By Jack Kim SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea fired more than 100 artillery rounds into South Korean waters as part of a drill on Monday, prompting the South to fire back, officials in Seoul said, but the exercise appeared to be more saber-rattling from Pyongyang rather than the start of a military standoff. The North had flagged its intentions to conduct the exercise in response to U.N. condemnation of last week's missile launches by Pyongyang and against what it says are threatening military drills in the South by U.S. forces. North Korea also accused the South of "gangster-like" behavior at the weekend by "abducting" one of its fishing boats and threatened to retaliate. The South said it had sent the boat back after it drifted into its waters. More than 100 North Korean shells out of 500 or so fired landed in South Korean waters, prompting marines from the South to fire back with more than 300 rounds into the North's waters, defense officials in Seoul said. Seoul also scrambled F-15s on its side of the maritime border, they said. "We believe the North's maritime firing is a planned provocation and an attempt to test our military's determination to defend the Northern Limit Line and to get an upper hand in South-North relations," South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said. In Washington, the White House called North Korea's actions "dangerous and provocative" and said the country's threats and provocations only isolate it further. "We remain steadfast in our commitment (to) the defense of our allies and remain in close coordination with both the Republic of Korea and Japan," White House National Security Council spokesman Jonathan Lalley said. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he would raise U.S. concerns about the North's behavior during a trip to China next week. "The North Koreans have to stop these provocative actions," he told reporters. "Obviously when I'm in China that will be a subject that I will discuss with my counterpart." The Northern Limit Line, a maritime border that wraps itself around a part of the North's coastline, has been the scene of frequent clashes and in 2010, four people were killed when North Korea shelled the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. "It's up to the two militaries either to recognize or reject their own claimed line, and challenge the other's. This goes back and forth, so this is probably another episode of that," said Daniel Pinkston of the International Crisis Group. Earlier in 2010, a South Korean naval vessel was sunk close to the line by what an international commission said was a North Korean torpedo, although the North denies involvement. The line was drawn up at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War and North Korea does not recognize it. The two sides are still technically at war as the conflict ended in a mere truce, not a treaty. The residents of Baengnyeong Island, one of the remote islands close to the firing area, were evacuated to bomb shelters as a precaution, a government official said by telephone. North Korea has ratcheted up its rhetoric in recent weeks and conducted a series of missile launches, mostly short-range, in response to what it sees as the threat posed by a series of joint U.S.-South Korean military drills that are held annually. The current drill called Foal Eagle ends on April 18. "At a time that South Korea and the United States are conducting military exercises using sophisticated equipment, the North is unlikely to be reckless enough to do anything that will lead to a sharp worsening of the situation," said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. "There is an element of trying to show displeasure at the South Korea-U.S. drills and to pressure the South, but it doesn't seem the North wants this to blow up into something bigger." China, which hosted several rounds of now-defunct multilateral talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear weapons program, nevertheless said it was concerned at the exchange of fire and called for restraint from both sides. "The temperature is rising at present on the Korean peninsula, and this worries us," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in Beijing. He added that China was also concerned by the North's threat to carry out more nuclear tests. North Korea threatened nuclear strikes against the South and the United States last year after the United Nations tightened sanctions against it for conducting its third nuclear test. Financial markets in South Korea were unmoved by the latest developments, with the stock market's benchmark KOSPI turning higher from early losses to finish up 0.2 percent and the won extending gains to end onshore trade up 0.4 percent against the dollar. (Additional reporting by James Pearson, Ju-min Park, Choonsik Yoo and Narae Kim in Seoul, Megha Rajagopalan in Beijing, and Mark Felsenthal and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by Nick Macfie and Paul Simao)
- Associated Press
A DNA test has led to the arrest of a suspect in the April 1985 slaying, rape and kidnapping of a 78-year-old woman who had dementia and had wandered away from her home. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office announced Friday that it had arrested Richard C. Lange, 61, on first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault charges. The office did not release the victim's name, but 1985 news stories identify her as Mildred Matheny, who was found unconscious, nude and beaten along a remote dirt road, about 25 miles from where she had disappeared seven hours earlier.
- Raleigh News and Observer
Third doses would aim to boost immunity for COVID-19 as coronavirus variants continue to spread.
