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Morning Briefing: North Korea accuses U.S. of ‘powerful hacker attack’

In this Jan. 8, 2013 file photo, a North Korean student surfs the internet at a computer terminal inside a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea during a tour by Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt. North Korea on Friday, March 15, 2013, blamed South Korea and the United States for cyberattacks that temporarily shut down websites this week at a time of elevated tensions over the North's nuclear ambitions. Experts, however, indicated it could take months to determine what happened and one analyst suggested more likely culprits: hackers in China.

David Guttenfelder/AP

A summary of what you need to know today, compiled by The Globe's news desk on March 15, 2013.

North Korea blames cyber attack on U.S.

North Korea is accusing the United States of staging cyber attacks against its servers after reports of disruptions to its state media websites, Reuters reports. A Russian news agency today claimed a "powerful hacker attack" had caused disruptions to North Korea's news services, an accusation that comes amid high tension between the reclusive country and South Korea as well as the U.S.

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European talks on second anniversary of Syrian uprising

On the second anniversary of the beginning of the Syrian uprising, European leaders have put off until next week the issue of whether to arm rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad's regime, when their foreign ministers meet in Dublin. Meanwhile, the chief of the country's main Western-backed rebel group is vowing to continue fighting until Mr. al-Assad's regime is gone, according to AP.

For more on the Syrian conflict, read this Globe piece by Stephen Starr.

Appeal sought in Rob Ford case

Lawyer Clayton Ruby plans to ask the Supreme Court of Canada today to hear a last-ditch appeal of the conflict-of-interest case involving Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, The Globe's Sunny Dhillon reports. Mr. Ruby says he is filing leave to appeal because the lower-court ruling hinged on a technicality and the matter is of "national importance."

Pope Francis pays tribute to Benedict

During an audience with the cardinals who elected him, Pope Francis today paid tribute to his predecessor Benedict XVI today, saying his faith and teaching had "enriched and invigorated" the church, The Associated Press reports. The new pope plans to visit Benedict soon, but no date has been set for the visit. Francis is to be officially installed as pope on Tuesday.

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Skater Patrick Chan tries for third world title

Defending world champion Patrick Chan will attempt to clinch his third straight world title with the men's long program tonight at the world figure skating championships in London, Ont. If successful, he would become the first male skater to win three titles since 2000.

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