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Chatter: North Korea is 'combat ready'

North Korea points its rockets at US military bases, Amanda Knox is put back on trial, Venezuela prepares to vote, and the world's hugest Easter egg is huge.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

North Korea is ready. In a characteristically calm statement, the North Korean army has ordered all long-range artillery and rockets into "class-A combat readiness," and guess where they're pointed, just guess. One bonus missile defense shield if you said all US military bases in the Asia-Pacific region, including the mainland.

South Korea – which yesterday signed a new pact with the US on a joint response to any possible North Korean attacks – says it's monitoring the situation and has not seen any massing of Pyongyang's troops. So far.

Suicide gang strikes Afghanistan. A group of eight suicide bombers attacked a police station in the eastern city of Jalalabad this morning, killing at least five officers and wounding six more. The Taliban took responsibility, claiming they wanted to kill "foreigners and Israeli teachers" training Afghan police.

The attack came hours after US Secretary of State John Kerry, on a surprise visit to Kabul, told a press conference that the US and Afghanistan were "on the same page" when it came to peace talks with the Taliban.

WANT TO KNOW

Guilty. Not guilty. Guilty? Italy's top appeals court has ordered that American student Amanda Knox and her Italian ex Raffaele Sollecito be retried for the murder of Briton Meredith Kercher, who was found with her throat slit at the house they shared in Perugia in 2007.

Knox and Sollecito, of course, have been convicted once already. But in 2011 they were freed on appeal, judges having decided that DNA evidence used against them was flawed. Now Knox is back home in the US – and likely to remain there unless she chooses otherwise, since American authorities are not expected to extradite her.

She calls today's ruling "painful," "completely unfounded and unfair," and says she'll face the consequences with head "held high."

After Chavez, who? In a little under three weeks, Venezuela votes to decide who'll step into the vacuum left by late president Hugo Chavez. The race pits acting President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s hand-picked successor, against Henrique Capriles, the opposition candidate who many believe is doomed to fail.

But that won't stop Capriles and his people giving it a darn good shot. GlobalPost goes inside the war room of Venezuela's election underdog.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

This ain't your grandma's Easter egg. Unless your grandma happens to be a giant Argentine Easter Bunny. In a beach resort in Argentina, chefs are hard at work on what aims to be the largest chocolate egg in history. Once completed, hopefully by Sunday, the ovoid treat will stand some 10 feet tall.

As soon as the record book people have measured it, the town council says it will break up the egg and hand out the spoils. Because nothing says Easter like type-2 diabetes.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-north-korea-combat-ready