KRISTV.com http://www.kristv.com/ KRISTV.com World News World News en-us Copyright 2014, KRISTV.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:04:37 GMT Synapse CMS 10 KRISTV.com http://www.kristv.com/ 144 25 South Korea Says 293 Missing In Ferry Disaster http://www.kristv.com/news/south-korea-says-293-missing-in-ferry-disaster/ http://www.kristv.com/news/south-korea-says-293-missing-in-ferry-disaster/ World News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 3:19:11 AM Associated Press South Korea Says 293 Missing In Ferry Disaster

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Nearly 300 people were still missing Wednesday several hours after a ferry carrying 459, most of them high school students, sank in cold waters off South Korea's southern coast, killing at least two and injuring seven, officials said.

There were fears, however, of a big jump in the death toll, as dozens of boats, helicopters and divers scrambled to rescue passengers who had been on the ferry traveling to the southern tourist island of Jeju. One passenger said he believed that many people were trapped inside the ferry when it sank.

The ferry sent a distress call at about 9 a.m. local time Wednesday after it began leaning to one side, according to the Ministry of Security and Public Administration. The government said about 95 percent of the ferry, whose passengers included 325 high school students on a school trip to the popular tourist island, was submerged.

Coast guard officers, speaking on condition of anonymity citing department rules, said at least two people died and 293 were unaccounted for, but gave no further details, including what might have caused the ferry to sink. Official estimates of the missing, dead and even the number of passengers on the ship varied wildly as the search went on. A government official had earlier said that more than 100 people were unaccounted for, but officials later boosted the number to 295 missing and then changed it to 293.

Media photos showed wet students, some without shoes, some wrapped in blankets, tended to by emergency workers. One student, Lim Hyung-min, told broadcaster YTN from a gym on a nearby island that he and other students jumped into the ocean wearing life jackets and then swam to a nearby rescue boat.

"As the ferry was shaking and tilting, we all tripped and bumped into each another," Lim said, adding that some people were bleeding. Once he jumped, the ocean "was so cold. ... I was hurrying, thinking that I wanted to live."

The water temperature in the area was about 12 degrees Celsius (54 Fahrenheit), cold enough to cause signs of hypothermia after about 90 minutes or 2 hours, according to an emergency official who spoke on condition of anonymity citing department rules. Officials said mud on the ocean floor made underwater search operations difficult. The ship sank in waters several kilometers (miles) north of Byeongpung Island, which is near the mainland and about 470 kilometers (290 miles) from Seoul, according to the coast guard.

Local media earlier showed the mostly submerged ferry tilting dramatically as helicopters flew overhead and rescue vessels floated nearby.

Passenger Kim Seong-mok, speaking from a nearby island after his rescue, told YTN that he was "certain" that many people were trapped inside the ferry as water quickly rushed in and the severe tilt of the vessel kept them from reaching the exits. Some people urged those who couldn't get out of the ferry to break windows.

Kim said that after having breakfast he felt the ferry tilt and then heard it crash into something. He said the ferry operator made an announcement asking that passengers wait and not move from their places. Kim said he didn't hear any announcement telling passengers to escape.

The students are from a high school in Ansan city near Seoul and were on their way to Jeju island for a four-day trip, according to a relief team set up by Gyeonggi Province, which governs the city. The ferry left Incheon port, just west of Seoul, on Tuesday evening, according to the state-run Busan Regional Maritime Affairs & Port Administration. The trip from Incheon to Jeju is usually about 14 hours, so the ferry was about three hours from its destination when it made the distress call.

At the high school, students were sent home and parents gathered for news about the ferry.

Park Ji-hee, a first-year student, said she saw about a dozen parents crying at the school entrance and many cars and taxis gathered at the gate as she left in the morning.

She said some students in her classroom began to cry as they saw the news on their handsets. Teachers tried to soothe them, saying that the students on the ferry would be fine.

Officials said dozens of navy and coast guard divers, more than eight government boats, 11 helicopters and eight private fishing boats were helping with rescue efforts.

Lee Gyeong-og, a vice minister for South Korea's Public Administration and Security Ministry, had earlier said 14 were injured, but officials later changed the number to seven without elaborating.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Official: Gunmen Abduct Jordan Ambassador in Libya http://www.kristv.com/news/official-gunmen-abduct-jordan-ambassador-in-libya/ http://www.kristv.com/news/official-gunmen-abduct-jordan-ambassador-in-libya/ World News Tue, 15 Apr 2014 4:42:54 AM Associated Press Official: Gunmen Abduct Jordan Ambassador in Libya

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) - A Libyan official says gunmen have abducted Jordan's ambassador to Tripoli.

Libya's Foreign Ministry's spokesman Said al-Aswad says several masked gunmen in civilian clothes and in two cars attacked the car of Ambassador Fawaz al-Etan on Tuesday morning in Tripoli.

Al-Aswad says the assailants opened fire at the ambassador's vehicle, wounding his driver and forcing al-Etan out at gunpoint.

Sabah al-Rafie, the spokeswoman for the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, confirmed the kidnapping. She had no further details but said the Jordanian government was following the matter closely with the Libyan authorities.

