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U.S. halts N. Korea missile shipment

The U.S. Navy intercepted a North Korean ship it suspected of carrying missile technology to Myanmar two weeks ago and, after a standoff at sea and several days of diplomatic pressure from Washington and Asia nations, forced the vessel to return home, the New York Times reported Sunday, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

Washington made no public announcement about the operation, which paralleled a similar, far more public confrontation with North Korea two years ago. But in response to questions about what appears to be a growing trade in missiles and missile parts between North Korea and Myanmar — two of the world's most isolated governments — U.S. officials have described the episode as an example of how they can use a combination of naval power and diplomatic pressure to enforce U.N. sanctions imposed after the North's last nuclear test, in 2009.

WASHINGTON

Duncan pledges 'No Child' relief for states

If Congress fails to act on President Barack Obama's call to rewrite the No Child Left Behind law by the start of next school year, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, he will take steps to ease some of its most punitive provisions for states that are making strides in improving schools.

"We are hearing a tremendous amount of frustration across the country," Duncan told reporters Friday in a conference call. He spoke on the condition that his remarks would not be made public until Sunday.

Many teachers and state leaders have long protested that the 2002 law is too punitive, too strict and fundamentally unrealistic. The law sets a goal for all students to show proficiency in reading and math by 2014.

Congress has been deadlocked over proposals to change the law, while debating such issues as the federal role in education and how teachers should be evaluated. Some observers say the impasse could continue for the next few years.

DURHAM, N.C.

Man killed 3 women and self, police say

The Durham County sheriff said Sunday that a man killed three women and himself in a car near a North Carolina business park.

Sheriff Worth Hill told the News & Observer of Raleigh that investigators have a theory on what led to the shootings early Saturday in Research Triangle Park near Durham but aren't ready to release it. Details were scarce.

Authorities identified the dead women as Alexandria Pierce, 23; Amesha Page-Smith. 24; and Adrianne Stevens, 22. The gunman was Brinton Millsap, 23.

A motorist found the bodies on N.C. Highway 54. Investigators say the three women were shot to death inside the car, while the man was found dead outside the vehicle.

Elsewhere

TURKEY: The conservative party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a third term in parliamentary elections Sunday, with a strong showing that critics worry might be used to further consolidate its power and circumscribe civil liberties and its political opposition.

Mexico: Mexican police on Sunday discovered 210 mainly Central and South American migrants crammed inside a truck near the country's southern border, an immigration official said. The dehydrated and hungry migrants were found when the truck was searched at a highway checkpoint.

Times wires

U.S. halts N. Korea missile shipment 06/12/11 [Last modified: Sunday, June 12, 2011 10:57pm]

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