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Tiny panda, big debut

N. Korea punishes Canadian pastor

North Korea's Supreme Court sentenced a Canadian pastor to life in prison with hard labor on Wednesday for what it called crimes against the state. Hyeon Soo Lim, who pastors the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto, was given the sentence after a 90-minute trial. He has been in detention since February. Lim kept his head bowed most of the time and answered questions in a subdued tone. The crimes he was charged with included harming the dignity of the supreme leadership, trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system, disseminating negative propaganda about the North to the overseas Koreans, and helping U.S. and South Korean authorities lure and abduct North Korean citizens, along with aiding their programs to assist defectors from the North.

Suspect's escape aided by law?

Authorities in Belgium said Wednesday that one of the Paris attackers may have been holed up in a house in Brussels two nights after 130 people were killed and hundreds more injured — but that he could have escaped because of a law banning police raids on private homes from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., according to the country's justice minister. The revelation by the justice minister, Koen Geens, that the suspect, France's most wanted man — Salah Abdeslam — might have gotten away because of an arcane law intended to safeguard family privacy only adds to the picture of a severely dysfunctional and ineffective government in Belgium. The minister said in an interview broadcast Wednesday night by the Dutch-language television station VTM that Abdeslam would have been caught if he were there, and a spokesman for the federal prosecutor's office acknowledged in a telephone interview that "the immediate surroundings and the streets surrounding the property were not sealed off during the night."

'Affluenza' teen sought by police

Authorities are investigating whether a teenager who killed four people in a 2013 drunken-driving wreck — and claimed as part of his defense that he suffered from "affluenza" — has fled with his mother to avoid a potential violation of his probation. Prosecutors said Wednesday they're trying to determine whether Ethan Couch, 18, was one of the people drinking at a party in a video posted on social media earlier this month. Lawyers for Couch issued a statement saying his probation officer hasn't been able to reach him for several days, prompting authorities to issue the juvenile equivalent of an arrest warrant for the teen. They're also seeking the boy's mother, Tonya Couch, with whom he had been living. When Couch was prosecuted in juvenile court, his lawyers invoked the affluenza defense that claimed his irresponsible lifestyle was due to wealthy parents who coddled him. He was later sentenced by a judge to probation and time in a rehabilitation center.

Times wires

Washington, d.c. Tiny panda, big debut Animal keeper Stacey Tabellario holds Bei Bei, the National Zoo’s newest panda and offspring of Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, as he is presented to members of the media at the National Zoo in Washington. The youngest giant panda cub at the National Zoo is ready for his close-up. Bei Bei, who is nearly 4 months old, will make his public debut Jan. 16.

Associated Press

Washington, d.c. Tiny panda, big debut Animal keeper Stacey Tabellario holds Bei Bei, the National Zoo’s newest panda and offspring of Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, as he is presented to members of the media at the National Zoo in Washington. The youngest giant panda cub at the National Zoo is ready for his close-up. Bei Bei, who is nearly 4 months old, will make his public debut Jan. 16.

Tiny panda, big debut 12/16/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 16, 2015 10:18pm]
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