North Korea's Kim orders rockets on standby after US sends B-2s to SKorea for military drills
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned Friday that his rocket forces were ready "to settle accounts with the U.S.," unleashing a new round of bellicose rhetoric after U.S. nuclear-capable B-2 bombers dropped dummy munitions in joint military drills with South Korea.
Kim's warning, and the litany of threats that have preceded it, don't indicate an imminent war. In fact, they're most likely meant to coerce South Korea into softening its policies, win direct talks and aid from Washington, and strengthen the young leader's credentials and image at home.
But the threats from North Korea and rising animosity from the rivals that have followed U.N. sanctions over Pyongyang's Feb. 12 nuclear test do raise worries of a misjudgment leading to a clash.
Kim "convened an urgent operation meeting" of senior generals just after midnight, signed a rocket preparation plan and ordered his forces on standby to strike the U.S. mainland, South Korea, Guam and Hawaii, state media reported.
Kim said "the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation," according to a report by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.
Drones poised for peaceful, everyday use in US, but privacy backlash could hamper industry
WASHINGTON (AP) — It's a good bet that in the not-so-distant future aerial drones will be part of Americans' everyday lives, performing countless useful functions.
A far cry from the killing machines whose missiles incinerate terrorists, these generally small, unmanned aircraft will help farmers more precisely apply water and pesticides to crops, saving money and reducing environmental impacts. They'll help police departments find missing people, reconstruct traffic accidents and act as lookouts for SWAT teams. They'll alert authorities to people stranded on rooftops by hurricanes and monitor evacuation flows.
Real estate agents will use them to film videos of properties and surrounding neighborhoods. States will use them to inspect bridges, roads and dams. Oil companies will use them to monitor pipelines, while power companies use them to monitor transmission lines.
With military budgets shrinking, drone makers have been counting on the civilian market to spur the industry's growth. But there's an ironic threat to that hope: Success on the battlefield may contain the seeds of trouble for the more benign uses of drones at home.
The civilian unmanned aircraft industry worries that it will be grounded before it can really take off because of fear among the public that the technology will be misused. Also problematic is a delay in the issuance of government safety regulations that are needed before drones can gain broad access to U.S. skies.
40 years on, US troop withdrawal from Vietnam holds great meaning for those who lived it
The last U.S. combat troops left Vietnam 40 years ago Friday, and the date holds great meaning for many who fought the war, protested it or otherwise lived it.
While the fall of Saigon two years later is remembered as the final day of the Vietnam War, many had already seen their involvement in the war finished — and their lives altered — by March 29, 1973.
U.S. soldiers leaving the country feared angry protesters at home. North Vietnamese soldiers took heart from their foes' departure, and South Vietnamese who had helped the Americans feared for the future.
Many veterans are encouraged by changes they see. The U.S. has a volunteer military these days, not a draft, and the troops coming home aren't derided for their service. People know what PTSD stands for, and they're insisting that the government takes care of soldiers suffering from it and other injuries from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Below are the stories of a few of the people who experienced a part of the Vietnam War firsthand.
Cyprus seeks inspiration from rebound after 1974 division but it's a tough economic task
LONDON (AP) — As it grapples with the prospect of years of economic pain, Cyprus will try to draw strength from its not-so-distant experience of invasion — and the fact a whole generation knows what it means to rebuild from scratch.
But it's a tough task.
Any inspiration will be badly needed on the small east Mediterranean island nation of under a million people, as even the most optimistic forecasters predict years of recession and sky-high unemployment.
In many ways, the challenge facing Cyprus now following an international bailout that effectively wipes out a hefty chunk of the banking sector is more daunting than the events of 1974 when the island was split into an internationally recognized, Greek-speaking south and a breakaway Turkish north, following Turkey's invasion in the wake of an attempted coup by supporters of union with Greece.
The country's room for maneuver is limited, given that it has already largely exhausted the potential for development from a primarily agricultural state.
Mass at ancient Jerusalem church kicks off Good Friday events in Holy Land
JERUSALEM (AP) — Hundreds of Christians are marking the crucifixion of Jesus in the Holy Land.
Worshippers have packed Jerusalem's Holy Sepulcher church, where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, buried and resurrected, for a morning mass that started Good Friday events.
Roman Catholics and Protestants will walk in processions following Jesus' footsteps in Jerusalem's Old City later in the day. And a mass at a church in Bethlehem, built atop the site where Jesus is believed to have been born, takes place in the evening.
Pilgrims and tourists from around the world descend on holy sites in Jerusalem for Easter week.
Christians believe Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and resurrected on Easter Sunday. Orthodox Christians, who follow the older, Julian calendar, will this year mark Good Friday in May.
Gun proponents launch free shotgun program for crime-ridden neighborhoods in Arizona, Texas
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A campaign promising free shotguns for people to protect themselves in Tucson's most troubled neighborhoods has divided some residents in a community still reeling from a shooting rampage in 2011that killed six people, left a congresswoman and several others wounded, and made the city a symbol of gun violence in America.