Abductions are rife in Libya since the 2011 uprising that resulted in the toppling of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Officials are most often targeted but diplomats and journalists have also frequently been subjected to kidnappings, threats and attacks.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Blast Rips Up Busy Bus Station In Nigerian Capital http://www.kristv.com/news/blast-rips-up-busy-bus-station-in-nigerian-capital/ http://www.kristv.com/news/blast-rips-up-busy-bus-station-in-nigerian-capital/ World News Mon, 14 Apr 2014 3:41:19 AM Associated Press Blast Rips Up Busy Bus Station In Nigerian Capital

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) - An explosion has blasted through a busy commuter bus station on the outskirts of Nigeria's capital, Abuja, as hundreds of people were traveling to work.

Many are feared dead. The blast destroyed more than 30 vehicles and caused secondary explosions as their fuel tanks exploded and burned.

Reporters saw rescue workers and police gathering body parts.

The Boko Haram terrorist network has been threatening to attack the capital, in the middle of the country and hundreds of miles from its traditional base in the northeast, where it has killed hundreds of people this year.

The Islamic extremists claimed a 2011 suicide bombing by two explosives-laden cars that drove into the lobby of the United Nations office building in Abuja. It killed at least 21 people and wounded 60.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Ukraine: The Next Move http://www.kristv.com/news/ukraine-the-next-move/ http://www.kristv.com/news/ukraine-the-next-move/ World News Wed, 9 Apr 2014 10:47:17 AM Ukraine: The Next Move

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC News) - Trouble in eastern Ukraine has the U.S. considering whether to "get tough" on Russia.

It doesn't mean sending our military into Ukraine. No one is calling for that, but sanctions haven't worked - so it's unclear what the next steps will be.

Pro-Russian demonstrations in at least three parts of eastern Ukraine, and this is what has the U.S. concerned.

In Luhansk, 60 people are being held hostage, with demands for an election -- a vote for independence, just like Crimea.

The U.S. thinks Russia behind it and promises quick action if Russia moves into eastern Ukraine. "It doesn't have to be this way but will if Russia continues down this provocative path," said Secretary of State John Kerry.

Secretary of State John Kerry is suggesting more sanctions against major parts of Russia's economy.

Individual sanctions against President Putin's closest advisers haven't worked so far. "What you're doing, is talking strongly and carrying a very small stick, in fact, a twig," declared Senator John McCain, (R) Arizona.

Today, lawmakers will introduce a bill to help Ukraine fight back: "It's unconscionable that the Ukraine is facing this and the United States is standing on the sidelines and not even actively advising their military," said Rep. Buck McKeon, (R) California.

Advice only - no troops aimed at punishing Russia, but not starting another war.

Next week secretary Kerry meets with the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Russia and the European Union. It's their first four way meeting since the crisis began.

 


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Pistorius Wails While Testifying About Shooting Girlfriend http://www.kristv.com/news/pistorius-wails-while-testifying-about-shooting-girlfriend/ http://www.kristv.com/news/pistorius-wails-while-testifying-about-shooting-girlfriend/ World News Tue, 8 Apr 2014 5:39:53 PM Pistorius Wails While Testifying About Shooting Girlfriend

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - A subdued Oscar Pistorius on Tuesday described dinner at home, chatting and looking at cell phone photos with Reeva Steenkamp on the last night of her life. Then he erupted in anguished howls and heaving sobs while testifying at his murder trial about the moments when he says he realized he shot his girlfriend through a closed toilet door.

The shocking spectacle of what appeared to be a tormented man highlighted the drama of Pistorius' inspirational rise and sudden fall. The South African double-amputee runner captured the world's attention when he successfully fought for permission to run in the 2012 Olympics on his carbon-fiber prostheses. The very next year, he was facing charges for killing the woman he said he loved.

The court in Pretoria, the South African capital, adjourned because of the star athlete's breakdown, ending a day in which Pistorius spoke of the loving aspects of his relationship with Steenkamp in testimony designed to counter a prosecution picture of him as temperamental and overbearing, and then outlined his version of the final hours before the shooting.

"I sat over Reeva and I cried," Pistorius said, telling how he broke open the stall door in his bathroom in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013 to discover his bloodied girlfriend slumped in the cubicle. "I don't know how long I was there for."

Pistorius has said in statements that he shot Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder in his bathroom. Tuesday marked the first time he has spoken publicly about the details of the fatal shooting. Prosecutors call Pistorius' story an intricate lie and maintain he intentionally killed his 29-year-old girlfriend, a model and reality TV show star, after an argument.

The 27-year-old Olympian faces a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years before parole if convicted of premeditated murder. The judge, Thokozile Masipa, will deliver the verdict because South Africa does not have a jury system.

Pistorius has often shown emotion while listening to testimony since the trial began March 3, burying his head in his hands, weeping and even vomiting on a couple of occasions. Tuesday's outburst on the witness stand was his most demonstrative, and it forced a brief adjournment. Pistorius didn't stand up when the judge left, and also started to wail as he slumped in his seat. His brother and sister went over to comfort him. After a while he left the courtroom through a side door, still crying.

When Masipa returned, she ended proceedings for the day. Pistorius had by that time come back, jaw clenched, to the witness box. He was composed when he left the court and walked to a waiting vehicle. The trial was to reconvene on Wednesday.

Led by defense lawyer Barry Roux for the second day of his testimony, the runner provided more detail about his timeline of events leading up to the shooting. He said the couple had dinner about 7 p.m. and later sat chatting in the bedroom with the television on, and that Steenkamp showed him some photographs on her phone. He said he fell asleep between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. and woke up early the next morning.

