The sounds of silence. Tensions continue to escalate on the Korean Peninsula today, with the North severing a hotline the two countries have used since 1971 for twice-daily calls. When South Korean officials made their regular morning call, no one answered. The North Korean government took similar action in 2010, and on four other occasions. But the hotline silence, combined with renewed threats of nuclear attacks against the United States and South Korea has analysts worried. South Korean and U.S. troops started two weeks of joint military exercises on Monday, activities the North claims are preparation for an invasion.
Habemus Papam? Not that anyone would really know, since the Vatican meetings are top secret, but the 115 cardinals gathered in the Holy See supposedly have no frontrunner in their search for a new pope. Vatican watchers say the list of possible popes is the longest it's ever been, although not many of them could have watched more than a two papal elections. The official conclave, the meeting during which the cardinals will elect the new pope, starts tomorrow.
There's an app for that. Israelis interested in tracking U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to their country later this month can download an app to get an insider's look at the meetings and ceremonies. Policy discussions are probably off limits though. The app, available in English and Hebrew for iPhone and Android devices, will give viewers real-time text and video updates.
Convicted. Jurors convicted former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of corruption in a contract-rigging and bribery scheme. Jurors deliberated for 14 days before finding him guilty of racketeering, extortion, and bribery. Just the racketeering charge carries a possible 20-year prison sentence.
Water logged. Thousands of dead pigs floated down Shanghai's Huangpu River during the last week. Officials believe the pigs died before they were dumped in the water. More than 20,000 pigs have died in neighboring Jiaxing Province, about 50 miles west of the city. Although dumping dead animals in the water is illegal, the practice remains common in a country often criticized for its lax environmental regulations.