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Korean officials meet at border to ease tension

South Korea

Korean officials meet at border to ease tension

North and South Korean officials met at a town on the heavily guarded border between the two countries Saturday in a bid to defuse tension days after a volley of cross-border artillery fire put their armed forces on high alert. Four high-ranking officials — two from the North and two from the South — met Saturday evening at the border truce village of Panmunjon, local news reports said, with the talks expected to continue today. North Korea warned on Friday that it would launch an attack if South Korea did not stop blaring anti-Pyongyang propaganda from border-side loudspeakers by 5 p.m. Saturday. The deadline passed without any incidents, and the two sides met afterward. The countries entered a period of heightened tension in mid August, when Seoul accused North Korean soldiers of sneaking across the border and planting land mines near a military post. Seoul retaliated by activating the loudspeakers for the first time since 2004. On Thursday, North Korea lobbed a projectile at a loudspeaker. South Korea fired artillery shells at the source of the attack.

Puerto Rico

Hurricane Danny weakens to storm

Hurricane Danny weakened into a tropical storm on Saturday as it approached the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The storm was 520 miles east-southeast of the Leeward Islands late Saturday, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. It was traveling west at 14 mph. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said it expected Danny to be near the Leeward Islands by tonight or Monday morning, and reach the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico early Tuesday.

Washington

U.S. will test how to spot gyrocopters

The North American Aerospace Defense Command is planning a training exercise over the Washington area intended to test its ability to spot gyrocopters and ultralight aircraft. Today's exercise comes about four months after Douglas Hughes of Ruskin piloted a gyrocopter through restricted airspace to land on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Hughes has said his flight was intended to call attention to the influence of big money in politics. He now faces a range of charges. NORAD says its exercise is based on that incident but will involve four aircraft.

Los Angeles

Judge says release immigrant children

A federal judge in Los Angeles has ordered the Obama administration to promptly release children and their parents caught crossing the border illegally. In a harshly critical opinion last month, Judge Dolly Gee found that the administration had violated the terms of a 1997 court-ordered settlement governing the treatment of unaccompanied children. After considering final arguments from both sides, Gee issued an order late Friday to put her ruling into effect. In a statement released Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security did not specify its next legal steps.

Frankfort, Ky.

GOP says Rand Paul can seek two offices

The Kentucky Republican Party has agreed to hold a presidential caucus for Rand Paul. The party's executive committee approved a proposal on Saturday to hold a presidential caucus on March 5. The plan would let Paul run for president and re-election to his Senate seat at the same time without violating state law that bans candidates from appearing on the ballot twice in the same election.

Elsewhere

Britain: A military jet taking part in a British air show near Brighton crashed into a main road Saturday, killing seven people and injuring more than a dozen, police said.

Times wires

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