Images suggest N. Korea is ready for nuke test Islamists bomb bridge in Mali Violence erupts at Iraq rally Crocodiles escape S. Africa farm
WASHINGTON -- Recent satellite photos show North Korea could be almost ready to carry out its threat to conduct a nuclear test, a U.S. research institute said Friday.
The images of the Punggye-ri site, where nuclear tests were conducted in 2006 and 2009, reveal that over the past month, roads have been kept clear of snow and that North Koreans may have been sealing the tunnel into a mountainside where a nuclear device would be detonated.
But it remains difficult to discern North Korea's true intentions, as a test would be conducted underground.
The analysis was provided to The Associated Press by 38 North, the website of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
SEVARE, Mali -- Islamic extremists based in the Malian town of Ansongo have destroyed a bridge near the Niger border, officials said on Friday, marking the first use of explosives by the insurgents since the start of a French-led military intervention two weeks ago.
The explosion shows that the extremists remain a nimble and daunting enemy, despite gains by the French, who have recaptured three towns from the insurgents and on Friday pushed toward the Islamist stronghold of Gao, one of three provincial capitals controlled by the al-Qaida-linked rebels.
BAGHDAD -- Iraqi troops opened fire on stone-throwing Sunni demonstrators in the country's restive west on Friday, leading to the deaths of at least five protesters -- the first fatalities in more than a month of anti-government rallies. Two soldiers were also killed, apparently in retaliation.
The violence is likely to exacerbate tensions between the Shiite-led government and minority Sunnis angry over perceived second-class treatment and what they see as unfair policies targeting their sect.
Hours after the shooting, police said gunmen attacked an army checkpoint, killing the soldiers, in apparent payback for the earlier bloodshed. At least one army vehicle was set ablaze, and dozens of civilian gunmen were seen roaming the streets before local authorities imposed a curfew in the city.
Friday's protest was part of a wave of rallies that first erupted in Anbar province last month after the arrest of bodyguards assigned to Sunni Finance Minister Rafia al-Issawi, who comes from the area.
JOHANNESBURG -- Thousands of crocodiles escaped a breeding farm along a river on the South Africa-Botswana border when the farms' gates were opened earlier this week to alleviate pressure caused by rising flood waters.
Efforts are now being made to wrangle the reptiles and get them back to the Rakwena Crocodile Farm, from where the vast majority escaped. Hangwani Mulaudzi, a spokesman for the police in Limpopo Province, said Friday that experts are needed to help sort out the crocodile crisis.
"Due to the number of crocodiles that have been washed away there is a need for expertise," Mulaudzi said. "So we are just making appeals to anyone ... who has knowledge of catching crocodiles to come and assist."
It isn't clear exactly how many crocodiles are on the loose. Mulaudzi said he believes around 10,000 from multiple farms remain on the loose.