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Briefs

Quake believed to be nuclear test

– A South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman says Seoul believes that a nuclear test caused an earthquake in North Korea near the site of two previous atomic tests.

Kim Min-seok says North Korea informed China and the United States of its plans to conduct a nuclear test.

The South Korean Defense Ministry, which raised its military alert level after the quake, said it was trying to determine whether it was a test. Nuclear blasts can create tremors but they are distinct from those caused by natural earthquakes.

The U.S. Geological Survey as well as earthquake monitoring stations in South Korea detected an earthquake just north of a site where North Korea conducted its second nuclear test in 2009.

“There is a high possibility that North Korea has conducted a nuclear test,” said Chi Heoncheol, an earthquake specialist at the government-funded Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources.

Chi said a magnitude-3.9 earthquake and a magnitude-4.5 earthquake were detected in the North’s 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests.

Nation

Gunman, 2 others killed at courthouse

A gunman who spent years in court battles over custody disputes opened fire Monday in the lobby of a Delaware courthouse, leaving two women dead before being fatally shot, authorities said.

“He walked right up the first victim and shot her point-blank right in the chest. He then turned around and shot a second woman who was approximately 10 feet away,” said Bill Heriot, who says he was waiting to enter the New Castle County Courthouse on Monday morning. He said the heavy-set man, who appeared to be in his 50s, pulled out a semiautomatic pistol and fired a single shot at each victim.

Heriot said the shooter then exchanged gunfire with police before falling to the floor.

Authorities said two police officers were also shot, but were treated at a hospital and released. Chief William Jopp of the Capitol Police, which provides security at state government buildings, said they were protected by their armored vests.

Thousands gather to mourn slain ex-SEAL

As military service members carried the flag-draped coffin out of Cowboys Stadium, the sounds of bagpipes echoed and people saluted Chris Kyle, an ex-Navy SEAL sniper who dedicated his post-military career to helping other veterans.

Widow Taya Kyle spoke through tears earlier, surrounded by her husband’s military friends, her voice trembling as she described to a crowd of thousands what “my slow-talking Texas man” had meant to his family, friends and country.

Nearly 7,000 people, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband, attended the service. Dozens of military personnel and others were seated in front of the podium near the Dallas Cowboys’ star at midfield, where Kyle’s casket was placed at the beginning.

Child in car killed in random shooting

Oakdale police say a gunman killed a 10-year-old and wounded two other people in an apparent random shooting.

KMSP-TV reports several bursts of gunfire erupted Monday night near a Rainbow Foods store in the eastern Twin Cities suburb. Oakdale Police Chief Tom Sullivan says the gunman fired at a car carrying the 10-year-old and the child’s mother. Sullivan says the child died and the mother was wounded in the arm. A woman in another car was struck and wounded in the hand.

The police chief tells the Associated Press a 33-year-old man is in custody and is being questioned by investigators.

Northeast returns to work after blizzard

The workweek opened with a white-knuckle ride Monday in the snow-clobbered Northeast as drivers encountered unplowed streets, two-lane roads reduced to a single channel and snowbanks so high it was impossible see around corners.

Schools remained closed across much of New England and New York, and more than 80,000 homes and businesses were still waiting for the electricity to come back on after the epic storm swept through on Friday and Saturday with 1 to 3 feet of snow that entombed cars and sealed up driveways.

The storm was blamed for at least 18 deaths in the U.S. and Canada, and officials warned of a new danger as rain and higher temperatures set in: roof collapses.

Donald Byrd, jazz musician, dies at 80

Donald Byrd, a top hard-bop trumpeter of the 1950s who recorded dozens of albums and collaborated with artists including Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, has died at 80. A Michigan funeral home says Byrd died Feb. 4 in Delaware.

Byrd later enjoyed commercial success with hit jazz-funk fusion records such as “Black Byrd” and later still became known in hip-hop.

Byrd was the first person to teach jazz at Rutgers University and started the jazz studies department at Howard University.

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