Merkel: Energy, climate are key

DAVOS, Switzerland - German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the world yesterday to exploit the positive aspects of globalization and told international political and business leaders that battling climate change and securing energy supplies had to be among the planet's key priorities.

Merkel spoke out strongly in favor of continued economic development but warned against conducting business as usual - to the detriment of the world's poor and unstable nations.

"I know that responsibility grows with economic success," she told participants in this year's annual World Economic Forum. Her keynote address touched on the meeting's main focus - the world's economic and political "Shifting Power Equation" as new nations emerge to challenge traditional Western supremacy. - AP

N. Korea seen to ease nuclear stand

SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea has shown a new willingness to take steps toward dismantling its nuclear program since the United States offered concessions during bilateral talks last week, South Korean officials said yesterday.

South Korea and the United States have presented a "proactive" proposal aimed at getting North Korea to live up to a September 2005 pact in which it pledged to abandon nuclear arms in exchange for aid and security guarantees, Foreign Minister Song Min Soon said.

North Korea has refused to discuss specific steps aimed at carrying out the 2005 disarmament deal, demanding Washington first desist from an effort to isolate the North from the international financial system over allegations of counterfeiting and money-laundering. - AP

Threat from figure in Turkish killing

ISTANBUL, Turkey - A man who confessed to inciting the killing of a prominent journalist shouted what appeared to be a threat yesterday against another leading Turkish intellectual, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk.

"Orhan Pamuk, be smart! Be smart!" Yasin Hayal shouted as he was being led to an Istanbul courtroom. Hayal, an extremist nationalist who served time in prison for a 2004 bomb attack, confessed to inciting last week's slaying of the influential ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and to providing a gun and money to the alleged killer, police said.

Hayal allegedly told the killer that Dink, who had angered nationalists by calling the mass slaying of Armenians in the early-20th-century genocide, was "a traitor to his country who insults Turks." - AP

Elsewhere:

More than 2,000 people throughout Italy, most of them foreign, have been accused of human trafficking after an investigation that uncovered minors and adults forced into prostitution and working in sweatshops, police said yesterday.

Rebels in eastern Congo have agreed to stop killing mountain gorillas and allow government rangers to restart patrols, conservationists said yesterday. Earlier this month, rebels allegedly killed and ate two silverback mountain gorillas.