SEOUL, South Korea — A high-profile U.S. state governor was visiting North Korea today in a bid to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula as South Korea planned to conduct artillery drills similar to ones that prompted Pyongyang to shell a front-line island last month.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who has frequently acted as an unofficial envoy to the North, began the first full day of his trip, though details of his schedule were unclear. Upon arrival Thursday, he was greeted at Pyongyang's airport by a senior North Korean official after telling reporters in Beijing he expected to be given some sort of message by the North.
"My objective is to see if we can reduce the tension in the Korean peninsula," Richardson said at the airport in North Korea, according to Associated Press Television News.
WikiLeaks founder is out on bail in England
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LONDON — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was released on bail Thursday — confined to a supporter's 600-acre estate but free to get back to work spilling U.S. government secrets on his website as he fights Sweden's attempt to extradite him on allegations of rape and molestation.
The Australian, who surrendered to British police Dec. 7, will have to observe a curfew, wear an electronic tag and report to police in person every day.
But there are no restrictions on his Internet use, even as U.S. authorities consider charges related to thousands of leaked diplomatic cables and other secret documents WikiLeaks has released.
Death toll rises by 2 in Australian boat crash
SYDNEY — Police divers have pulled two bodies from the sunken wreckage of a boat that was packed with asylum seekers trying to reach Australia when it was smashed to pieces on rocks at a remote island, taking the death toll from the disaster to 30. Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said Friday that the bodies of a man and a boy of about 11 were found near the hulk of the wooden boat on Thursday, when seas calmed enough for divers to enter the water.
With possibly scores of people still missing from Wednesday's crash, officials said there was little hope of finding anyone else alive.