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UPI NewsTrack TopNews

  |   March 28, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Banks reopen cautiously in Cyprus

NICOSIA, Cyprus, March 28 (UPI) -- Authorities in Cyprus said they would maintain tight control on money transfers as the banks reopened on Thursday after nearly two weeks.

Banks were shut down for a routine holiday, but officials kept banks closed for 12 days through the ups and downs of securing a $13 billion bailout from the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

Officials imposed caps on withdrawals from bank accounts at $383 for individuals and at $3,900 for anyone leaving the country, Voice of America reported.

The New York Times said credit account withdrawals are capped at $6,400 per month.

Officials are trying to prevent a run on Cypriot banks, as larger accounts in the country's troubled banks could be taxed 40 percent or more to help pay for the bailout.

Security at banks, which opened at noon, was tight and bank employees appeared grim as they prepared to deal with irate account holders, who lined up 50-deep outside of some bank entrances, the Times said.


Mandela hospitalized for lung infection

PRETORIA, South Africa, March 28 (UPI) -- Former South African President Nelson Mandela has been hospitalized for a recurring lung infection, President Jacob Zuma's office said Thursday.

"Doctors are attending to him, ensuring that he has the best possible expert medical treatment and comfort," the presidency said in a statement.

Mandela's hospitalization Wednesday was the third time in four months that Mandela, 94, South Africa's first black president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, had been admitted to a hospital.

He spent nearly three weeks in December hospitalized for a lung infection and gallstone surgery. He was admitted earlier in March for what was government officials said was a regular checkup.

Zuma appealed to South Africa and the world to pray for Mandela's speedy recovery.

"We have full confidence in the medical team and know that they will do everything possible to ensure recovery," Zuma said.


U.S. stealth bombers fly Korea mission

SEOUL, March 28 (UPI) -- Two U.S. stealth bombers flew long-range missions Thursday from Missouri to the Korean Peninsula in a show of U.S. commitment to its allies, officials said.

With an unpredictable North Korea making the situation on the Peninsula more tense with growing threats including a preemptive nuclear attack on the United States and South Korea, the U.S. Strategic Command sent two of its B-2 Spirit stealth bombers on a round-trip training mission from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to South Korea, the U.S. Forces in Korea said on its web site.

The mission of the bombers, assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing, was part of the ongoing U.S.-South Foal Eagle military drill and designed to demonstrate "the commitment of the United States and its capability to defend the Republic of Korea and to provide extended deterrence to our allies in the Asia-Pacific region."

The mission was also to demonstrate the United States' ability "to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will." It involved flying more than 6,500 miles "to the Korean Peninsula, dropping inert munitions on the Jik Do Range, and returning to the continental U.S. in a single, continuous mission," the statement said.

The B-2 Spirit, with its radar-evading stealth capability, is described an important element of America's "enduring and robust extended deterrence capability" in the Asia-Pacific region.

Announcement of Thursday's stealth bomber mission came only days after the U.S. Defense Department said it was flying B-52 bombers over South Korea to participate in routine military exercises.

The Foal Eagle exercise began on March 1 and will continue through the end of April.


Washington landslide pushes home into sea

SEATTLE, March 28 (UPI) -- A landslide on Whidbey Island in Washington state pushed one home 200 feet out into the water and forced the evacuation of about 20 people, officials said.

Early Wednesday morning a 1,000-foot-wide section of a cliff on the island fell away, blocking the beach-side road below, The Seattle Times reported.

Police evacuated about a dozen people from homes below the cliff by boat because of the road blockage, KOMO-TV, Seattle, reported.

Another 17 people were evacuated from homes at the top of the cliff where at least one home is only 10 feet away from the newly formed edge of the cliff.

Two homes at the bottom of the cliff and two homes at the top have been deemed "at significant risk," said Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue Chief Ed Hartin.

Terry Swanson, a principal lecturer at the University of Washington's department of earth and space sciences told the Times the landslide was caused by unstable earth left behind by the Vashon glacier some 15,000 to 18,000 years ago.

The landslide caused no injuries, though one evacuee was transported to the hospital for an unrelated condition, KOMO said.


52 armed Taliban killed in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan, March 28 (UPI) -- Afghan and coalition forces in joint operations across Afghanistan killed 52 Taliban insurgents over a 24-hour period, the Afghan Ministry of Interior said.

The report Wednesday on the ministry's website said besides the NATO forces, the operations included personnel from the Afghan national police, army and the National Directorate of Security.

The campaign was conducted in Logar, Ghazni, Zabul, Kandahar, Kunduz, Kapisa, Paktika, Paktiya, Helmand and Nimroz provinces, resulting in the deaths of 52 armed Taliban members, the report said.

Additionally, 45 insurgents were wounded and another 21 were arrested by Afghan National Security Forces.

Allied force also found and defused six different types of mines in Herat, Faryab and Kunar provinces, the report said.

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