Undercover agents in a sting operation stopped a Somali-born teenager from blowing up a van full of explosives at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, federal authorities said. The bomb was a dud supplied by the agents and the public was never in danger, authorities said.
YEONPYEONG ISLAND, South Korea (AP) — North Korea accused South Korea of using civilians as human shields around artillery positions on an island attacked by the North, seeking to justify a bombardment that killed four South Koreans and sent tensions soaring. The comments Saturday came on the eve of U.S.-South Korean war games in the Yellow Sea that have enraged the North and worried neighboring China, and after the South Korean marine commander vowed revenge at a funeral for two marines killed in the barrage.
SUVA, Fiji (AP) — For more than 50 days, the three boys slurped rainwater that puddled in the bottom of their tiny boat, gobbled flying fish that leaped aboard and prayed for salvation. Etueni Nasau and his two cousins almost gave up hope they would survive as they bobbed in their aluminum dinghy across the South Pacific for more than seven weeks, before a fishing trawler spotted them by chance and brought an end to their extraordinary ordeal.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Foreign policy challenges are intruding on President Barack Obama's promise to focus on the economy after the Democrats' election debacle and threatening to knock the White House off message altogether. The escalation of tensions between North and South Korea this past week capped a postelection period that included two presidential trips abroad, discussions about America's future in Afghanistan and a debate in Washington over Senate ratification of a nuclear treaty with Russia.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Two suicide bombers wearing police uniforms blew themselves up at an Afghan police headquarters Saturday, killing at least 12 officers in a deadly border region that has long been a refuge for Islamist extremists from around the world, officials said. In a statement e-mailed to the media, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks in the eastern Paktika province.
SYDNEY (AP) — A Qantas A380 laden with more than 450 passengers — including the airline's chief executive — took to the skies Saturday for the first time since a midair engine explosion three weeks earlier triggered a global safety review of the giant superjumbo. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said he was flying the first leg of the Sydney-Singapore-London flight as a sign of the airline's conviction that it had completed all modifications and other checks on the Rolls-Royce engines, and the planes were safe to fly.
DUBLIN (AP) — Tens of thousands of demonstrators were massing on a wintry Dublin on Saturday to oppose the government's harsh austerity plan, aimed at slashing the country's budget deficit to meet the terms of a bailout for its humbled economy. The labor union-organized rally follows Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen's announcement Wednesday of a four-year package to cut spending, raise taxes and ax thousands of state jobs, the toughest budget measures in the nation's history.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Shiite Muslim militias in Pakistan's tribal regions are helping some of NATOs fiercest enemies evade missile attacks from U.S. drones to cross safely into Afghanistan, a tribal activist told The Associated Press. Shiites, who control a key piece of tribal real estate, cut a deal with the deadly Haqqani network to give insurgents a safe, alternative route to Afghanistan through Pakistan's Kurram tribal region, said Munir Bangash, who is familiar with the deal. A second tribesman from Kurram confirmed the deal but spoke only on condition of anonymity fearing retribution from the Taliban and from fellow tribesmen.
SIERRA BLANCA, Texas (AP) — A U.S. Border Patrol spokesman says country singer Willie Nelson was charged with marijuana possession after 6 ounces was found aboard his tour bus in Texas. Patrol spokesman Bill Brooks says the bus pulled into the Sierra Blanca, Texas, checkpoint about 9 a.m. Friday. Brooks says an officer smelled pot when a door was opened and a search turned up marijuana.
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Two missed kicks and Boise State went from being the darling of BCS busters everywhere to just another team looking for a bowl game. After winning 24 straight games, maybe it was just not meant to be.
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