At that point, he said, Steenkamp asked him: "Can't you sleep?"

'"No, I can't,'" Pistorius said he replied. Then he said stepped out to the balcony to get fans, and when he returned to the darkened bedroom he heard a noise from the bathroom.

"That's the moment that everything changed," Pistorius testified.

Pistorius said he felt fearful and vulnerable as he moved to the bathroom, walking only on his stumps because he had removed his prosthetic legs before going to bed. He said he was screaming for Steenkamp to call the police.

"I wasn't sure if someone was going to come out the toilet and attack me," he said. He also testified he heard a door slam, which he said he took as "confirmation" that there was an intruder in the bathroom, and fired four shots at the toilet cubicle with his 9 mm pistol.

After the shots, Pistorius said, he searched for Steenkamp in his bedroom, patting the bed where he says he thought she was in the dark, searching on the floor next to it where he thought she might be hiding, and also behind the curtains.

"It was at that point ... that it first dawned on me that maybe it was Reeva in the toilet," Pistorius said. He said he screamed for help.

Neighbors of Pistorius who were called by the prosecution have testified that they heard a woman's terrified screams before and during what they thought were gunshots. Some also said they thought they heard a man's voice. The defense has suggested that the neighbors heard only Pistorius screaming and not a woman.

In earlier testimony Tuesday, Pistorius denied three other charges against him relating to firing a gun in public on two occasions, and illegal possession of ammunition.

He said he wasn't to blame for a shot going off in a busy Johannesburg restaurant because a friend handed him an "unsafe" gun with a bullet in the chamber under the table. He also said he wasn't guilty of illegally possessing .38-caliber ammunition in his home because he was safekeeping it for his father and he had no intention to use it.

Pistorius was born without fibula bones because of a congenital defect, and his legs were amputated when he was 11 months old. He ran on carbon-fiber blades and is a multiple Paralympic medalist. He competed at the London Olympics but didn't win a medal.

In a dramatic scene before the packed courtroom Tuesday, Pistorius left briefly at one point to change out of his dark suit and into a white shirt and shorts, similar to the clothes he was wearing when he killed Steenkamp.

Prompted by his lawyer, Pistorius then took off his prosthesis and stood on his stumps by the bullet-marked toilet door, which has remained in the courtroom for much of the trial. It appeared to be an effort by the defense to illustrate what they describe as the Olympian's vulnerability at the time of the shooting.

___

Gerald Imray is on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP

Torchia reported from Johannesburg.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Pistorius: Relations With Reeva Sometimes Troubled http://www.kristv.com/news/pistorius-relations-with-reeva-sometimes-troubled/ http://www.kristv.com/news/pistorius-relations-with-reeva-sometimes-troubled/ World News Tue, 8 Apr 2014 4:40:14 AM Associated Press Pistorius: Relations With Reeva Sometimes Troubled

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - Testifying in his murder trial on Tuesday, Oscar Pistorius said he and girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp sometimes had troubles in their relationship but that they sorted them out, were in love and were planning a life together.

Prosecutors say Pistorius was often jealous and overbearing in his relationship with Steenkamp and killed her intentionally after a loud argument in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day last year. Pistorius claims he shot the 29-year-old model by mistake through a toilet door at his house, thinking she was a dangerous intruder.

Pistorius referred to a phone message Steenkamp sent him in late January 2013 when she said she was sometimes "scared" of the double-amputee Olympic athlete. The prosecution presented the message earlier in the trial as an indicator of Pistorius' threatening behavior.

Pistorius, 27, said Tuesday that the couple had a disagreement at a social function that day and he was "maybe just being sensitive, insecure or jealous." Pistorius said he apologized to Steenkamp and sent her a message saying: "I want to talk to you. I want to sort this out. ... I'm sorry for the things that I say without thinking."

"My lady, I think it was a bad day in our relationship," Pistorius said, addressing the judge who will ultimately deliver a verdict in the trial that began last month.

Defense lawyer Barry Roux asked Pistorius if the unhappiness in their relationship had passed and Pistorius replied yes.

Pistorius was being led through questions by Roux, with the defense attempting to counter accusations that the runner was a reckless hothead with an obsessive love of firearms and prone to outbursts of anger.

Speaking softly, Pistorius mostly kept his composure, with his voice occasionally quivering with emotion when he spoke about the woman he killed by shooting three times in the head, arm and hip.

He also spoke of the first time he met Steenkamp, in November 2012, and his decision to ask her to join him at a sports awards event that evening on the spur of the moment. He denied he had cheated on a former girlfriend when he met Steenkamp, saying the previous relationship had ended.

Pistorius first took the witness stand on Monday, making a tearful apology to Steenkamp's family for killing her as Steenkamp's mother, June, sat in the courtroom, staring at him without expression.

Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted on the murder charge.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Gunbattle Kills 14 in Border Town of Tamaulipas http://www.kristv.com/news/gunbattle-kills-14-in-border-town-of-tamaulipas/ http://www.kristv.com/news/gunbattle-kills-14-in-border-town-of-tamaulipas/ World News Mon, 7 Apr 2014 1:58:32 PM Gunbattle Kills 14 in Border Town of Tamaulipas

MEXICO CITY (AP) - A series of weekend clashes among criminal gangs killed 14 people during a day of violence in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas on the border with Texas, local authorities reported.