- The Independent
Revelation follows criticism of Republican party in recent days
- The Independent
‘Fat Wolverine’ trends on Twitter after Texas senator blasts liberal Democrats for proposing to expand Supreme Court
- The Week
Fox News host Tucker Carlson isn't going anywhere. You might expect him to, given his sudden, strange laughs mid-broadcast — the sort of thing that could have taken him off air for a while in the "Dean scream" era. Or you might think he'd resign over a college yearbook image circulating in which a much younger Carlson appears to make an inside joke about the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Macone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, the latter of whom was California's first openly gay elected official. You'd be wrong. We're in a weird space, culturally, with public shaming and what used to be called "gaffes." I think there's something real to the charge of "cancel culture," though the concept is much abused. Yet, as New York Times columnist Ross Douthat observed in 10 theses on the subject, its threat "is most effective against people who are still rising in their fields." For those who have reached the top, particularly in politics, the threat is increasingly empty. Indeed, in that elite realm — which obviously includes Carlson, for all his railing against the elite — we're rapidly approaching a point where anything short of tattooing Nazi symbols on your face on live television is not disqualifying for anyone willing and able to ignore the haters for a few weeks or months. Memories are short. Forced resignations aren't what they once were. Now, you can just refuse to be embarrassed and keep on trucking. Former President Donald Trump was a big part of this shift, but so are Democratic Govs. Ralph Northam (Va.) and Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.), who have steadfastly refused to resign after major public scandals. Carlson, who last year had the highest-rated program in cable news history and is a rumored 2024 GOP contender (he denies interest), will do the same. The playbook is very simple. He's already using it, just as he has with scandals past. When his show's lead writer resigned after getting caught writing pseudonymous, racist posts online, Carlson took a vacation he said was "long-planned," then simply moved on from the subject. This month, he walked up to the line of advocating "replacement theory," then doubled down, with network support. This is just opposition research, he'll tell his fans of the yearbook. Our shared enemies are attacking me because I'm telling the truth, and because they hate you. It's all tribal. It's all dishonest. It's all games. It's all irrelevant. And it will be. More stories from theweek.comCNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta says vaccinated people can generally go maskless outdoors, with some caveats7 cartoons about Derek Chauvin being found guiltyJoe Manchin lives on a boat in Washington — and protesters are reportedly headed there
Manufacturers should focus on producing as many vaccines as possible this year, but the world faces a potential surplus next year in capacity, Moderna's CEO said on Friday. Speaking at a virtual event on vaccine manufacturing, Stephane Bancel said that additional technology transfers might dent their ability to meet production targets. Moderna is on track to make up to 1 billion doses this year and 1.4 billion next year, he said.
- Business Insider
Operation Praying Mantis, the largest US naval action since World War II, offers a glimpse of what a US-Iran war could look like now.
- Reuters Videos
Nearly a hundred French fishermen rallied at Boulogne-sur-Mer, Europe's largest seafood processing center, in northern France on Thursday.They say they've been denied the right to fish in UK waters, and started fires and blocked trucks carrying fish from the UK in protestOne sign read - "You want to keep your waters??? OK ... So, keep your fish!!!"Britain's post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union only allows the bloc's fishermen to access British waters with a license.French fisherman Bruno Margolle says those licenses were expected to be issued within days, only to drag on for months."On the evening of December 24, everyone was relieved that we had finally got a deal. On January 1, we had the assurance that within 48, 72 hours, everyone would get their licenses to operate within the UK's 6-12 mile zone. As of today, only 22 out of 120 boats have received their licenses."Margolle says many of those still struggling to obtain a license are unable to meet a British demand in the trade deal.That condition seeks proof that the skippers have fished in UK waters during the five years running up to Britain's 2016 referendum on EU membership.Britain claims it maintains an evidence-based approach to licensing EU vessels using information supplied by the European Commission.A British government spokesman called Thursday's protest "unjustified," and said it's raised those concerns with French authorities.Meanwhile the French government said late on Thursday that the European Commission must ensure Britain holds up its side of the deal, citing the "urgency of the situation."About two-thirds of fish from the UK are exported to the EU.French fishermen say the country's fish stocks might be depleted if they still cannot cross into British waters.
