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N. Korea's harsh threat to South

PYONGYANG, North Korea - North Korea's military warned Monday of imminent "special actions" that would reduce South Korea's conservative government to ashes within minutes, sharply escalating the rhetoric against its southern rival.

The threat from the North's military leadership comes amid concerns that North Korea may be plotting another provocation in the wake of an unsuccessful rocket launch condemned by the U.N. Security Council as a violation of a ban against missile activity.

For days, North Korea has railed against South Korea's President Lee Myung Bak for criticizing the rocket launch.

But Monday's message, distributed by the state-run Korean Central News Agency and attributed to the "special operation action group" of the Korean People's Army's Supreme Command, was unusual in its specificity. It vowed to "reduce all the ratlike groups and the bases for provocations to ashes in three or four minutes . . . by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style." - AP

Norway killer defends sanity

OSLO, Norway - Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik vehemently defended his sanity Monday after a forensic panel found flaws in a psychiatric report that declared him sane in the eyes of the law.

As the trial for Breivik's bomb-and-shooting rampage that killed 77 people entered its second week, the far-right fanatic told a court that he was the victim of a "racist" plot to discredit his ideology. He said no one would have questioned his sanity if he were a "bearded jihadist."

Two psychiatric examinations before the trial reached opposite conclusions on whether Breivik, 33, is psychotic - the key issue to be resolved during the trial, since he had admitted to the deadly attacks.

But the second of those reports, which found him sane, has not yet been approved by the Norwegian Board of Forensic Medicine. On Monday, the panel highlighted several shortcomings in that assessment, and requested additional information from the two psychiatrists who wrote it. - AP

Palestinian hints one-state solution

ABU DIS, West Bank - With gloom deepening over prospects for peace, a leading Palestinian is suggesting his side might drop the "two-state solution" that has underpinned two decades of negotiations, aiming for Israel and a Palestinian state next to each other.

Instead, Palestinians might seek a multiethnic state covering all of historic Palestine - including today's Israel, said former Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia in an interview at his office in this West Bank town.

Deriding what remains of the peace process as "a waste of time," Qureia condemned the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for settling the occupied West Bank with Jews and blocking Palestinian access to their hoped-for capital in East Jerusalem.

"They are killing the opportunity of a two-state solution,' Qureia said. If it dies . . . there are other choices. One state is one of the choices." - AP