13-year-old says he has reached everest's camp 2
A 13-year-old American boy has arrived at Mount Everest's Camp 2, a step closer to completing his goal of conquering the highest peaks on all seven continents. After a nine-hour climb from Camp 1, Jordan Romero and his support team arrived Thursday night at Camp 2, which is at 24,750 feet. Everest's summit is at 29,029 feet. Climbers stay overnight at three or four camps before the summit, depending on their route and pace. "Team Jordan is OK. We are trekking!" read the latest update from Romero's blog this morning. Romero, from Big Bear, Calif., is climbing with his father, Paul, and three Sherpa guides. He climbed the highest peaks on six other continents and hopes to reach the top of the world's tallest mountain in five to seven days, depending on weather conditions.
U.S. cautious on Koreas' hostilities
U.S. officials refused on Thursday to call North Korea's torpedoing of a South Korean warship an act of war or state-sponsored terror, warning that an overreaction could cause the Korean peninsula to "explode." While the United States has vowed to defend South Korea — and has 28,500 troops there to prove it — it doesn't want to provoke new hostilities or spark chaos in the region. U.S. officials said they would explore diplomatic steps through the U.N. or increase Washington's unilateral sanctions against North Korea's Soviet-style state.
Man sentenced for sex parties
A 53-year-old university professor in China was sentenced Thursday to 3 1/2 years in prison for helping organize like-minded "swingers" for group sex parties. The prosecution of Ma Yaohai, a computer science expert, has highlighted the changing nature of social mores in China, as well as the ways in which the country's authoritarian leaders have tried to regulate private behavior. The Qinhuai District Court in Nanjing convicted 21 members of Ma's sex club of "group licentiousness," the first time anyone in China has been prosecuted under the 1997 law, according to Chinese media reports. Excluding Ma, the public face of the group, the members received suspended sentences. Ma's attorney, Xue Huogen, said he would appeal.
Washington: The United States has agreed to notify other nations before it launches most ballistic missile tests or satellites, in a measure that builds on a landmark arms agreement with Russia.
West Memphis, Ark.: Two police officers doing antidrug work were fatally shot by two men with AK-47s along Interstate 40 on Thursday, and the suspects later died in a shootout that injured the local sheriff and a deputy in a crowded Walmart parking lot, authorities said.
Trenton, N.J.: Gov. Chris Christie vetoed an income-tax increase on residents earning $1 million Thursday, minutes after the bill cleared the Democratic-led Legislature.
Britain: Britain's new government — a coalition of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties — outlined a joint program Thursday, promising support for the Afghanistan war, a new drive toward Middle East peace and a "close and frank" relationship with the United States.