Thirteen men and one woman were killed Sunday in the southern part of the state around the Gulf Coast port of Tampico and neighboring Ciudad Madero, with people shot on the street or at local businesses, said a statement issued late that evening by Tamaulipas state's coordinating group of state and federal law enforcement.

At least five other people have been killed in confrontations in the same region over the last few days: four suspected gang members who clashed with soldiers in the Miguel Aleman township on Saturday and a woman mourner shot at a funeral in Matamoros on Thursday.

Tamaulipas is home to both the Gulf cartel and the Zetas drug gang. The confrontations followed joint operations by army and police that netted dozens of suspected drug cartel gunmen, along with vehicles and weapons.

The government statement did not identify the gangs involved in the Sunday clashes, but Tampico Mayor Gustavo Torres told Milenio TV that eight victims in his city were apparently linked to the Gulf Cartel.

On Saturday in Miguel Aleman, just across the border from Roma, Texas, soldiers killed four gunmen, wounded two others and captured four after the army patrol came under fire from a sport utility vehicle that featured homemade armoring. Such vehicles are frequently used by area drug gangs and have steel plates welded across their windows and body panels. In and around the vehicle, soldiers found 17 rifles, including a .50-caliber sniper rifle, two grenade launchers and two grenades.

The previous day, gunmen had opened fire at a hotel in the neighboring Tamaulipas city of Ciudad Mier, but it was unclear whether anyone was hurt there. Eight employees of Weatherford International Ltd., a Swiss-based oil services company, were at the hotel, but all are "fine and accounted for," according to company spokeswoman Kelley Hughes.

Some clashes may have been sparked by raids during the last week of March, in which soldiers and police arrested 34 suspects, seized 41 vehicles, 28 guns, two grenades, marijuana, and thousands of rounds of ammunition and 1,677 gallons (6,350 liters) of stolen gasoline. Drug gangs in some parts of Mexico have made a side business of tapping into government-owned pipelines to steal fuel.

Confrontations can also erupt from inter-gang rivalries, which have raged in Tamaulipas for years.

On Thursday, gunmen opened fire on mourners in a funeral for two slain men in Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, killing one woman.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Pistorius Trial Resumes, Defense Opens Case http://www.kristv.com/news/pistorius-trial-resumes-defense-opens-case/ http://www.kristv.com/news/pistorius-trial-resumes-defense-opens-case/ World News Mon, 7 Apr 2014 5:06:21 AM Associated Press Pistorius Trial Resumes, Defense Opens Case

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA (AP) - The defense in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial has opened its case, calling a pathologist as its first witness.

Prof. Jan Botha was testifying Monday following four weeks of prosecution-led testimony and a week's adjournment after one of the judge's aides fell ill.

Botha was allowed to testify first and ahead of Pistorius in an agreement with prosecutors because of a family illness. Defendants who choose to testify normally go first in South Africa.

Pistorius is expected to testify after Botha and explain his version that he shot and killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by mistake on Valentine's Day last year thinking she was an intruder in his home. The double-amputee athlete is charged with premeditated murder for the nighttime killing and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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North Korea says US 'Hell-bent on Regime Change' http://www.kristv.com/news/north-korea-says-us-hell-bent-on-regime-change-/ http://www.kristv.com/news/north-korea-says-us-hell-bent-on-regime-change-/ World News Fri, 4 Apr 2014 4:22:34 PM North Korea says US 'Hell-bent on Regime Change'

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - North Korea on Friday accused the United States of being "hell-bent on regime change" and warned that any maneuvers with that intention will be viewed as a "red line" that will result in countermeasures.

Pyongyang's deputy U.N. ambassador Ri Tong Il also repeated that his government "made it very clear we will carry out a new form of nuclear test" but refused to elaborate, saying only that "I recommend you to wait and see what it is."

His comments came at North Korea's second press conference at the United Nations in two weeks, a surprising rate for the reclusive Communist regime.

Ri blamed the U.S. for aggravating tensions on the Korean Peninsula by continuing "very dangerous" military drills with South Korea, by pursuing action in the U.N. Security Council against his country's recent ballistic missile launches and by going after Pyongyang's human rights performance.

Ri also accused the U.S. of blocking a resumption of six-party talks on its nuclear program by settling preconditions and said Washington's primary goal is to maintain tensions and prevent denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

A U.S. diplomat who was not authorized to comment publicly later responded: "We have long made clear - in close consultation with our allies - that we are open to improved relations with the DPRK if it is willing to take clear actions to live up to its international obligations and commitments."

North Korea walked away from the six-party nuclear disarmament talks in 2009 over disagreements on how to verify steps the North was meant to take to end its nuclear programs. The U.S. and its allies are demanding that the North demonstrate its sincerity in ending its drive to acquire nuclear weapons.

Since pulling out of the six-party talks, the North has conducted a long-range rocket test, its second-ever nuclear test, and most recently short-range rockets launches.

Using the initials of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the country's official name, Ri said, "The DPRK has been making strenuous, hard efforts, very generous, toward easing the tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but ignoring all this generous position of the DPRK and its proposals, the U.S. went ahead with opening the joint military drills, very aggressive nature, and they're now expanding in a crazy manner the scale of this exercise."

He also rejected as "illegal" a Security Council statement last week that condemned North Korea's test-firing of two medium-range ballistic missiles as violations of council resolutions.

