Report: North Korea pushes toward goal
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says North Korea appears headed toward its announced goal, which is to be able to strike the U.S. with a nuclear-armed missile.
In a report to Congress Thursday, the Pentagon made no estimate of when North Korea might achieve that capability.
It said the North will move closer to its goal if it continues investing in the testing of nuclear and missile technologies.
The report says the North’s work on a space-launch vehicle has contributed heavily to its effort to build a missile capable of delivering a warhead to U.S. targets. That work was highlighted by the launch of a satellite into space last December.
R.I. legalizes gay marriage
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Ten U.S. states — including a long uninterrupted stretch from New York to Maine — now allow gay and lesbians to marry now that gay marriage legislation has been signed into law in Rhode Island.
Independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the bill Thursday evening, shortly after the House gave final approval to the bill.
Gay and lesbian Rhode Islanders erupted into cheers following the bill’s signature. The first marriages could take place Aug. 1, when the legislation would take effect.
California wildfire forces evacuation
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A wildfire fanned by a long day of Santa Ana winds raged along the edges of Southern California communities and coastal highways Thursday, forcing the evacuation of a university and hundreds of homes and threatening 2,000 more, officials said.
The blaze erupted during morning rush hour along U.S. 101 in the Camarillo area about 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles. It was quickly spread by winds, which also pushed other damaging blazes across the region.
Flames quickly moved down slopes toward subdivisions, and about 8,000 acres — or 12½ square miles — had burned, fire spokesman Bill Nash said.
By sunset firefighters had the blaze 10 percent contained and some residents were allowed to return home, but a late surge sent flames over ridges overlooking the ocean and down to the Pacific Coast Highway, 10 miles from where the blaze had begun earlier in the day.
Official: Collapse not ‘really serious’
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh’s finance minister downplayed the impact of last week’s factory-building collapse on his country’s garment industry, saying he didn’t think it was “really serious” today, hours after the 500th body was pulled from the debris.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith spoke as the government cracked down on those it blamed for the disaster in the Dhaka suburb of Savar.
It suspended Savar’s mayor and arrested an engineer who had called for the building’s evacuation last week, but was also accused of helping the owner add three illegal floors to the eight-story structure.
The government appears to be attempting to fend off accusations that it is in part to blame for the tragedy because of weak oversight of the building’s construction.
During a visit to the Indian capital of New Delhi, Muhith said the disaster would not harm Bangla-desh’s garment industry, which is by far the country’s biggest source of export income.
At the site of the collapse, the official death toll reached 501 today and was expected to climb.