- Business Insider
One of the world's most luxurious airlines is continuing to shed its largest aircraft in favor of newer but smaller planes that are cheaper to fly.
The country remains out of step with other major nations by refusing to commit to deeper emissions cuts.
- Business Insider
One dose of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine provides protection against COVID-19 that lasts at least 10 weeks, study finds
One dose of a Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine reduced COVID-19 infections by 65% in a study. Two doses of Pfizer's shot did so by 90%.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg released a video Thursday denouncing world leaders for the "hypothetical targets" announced at President Biden's virtual climate summit this week.Why it matters: The virtual summit came hours before Thunberg urged U.S. lawmakers "to listen to and act on the science" in testimony before a House Oversight Committee panel. Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free."These targets could be a great start," Thunberg said in the four-minute-long clip, "if it wasn't for the fact that they're full of gaps and loopholes." Thunberg lambasted the leaders for "leaving out emissions from consumption of imported goods, as well as international aviation, shipping and the burning of biomass; using baseline manipulation; excluding most tipping points and feedback loops; and ignoring global aspects of equity and historic emissions.""They will call these hypothetical targets ambitious. But when you compare our insufficient targets with the overall current best available science, you clearly see that there's a gap. There are decades missing." The Swedish activist said the goals are "reliant on future, fantasy-scaled, currently barely-existing negative emissions technologies." State of play: Biden announced on Thursday the U.S. would seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% by 2030 relative to 2005 levels — about twice as ambitious as a goal set during the Obama administration. Leaders in Brazil, Canada and Japan also announced new targets at the summit. The bottom line: "The point ... is that we can keep cheating in order to pretend that these targets are in line with what is needed," Thunberg said. "But while we can others and even ourselves, we cannot fool nature and physics." "The emissions are still there, whether we choose to count them or not." Go deeper: All the new emissions targets announced at Biden’s climate summitMore from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
- Business Insider
A COVID triple-mutant found in India could be much more deadly, and may be resistant to existing vaccines
Researchers are describing it as an "immune escape variant," as vaccinated people who were previously infected with COVID can be infected.
- Business Insider
Video captures US military aircraft accidentally wrecking a UK hospital helipad during a training exercise
Emergency medical flights had to be temporarily redirected to a nearby airport after the helipad at the hospital was damaged.
- Yahoo News
The deepening disparities between two of the world’s largest countries should remind optimistic Americans that with light at the end of their own tunnel, it’s probably time for the U.S. to start thinking about how it can help end the pandemic elsewhere too.
"It's no surprise he's fabulous in the movie," director Adam McKay said recently of DiCaprio. "He's really funny; really grounded."
- The Daily Beast
BENOIT TESSIEREight private jets carrying India’s super wealthy—and potentially the coronavirus—landed in London ahead of the U.K.’s 4 a.m. ban on travel from India, according to the London Times. The U.K. added India to its “red list” of pandemic-stricken countries. As of Friday, any Britons returning from India must quarantine for ten days in a government-approved hotel. All non-British or non-Irish citizens will be banned entirely from entering the country if they have been in India in the previous 10 days. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had to cancel his own state visit to India scheduled for next week as a “precautionary measure.”The last of the luxury airliners to arrive, VistaJet Bombardier Global 6000, which left Dubai Thursday to collect passengers in Mumbai, landed at 3:15 a.m., just 44 minutes before the restrictions took place.The private jet passengers were fleeing unimaginable horror back home. At least 14 COVID-19 patients perished in a devastating fire that ripped through an ICU ward in one of India’s overcrowded hospitals about 70 miles outside Mumbai. The fire that broke out around 3 a.m. Friday morning was contained and extinguished, but not before 14 patients—many who were intubated and hard to evacuate—had died. “Around 90 patients were admitted to the hospital at the time of the incident,” Dilip Shah, the head of the Vijay Vallabh Hospital where it happened said in a statement Friday. Black Market Hospital Beds and Price-Gouged COVID Drugs Selling on Indian TwitterOne eyewitness, Avinash Patil, told reporters outside the hospital that no doctors were present at the time. “I got a call at around 3 am from a friend whose mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital,” he said. “As I reached the hospital, I saw fire engines