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In brief: U.S. sending envoy to North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea – After a year of tensions, President Barack Obama is sending a veteran diplomat to North Korea today for the highest-profile talks between Pyongyang and Washington since he took office pledging to reach out to America’s adversaries.

A key question is whether Stephen Bosworth can extract a firm commitment from Pyongyang to rejoin nuclear disarmament talks – whether North Korea is serious, this time, about peace on the peninsula.

Bosworth was scheduled to fly from a U.S. military base near Seoul to the North Korean capital today to see if the North will return to the international disarmament talks that it abandoned earlier this year.

Tunneling thieves steal $6 million

SAO PAULO, Brazil – Thieves who spent months tunneling from a rented house to an armored car company’s safe made off with nearly $6 million over the weekend, making their getaway as season-ending football matches virtually shut down Brazil, authorities said Monday.

The heist was discovered Sunday night – hours after the games ended. Officers followed the tunnel from the company’s safe some 110 yards underground to a house, Sao Paulo police said in a statement.

Police said the home, abandoned when they arrived, had been occupied for about four months. Its former occupants were considered suspects, but there were no immediate arrests.

Eight students die in rush down stairs

BEIJING – Eight youths were killed and 26 injured when students descending a crowded staircase after evening classes at a school in central China lost their footing amid a crush of bodies, state media and the local government reported today.

City leaders in Xiangxiang immediately removed the head of the education bureau for bearing “leadership responsibility” for the accident, the government said.