By Elaine Lies and Tetsushi Kajimoto TOKYO (Reuters) - North Korea has agreed to reopen an investigation into the fate of Japanese citizens it kidnapped decades ago, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday, a potential breakthrough in a bitter dispute between Tokyo and Pyongyang. Japan has agreed to ease some sanctions against North Korea once the probe had been reopened and will consider providing humanitarian aid depending on how the investigation progresses, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said separately. "This is a first step toward an overall resolution." North Korea promised in 2008 to re-open the probe - but it never followed through.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Setting the stage for upcoming restrictions on coal-fired power plants, the Obama administration is making a concerted effort to cast its energy policy as an economic success that is creating jobs, securing the nation against international upheavals and shifting energy use to cleaner sources.
A 998-tonne oil tanker was listing off the Japanese coast on Thursday after a large explosion and subsequent fire that sent towering columns of acrid smoke into the sky. The tanker had unloaded its cargo of crude oil last week and was stationary close to the coast of Hyogo prefecture, around 450 kilometres (280 miles) west of Tokyo, when the explosion happened. "The ship unloaded crude oil at a port in Hyogo prefecture, and the tanker was virtually empty when the accident occurred," he told AFP by telephone. News of the incident, which happened at around 9:30 am (0030 GMT), caused Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to interrupt debate in parliament.
Australian search officials said on Thursday they had finished searching an area near where four acoustic signals thought to be related to a missing Malaysian jetliner had been picked up, and had now discounted it as the final resting place of the plane. Authorities narrowed the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet last month after picking up a series of pings near the site where analysis of satellite data put the last location of the plane some 1,600 km (1,000 miles) off Australia's northwest. "The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has advised that the search in the vicinity of the acoustic detections can now be considered complete and in its professional judgement, the area can now be discounted as the final resting place of MH370," the agency in charge of the search said in a statement.
NEW YORK (AP) — Beats Electronics' colorful, oversized headphones serve as a fashion accessory to cool kids riding the New York City subway, but as tech companies such as Apple, Samsung and others are discovering, wearable gadgets like smartwatches and Google Glass still have a long way to go to become trendy, must-have consumer items.