CNN Student News welcomes you back from Thanksgiving break! Hope you had a great turkey day. Here is your commercial-free news on this last Monday in November.
First up -- things are tense with North Korea. Again. U.S. Senator John McCain says he doesn't think the Asian country really wants war, but that's what it's talking about as the U.S. and South Korea start military exercises off the coast of the Korean peninsula. Here's CNN's Chris Lawrence.
You're talking in the neighborhood of about 7,000 American sailors, 75 fighter jets on board. This is going to be a combination of air and sea, last for about four days. And, so, that's when we will have to start really keeping an eye on what North Korea's response will be when those training exercises start.
These military exercises have been planned for awhile. North Korea characterizes them as a "pretext for aggression" that could ignite a war and says they're creating a state of "ultra emergency" in the Korean peninsula. Why do some American lawmakers doubt there'll be a war? Because North Korea's done this sort of thing before -- they've made these threatening statements -- in hopes of getting other countries to pacify North Korea with aid or money. Senator McCain says the U.S. has given North Korea more than a billion dollars in the past 15 years to try to get North Korea to negotiate. So why is that country's threat still serious? Because last week, North Korea attacked a South Korean island, killing two South Korean marines and two civilians. It said that was in response to military exercises being done by South Korea alone. And North Korea has moved surface-to-air missiles to its border with South Korea. Why does all this matter so much to the U.S.? Well, you know that the U.S. was involved in the 1950s Korean War. Today, America has a defense treaty with South Korea. If war breaks out again between North and South, the U.S. is committed to help defend South Korea.
The place: Portland, Oregon. The event: The lighting of the city's Christmas tree. The problem: Officials say someone wanted to bomb the celebration, which attracts thousands of people. He failed, as you can see here, the tree shining with lights and the flashes of cameras from the crowd. Those who were here are thankful to the Portland police and the FBI who say this man -- 19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud -- tried to blow up what he thought was a car bomb at the ceremony on Friday night.
Police say the Muslim teen was interested in violent religious attacks, but that the people at the event were never in any real danger, because officials had had their eye on Mohamud for a long time. The FBI says it had worked undercover to trap the suspect. This included getting in touch with Mohamud, finding out what he allegedly wanted to attack, and then providing a fake car bomb that Mohamud is accused of trying to detonate several times during the ceremony. Muslim leaders in the Portland area spoke out against the plot and any violence that targets innocent people.
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