WASHINGTON – Amid mounting tensions with North Korea, the Pentagon has delayed an intercontinental ballistic missile test that had been planned for next week at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, a senior defense official told The Associated Press on Saturday.
The official said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel decided to put off the long-planned Minuteman 3 test until sometime next month because of concerns the launch could be misinterpreted and exacerbate the Korean crisis. Hagel made the decision Friday, the official said.
The test was not connected to the ongoing U.S.-South Korean military exercises that have been going on in that region and have stoked North Korean anger.
Pastor Rick Warren’s son commits suicide
The Southern California church headed by popular evangelical Pastor Rick Warren announced Saturday that Warren’s 27-year-old son has committed suicide.
Warren’s Saddleback Valley Community Church said in a statement that Matthew Warren had struggled with mental illness and deep depression throughout his life.
Warren, the author of the multimillion-selling book The Purpose Driven Life, said in an email to church staff that he and his wife had enjoyed a fun Friday evening with their son before Matthew Warren returned home to take his life in a momentary wave of despair.
Suicide bomber kills 20 in Iraq
A suicide bomber blew himself up Saturday at a lunch hosted by a Sunni candidate in Iraq’s upcoming regional elections, killing 20 people, officials said.
The blast ripped through a hospitality tent pitched next to the house of Muthana al-Jourani, who is running for the provincial council and held the lunch rally for supporters, councilman Sadiq al-Huseini said.
The attack took place in Baqouba, a mixed Sunni-Shiite city some 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. Insurgent attacks and sectarian bloodletting have been rampant there in the decade since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Militants ambush police in Nigeria
Militants in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta ambushed a group of police officers as they sat stranded in a boat in the region’s winding creeks, leaving at least 12 missing in the most serious attack in months in a region vital to the country’s finances, a police spokesman said Saturday.
It remains unclear who carried out the attack Friday near the village of Azuzama in Bayelsa state, though a major militant group only days earlier threatened it would resume attacks following the arrest and imprisonment of its leader in South Africa.
The militants attacked the contingent of police officers, who were on an unspecified special assignment, after their boat broke down near the village, Bayelsa state police spokesman Alex Akhigbe said.
Mandela discharged after hospital stay
Former President Nelson Mandela was discharged from a hospital on Saturday after an improvement in his health following treatment for pneumonia, the South African presidency said.
The statement from the office of President Jacob Zuma said there had been a sustained and gradual improvement in the condition of 94-year-old Mandela, who was admitted to a hospital on the night of March 27.
Baseball card sells for $2.1 million
A 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card has been sold for more than $2.1 million at auction. The T206 card, originally released by the American Tobacco Co., went for $2,105,770.50 in an online sale, Goldin Auctions said Saturday.
While the company said the price was a record for a baseball card sold at auction, a similar Wagner card was purchased for $2.8 million in a private sale in 2007.