The deputy ambassador did not answer questions on detained American Kenneth Bae or on his country's drone program, which it has been promoting recently. South Korean experts this week claimed that two small, camera-equipped drones had been flown across the border by the North, calling them crude and decidedly low-tech. Both drones crashed in South Korea.

___

Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer contributed.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Russia Arrests 25 Ukrainians for Sabotage http://www.kristv.com/news/russia-arrests-25-ukrainians-for-sabotage/ http://www.kristv.com/news/russia-arrests-25-ukrainians-for-sabotage/ World News Thu, 3 Apr 2014 11:28:48 AM Russia Arrests 25 Ukrainians for Sabotage

MOSCOW (AP) - A state-controlled Russian TV station says 25 Ukrainian citizens have been arrested in Russia by the country's security agency on suspicion of planning sabotage.

NTV television reported Thursday those arrested included three activists from Right Sector, a Ukrainian nationalist group that played a role in the ouster of Ukraine's pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February. The report didn't say when the suspects were arrested or give their names but included footage of three suspects in custody.

NTV also reported the suspects had instructions to take pictures of Russian military movements on the border with Ukraine and were plotting to launch their sabotage last month in Russia.

There was no immediate comment from Russia's security service.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Earthquake Rocks Chile http://www.kristv.com/news/earthquake-rocks-chile/ http://www.kristv.com/news/earthquake-rocks-chile/ World News Wed, 2 Apr 2014 4:54:47 AM Earthquake Rocks Chile

CHILE - A massive earthquake hit off the northern coast of Chile, killing at least five people and leaving many others seriously hurt.

The magnitude 8.2 quake forced evacuations along the country's entire pacific coast for fear of tsunamis.

Officials say about 900,000 people left the region.

Neighboring countries Bolivia and Peru also felt the effects. People were also evacuated from buildings there.

US officials say they've found no threat of a tsunami along the coasts of Alaska, California, Oregon or Washington, as a result this earthquake.

Any danger to Hawaii should be limited to potentially strong currents at beaches.

 


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NATO Orders End to Cooperation with Russia http://www.kristv.com/news/nato-orders-end-to-cooperation-with-russia/ http://www.kristv.com/news/nato-orders-end-to-cooperation-with-russia/ World News Tue, 1 Apr 2014 11:26:15 AM NATO Orders End to Cooperation with Russia

BRUSSELS (AP) - NATO's foreign ministers have ordered an end to civilian and military cooperation with Russia and told their generals and admirals to quickly devise ways to better protect alliance members that feel threatened by Vladimir Putin's Kremlin.

The 28-member alliance, the keystone of U.S. and European security, was reacting to its most serious crisis in years: Russia's unilateral annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

Secretary of State John Kerry and the other ministers, meeting at NATO headquarters behind closed doors, unanimously agreed Tuesday on a number of measures, including possible redeployment of military assets in eastern NATO nations like Poland and the Baltic states.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Fukushima Evacuation Lifted http://www.kristv.com/news/fukushima-evacuation-lifted/ http://www.kristv.com/news/fukushima-evacuation-lifted/ World News Tue, 1 Apr 2014 4:22:08 AM Fukushima Evacuation Lifted

JAPAN - Residents of an area just 12 miles from the Fukushima nuclear plant were allowed to return home today.

The area has been off-limits for most residents since March 2011.

That's when the Government ordered evacuations due to the crisis at the Fukushima Daichi facility sparked by a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Today's return is a milestone for the 357 registered residents of the district.

More than 160,000 people were forced to evacuate from towns near the Fukushima plant.

Around a third of them are still living in temporary housing.

 


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Russia Pulls Back a Battalion from Ukraine Border http://www.kristv.com/news/russia-pulls-back-a-battalion-from-ukraine-border/ http://www.kristv.com/news/russia-pulls-back-a-battalion-from-ukraine-border/ World News Mon, 31 Mar 2014 2:49:58 PM Associated Press Russia Pulls Back a Battalion from Ukraine Border

SIMFEROPOL, Crimea (AP) - Russia said Monday it was pulling a battalion of several hundred troops away from the Ukrainian border but kept tens of thousands in place, prompting a worried response from the Kiev government about what the U.S. warned was still a "tremendous buildup."

Strengthening its economic hold on Crimea, Russia sent its prime minister to Crimea on Monday with promises of quick funds for improved power supplies, water lines, education and pensions for the elderly.

Russia's takeover of the strategic Black Sea peninsula, its troop buildup near Ukraine's border and its attempts to compel constitutional changes in Ukraine have markedly raised tensions with the West and prompted fears that Moscow intends to invade other areas of the neighboring nation.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a Monday phone call that some troops were being withdrawn from the Ukraine border, Merkel's office said.

The U.S. reacted cautiously to the Russian troop movement, with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel saying that "tens of thousands" of Russian forces still remained along the Ukrainian border, a situation he called "a tremendous buildup."

The new government in Ukraine said the action was confusing at best and possibly disingenuous.

"We have information that Russia is carrying out incomprehensible maneuvers on the border with Ukraine," Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Yevgen Perebyinis said. "Troops in some places are moving backward, some of them are moving forward. Which is why, obviously, we are worried by these movements of armed forces. We have no clear explanation from the Russian side about the aim of these movements."

The Obama administration tried to put a positive spin on the pullback.

