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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Transcript shows ferry captain delayed evacuation; hundreds still missing

MOKPO, South Korea – Fresh questions arose about whether quicker action by the captain of a doomed ferry could have saved lives, even as rescuers scrambled to find hundreds of passengers still missing today. Officials said they were looking into whether a crewman’s order to abruptly turn the ship contributed to the 6,852-ton Sewol tilting severely to the side and filling with water Wednesday.

Coach hopes Donovan shows off when U.S. hosts S. Korea

Landon Donovan’s passion for soccer is rejuve- nated heading into his fourth World Cup run, and he spent the past few weeks stoking that fire in training camp with his U.S. teammates. The greatest scorer in American history still has to figure out where he’ll fit on the team that’s heading to Brazil in a few months. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann said he hopes Donovan “shows off” on his home field today ( 2 p.m., ESPN2) when the U.S. national team makes its 2014 debut at the sold-out StubHub Center south of down- town Los Angeles against South Korea. It’s the first of two scheduled matches before World Cup training begins in earnest in May. – AP

SKorea rejects Boeing in warplane purchase project

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea says it has rejected Boeing Co.’s bid to build and supply 60 new fighter jets — even though it was the sole contender in the bidding process.

Spokane Valley woman heads to Special Olympics

Spokane Valley’s Heather Comer has done something many have not: stood proud on a center podium, accepting a gold medal, qualifying for the Olympics. She’s also had to overcome something many athletes have not: Down syndrome.

Washington potatoes headed to South Korea

OLYMPIA – As a Washington delegation wrapped up a trade mission in Asia this week, the United States and South Korea worked out a deal on the export of one of the state’s key crops – potatoes. A new agreement on how to check for a specific pest, the zebra chip bacteria, will allow for some 20,000 metric tons of Washington spuds to be shipped to South Korea and turned into potato chips or other snack foods, state officials said. The agreement, which involves cutting a certain number of potatoes in each shipment to check for the bacteria, also covers shipments from Idaho and Oregon. Without it, no potatoes would have been shipped to the country.

China to reinvestigate human flesh capsule claims

BEIJING — China will reinvestigate allegations that Chinese-made drug capsules containing powdered remains of dead babies are being smuggled into South Korea, state media reported today.

New deal with South Korea opens trade markets

WASHINGTON – More frozen french fries, beef short ribs and wine may be heading to South Korea from Washington state under a new trade agreement that went into effect last week. The agreement lifts tariffs on such products as potatoes, wheat, beef, sweet cherries and wine, to a country that is already Washington’s fourth-largest export market.

Local producers see rise in exports to South Korea if pact OK’d

Dick Coon wants to expand his Eastern Washington cattle ranch in hopes that one day his son will come back to run the family operation. If a trade agreement with South Korea passes, he will do that. “The production cycle is very slow,” he said of raising cattle. “Producers like me have to look way ahead and ask ‘Do I have the confidence to make the investment?’ ”

S. Korea on military alert

SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea’s president ordered the military on alert today for any moves by rival North Korea after the defense minister said last week’s explosion and sinking of a South Korean ship may have been caused by a North Korean mine. The blast ripped the 1,200-ton ship apart last Friday night during a routine patrol mission near Baengnyeong Island, along the tense maritime border west of the Korean peninsula. Fifty-eight crew members, including the captain, were plucked to safety; 46 remain missing with dim prospects for finding any further survivors.

N. Korea issues threat on border

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea warned the U.S. and South Korea of possible deadly consequences today in retaliation for what it called psychological warfare involving journalist tours to the South’s portion of the buffer zone between the rivals. The statement by the North’s military accused South Korea of staging anti-North Korea “psychological warfare” in the demilitarized zone with visits there by journalists this year.

North Korea warns South of naval clash

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea warned South Korea of a possible naval clash today, accusing Seoul of sending warships into its waters around their disputed western sea border. The South’s “reckless military provocations” have created “such a serious situation that a naval clash may break out between the two sides in these waters,” the North’s navy said in a statement carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.

S. Korea says North’s missiles getting better

SEOUL, South Korea – The ballistic missiles that North Korea test-fired this weekend were likely capable of striking key government and military facilities in South Korea, a defense official said Sunday, amid growing concerns over Pyongyang’s firepower. Pyongyang launched seven missiles into waters off its east coast Saturday in a show of force that defied U.N. resolutions and drew international condemnation.

U.S., South Korea put troops on higher alert

SEOUL, South Korea – South Korean and U.S. troops facing North Korea boosted their alert level today to the highest category since 2006, after the communist regime threatened military strikes on allied troops in escalating tensions over its nuclear test. North Korea threatened Wednesday to attack any U.S. and South Korean ships that try to intercept its vessels and renounced a 1953 truce halting the Korean War fighting, raising the prospect of a naval clash off the Korean peninsula’s west coast.