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Gunmen fire on protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square

CAIRO — Egyptian security officials said masked gunmen drove into Cairo’s Tahrir Square and opened fired on an anti-government sit-in, seriously wounding two activists.

They said the four gunmen also vandalized vehicles in the area, including those of the U.S. Embassy, early Monday.

The U.S. Embassy, which is off Tahrir Square, said vandals attacked an embassy van, slashing its tires and breaking a window. It warned U.S. citizens against going to the square in downtown Cairo, where New Year’s celebrations are planned later.

The square was the center of Egypt’s uprising two years ago.

The sit-in was to protest Islamist President Mohammed Morsi’s moves to pass a disputed constitution.


Kim gives rare address, calls for easing tensions

SEOUL — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called Tuesday for an easing of tensions with the South and flagged a “radical turnabout” in the national economy in a rare voiced message broadcast on state television.

“An important issue in putting an end to the division of the country and achieving its reunification is to remove confrontation between the North and the South,” Mr. Kim said in a New Year’s message.

“The past records of inter-Korean relations show that confrontation between fellow countrymen leads to nothing but war,” he said.

The message came just weeks after the election of the conservative Park Geun-hye as South Korea’s new president and coincided with U.N. Security Council discussions on how to punish North Korea for its recent long-range rocket launch.

The voiced message was the first of its kind since Mr. Kim’s grandfather and North Korean founder Kim Il-sung delivered one in 1994, the year of his death.

Kim Jong-un, who took power after the death of his father Kim Jong-il on Dec. 17, 2011, also said 2013 would be a year of “great creations and changes in which a radical turnabout will be effected.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports