The following are the day's top general news stories:
1. South Korea Girds for Show of Force With U.S. Ships After Attacks by North 2. FBI Charges Man in Alleged Plot to Bomb Tree-Lighting in Portland, Oregon 3. U.S. Seeks to Keep Korean Tension From Escalating to Conflict, Mullen Says 4. Taiwan's Relations With China May Improve After Ruling KMT's Election Win 5. Denver Broncos, Coach Fined by NFL for Videotaping San Francisco Practice
1. South Korea Girds for Show of Force With U.S. Ships After Attacks by North
The U.S. and South Korea were set to begin naval exercises in the waters west of the Korean Peninsula today, a show of force that North Korea warned would bring the region to the "brink of war." U.S. Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. is trying to prevent the tensions over North Korea´s attack on a South Korean island on the disputed maritime border from escalating into a more significant confrontation. "We´re very focused on restraint and not letting this thing get out of control," Mullen told CNN in an interview scheduled for broadcast today on "Fareed Zakaria GPS" and posted on the network´s Website. "Nobody wants this thing to turn into a conflict." North Korea´s shelling of Yeonpyeong, which killed four people and wounded 20 more, raised tensions that flared after an international inquiry concluded that North Korea torpedoed the South Korean warship Cheonan in March and more recently following North Korean claims of advances in its nuclear program.
2. FBI Charges Man in Alleged Plot to Bomb Tree-Lighting in Portland, Oregon
A Somali-born teenager was arrested in an undercover operation on charges that he tried to detonate a van that he thought was filled with explosives at a Portland, Oregon, Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, obtained what he believed to be the bomb from undercover FBI employees, according to court papers filed with his arrest yesterday. The public was never in danger, a Justice Department statement said. "I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave either dead or injured," Mohamud allegedly told undercover FBI agents, according to an affidavit filed in support of the arrest. At another point, he allegedly said, "It´s gonna be a fireworks show" and "a spectacular show." Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen and resident of Corvallis, Oregon, told undercover FBI agents that he had been thinking of committing violent jihad since he was 15 years old, and that he had written for an online publication supporting such actions, according to the affidavit.
3. U.S. Seeks to Keep Korean Tension From Escalating to Conflict, Mullen Says
The U.S. is trying to prevent North Korea´s attack on a South Korean island from escalating into a more significant conflict, said Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "We´re very focused on restraint and not letting this thing get out of control," Mullen told CNN in an interview scheduled for broadcast tomorrow on "Fareed Zakaria GPS" and posted on the network´s Website. "The South Koreans so far have responded that way. Nobody wants this thing to turn into a conflict." North Korea on Nov. 23 shelled a South Korean fishing community and military base with artillery rounds, killing four people. U.S. President Barack Obama and leaders in Japan and South Korea have publicly urged China, North Korea´s biggest trading partner, to use its influence on Kim Jong Il´s government to resolve the conflict. The shelling of Yeonpyeong raised tensions that flared after an international inquiry concluded that North Korea torpedoed the South Korean warship Cheonan in March and more recently following North Korean claims of advances in its nuclear program.
4. Taiwan's Relations With China May Improve After Ruling KMT's Election Win
Taiwan´s warming ties with China may further improve after the ruling Kuomintang party won the majority in key local elections, an indication voters support President Ma Ying-jeou´s willingness to cooperate with the mainland. The KMT party won the mayorships for three out of five cities yesterday with the opposition Democratic Progressive Party taking the remainder, according to the Central Election Commission. The five municipalities together make up about 60 percent of Taiwan´s 23 million people. "The victory will help pave the way for President Ma to continue his China policy and cross-strait ties may get even closer," said Chang Ling-chen, a political science professor at National Taiwan University. "Ma´s success in defending the mayoral seats will help ensure his candidacy for the presidential election in 2012." The victory boosts Ma, who is midway in his four-year term. The 60-year-old leader has faced resistance from the Democratic Progressive Party, which is concerned he may make concessions for favorable policies and put Taiwan´s sovereignty at stake as he pushes for closer economic ties with the mainland.
5. Denver Broncos, Coach Fined by NFL for Videotaping San Francisco Practice
The National Football League fined the Denver Broncos and coach Josh McDaniels $50,000 each because the team´s video director filmed a San Francisco 49ers practice in London last month. Steve Scarnecchia taped a six-minute portion of the 49ers´ practice at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 30, the day before San Francisco´s 24-16 victory over Denver, the league said in a statement. Scarnecchia then presented the video to McDaniels, who declined to view it. McDaniels was fined for failing to report the incident, as required by NFL policy. The Broncos have fired Scarnecchia. "I apologize for not promptly reporting the improper conduct of our video director," McDaniels said in a statement released by the Broncos. "The actions of this individual are in no way representative of the values and integrity held by myself, our players and coaches, and the entire Denver Broncos organization."
-0- Nov/28/2010 00:35 GMT