"Now there have been reports of possible drawdowns of Russian military forces from the border. We haven't seen that yet, but if they turn out to be accurate, that would be a good thing," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

Concerns of a possible invasion of eastern Ukraine - home to many ethnic Russians - were stoked by the large numbers of troops Russia had along the Ukrainian border for what Moscow said were military exercises.

One Russian battalion - about 500 troops - that had been sent to the Rostov region next to Ukraine was being withdrawn to its permanent base in the central Samara region, Russian news agencies quoted the Defense Ministry as saying Monday.

Alexander Rozmaznin, deputy chief of the Ukrainian armed forces command center, confirmed a drop in Russian troop numbers along the border.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also discussed Ukraine by phone Monday, a day after holding talks in Paris, the ministry said.

In Kiev, meanwhile, Ukraine's acting president flatly rejected escalating Russian pressure to turn Ukraine into a loose federation.

"Russia's leadership should deal with problems in the Russian Federation, and not with Ukraine's problems," Ukraine's acting president Oleksandr Turchinov said. "It is Ukrainians that should dictate the form of the new constitution and how the country is structured."

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who led a delegation of Cabinet ministers on a surprise visit to Crimea, pledged that Russia will quickly boost salaries and pensions there and pour in resources to improve education, health care and local infrastructure.

But making no mistake about Russia's view of the peninsula, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin tweeted a photo of himself upon arrival with the words "Crimea is ours, and that's that."

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March after a hastily called referendum held just two weeks after Russian forces had taken control the Black Sea region. Ukraine and the West have rejected the vote.

The annexation came after Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February and fled to Russia following months of protests. Russia claims the ouster was a coup and that the new Ukrainian authorities are nationalist fascists who will abuse Ukraine's large ethnic Russian population.

To keep its influence over eastern and southern Ukraine, Russia has pushed for Ukraine to become a federation where regions would have broad powers. The U.S. says it's up to Ukrainians to determine the structure of their government, not Moscow.

Medvedev said Russia will create a special economic zone in Crimea - a peninsula of 2 million people - that will create incentives for business with lower taxes and simpler rules. Russia will also seek to develop the region as a top tourist destination.

"We must create a new investment history for Crimea, which will be more successful than what it has been," Medvedev said.

Medvedev particularly emphasized the need to ensure a stable power supply for the peninsula. Crimea currently gets about 80 percent of its electricity and a similar share of its water from Ukraine, and power cutoffs last week raised fears that the Ukrainian government could use energy as a weapon to bargain with Russia.

Medvedev said Russia already has made sure that Crimea has enough backup power capacity to ensure an uninterrupted electricity supply. He added that Russia will work on long-term solutions to Crimea's energy problem that could involve linking the region to Russia's power grid or developing local power generation.

He said efforts will also be made to quickly repair water infrastructure to reduce loss of water. In the future, Crimea could get water from Russia or create its own water reservoirs.

Russia's defense minister, meanwhile, announced Monday that all Crimean men of conscription age will get a deferral from the draft for one year.

In Moscow, the lower house of parliament voted unanimously Monday to annul agreements with Ukraine on Russia's navy base in Crimea. In 2010, Ukraine extended the lease of Russia's Black Sea Fleet's base until 2042 for an annual rent of $98 million and price discounts for Russian natural gas supplies.

The United States and the European Union have slapped travel bans and asset freezes on members of Putin's inner circle for the annexation of Crimea and warned that Russia will face even more painful sanctions if it tries to invade eastern Ukraine.

But in a sign that Russian-U.S. talks could be inching toward a compromise, a senior Russian diplomat changed his tone Monday while speaking about Ukraine's May 25 presidential election, which the West has urged Moscow to recognize.

Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies that the Ukrainian vote should be fair and transparent. While Karasin said constitutional reform in Ukraine should remain the top priority, his statement seemed to indicate a softening of Russia's previous stance that the presidential vote was premature.

Karasin refused to say if Moscow would recognize the outcome of the vote.

___

Isachenkov reported from Moscow.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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North, South Korea Exchange Fire http://www.kristv.com/news/north-south-korea-exchange-fire/ http://www.kristv.com/news/north-south-korea-exchange-fire/ World News Mon, 31 Mar 2014 4:26:27 AM North, South Korea Exchange Fire

SOUTH KOREA - North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire today into each other's waters.

Pyongyang had earlier announced it would conduct live fire exercises in seven areas North of a disputed maritime border.

A South Korean Defense Ministry Spokesman said the North fired more than 500 artillery rounds during the drill and about 100 of them landed in waters South of the disputed boundary.

He said the South responded by firing more than 300 artillery rounds into the water north of what's known as the Northern limit line.

No land targets were hit by either side, though South Koreans living on islands near the front line were sent into shelters.

 


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Pistorius Trial Delayed Over Legal Aide Illness http://www.kristv.com/news/pistorius-trial-delayed-over-legal-aide-illness/ http://www.kristv.com/news/pistorius-trial-delayed-over-legal-aide-illness/ World News Fri, 28 Mar 2014 3:30:35 AM Pistorius Trial Delayed Over Legal Aide Illness

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - The judge in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius has delayed proceedings until April 7.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said Friday that one of her two assessors, legal experts who are helping her with the case, was unwell and that the trial had to be delayed.

Defense lawyers for the double-amputee runner who killed his girlfriend last year were due to begin their case on Friday after four weeks of prosecution-led testimony.

