More purges may follow execution of Kim's uncle PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - The execution of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle brought a swift and violent end to a man long considered the country's second-most powerful. But while Jang Song Thaek is now gone, the fallout from his bloody purge is not over. In a stunning reversal of the popular image of Jang as a mentor and father figure guiding young Kim Jong Un as he consolidated power, North Korea's state-run media on Friday announced he had been executed and portrayed him as a morally corrupt traitor who saw the death of Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, in December 2011 as an opportunity to make his own power play.
Uncle rose with NKorean leader before brutal fall SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - The execution of leader Kim Jong Un's uncle marks the unprecedented fall from grace of one of the most powerful figures in North Korea and the most serious political upheaval in the country in decades. Jang Song Thaek rose from municipal bureaucrat to vice chairman of the National Defense Commission and member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party - posts that put him in second in power only to Kim.
Missing American in Iran was on unapproved mission WASHINGTON (AP) - An American who vanished nearly seven years ago in Iran was working for the CIA on an unapproved intelligence-gathering mission that, when it came to light inside the government, produced one of the most serious scandals in the recent history of the CIA - but all in secret, an Associated Press investigation found. The CIA paid Robert Levinson's family $2.5 million to head off a revealing lawsuit. Three veteran analysts were forced out of the agency and seven others were disciplined.
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Huge crowds gather in hopes of seeing Mandela body PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - Tens of thousands of South African mourners waited in line on Friday to view the body of Nelson Mandela, which was lying in state for the third and final day, with the likelihood that many would be turned away before the casket is taken away later in the day. The government said some 50,000 people had gathered by 7.30 a.m. (0530 GMT), and an AP journalist said Friday the lines in Pretoria, South Africa's capital, were already several kilometers (miles) long. Organizers handed out water to the crowds, and moved up elderly people and women with children to spare them a longer wait.
House GOP conservatives help propel budget bill WASHINGTON (AP) - After a sweeping vote by conservative Republicans controlling the House and President Barack Obama's Democratic allies, a bipartisan budget pact is in the hands of the Senate, where it will encounter stronger but probably futile resistance from Republicans. The modest package passed by the House on Thursday would ease the harshest effects of another round of automatic spending cuts set to hit the Pentagon and domestic agencies next month. Supporters of the measure easily beat back attacks on it from conservative organizations that sometimes raise money by stoking conflict within the Republican Party.
UN inspectors confirm Syria chemical attack UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Chemical weapons were probably used in four locations in Syria this year, in addition to the confirmed attack near Damascus in August that forced the government to abandon its secret chemical stockpile, U.N. inspectors have said. In a report released Thursday, the experts, led by Swedish professor Ake Sellstrom, examined seven alleged chemical weapons attacks and said it lacked information to corroborate the allegations at two locations.
A year since Delhi rape, women see key changes NEW DELHI (AP) - The phones were ringing nonstop in the tiny, windowless office in downtown New Delhi, with urgent appeals from desperate women. One caller, speaking in whispers, said her husband beat her regularly because she failed to bring in enough dowry. Another woman said her teenage daughter was being stalked by a neighbor and needed legal advice.
Iran's fears of being a target cloud nuke talks VIENNA (AP) - Assassinations, cyber-attacks and possible military strikes: As nuclear negotiations with Iran enter a crucial stage, Tehran is voicing fears that tougher oversight of its activities will increase the risks of an attack on its atomic facilities and the scientists working on them. Iranian fears that the country's nuclear activities are a target are plausible but some nuclear experts say such concerns are overblown.
Guard brings Christmas to remote Alaska village KWETHLUK, Alaska (AP) - Christmas in Alaska came early this week to nearly 300 students attending school in the Yup'ik Eskimo village of Kwethluk. Thanks to the volunteer program coordinated by the Alaska National Guard, Santa and Mrs. Claus greeted children in the western Alaska community and took pictures with them before helper elves handed out gifts.
Broncos loss puts division, home-field in limbo DENVER (AP) - A wake-up call, or the sign of something more serious? An unexpected 27-20 loss to the Chargers on Thursday night made Peyton Manning and the Broncos look average and placed all their regular-season goals in jeopardy.