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World in brief: North Koreans rally for nuclear rights

Tens of thousands of North Koreans, including high level officials, rallied Thursday in the communist country’s capital to defend their government’s right to have nuclear weapons, state-run media reported.

“We have nothing to be scared about as we have a strong war deterrent,” a North Korean woman said at the massive rally in Pyongyang, the North’s Central TV reported.

The communist regime, which conducted its first atomic test in October, often refers to its nuclear weapons program as a necessary deterrent to the threat of a U.S. attack – an accusation Washington has repeatedly denied.

The rally drew about 100,000 – including Parliament speaker Choe Thae Bok and the vice president of Parliament, Yang Hyong Sop, Central TV said.


Explosive device found by police

Police found a large explosive device in the Basque region Thursday, five days after a car bombing in Madrid blamed on the separatist group ETA shattered a nine-month cease-fire.

The discovery came as Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero visited the wreckage of Saturday’s car bombing and vowed Spain would not be intimidated. The blast at the parking lot of Madrid’s international airport killed one man, left another missing and at least 26 people were feared dead and wounded.

Outside the Basque town of Amorebieta, nearly 220 pounds of explosives were found in a drum near an abandoned car, and they had been rigged to be used in an attack, Basque police said. Bomb disposal experts removed the device from the site to dismantle it.

SURABAYA, Indonesia

High waves blamed in ferry’s sinking

A “roll-on, roll-off” ferry that sank with more than 600 people on board likely capsized after high waves crashed over the ship’s car deck, a top Indonesian investigator said Thursday.

Accidents on similar vessels have occurred elsewhere, leading experts to call for design changes in the doors and ramps that allow vehicles to drive on board.

More than 400 people are dead or missing and about 220 others have been rescued, said navy spokesman Lt. Col. Tony Syaiful. The ferry sank in the Java Sea just before midnight Dec. 29 after being pounded by waves as high as 12 feet. LUCKNOW, India

Officers fired after remains discovered

Authorities fired six policemen for failing to investigate dozens of missing persons cases, an official said Thursday, after 17 dismembered bodies of women and children turned up at a house in an affluent New Delhi suburb.

The six officers were fired and three senior officials were suspended Wednesday, following an inquiry by the Uttar Pradesh state government, said N.C. Bajpai, the state’s chief secretary.

The remains were found in storm drains behind a house in Noida, an eastern suburb of New Delhi. The owner of the house, Moninder Singh Pandher, and his domestic servant, Surender Kohli, have been arrested and charged with kidnapping, raping and killing the victims, and then dumping their dismembered bodies in the storm drains.


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Kim Jong Un will walk across border for summit with Moon

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon-Jae-in will plant a commemorative tree and inspect an honor guard together after Kim walks across the border Friday for their historic summit, Seoul officials said Thursday.