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S. Korea probes hacking attack

SEOUL, South Korea - South Korea's military said yesterday that it was investigating a hacking attack that netted secret defense plans with the United States and may have been done by North Korea.

The suspected hacking occurred last month when a South Korean officer failed to remove a USB device when he switched a military computer from a restricted-access intranet to the Internet, Defense Ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae said. The USB device contained a summary of plans for military operations by South Korean and U.S. troops in case of war on the Korean peninsula. Won said the stolen document was not a full text of the operational plans and did not contain critical information. - AP

Bullfighting ban sought in Spain

MADRID - A bill to ban bullfighting in the Spanish region of Catalonia cleared its first hurdle yesterday as legislators mulled a measure to reject a cultural pillar of traditional Spain. Lawmakers in the Catalan regional parliament voted 67-59 to elevate the bill for debate in few months' time. If approved, Catalonia would become the second Spanish region to ban bullfighting. The Canary Islands, off Morocco's coast, did so in 1991.

Catalans and their regional capital, Barcelona, consider themselves a country within a country, with their own language and substantial self-rule. Analysts say the bill is winning support, in part, because of the appeal of outlawing an iconic Spanish sport. - AP

Chinese woman gets death penalty

BEIJING - A Chinese businesswoman was sentenced to death yesterday for cheating investors out of $56 million, the latest case in the country's struggle against widespread corruption. Wu Ying, 28, started out a decade ago with a single beauty salon but eventually built up a holding group, Bense Holdings, that was known around the country, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The report said Wu collected the $56 million from investors over two years and was arrested in 2007.

The country's highest court, which reviews all death sentences, earlier this year called for a law using the death penalty less often and for only the most serious criminal cases. - AP


Rescue workers searched the stormy waters off Lebanon after a cargo ship sank, killing at least 11 people. The Panamanian-flagged cargo ship carried 83 crew members. A Lebanese official said 39 people were rescued, but 33 were missing.

Three Serb members of the infamous "Pink Panther" ring of thieves were convicted of Japan's largest jewel heist. A Belgrade court found the three guilty of stealing $31.5 million in jewels from a Tokyo shop in 2004. The jewels have never been found.

Somalian pirates released a Greek-owned ship and 21 crew members after more than a month in captivity. Officials said the crew of the MV Delvina was safe and headed toward Kenya.