China reports school attack

BEIJING — A farmer wielding a hammer injured five kindergartners and a teacher before setting himself on fire Friday, in the third classroom attack in China in three days and the fourth since late March.

State news media played down the latest assault, which occurred in Weifang, a city in the eastern province of Shandong.

The Xinhua News Agency reported that the students were in stable condition at a hospital and that the attacker, 45-year-old Wang Yonglai, had died at the scene. By evening, online links to articles about the incident were either redirected or returned error messages.

North Korea lets American call mother

SEOUL, South Korea — An American imprisoned in North Korea was allowed to speak to his mother by telephone, but Pyongyang's state media and his family provided few details and no clues whether he would be released.

North Korea's highest court sentenced Aijalon Mahli Gomes to eight years of hard labor and fined him $700,000 on April 6 for entering the country illegally and for an unspecified "hostile act. "

Gomes, of Boston, was the fourth American detained by North Korea for illegal entry in less than a year. He had been teaching English in South Korea before being arrested in the North on Jan. 25.

The official Korean Central News Agency reported Friday that Gomes spoke with family the same day.