North proposes talks
North Korea has proposed holding talks with South Korea to ease tensions and improve relations, the North’s Korean Central News Agency reported yesterday. It said the North’s Supreme People’s Assembly made the offer in a letter on Wednesday to the South’s National Assembly.
Fireworks set off hotel fire
A fire set off by fireworks to celebrate the Lunar New Year destroyed a five-star hotel in the northeast, according to Xinhua news agency. It said the fire gutted the hotel in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, before dawn yesterday. There were no causalities. Xinhua said firefighters had trouble dealing with the fire because their fire engines shot water up only 50m, while the building was 219m tall.
Trust in police down
A UN survey indicates the reputation of the local police has deteriorated in the south in the past year, despite an intensive campaign by US troops to build up local security forces. The survey released yesterday said the countrywide reputation of the police was good: 79 percent of Afghans had a favorable view of the police and 34 percent said their confidence in the police had grown in the past year. However, in the south, only 48 percent of respondents said they had a “somewhat favorable” or “very favorable” opinion of the police in their area, down from 67 percent a year ago.
US suspect detained further
A judge ruled yesterday that police could keep holding a US embassy employee accused of killing two Pakistanis for at least eight more days, officials said. The US says the American, identified by Pakistanis as Raymond Allen Davis, has diplomatic immunity and that Pakistan must free him. US officials say he shot the two Pakistanis in Lahore because they were trying to rob him. Another judge has instructed that the American be placed on the “exit control list” so that he cannot leave the country.
Parents get long probation
A fundamentalist Christian couple who tried relying on prayer to cure their dying toddler must take their remaining children for medical check-ups as part of their sentence in the boy’s death. A Philadelphia judge also sentenced Herbert and Catherine Schaible to 10 years of probation on Wednesday. They were convicted in December of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment in the death of their two-year-old son from pneumonia.
Museum cuts exhibit
A museum just days away from opening a long-awaited exhibit including two mummies and other historical artifacts from China is gutting the display of all objects at the request of Chinese officials, the museum announced on Wednesday. The artifacts were part of “Secrets of the Silk Road,” which is scheduled to open on Saturday at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia. The exhibit has already traveled to museums in California and Texas without issue. Visitors to the Philadelphia museum will see a pared-down exhibit. Penn museum spokeswoman Pam Kosty said she could not offer any more information beyond a statement saying Chinese officials had requested the items not be shown. She declined to identify the officials. Attempts to reach the Chinese consulate for comment were unsuccessful because of the Lunar New Year holiday.