's new nomination process was "unduly restrictive". The report highlighted what it called a "troubling pattern" of limitations being imposed on the autonomy and freedoms negotiated for Hong Kong 30 years ago when Britain and China agreed a deal to hand it back to Beijing.
Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:02:04 -0500
Orioles release Suk-min Yoon
SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles have released right-hander Suk-min Yoon.
Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:58:06 -0500
UN council to vote on condemning Syria chlorine bombs

The United Nations Security Council seen during a meeting on March 4, 2015 at the United NationsThe UN Security Council is set to vote on Friday on a US-drafted resolution that threatens measures against the Syrian regime over its alleged use of chlorine bombs. While the measure does not single out the Damascus regime over the use of chlorine, Western powers have made clear that the evidence points to attacks being carried out by President Bashar al-Assad's forces. The draft text states that the Security Council "decides in the event of future non-compliance... to impose measures under chapter 7" of the UN charter, which provides for sanctions and possibly military force. It remained unclear whether Russia, Syria's ally, would support the move and its serious threat of punitive measures.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:57:12 -0500
Evans issues denial, Cisse apology after spitting incident

Manchester United's Jonny Evans, left, vies for the ball with Newcastle United's Gabriel Obertan, right, during their English Premier League soccer match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Wednesday, March, 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)LONDON (AP) — When two English Premier League opponents spat at each other, the television evidence seemed clear.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:52:57 -0500
Canadian risks prison for not giving up phone's passcode

Canadian Alain Philippon is expected to become the first to test whether border inspections can include information stored on devices, after he refused to provide the passcode of his smartphone to Canada Border Services agentsA Canadian charged for refusing to give border agents his smartphone passcode was expected Thursday to become the first to test whether border inspections can include information stored on devices. Alain Philippon, 38, risks up to a year in prison and a fine of up to Can$25,000 (US$20,000) if convicted of obstruction. "Philippon refused to divulge the passcode for his cell phone, preventing border services officers from their duties," Canada Border Services Agency said in an email.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:51:54 -0500
Chelsea fans in new race row

Chelsea fans have allegedly been caught in a fresh race row, according to British media reportsChelsea fans have allegedly been caught in a fresh race row, according to British media reports on Thursday. A video of the latest racist abuse apparently involving Chelsea supporters, obtained by The Sun and broadcast by ITV London News, was taken by a passenger on a train from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly following Chelsea's League Cup final win over Tottenham at Wembley on Sunday.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:24:46 -0500
Mandarin Oriental says hotels in US, Europe hacked
NEW YORK (AP) — High-end hotel chain Mandarin Oriental said Thursday that the credit card systems at some of its hotels in the U.S. and Europe were hacked.
Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:08:12 -0500
Davis Cup draws for the 1st round
Draw for the first round of the Davis Cup:
Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:05:47 -0500
Suriname tribes present gov't with forest conservation plan
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Members of indigenous tribes in Suriname presented lawmakers with an ambitious proposal Thursday urging them to conserve roughly half of the sparsely populated country with a sprawling rainforest hinterland.
Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:02:50 -0500
Plenty to play for as Ireland face Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe coach Dav Whatmore (L) gestures as cricketer Sean Williams looks on during a training session ahead of the 2015 Cricket World Cup Pool B match between Ireland and Zimbabwe in Hobart on March 4, 2015Ireland and Zimbabwe face each other in a Pool B clash at Bellerive Oval in Hobart on Saturday in a match that could have a key bearing on both sides' chances of reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup. The Irish are just ahead of Zimbabwe in the standings with four points from three matches compared to the Africans' two from four. Zimbabwe have two handicaps going into the match against Ireland, arguably the most impressive of all the four non-Test or Associate sides at this World Cup. They will be without captain Elton Chigumbura after the 28-year-old all-rounder suffered a thigh injury when he tripped and fell while chasing a ball in Sunday's 20-run loss to Pakistan at the Gabba in Brisbane.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:01:08 -0500
France begins troop drawdown in Central African Republic

French soldiers of the Sangaris operation patrol in military vehicles on the Boali road near Bangui on December 6, 2014France announced on Thursday it was reducing its troop numbers in the Central African Republic as it gradually hands over to a 8,500-strong UN peacekeeping force brought in to contain a deadly sectarian conflict. "We are going to begin a first cutback phase in the following days, going from 2,000 to 1,700 men," army spokesman Gilles Jaron said. France's Operation Sangaris will be reorganised around two zones -- one between the capital Bangui and the central town of Bambari and the other around Kaga Bandoro and Ndele further north -- with the UN mission MINUSCA taking over almost all the responsibility in the east, Jaron said. France will continue to provide support to the UN as it tackles ex-Seleka extremists, he said.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:00:10 -0500
Top-ranked Li Xuerui ousted in All England 2nd round
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — World No. 1 Li Xuerui was ousted in the second round of the All England Open when she lost for the first time to fellow Chinese Sun Yu 21-13, 21-13 on Thursday.
Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:00:10 -0500
Ex-wife of Argentine prosecutor says he was killed

A man holds a handwritten message that reads in Spanish; "We are Nisman, Truth and Justice," in front of the building where Sandra Arroyo Salgado, ex-wife of the late Argentina prosecutor Alberto Nisman, held a press conference, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, March 5, 2015. Salgado said that experts hired by the family of Argentine prosecutor concluded that he was killed and ruled out the hypothesis of suicide. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The former wife of a prosecutor whose mysterious death has rocked Argentina said Thursday a team of experts she hired concluded that her former husband was killed and his body moved to the bathroom where he was found dead.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 17:59:10 -0500
Father tells jury about boy's death at Boston Marathon

In this courtroom sketch, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, center, is depicted between defense attorneys Miriam Conrad, left, and Judy Clarke, right, during his federal death penalty trial, Thursday, March 5, 2015, in Boston. Tsarnaev is charged with conspiring with his brother to place two bombs near the Boston Marathon finish line in April 2013, killing three and injuring 260 people. (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)BOSTON (AP) — With Dzhokhar Tsarnaev seated at the defense table not far away Thursday, the father of an 8-year-old boy killed in the Boston Marathon bombing described the moment when he looked down at his son's pale, torn body and realized he wouldn't make it.

Date Posted : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 17:55:50 -0500

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