outside. The ICU on the second floor was engulfed in smoke. Only two nurses were there, and I couldn’t see a doctor. It took firefighters about half an hour to put out the flames. We could see eight-ten bodies there.”Shah, the hospital chief, insisted all safety norms were followed and that “doctors were present,” according to local media reports. Earlier in the week, an oxygen leak in Maharashtra state, near where the fire broke out, resulted in the death of 24 COVID-19 patients who were on ventilators.To make terrible matters even worse, India reported its highest one-day number of cases, recording 332,730 new infections in a 24-hour period. In the same period, 2,263 people died with COVID-19.India has been overwhelmed by new cases coupled with a critical shortage of oxygen, hospital beds and now ventilators. Many desperate families have been forced to turn to black market price gougers who have been able to buy hospital space from corrupt administrators.The spike in cases comes as political rallies are still being held and after a month-long religious ceremony continues to bring millions of people to the Ganges River.India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been criticized for not calling a national lockdown to try to mitigate the spread and for hosting rallies ahead of elections in May. Government officials have said the previous lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic was economically devastating to many manual laborers who then traveled by foot from home cities to their villages, carrying the virus with them. The fire at a COVID-19 hospital in Virar is tragic. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover soon: PM @narendramodi— PMO India (@PMOIndia) April 23, 2021 Modi called the ICU fire “tragic” and offered condolences over Twitter. Many of the comments on his tweet begged him to call a national lockdown to try to save lives. In a shocking expose published in Time magazine, Indian journalist Rana Ayyub paints a horrific picture from the ground, writing about states essentially hijacking oxygen trucks and stealing supplies for their own hospitals, and disturbing allegations of underreporting deaths. Ayyub lays the blame for the debacle squarely on Modi’s shoulders, accusing him of ignoring the fact that his Trump-style rallies are super-spreader events, and for letting the ball drop on vaccines.“Why was India caught unprepared as the second wave ravaged a cross-section of Indian society?” Ayyub writes. “The responsibility lies with a strongman regime that has ignored all caution.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- The Week
Thought nothing could be weirder than Kevin Spacey's bizarre Christmas Eve videos? Think again. A new report in The Hollywood Reporter runs through the legal issues the disgraced actor is facing more than three years after allegations of sexual harassment and assault were leveled against him. Among these is a battle between Spacey and House of Cards production company Media Rights Capital. MRC is reportedly seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages it says it suffered because of the scandal, which "diminished" the Netflix's show value. Spacey, meanwhile, has reportedly brought a counterclaim against MRC. Part of this fight, the Reporter describes, is an allegation that Spacey groped a House of Cards production assistant in 2012, as Spacey is arguing that MRC wasn't "blindsided" by the scandal after previously signing off on a settlement with the PA. This case was reportedly submitted to an arbitrator last year — and it sounds like a subsequent proceeding got a bit strange. "Like everything in the new bizarre world of Spacey, this legal proceeding turned surreal quickly," the Reporter writes. "At one point during his deposition, Spacey sprung up from his seat and performed a song-and-dance number in the conference room." Spacey might want to take this case a bit more seriously than that, especially considering the Reporter points out it "may have the biggest monetary stakes" for him. He's also facing the possibility of criminal charges in London, according to the report, not to mention an ongoing civil lawsuit from a sexual assault accuser. Spacey has mostly dropped off the map since his scandal, though he's been releasing bizarre videos every Christmas Eve, two of which feature him in character as House of Cards' sinister Frank Underwood. As far as whether Spacey could ever make a return to acting, the Reporter arrives at essentially the answer you'd expect to that question, noting that there is "little appetite in Hollywood to bring Spacey back." More stories from theweek.comCNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta says vaccinated people can generally go maskless outdoors, with some caveats7 cartoons about Derek Chauvin being found guiltyJoe Manchin lives on a boat in Washington — and protesters are reportedly headed there
- Business Insider
The scientist behind Pfizer's vaccine says people will likely need a 3rd COVID-19 shot and yearly doses
BioNTech's chief medical officer said the COVID-19 vaccine would be similar to the annual flu shot as immunity wanes over time.
As thousands are dying every day, Modi has looked the other way. But how much longer can the government ignore the crisis unfolding in India?