Elephants flee fire on Mount Kenya
NAIROBI | A fire on the slopes of Kenya’s tallest mountain is sending big game animals such as elephants fleeing for their lives, as wildlife agents and British troops are fighting to put it out, officials said Monday.
The flames already have consumed hundreds of acres of forest on Mount Kenya, said Paul Udoto, a spokesman for the Kenya Wildlife Service. The fire has covered the spiky mountain in a haze of smoke.
Tourists staying in mountain lodges are safe, Mr. Udoto said, but elephants are among the many animals fleeing.
“The elephants fled the area but they are still within the protected areas of the mountain,” Mr. Udoto said.
Firefighters said they haven’t come across any animal hurt or killed by the fire.
Photos of the fire show small bursts of flame and thick white smoke hanging over the mountain’s lower elevations. Mount Kenya is the second-highest peak in Africa, at 17,057 feet.
SEOUL | South Korea accused North Korea on Monday of trying to develop a nuclear-armed missile through a satellite launch next month, after Pyongyang dismissed international calls to abandon the exercise.
“Our government defines North Korea’s so-called working satellite launch plan as a grave provocation to develop a long-distance delivery means for nuclear weapons by using ballistic missile technology,” said presidential spokesman Park Jeong-ha.
The North announced Friday it would launch a long-range rocket between April 12 and 16 to put a satellite into orbit for peaceful purposes.
The United States and other nations see the exercise as a thinly veiled long-range missile test, which would breach a U.N. ban and violate last month’s denuclearization deal with Washington.
The North is thought to have enough plutonium for perhaps six to eight nuclear weapons, but it is unclear whether it can yet build an atomic warhead for a missile.
The launch is timed to coincide with mass celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of founding president Kim Il-sung.
It will come just after an April 11 election in which the South’s ruling conservative party — bitterly opposed by Pyongyang — seeks to retain parliamentary control.
The issue also could overshadow next week’s nuclear security summit in Seoul, to be attended by President Obama and other world leaders.
Seoul said it would work closely with the U.S., Japan, China, Russia and the European Union to handle the issue during the summit, the biggest-ever diplomatic gathering in the South.
The North on Sunday rejected international protests, calling the criticism “a base move . . . to encroach upon our sovereignty.”
Ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun on Monday blasted Seoul for an “unprecedented policy of sycophancy” toward Washington.
On Monday, off icial news agency KCNA described Seoul’s accusation over the launch as “an odd smear campaign,” and said the satellite “is an issue fundamentally different from that of a longrange missile.”
The launch by the impoverished but nuclear-armed state seems likely to void a Feb. 29 agreement with Washington, which had raised hopes of eased tensions under young new leader Kim Jong-un.
The North agreed to suspend its uranium-enrichment program, along with long- range missile launches and nuclear tests, in return for 240,000 tons of muchneeded U.S. food aid.
It maintains that a satellite launch is not a missile test.
But the State Department has called the plan “highly provocative” and voiced strong doubt over providing the food if the launch goes ahead.