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Koreas Agree to Ease Tensions


South Korean soldiers stand guard at checkpoint on Grand Unification Bridge which leads to Panmunjom, in Paju, South Korea, Aug. 24, 2015.

South Korean soldiers stand guard at checkpoint on Grand Unification Bridge which leads to Panmunjom, in Paju, South Korea, Aug. 24, 2015.

In the news …

Officials from South Korea and North Korea announced Tuesday they had reached an agreement. South Korea agreed to end its propaganda broadcasting into North Korea after Pyongyang expressed "regret" about a recent land-mine explosion that wounded two soldiers from the South.

The two sides were holding talks at the Panmunjom truce village. The talks began on Saturday after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had declared a “quasi-state of war” against the South. Last week, the two Koreas also exchanged artillery fire. No deaths were reported.

South Korea’s presidential security adviser said the two countries also agreed to hold talks again soon about improving relations.

The United States, an ally of South Korea, welcomed the agreement.
State Department spokesman John Kirby called the agreement a compromise. He said it is now up to North Korea "to act and not simply make assurances" about its military activities along the border between the two countries.

Search continues for Bangkok bomber

Police are searching thousands of homes and buildings in Bangkok for clues in a bomb attack at a religious shrine a week ago. The bombing killed at least 20 people and injured more than 100 others. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Police say they need to examine more than 10,000 places in the Thai capital, some more than once.

More than 1,000 police officers, soldiers and others are involved in the search. Thai officials want to show travelers that Bangkok is safe.

France honors four men for stopping attack on train

French President Francois Hollande has given the country’s highest award -- the Legion of Honor -- to three Americans and a Briton. The four men stopped a heavily-armed gunman from killing people on a train Friday.

Mr. Hollande said the actions of the men are, in his words, “a message of courage, solidarity and hope.”

Spanish officials say the attacker is a 25-year-old man from Morocco. He reportedly was in Syria some time during the past year.

Stock markets in Asia drop sharply

Asian stock markets closed down sharply Monday. The drop in Asia continued a slide on international financial markets that started last week.

The falling value of stock shares is linked to fears that China’s economy is slowing more than had been expected.

Monday, the leading measure of Chinese stocks was down almost 8.5 percent. Traders were watching to see what steps the Chinese government might take to help the economy.

In Japan, the Nikkei index lost 4.6 percent of its value. The Japanese stock market closed at its lowest level in six months. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 4.9 percent.

World oil prices also fell Monday. Oil prices recently dropped below $40 a barrel for the first time in several years.

Two pandas born in Washington, DC zoo

Two giant pandas were born Saturday at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo in Washington, DC. The second cub was born five hours after the first. The sexes of each animal will be announced at a later date.

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Words in the News

index – n. a number that indicates changes in the level of something (such as a stock market) when it rises or falls

barrel – n. the amount of something in a barrel

shrine – n. a place connected with a holy person or event where people go to worship

courage – n. the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous

solidarity – n. a feeling of unity between people who have the same interests and goals

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