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News Wrap: North Korea Cancels Non-Aggression Pact

March 8, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The news of increased hiring helped Wall Street finish the week with new gains. The Dow Jones industrial average added 67 points to close at 14,397. The Nasdaq rose 12 points to close at 3,244. For the week, both the Dow and the Nasdaq gained more than 2 percent.

The conclave to elect the next pope will begin on Tuesday. The College of Roman Catholic Cardinals reached that decision today. They have been holding meetings at the Vatican ahead of the conclave to address the church’s problems. The Vatican press secretary said today the preliminary talks should help the cardinals decide who is best suited to succeed Pope Benedict XVI.

FATHER THOMAS ROSICA, Vatican Press Secretary: I have every confidence that, in entering the Sistine Chapel, they are entering that Sistine Chapel next week, early next week with data, with information and with a better sense of what the church needs and who the church needs.

HARI SREENIVASAN: In all, 115 cardinals will vote in the conclave. It will continue until one man wins a two-thirds majority, or 77 votes.

There was new talk of war from North Korea today, in the face of U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program. The North canceled a nonaggression pact with South Korea, and its leader met with front-line soldiers.

We have a report from Angus Walker of Independent Television News in Beijing.

ANGUS WALKER, Independent Television News: Arriving by boat, Kim Jong-un is seen being given a rapturous welcome by troops stationed on an island close to the tense border with the South.

This was state TV showing their commander in chief on the front line, just as North Korea is threatening to launch a nuclear attack, and today scrapped a nonaggression pact. Kim Jong-un told the soldiers to be ready to go into battle, according to the official news agency.

He is seen scanning the same South Korean coastal areas where just over two years ago when his father was in power North Korea shelled a South Korean island, claiming it had been provoked. In the war of words, South Korea today fired back, warning the North would vanish from the earth if it launched a nuclear attack.

China urged all sides to keep calm and return to negotiations. The latest furious threats from North Korea come just as the South and the United States embark on large-scale military exercises and the day after the U.N. voted through fresh sanctions.

Kim Jong-un is shown leaving the island, soldiers waiting out to see him off, their families weeping and waving, as the North Korean leader heads off into increasingly dangerous waters.

HARI SREENIVASAN: In Kenya, the vote count in the presidential race neared completion, amid signs there might be an outright winner.

Uhuru Kenyatta apparently had just over 50 percent of the vote to 42 percent for Raila Odinga. That margin would be enough to prevent a runoff. Kenyatta will still have to face the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands. He is charged in connection with violence after the 2007 election.

Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Jeff.