World Briefs: South Korea hunts shooter

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SEOUL, South Korea -- A South Korean army sergeant killed five of his fellow soldiers and wounded five others Saturday when he opened fire along the border with North Korea, military officials said. A hunt for the soldier was underway late Saturday.

It was not immediately known what drove the sergeant, whose name was not released, to kill his colleagues.

South Korea is still technically at war with North Korea because the Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice, not a peace treaty, so the South pays keen attention to any signs of trouble or a lack of discipline in the ranks of its military.

The episode highlights the challenge for South Korea in maintaining its 650,000-member military, a largely conscript force that is intended to deter aggression from the North. South Korea's younger generation, accustomed to six decades of relative peace on the divided peninsula, tends to be more reluctant to tolerate the strict, often harsh, enforcement of hierarchy and seniority among enlisted men.

Chinese police kill attackers

SHANGHAI -- Chinese police shot dead 13 attackers in the restive far-western region of Xinjiang on Saturday after they rammed a car into a police station and detonated explosives, Xinhua news agency said, in the latest of a series of attacks to worry Beijing.

Xinjiang is the traditional home of Muslim Uighurs. China has blamed previous attacks on Islamist separatists in the region, who they say are looking to establish an independent state there called East Turkestan. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for Saturday's violence.

Alstom backs GE purchase

PARIS -- The board of the French industrial conglomerate Alstom said Saturday that it had unanimously backed General Electric's offer to acquire most of its energy business for $13.5 billion, essentially ending the battle for the company. A final deal was still awaiting the successful outcome of negotiations between the government and Alstom's largest shareholder over the sale of a stake to the state.

Members of the Alstom board "expressed their satisfaction" about the offer in a statement, saying GE's discussions with President François Hollande's government produced "a business proposal that not only addresses the interests of Alstom and of its stakeholders, but also provides assurances in connection with concerns expressed by the French state."

China pushes sea diplomacy

BEIJING -- China will be firm in upholding its territorial integrity and believes disputes in the region should be settled through direct talks with the countries concerned, the nation's top foreign policy official, Yang Jiechi, said Saturday.

Mr. Yang made his remarks at the World Peace Forum in Beijing. He held talks last week in Vietnam to defuse tensions over a Chinese oil rig in waters claimed by both countries.

Asia's largest economy has intensified moves to assert its territorial sovereignty in the East and South China Seas, ratcheting up tensions with the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan.

Also in the world ...

Pope Francis on Saturday issued the strongest attack on organized crime groups by a pontiff in two decades, accusing them of practicing "the adoration of evil" and saying mafiosi are excommunicated. ... Syrian jets Saturday bombed rebel-held eastern areas close to the border with Iraq under the control of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, killing at least 16 people and injuring dozens.

-- Compiled from news services



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