N. Korea vows to deport all S. Koreans from factory park PAJU, South Korea (AP) - North Korea is vowing to immediately deport all South Korean nationals and freeze all South Korean assets at a jointly run factory park in the North. Pyongyang also said Thursday it was also pulling all its workers from the Kaesong complex just across the tense border in response to the South's suspension of operations there following North Korea's recent long-range rocket launch. The North's statement by the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea was issued via the Korean Central News Agency. North Korea says South Korea's shutdown announcement was a "dangerous declaration of war." The North also said it was shutting down two crucial cross-border communications hotlines.
Occupiers at Oregon refuge say they'll turn themselves in BURNS, Ore. (AP) - The last four armed occupiers of a national wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon said they would turn themselves in Thursday morning after the FBI and other officers in armored vehicles surrounded them in a tense standoff. The developments came as Cliven Bundy, the father of the jailed leader of the Oregon occupation and who also the leader of a standoff with federal officials in Nevada in 2014, was arrested in Portland. The four occupiers yelled at officers to back off and prayed with supporters over an open phone line as the standoff played out on the Internet Wednesday night via a phone line being livestreamed by an acquaintance of occupier David Fry.
4 holdouts at Oregon refuge have diverse backgrounds The four armed activists who on Wednesday night were surrounded by the FBI at a wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon have remained on the site despite the arrests of group leader Ammon Bundy and others Jan. 26 on a remote road outside the refuge. The tense standoff between the FBI and the four occupiers was being livestreamed on the Internet. Late Wednesday the occupiers said they would turn themselves in Thursday morning. Ammon Bundy led the group that seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2 to oppose federal land policies. The Associated Press has not been able to contact the remaining occupiers.
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Church talks help make Cuba 'perfect place for negotiations' HAVANA (AP) - The heads of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches will hold a historic meeting Friday in the threadbare international airport of an officially secular, communist-run tropical island. Odd as the location seems, Pope Francis' and Patriarch Kirill's attempt to reconcile their churches after centuries of estrangement will set the tone for a year of peacemaking in Cuba, a nation trying to shed its historic role as international socialist provocateur. In addition to the meeting of the church leaders, Cuban President Raul Castro is expected to welcome President Barack Obama to Havana as early as this spring to celebrate the detente the two men declared at the end of 2014, ending a half-century of hostility.
Jumbled GOP field hopes for survival in South Carolina COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Hoping for survival in the South, a muddled field of Republican presidential contenders descended Wednesday on South Carolina, no closer to clarity about who can stand between Donald Trump and their party's nomination. Not me, Carly Fiorina announced, dropping out of the campaign. A Chris Christie spokeswoman said his race was over, too. But a sizeable field remained. To the dismay of party leaders, all signs point to a drawn-out battle for delegates following Trump's resounding victory in New Hampshire. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, under immense pressure to prove himself after a devastating fifth-place finish, was looking for a fight that could last for months or even spill into the first contested GOP national convention since 1976.
Justice Dept. enters Ferguson court case in strong position WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department enters its court fight against the city of Ferguson with the apparent upper hand, given a months-long investigation that found vast problems in the way police and courts treat poor people and minorities in the St. Louis suburb. In suing the city, which took a high-stakes gamble by rejecting a settlement with the federal government, the department will look to prove in court the same constitutional violations it's already alleged on paper: Baseless stops and searches of black drivers, excessive use of force by officers and a profit-driven court system reliant on fines for petty violations.
Q&A: Assessing Yellen's concerns about economy and markets WASHINGTON (AP) - What's likely keeping Janet Yellen up at night? Everything from market volatility to weak overseas growth to a high-priced dollar that's made U.S. exports pricier and imports cheaper, judging from the Fed chair's testimony Wednesday to Congress. It's a rather gloomier picture compared with two months ago, when the Fed raised the short-term interest rate it controls for the first time in nearly a decade. At that time, Fed officials pointed to a healthy pace of hiring, solid consumer spending and improvement in the housing market. In her semiannual report to Congress, Yellen spent most of her time discussing the risks to the U.S.
Russia proposes March 1 ceasefire in Syria; US wants it now MUNICH (AP) - Russia has proposed a March 1 ceasefire in Syria, U.S. officials say, but Washington believes Moscow is giving itself and the Syrian government three weeks to try to crush moderate rebel groups. The United States has countered with demands for the fighting to stop immediately, the officials said Wednesday. Peace talks are supposed to resume by Feb. 25. The talk of new ceasefire plans comes as the U.S., Russia and more than a dozen other countries meet in Munich to try to halt five years of civil war in the Arab country. The conflict has killed more than a quarter-million people, created Europe's biggest refugee crisis since World War II and allowed the Islamic State to carve out its own territory across parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq.
Pacifica: Residents live on the edge of crumbling cliffs PACIFICA, Calif. (AP) - Sonja Thompson lives so close to the edge of an 80-foot bluff above the Pacific Ocean that when paragliders fly by "you can almost high-five them." Having the Pacific as your backyard has its benefits, and its dangers. Crumbling cliffs have forced dozens to leave their homes and others like Thompson may have to join them as EL Nino-fueled storms batter the coast. Last summer, whale watching was at its prime and people who live on the crumbling cliffs of Pacifica were treated to more than 200 dolphin sightings. The moon and sun rises are spectacular, and the air feels like it's a million miles away from smoggy cityscapes.
USOC to hire infectious disease specialists for Zika The U.S. Olympic Committee will hire two infectious disease specialists to advise potential Olympians who are worried about the Zika outbreak in Brazil. USOC CEO Scott Blackmun sent a letter Wednesday to all possible Olympians, acknowledging the growing worries over the virus. "I know that the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil is of concern to many of you," Blackmun wrote. "I want to emphasize that it is to us, as well, and that your well-being in Rio this summer is our highest priority." The letter goes on to spell out much of the information that's already been relayed by the World Health Organization and the U.S.