KWAME HOLMAN: Tensions grew again today on the Korean Peninsula with reports the North has loaded two medium-range missiles onto mobile launchers. South Korean media said they were hidden on the East Coast.
Meanwhile, South Korea deployed two warships armed with missile defense systems.
We have a report from John Irvine of Independent Television News.
JOHN IRVINE, Independent Television News: It’s a rare sight, the legendary spy plane the U-2. It may be an icon of the Cold War, but here it’s no relic. Ironically, it’s still operational in the one place where that war persists.
Three of them fly out of this U.S. base near Seoul. They can get into and out of hostile airspace within minutes. North Korea’s just 50 miles from here, and this is a U-2 returning from a surveillance mission. The aircraft that was the trip wire for the 1962 Cuban missile crisis is now monitoring the North Korean missile crisis.
The North Koreans are maintaining the familiar aggressive posture. Today, they released more pictures of Kim Jong-un. At one point, he picks up a handgun himself. Later, he watches as a huge exercise unfolds. The impression given is that North Korea is preparing to fight, whether it be on land or at sea.
South of the border, the waiting and watching goes on. The U-2s will keep a close eye on things.
KWAME HOLMAN: Also today, countries with diplomats in North Korea said the government warned them their safety could not be guaranteed if conflict breaks out. About two dozen countries have diplomatic missions in Pyongyang.
There were new questions today about what university police knew about the suspected Colorado theater gunman before last summer’s attack. Court documents made public late yesterday reveal James Holmes’ psychiatrist warned University of Colorado, Denver, campus police that he was dangerous and had homicidal thoughts. That warning came more than a month before the July 20th shootings that killed 12 people.
Operators of 149 airport control towers slated for closure across the country gained temporary reprieves today. The Federal Aviation Administration was due to start closing them tomorrow because of government spending cuts, but a host of legal challenges has pushed back the shutdowns to mid-June.
In China, authorities slaughtered more than 20,000 birds at a major poultry market after six people died from bird flu; 16 people have come down with a new strain of the virus, but so far there are no cases of human-to-human transmission. The bird cull in Shanghai was ordered after authorities found the H7N9 virus in pigeons being sold for meat in the market. Other poultry markets in the city will close tomorrow. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control announced it is working on a vaccine in case one is needed.
At least 47 people died in Western India when an eight-story residential building collapsed; 70 others were injured. It happened Thursday evening on the outskirts of Mumbai. Indian authorities said the building was being constructed illegally, and four of its floors already were occupied. Today, rescuers combed the debris looking for signs of life. More than 20 people still are missing. Bulldozers were being used in the search.
Pope Francis urged the Catholic Church to take decisive action to root out and punish sexual abuse of children by priests. The pope met today with senior members of his staff, saying the church’s credibility is at stake. Groups advocating for victims said the statements were just rhetoric until concrete action is taken.
Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Judy.