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Sunday 19 November 2017

North Korea threatens 'sacred war' as US and South make show of strength

A massive nuclear-powered US supercarrier readied yesterday for manoeuvres with ally South Korea in a potent show of force that North Korea has threatened could lead to "sacred war".

The military drills, code-named 'Invincible Spirit', are to run from today until Wednesday with about 8,000 US and South Korean troops, 20 ships and submarines and 200 aircraft. The Nimitz-class USS George Washington, with several thousand sailors and dozens of fighters aboard, was deployed from Japan.

The North routinely threatens attacks whenever South Korea and the US hold joint military drills. The US keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea and 50,000 in Japan.

Still, the North's latest rhetoric threatening "nuclear deterrence" and "sacred war" carries extra weight following the sinking of a South Korean warship that killed 46 sailors. Seoul and Washington said a North Korean torpedo was responsible for the March sinking of the Cheonan, considered the worst military attack on the South since the 1950-53 Korean War.

Ryanair plane collides with large bird

A Ryanair Boeing 737 was forced to return to Brussels' Charleroi Airport after it collided with a large bird.

Airport officials said yesterday one of the plane's engines ingested a bird on take-off and the pilots elected to do a go-around as a safety precaution. There were no injuries, and passengers on the flight to the Italian city of Bergamo were due to be transferred to another flight.

BP calls off Gulf of Mexico evacuation

BP's evacuation of the Gulf of Mexico was called off yesterday and ships are heading back to the site of the leaky well. The remnants of tropical storm Bonnie moved over the spill, but cameras that have given a constant view of the broken well apparently never stopped rolling.

The mechanical cap that has mostly contained the oil for eight days held. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokeswoman said the storm surge could push more oil on to the shoreline. But it could pull away oil from other areas. And it may help dissipate the oil in the water, spreading out the surface slick.

Pilot ejects seconds before jet crash

A Canadian air force jet crashed and exploded in a ball of flames during a training run for a weekend international air show in Alberta, but the pilot was able to eject from the plummeting plane before it hit the runway.

The pilot, Capt Brian Bews, who sustained a sore back and scraped-up arms, was treated at a hospital and released on Friday. Bews was practising in a CF-18 Hornet jet for an international air show. The CF-18 he was flying is a model specifically used for air shows.

Minister's son shot dead in Pakistan

Officials say gunmen have killed the son of an anti-Taliban minister in northwest Pakistan.

Police official Nisar Khan said yesterday's shooting took place in Naushehra district, the hometown of Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Mr Khan said the minister's son was on a stroll when he was shot dead. Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik blamed the attack on Taliban militants.

Meanwhile, US missiles hit a suspected militant hide-out, killing 16 insurgents in a troubled Pakistani tribal region along the Afghan border.

Five US killed in Helmand, two missing

FIVE American service members died yesterday in bombings in south Afghanistan. Four of the victims died in a single blast. A fifth was killed in a separate attack.

And two US Navy service members have been reported "missing" in a dangerous area to the east of the troubled country, prompting a massive search and appeals for their safe return. Is is thought Taliban forces may be holding them as hostages.

51 bodies found in Mexican dump

Investigators have found 51 corpses in a field near a rubbish dump outside the northern city of Monterrey, as excavations continued at one of the largest clandestine body dumping grounds in Mexico's bloody drug war.

Oil company to start drilling in Libya

BP WILL start deep-water drilling off the coast of Libya within weeks -- in spite of concerns about the oil group's environmental and safety record.

The news comes as the US is questioning why a Libyan sovereign wealth company with €100bn to spend was set up in London a week after news broke that Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi might be released.

Sunday Independent

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