Pistorius says he shot Reeva Steenkamp by accident, mistaking her for an intruder in his home. Prosecutors say he killed her after an argument.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Turkey Moves to Block Youtube Access http://www.kristv.com/news/turkey-moves-to-block-youtube-access/ http://www.kristv.com/news/turkey-moves-to-block-youtube-access/ World News Thu, 27 Mar 2014 12:04:14 PM Turkey Moves to Block Youtube Access

ISTANBUL (AP) - Turkish authorities were moving to block access to YouTube on Thursday following similar action against Twitter, the country's state-run news agency said.

While the Anadolu Agency said the national telecommunications authorities had instituted the block, the website was still widely accessible following the announcement. The block against YouTube is likely to provoke further outrage in Turkey, where social media is widely used.

Key allies, including the U.S. and the European Union, had criticized the earlier move against Twitter as a restriction of free speech and a step backward for Turkish democracy. That ban came shortly after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to "rip out the roots" of Twitter, which has been a conduit for links to recordings suggesting government corruption. Turkey holds crucial local elections Sunday, widely regarded as a referendum on Erdogan's rule.

A telecommunications authority webpage gave the following information for YouTube.com: "After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the law, an administrative measure has been taken for this website."

In an emailed statement from Google Inc., which owns YouTube, spokeswoman Abbi Tatton said the company had seen reports that some users in Turkey weren't able to access YouTube.

"There is no technical issue on our side and we're looking into the situation," she said.

The ban comes after an alleged audio recording of a meeting between the Turkey's foreign minister, intelligence chief and top military and foreign ministry officials was leaked on YouTube. The four are allegedly heard discussing a military intervention in Syria, a sensitive political issue in Turkey. Though the context of the conversation is not clear.

Earlier Thursday, Erdogan railed against the leak of an audio recording during a campaign rally.

"Even this meeting is being posted on YouTube," he said. "This is immoral, this is sleaze, this is shameful, this is dishonorable."

Shortly after Thursday's announcement, European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes in a tweet called the block against YouTube "another desperate and depressing move in Turkey."

"I express my support for all those supporters of real freedom and democracy," she said. "We in Europe stand for an open Internet and free expression on it."

The attempted crackdown on Twitter came after links to other wiretapped recordings suggesting corruption were spread on the microblogging site, causing Erdogan's government major embarrassment before Sunday's local elections.

Erdogan has confirmed that he personally ordered the block on Twitter, alleging that the company wasn't following Turkish laws. Despite the block, many Turkish users have found ways to access Twitter.

Erdogan has blamed a movement led by U.S.-based moderate Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former political ally of Erdogan. Also on Thursday, a television station linked to Gulen said that Turkish authorities have withdrawn its license to broadcast nationally.

___

Suzan Fraser in Ankara contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Thai Satellite Detects Objects http://www.kristv.com/news/thai-satellite-detects-objects/ http://www.kristv.com/news/thai-satellite-detects-objects/ World News Thu, 27 Mar 2014 7:29:55 AM Thai Satellite Detects Objects

UNDATED - A Thai satellite has detected about 300 objects floating in the Indian Ocean near the search area for the missing Malaysian plane.

According to Thailand's space technology development agency, the images show 300 objects of various sizes in the Southern Indian Ocean about 1600 miles Southwest of Perth.

It said the images were taken by satellite on Monday, took two days to process and were sent to Malaysian authorities on Wednesday.

It also said the objects were about 125 miles from the area where a French satellite spotted 122 objects earlier this week.

It remains uncertain whether the objects are from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared nearly three weeks ago with 239 people aboard.

 


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Obama Plays up US-Europe Bond Amid Russia Tension http://www.kristv.com/news/obama-plays-up-us-europe-bond-amid-russia-tension/ http://www.kristv.com/news/obama-plays-up-us-europe-bond-amid-russia-tension/ World News Wed, 26 Mar 2014 10:26:27 AM Obama Plays up US-Europe Bond Amid Russia Tension

BRUSSELS (AP) - President Barack Obama and European Union leaders presented a unified front Wednesday against Russia's annexation of Crimea, promoting trans-Atlantic trade as an antidote to Russia's influence in the region and a way to help Europe become less dependent on Moscow for energy.

Obama said if Russian leaders thought they could drive a wedge between Europe and the United States, "they clearly miscalculated."

Obama spoke during a news conference at the Council of the European Union, after a working lunch with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that participants said was dominated by discussion of Ukraine. Van Rompuy called Russia's action in Crimea "a disgrace in the 21st century, and we will not recognize it."

Obama said coordination between the U.S. and Europe on economic sanctions against Russia has been excellent and warned that if Russia continues on its current course, "the isolation will deepen."

The leaders also expressed confidence they would complete a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that seeks to remove trade barriers between the 28-nation bloc and the U.S. Obama noted the deal arrangement would have a Ukraine connection because it could provide a counterweight to Russian energy leverage in Europe.

Obama said some countries have legitimate questions about whether free trade deals will benefit them in the long-term. But he cautioned skeptics to wait to see what's negotiated before reaching conclusions.

The president said some suspicions about the so-called TTIP have been unjustified. He declared that he has fought for consumer and environmental protections during his political career and will not sign legislation that would weaken those protections.

"I'm confident we can actually shape a trade deal" that is acceptable to critics on consumer protections and climate issues, he said.

