World News | WRHL http://www.wrhl.net/pages/index.cfm?id=505 World News 2015-03-05T09:58:47Z World News South Korea police say probing U.S. ambassador attacker's visits to North Korea South 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. Islamic State torches oil field near Tikrit as militia advance By 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. Iran hints might be open to 10-year partial freeze of nuclear work By 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. EU says U.S. policy change helps its own talks with Cuba By Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) - The sudden U.S. engagement with Cuba has helped the European Union's own bilateral talks on improving relations with the Communist-led island, a top European diplomat said on Thursday at the conclusion of two days of negotiations in Havana. When the United States and Cuba announced on Dec. 17 they would restore diplomatic relations, the rapprochement between longtime adversaries overshadowed the EU's ongoing attempt to rewrite a political agreement with Cuba. After the United States and Cuba quickly arranged high-level meetings in Havana and Washington, the twice-postponed EU-Cuba talks finally took place this week, the first face-to-face meetings since August. Asked at a news conference if European interests were threatened by the U.S. engagement, the chief European negotiator called the U.S. role "very positive.""This lifts a cloud that has been hanging over the region ... for a long time (and) opens new possibilities," said Christian Leffler, the EU's top diplomat for the Americas. Blast in Syria kills top al Qaeda commander, three others By 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. Exclusive: Scribbled note shows Nemtsov on trail of Russian deaths in Ukraine By 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. Knife attack at China train station leaves 9 injured BEIJING (AP) — At least two assailants armed with knives attacked people at a train station in southern China on Friday, injuring nine, and police fatally shot one of the suspects, officials said. Man shot by police on Skid Row is identified LOS ANGELES (AP) — A homeless man who was shot to death by police during a Skid Row confrontation over the weekend was identified Thursday under his true name — not the stolen identity he had used for years. Plane skids off New York runway as winter storm hits US An airliner skidded off a runway at New York's La Guardia airport 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 in hazardous conditions. 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. Anamul ruled out of Bangladesh World Cup squad; Imrul in ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Bangladesh batsman Anamul Haque has been ruled out of the remainder of the Cricket World Cup after injuring his shoulder in Thursday's game against Scotland and will be replaced by Imrul Kayes. Asia stocks gain after ECB upgrades growth ahead of US jobs SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stock markets were higher on Friday as investor sentiment was boosted by the European Central Bank's growth forecast upgrade and expectations for a solid increase in U.S. employment. Winter storm pummels eastern United States, grounds flights By Ian Simpson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A late winter storm pummeled the eastern United States on Thursday ahead of a cold front, canceling almost 5,000 flights as Kentucky dug out from up to 23 inches (58 cm) of snow that had stranded hundreds of drivers. Winter storm warnings and advisories were in place from the Middle Atlantic states into southern New England, as well as from the lower Mississippi Valley to the southern Appalachians, the National Weather Service said. Top Asian News at 3:00 a.m. GMT 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. 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. Thai court sentences 'Red Shirts' to jail for 2009 rioting BANGKOK (AP) — A Thai court has sentenced 15 members of the "Red Shirt" political movement to four years in prison for inciting rioting that disrupted an important regional conference in 2009, a lawyer said. Myanmar cracks down on education protest at Yangon pagoda YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Police freed eight demonstrators on Friday after they were detained a day earlier in a crackdown on students and activists opposing Myanmar's new education law. Saudi top diplomat urges allies to face IS 'on the ground' Saudi Arabia's foreign minister on Thursday urged the US-led coalition conducting air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq to wage a ground war against the jihadists. The kingdom, part of that coalition, "stresses the need to provide the military means needed to face this challenge on the ground," Prince Saud al-Faisal said at a news conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry. President Barack Obama, anxious to avoid a drawn-out ground war, has backed an air campaign, but ruled out deploying infantry. The Saudi minister also warned of Iran's growing role in Iraq, accusing the Shiite-dominated Islamic republic of "taking over" the kingdom's Arab neighbour through its aid in the fight against IS. Review of Hillary Clinton emails to take months: official By Steve Holland and Lesley Wroughton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A growing controversy over Democrat Hillary Clinton's use of personal email for work while she was U.S. secretary of state could drag on for months, threatening to cloud the expected launch of her 2016 presidential campaign. Clinton tried to cool the brewing firestorm late on Wednesday, saying she wanted the State Department to release the emails quickly. At the same time, the department is investigating whether Clinton violated policies intended to protect sensitive information when she conducted all of her official business through a personal account while serving as secretary from 2009 to 2013, the Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing a senior department official. Using personal email did not automatically break rules, but the department is determining whether work emails sent from that private account contained information that must be handled on a system meeting specific security protocols, the Washington Post reported. Hong Kong freedoms 'eroded' by China: British MPs Hong 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. Spurs are back on track says Mason Ryan Mason believes Tottenham have overcome the disappointment of last week's cup failures and are back on track in the race to qualify for the Champions League. Tottenham's bruised morale was at least partially restored with the 3-2 midweek victory over Swansea that ensured Spurs kept pace with their main rivals towards the head of the table. Government seeking quick sale of RBS bank The government is looking to sell the Royal Bank of Scotland as quickly as possible, Chancellor George Osborne told the Financial Times. RBS is about 80 percent owned by the British government after it stepped in to bail out the bank with £45.5 billion of public money in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis, the world's biggest bank bailout. South Korea police seek attempted murder warrant against attacker of U.S. envoy SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean police said on Friday they have requested a court-issued detention warrant for an assailant who slashed the U.S. ambassador to Seoul in the face, with the charges to include attempted murder. Ambassador Mark Lippert suffered wounds to his face and hand and remains in hospital after Thursday's attack, although his injuries are not life-threatening. Police are investigating possible links between the attack and visits made by the assailant, identified as Kim Ki-jong, to North Korea in the past. (Reporting by Ju-min Park; Writing by Jack Kim; Editing by Paul Tait) 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. 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. '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. Knifed US envoy to Seoul in pain as officials investigate 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. 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. Ex-crew recognizes photos of sunken Japanese battleship 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. IS 'bulldozed' ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, Iraq says The 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. Amid crisis, Venezuelans remember Chavez 2 years after death 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. 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. Libya rivals meet for talks in Morocco as UN seeks unity deal Representatives 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. Scott goes to short putter, and it works! DORAL, Fla. (AP) — Adam Scott said going to a short putter was not a big deal. But it certainly was a good start. 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. 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. White powder sent to four Canada ministers: police Montreal (AFP) - Four Canadian government ministers were sent envelopes of a suspicious white powder on Thursday that was later believed to be harmless, police said. Holmes opens 4-shot lead at Blue Monster 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. Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia agree basis of Nile water deal The 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. 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. Orioles release Suk-min Yoon SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles have released right-hander Suk-min Yoon. UN council to vote on condemning Syria chlorine bombs The 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. WRHL 2015-03-06T02:58:47Z http://www.wrhl.net/pages/index.cfm?id=505