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S. Korea ends military drills

SEOUL, South Korea — The South Korean military on Friday wrapped up three days of intense land and sea exercises as officials tried to decipher what a third nuclear test by North Korea predicted for next year would mean to already brittle relations between the two nations.

In recent weeks, tensions on the peninsula have been among their highest levels since a truce ended the direct combat of the Korean war in 1953.

Northern artillery shelled the South's Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23, killing four people, and South Korea followed with two live-fire training exercises despite threats from North Korea that it could retaliate if it felt threatened.

A report released Friday predicting that the North could carry out a third nuclear test as early as next year also did little to erase the growing unease. North Korea carried out tests in 2006 and 2009.

34 die in Ecuador as bus runs off mountain

QUITO, Ecuador — Rescue workers say a bus ran off a foggy, rainy mountain road in Ecuador and plunged about 1,100 feet, killing at least 34 people and injuring 23 others.

Red Cross worker Jorge Arteaga said by telephone that Friday's accident occurred before dawn in the western province of Manabi.

The Red Cross sent 30 volunteers and five ambulances to the scene.

U.N. worries gunmen blocking mass grave

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Masked gunmen with rocket launchers are blocking access to what officials believe may be a mass grave site in Ivory Coast, the United Nations said, as concerns grow that the West African nation that suffered a 2002-03 civil war could return to conflict.

The U.N. reported that heavily armed forces allied with Laurent Gbagbo and joined by masked men, were preventing people from getting to the village of N'Dotre, where the global body said "allegations point to the existence of a mass grave."

The U.N. did not elaborate on the possible victims, though it has expressed concerns about hundreds of arrests, and dozens of cases of torture and disappearance during the political turmoil since the presidential runoff vote was held nearly a month ago.

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