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World and national news in brief, March 19

S. Korea hit with cyberattack

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A cyberattack caused computer networks at major South Korean banks and top TV broadcasters to crash simultaneously Wednesday, paralyzing bank machines across the country and prompting speculation of North Korean involvement.

Screens went blank at 2 p.m. (0500 GMT), the state-run Korea Information Security Agency said, and more than seven hours later some systems were still down.

Police and South Korean officials couldn’t immediately determine responsibility and North Korea’s state media made no immediate comments on the shutdown. But some experts suspected a cyberattack orchestrated by Pyongyang. The rivals have exchanged threats amid joint U.S.-South Korean military drills and in the wake of U.N. sanctions meant to punish North Korea over its nuclear test last month.

The network paralysis took place just days after North Korea accused South Korea and the U.S. of staging a cyberattack that shut down its websites for two days last week. Loxley Pacific, the Thailand-based Internet service provider, confirmed the North Korean outage but did not say what caused it.

Marine deaths investigated

HAWTHORNE, Nev. (AP) — Hundreds of residents in a rural community steeped in military history turned out to mourn the loss of at least seven Marines as investigators arrived at an ammunition depot to try to determine how a mortar shell exploded at the Nevada base and sent shrapnel flying into troops during a training exercise.

Families with children clutching small American flags were among the nearly 300 people who attended the brief memorial service, where a trumpeter played taps at a city park as a giant American flag flew at half-staff across the street from the base at dusk.

Marine officers from Camp Lejeune, N.C., who arrived at the Hawthorne Army Depot on Tuesday could not attend the memorial, as they began the task of figuring out what caused a mortar shell to explode in its firing tube. The accident prompted the Pentagon to immediately halt the use of the weapons until an investigation can determine their safety, officials said.

Colbert, Sanford advance in race

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Mark Sanford says he believes in “a God of second chances,” and now the former South Carolina governor has taken the first step toward reviving a political career that was derailed by an extramarital affair.

Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of political satirist Stephen Colbert, always dreamed of a career in politics — and now she has a chance to realize that dream.

As Sanford advanced Tuesday night to an April 2 GOP runoff for an open congressional seat in a southern coastal district, Colbert Busch easily won the Democratic primary to earn a spot on the May 7 general election ballot.

The race has drawn national attention because of Sanford’s well-known fall from grace after telling aides he was hiking the Appalacian Trail when he was actually visiting his mistress in Argentina. Colbert Busch’s relationship to Stephen Colbert, who parodies a conservative political commentator as host of TV’s “The Colbert Report,” is drawing attention to the race.

Colbert Busch swamped perennial candidate Ben Frasier on Tuesday to win the Democratic nomination for the seat vacated by Tim Scott, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate to replace fellow Republican Jim DeMint, now head of The Heritage Foundation.

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