Obama's own relations with Europe have been hurt by revelations of communications prying by the U.S. National Security Agency. Van Rompuy said EU leaders conveyed their concerns directly to Obama in their meeting, and the president agreed to take aggressive steps to address the issue. Van Rompuy called for "equal treatment of EU and U.S. citizens."

Obama came to Brussels to shore up commitments he received from allies in The Hague, Netherlands, to reassure Eastern European members of NATO that the alliance will stand by them and to make a larger point about European security a quarter-century after the fall of the Iron Curtain. He planned to meet later with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, head of the alliance born as a bulwark against the Soviet Union.

Obama said that he wants to see every NATO partner "chip in" for mutual defense and that the members should examine their defense plans to make sure they reflect current threats.

"I have had some concerns about a diminished level of defense spending by some of our partners in NATO," Obama said. "The situation in Ukraine reminds us that our freedom isn't free."

With tensions running high on the continent, Obama earlier called for a recommitment to peace during a solemn pilgrimage to a World War I site, Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial in northwest Belgium.

"This visit, this hallowed ground, reminds us that we must never ever take our progress for granted," Obama said. "We must commit perennially to peace, which binds us across oceans."

Followed by the stirring sound of a bugler playing Taps, Obama joined Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo and King Phillipe in laying a trio of wreaths at the white stone monument at the center of the cemetery, the site of a significant World War I battle. The three leaders then walked among some of the white crosses that mark the burial site of 368 American troops, most of whom gave their lives in liberating Belgium from German occupation.

The Belgian leaders did not mention Russian President Vladimir Putin by name in remarks afterward, but clearly were referencing his audacious annexation of Crimea as they recalled the lessons of world war. "Our countries have learned the hard way that national sovereignty quickly reaches its limits" when confronted with armed adversaries, who don't respect that sovereignty, said King Phillipe.

"We have to continue to draw lessons from the terrible war that started 100 years ago," Di Rupo said. "And, above all, we have to prevent new conflicts. Those who ignore the past are taking the risk to relive it."

The president, stepping up the task of solidifying broad-based support against Russia, dismissed Russia a day earlier as a mere "regional power" that was threatening its neighbors "not out of strength, but out of weakness." He said that as president, he worried more about a nuclear device in Manhattan than he did about Russia.

It was the kind of brush-off-your-shoulder language sure to antagonize the nationalistic Putin, but it also belied the time and energy Obama and European leaders have devoted to isolate Russia and fashion a menu of sanctions designed to stop Moscow's aggression.

Obama planned to conclude his day with his only speech of the weeklong, four-country trip, tying the current Ukraine crisis to his vision of the United States and Europe as anchors of democracy and international law.

Obama also used the cemetery visit to criticize Syria's chemical weapons use, noting that gases were also used during battles in the wider area. "The lessons of that war speak to us still," Obama said.

The president quoted the closing line from "In Flanders Fields," a poem by Canadian soldier John McRae. "To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders Fields," Obama read.

Obama responded, "To all who sleep here, we can say we caught the torch, we kept the faith."

___

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace contributed to this report.

___

Follow Jim Kuhnhenn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jkuhnhenn

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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520 Muslim Brotherhood Supporters Sentenced to Death http://www.kristv.com/news/520-muslim-brotherhood-supporters-sentenced-to-death/ http://www.kristv.com/news/520-muslim-brotherhood-supporters-sentenced-to-death/ World News Wed, 26 Mar 2014 10:25:02 AM 520 Muslim Brotherhood Supporters Sentenced to Death

CAIRO (AP) - Hundreds of largely Islamist university students in a number of universities protested Wednesday against the mass death sentences issued against more than 520 suspected supporters of President Mohammed Morsi in a cursory trial, setting off clashes that left dozens injured.

At Cairo University, hundreds of students who attempted to take their protest outside the campus were met with volleys of tear gas from police. Khadiga el-Kholy, a student participating in the protest, said the police force gave no warnings before firing the tear gas, sending the students rushing back on campus.

Students responded by throwing stones and fireworks and hurling tear gas canisters back at the security forces in pitched street battles. TV footage showed security in civilian clothes detaining protesters and taking them away in blindfolds. There were also images of the security seizing fire bombs from young protesters. El-Kholy said police fired birdshot at the protesters.

A pro-Morsi student group called for the protests, and students from various university departments as well as high school students responded, el-Kholy said.

"We wanted to escalate our protest because of those death sentences, which included university students," she said, adding that the protesters had sought to move into a nearby public square outside the campus. "We want to break the barriers that the security forces have imposed on all the squares."

In the Nile Delta city of Zagazig, police said students damaged the facade of an administrative building in the local university and clashed with rival students, prompting to security forces to enter the campus and arrest eight rioters.

On Monday, a court in the city of Minya Monday sentenced more than 520 Islamists to death in connection to an attack on a police station last year that killed a police officer. The verdicts came after a trial that held only two sessions in which the defense was not allowed to present its case. It is not known how many university students are among those sentenced.

The mass deaths sentences caused an international outcry. Thousands of Morsi supporters are already arrested and most are facing trials on a number of charges, including inciting violence, and rioting.

Morsi's Islamist supporters have continued to hold protests against his ouster. Authorities accuse the group of fomenting violence and terrorism, a claim the group denies.

The pro-Morsi camp has refused to recognize the new political road map installed by the military after his ouster. Presidential elections are now expected next month and the country's military chief is widely expected to run and win.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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