The Armed Citizen Project is part of a national campaign to give shotguns to single women and homeowners in the nation's crime-ridden neighborhoods, an effort that comes amid a national debate on gun control after mass shootings in Arizona, Colorado and Connecticut.
While towns in Idaho, Utah, Virginia and Pennsylvania have debated ordinances recommending gun ownership, the gun giveaway effort appears to be the first of its kind.
"If you are not willing to protect the citizens of Tucson, someone is going to do it, why not me? Why not have armed citizens protecting themselves," said Shaun McClusky, a real estate agent who plans to start handing out shotguns by May.
Arizona gun proponents have donated about $12,500 to fund the gun giveaway and McClusky, a former mayoral and city council candidate, hopes to collect enough to eventually arm entire neighborhoods.
Motive remains a mystery in Newtown school shooting after release of warrants
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Newly released search warrants in the Newtown school shooting have revealed that gunman Adam Lanza's home was packed with weapons and ammunition, but the documents do not shed any new light on what could have driven him to massacre 20 children and six educators inside an elementary school.
Lanza left behind journals, which state police turned over to the FBI for analysis, but if investigators have any ideas about his motive, they aren't saying.
"Why is the big unanswered question," said Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was among the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. "So I have to come to grips with the fact that I might never know why he did what he did. But knowing how he did it and what we could do to prevent someone else doing that, those are valuable lessons that we can learn."
Warrants released Thursday provide the most insight to date on the world of the 20-year-old gunman, a recluse who played violent video games in the Newtown home where he lived with his mother.
On the morning of Dec. 14, he took four guns but left behind firearms, knives and more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition at his spacious, colonial-style home.
Behind clean exterior, Oklahoma officials find 'menace to the public health' at dental clinic
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The crisp, stucco exterior of an Oklahoma dental clinic concealed what health inspectors found inside — rusty instruments used on patients with infectious diseases and a pattern of unsanitary practices that put thousands of people at risk for hepatitis and the virus that causes AIDS.
State and local health officials planned to mail notices Friday urging Dr. W. Scott Harrington's 7,000 patients to seek medical screenings for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Inspectors allege workers at his two clinics used dirty equipment and risked cross-contamination to the point that the state Dentistry Board branded Harrington a "menace to the public health."
"The office looked clean," said Joyce Baylor, who had a tooth pulled at Harrington's Tulsa office 1½ years ago. In an interview, Baylor, 69, said she plans to submit for medical tests next week to determine whether she picked up an underlying infection at the clinic.
"I'm sure he's not suffering financially that he can't afford instruments," Baylor said.
Health officials opened their investigation after a patient with no known risk factors tested positive for both hepatitis C and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. After determining the "index patient" had had a dental procedure done about the likely time of exposure, investigators visited Harrington's office and found a number of unsafe practices, state epidemiologist Kristy Bailey said.
Seal pup rescued from Mass. beach loses hind flipper to infection and finds help in Conn.
MYSTIC, Conn. (AP) — The harbor seal pup lay battered on a Massachusetts beach, the victim of a brutal attack by an older seal that left deep wounds all over her body and sapped so much of her strength that she couldn't even flee when rescuers found her.
Now eight months later, the animal rescuers named Pup 49 is adjusting to life without one of her two hind flippers after veterinarians at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut performed an amputation to prevent a stubborn infection from spreading throughout her body.
The seal pup is quick to dive after sardines tossed into her tank and fixes her large, dark eyes on aquarium workers the moment they step onto a special platform to feed her. Occasionally she swims to the platform's edge and attempts to haul herself from the water onto it. A special ramp has been installed to make it easier for her to get out. She makes the effort in a heartfelt plea for more fresh fish from the workers' shiny bucket.
"She has a really inquisitive and interested personality and she is very interactive with the environment around her," said Mystic Aquarium veterinarian Allison Tuttle, who supervises the pup's treatment and care.
None of that personality was apparent when workers from the Boston-based New England Aquarium found the seal stranded in Plymouth, Mass., last July. She was 1- to 2-months-old, had lost a lot of weight, was suffering from a respiratory ailment and nursing very deep wounds that were infected, Tuttle said. She did not respond well to cleaning and medical treatment.
Big East not done yet, will have a team in the Final Four
WASHINGTON (AP) — If you're one of the college basketball fans who can't wait for the Big East breakup to be final, hang on. You'll have to wait for the Final Four.
Syracuse and Marquette both won their East Regional semifinal games Thursday night and that means the Big East will have a team in Atlanta next week. It will be the fourth straight season the conference that changed the landscape of college basketball over the last three-plus decades will have a Final Four team.
Oh yeah, Louisville, the overall No. 1 seed in the tournament and a Final Four team last season, is still alive with the Cardinals playing Oregon on Friday in the round of 16.
"It will be different than the Big East tournament," Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams said after scoring 24 points in the 61-50 victory over top-seeded Indiana. "It will definitely feel familiar with different refs and a neutral court, but we'll see them again."
Marquette won the only meeting between the teams this season, 74-71 on Feb. 25 — the middle game of the Orange's three-game losing streak.