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Panama detains North Korean-flagged ship

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 01:13

July 16 - Panama detained a North Korean-flagged ship from Cuba as it headed to the Panama Canal and said it was hiding weapons. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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A North Korean-flagged ship from Cuba is detained in Panama as it headed to the Panama Canal. Authorities say it was hiding weapons in brown sugar containers, sparking a standoff in which the ship's captain attempted to commit suicide. Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli was at the scene. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PANAMANIAN PRESIDENT RICARDO MARTINELLI SAYING: "There was great resistance on the part of the captain and the 35 crew members. Initially it seemed like a heart attack, but then the captain tried to commit suicide." He said undeclared weapons were detected inside containers when authorities stopped the ship, suspecting it was carrying drugs. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PANAMANIAN PRESIDENT RICARDO MARTINELLI SAYING: "We simply cannot allow the passage of this kind of war material without declaring it through a country or hiding it. As you can see here we are going to continue unloading the whole ship until we know what there is on board so the authorities can investigate what exactly is inside this ship." North Korea is under a series of tough sanctions, including a U.N. ban on all arms exports due to its controversial nuclear weapons program. Panama's top drugs prosecutor told local television the ship was en route to North Korea.

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Panama detains North Korean-flagged ship

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 01:13

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