National News from Yahoo

North Korea agrees to reopen probe into Japan abductees

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.

30 percent of world is now fat

Almost a third of the world is now fat, and no country has been able to curb obesity rates in the last three decades, according to a new global analysis.

Report: U.S. births up for first time in 5 years

The baby recession may be at an end: After a five-year span in which the number of children born in the United States dropped each year, 2013 saw a minute increase. According to a new government report, ...

White House touts energy policies as rules loom

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.

On Politics: Making sense of the Great Piketty Debate

While you were grilling burgers over the long holiday weekend, a cadre of academics were locked away in their studies, pouring over data sets by lamplight and banging out blog posts about the French economist Thomas Piketty. Did somebody say "party?"

Oil tanker listing off Japan after huge explosion

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.

CIA drone strike program in Pakistan winding down

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just after midnight last Christmas, Pakistani officials say, two Hellfire missiles from a U.S. drone slammed into a house in Miramshah, Pakistan, killing four militants.

Jet searchers rule out area where 'pings' heard

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Investigators searching for the missing Malaysian jet have ruled out an area where acoustic signals were detected as the final resting place of the plane after an unmanned submersible found no sign it, the Australian agency coordinating the hunt said Thursday.

Rebel leader says his men holding OSCE monitors

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — An insurgent leader said Thursday that his fighters are holding four observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Analysis: In Egypt, a pyrrhic landslide victory

CAIRO (AP) — The election of Egypt's former military chief to the nation's presidency may be remembered for its central irony: He won in a historic landslide — only to shatter his image of invulnerability in the process.

Australia: Missing Malaysia plane not where pings heard

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.

Brad Pitt attacked at 'Maleficent' premiere

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man was led away in handcuffs after allegedly attacking Brad Pitt on the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the movie "Maleficent." Pitt was apparently unhurt and soon resumed signing autographs.

Apple adds more swagger with $3B Beats acquisition

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — Apple is buying more flair, swagger and song-picking savvy with its $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics, a headphone and music streaming specialist founded by rapper Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, one of the first recording executives to roll with the hip-hop culture.

Apple's Beats buy joins tech and street-wise style

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.