Los Angeles: A Korean-American missionary who defiantly crossed a frozen river into North Korea intent on urging a change in its leadership is back in the United States with his family after being detained in North Korea for 43 days. Robert Park was arrested on Christmas Day after he crossed into North Korea intending to protest human rights abuses. North Korean officials said they released Park after he acknowledged, they said, that “there’s complete religious freedom” in the country. Read more here.
Washington: President Obama has named White House lawyer Rashad Hussain as his special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which represents 57 Muslim countries. An Islamic critic and terrorism expert says President Obama should not have named him as special envoy to an Islamic organization. Read more here.
Chicago: Americans increasingly rely on soup kitchens and food banks, according to a new study by a network of charities called Feeding America. Thirty-seven million people—about one in eight—sought emergency food aid from the network last year. That’s a 46 percent increase over the previous survey results in 2006.
Dar es Salaam: Toyota Tanzania Limited yesterday announced a recall of motor vehicles sold locally, as the giant Japanese auto manufacturer continues to grapple with its global crisis of defects found in several of its popular makes. Worldwide, Toyota, which is Japan's leading car manufacturer, has recalled more than 400,000 vehicles, following customer complaints about defects in some models. Read more here.