North Korea announced that it intends to launch a satellite into space between April 4 and 8. The notification is considered unprecedented; previous launches weren't announced and drew international condemnation for that reason. The North also informed the UN's International Marine Organization, which monitors shipping, that the launch would be in an "easterly direction." Still, skeptics say they suspect the launch will mask a test of the North's long-range ballistic missile technology.Skip to next paragraph
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Protestant paramilitary leaders in Northern Ireland protested the murders of two British soldiers and a policeman in less than a week but pledged there would be no retaliation against the Roman Catholic community. But police on both sides of the divide between Northern Ireland the Irish Republic were mounting an intense search for what intelligence reports said was a powerful bomb that dissidents planned to explode in their next attack.
The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush last Dec. 14 was ordered to serve three years in prison by a court in Baghdad. Lawyers for Muntazer al-Zaidi called the sentence "harsh," although the court could have imposed a 15-year term, and vowed to appeal. News of the sentence angered al-Zaidi's relatives , who were evicted from the courtroom before it was pronounced.
New gains were claimed Thursday by Sri Lanka's military as it sought to finish off the Tamil rebel movement. A spokesman said the administrator of the rebels' vast international fund-raising network died the day before in a mortar attack by government troops trying to capture the final town still in Tamil hands. The Army also seized the rebels' last-known field hospital, the spokesman said. Reporters, who are banned from the war zone, said they could not reach rebel spokesmen for comment.