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The United States signaled to North Korea on Thursday that it could improve its strained ties with Washington by releasing U.S. citizens, after Pyongyang detained an 85-year-old retiree from California who is an American veteran of the Korean War. Months of hostile rhetoric early this year pushed tension to some of the highest levels in years with North Korea, which has conducted nuclear tests, threatening a nuclear strike on the United States and South Korea. North Korea last month detained Merrill Newman, a veteran of the Korean War and a retiree from the upscale Northern California city of Palo Alto, taking him off a plane as he was about to leave the country where he had been visiting on a tourist visa. The reclusive Asian nation has also held Korean-American Christian missionary Kenneth Bae since November 2012, sentencing him to 15 years of hard labor.
Superstar quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady square off Sunday when Manning leads Denver into New England in an NFL clash that could see Broncos receiver Wes Welker facing his old team. "It's always a great matchup," Broncos interim head coach Jack Del Rio said of the Manning-Brady duel. Brady has the best winning percentage in the NFL's modern era and is at plus-101 for his career (143-42) while Manning is third overall in winning percentage and plus-92 (163-71).
Kevin Durant scored 28 points and handed out eight assists to lead Oklahoma City to a 105-91 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in a battle of NBA Western Conference powers. Serge Ibaka added 17 points and Russell Westbrook scored 12 for the Thunder, who have won all five of their home games so far this season. Oklahoma City also avenged a 111-103 loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles last week in a game that saw both Matt Barnes of the Clippers and Ibaka of the Thunder ejected after a shoving match in the first half.
NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Weiner, the plain-speaking, ever-positive labor lawyer who took over as head of the powerful baseball players' union four years ago and smoothed its perennially contentious relationship with management, died Thursday, 15 months after announcing he had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He was 51.
PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — Despite strong warnings from the U.S. State Department, hundreds of Americans like the 85-year-old Korean War veteran apparently being detained in North Korea travel to the communist nation each year. Many go as part of humanitarian efforts or to find long-lost relatives. Some, like the war vet, simply want to see a closed society shrouded in mystery.
Arlington (United States) (AFP) - Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish will return to his native Japan with a clean bill of health after an MRI showed inflammation in his back has subsided. The Rangers said Thursday on their website that the 27-year-old right-hander had an appointment with spine consultant Drew Dossett about the nerve irritation that dogged him late in the 2013 Major League Baseball season. Darvish finished his second major league campaign with a 13-9 record, 2.83 ERA and a league-best 277 strikeouts in 209 2/3 innings over 32 starts. He finished second to Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer in the American League Cy Young Award race, but was hindered with nerve inflammation in his back over the last six weeks of the season.