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New Saudi king addresses nation ... IS sends warning about hostages ... Unwitting mules

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's new king is promising to continue the policies of his predecessors. King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud took control of the kingdom after the death of King Abdullah yesterday. In a nationally televised speech today, Salman made an oblique reference to the chaos in the Middle East created by the extremist Islamic State group. He said, "The Arab and the Islamic nations are in dire need of solidarity and cohesion."

TOKYO (AP) — Today is the deadline militants from the Islamic State group have given Japan to either pay a $200 million ransom or two Japanese hostages would be killed. Militants have posted a warning online today, showing a clock counting down to zero, along with gruesome images of other hostages who had been beheaded.

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Russian-backed separatists in east Ukraine say 24 of their fighters have been killed in a rocket attack today on the recently captured airport outside their main stronghold city of Donetsk. A rebel defense spokesman says they were targeted by Ukrainian government forces. Diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany met this week to work out a tentative dividing line from which the warring sides would pull back their heavy weapons. Separatists have warned that they intend to continue their advances.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Ten people are feared dead after a Chinese fishing boat sank in international waters near the South Korean resort island of Jeju (JAY'-joo). Officials say three survivors were rescued by crew members of another Chinese fishing boat nearby. Survivors told officials that their boat collided with a cargo ship that did not stop to help them.

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Drug smugglers are turning "trusted travelers" into unwitting mules by placing containers with powerful magnets under their cars in Mexico and then recovering the illegal cargo far from the view of border authorities in the U.S. One motorist spotted the containers while pumping gas after crossing into Southern California on Jan. 12 and thought it might be a bomb, so he called police. Authorities discovered more than 13 pounds of heroin.

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