- - Sunday, April 8, 2012

TONGCHANG-RI — North Korean space officials have moved all three stages of a long-range rocket into position for a controversial launch, vowing Sunday to push ahead with their plan in defiance of international warnings against violating a ban on missile activity.

The Associated Press was among foreign news agencies allowed a firsthand look at preparations under way at the coastal Sohae Satellite Station in northwestern North Korea.

North Korea announced plans last month to launch a communications satellite using a three-stage rocket during mid-April celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the birth of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung. Engineers said Sunday that the satellite will orbit the earth and send back data for weather forecasts and crop surveys.

The U.S., Japan, Britain and other nations have urged North Korea to cancel the launch, warning that firing the long-range rocket would violate U.N. resolutions and North Korea’s promise to refrain from engaging in nuclear and missile activity.

Experts say the Unha-3 rocket slated for liftoff between April 12 and 16 also could test long-range missile technology that might be used to strike the U.S.


India, Pakistan aim to normalize ties

NEW DELHI — The leaders of India and Pakistan agreed in talks Sunday that their countries should adopt a step-by-step approach to resolve their differences and build on a recent thaw in their strained relations.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said the meeting - their first in nearly three years - was friendly and constructive.

“Relations between India and Pakistan should become normal. That’s our common desire,” Mr. Singh told reporters after the private talks, at which no aides were present.

“We would like to have better relations,” Mr. Zardari said.

Mr. Singh said he had accepted an invitation from Mr. Zardari to visit Pakistan as soon as mutually acceptable dates are worked out. Before Sunday, the two had not met since June 2009, when they met in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

Mr. Zardari’s visit to India, the first by a Pakistani head of state in seven years, is the most visible sign that the two countries have put behind them the enmity that followed the 2008 attacks in the Indian financial capital of Mumbai in which 10 Pakistani terrorists killed 166 people.


Israel calls on Iran to stop enriching uranium

Story Continues →