UNITED NATIONS

World body acts to chasten North Korea on human rights

The world’s boldest effort yet to hold North Korea and leader Kim Jong Un accountable for alleged crimes against humanity moved forward Tuesday at the United Nations, where a Pyongyang envoy threatened further nuclear tests.

In all, 111 countries supported the effort, while 19 countries voted against and 55 abstained.

The U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee approved a resolution that urges the Security Council to refer the country’s harsh human rights situation to the International Criminal Court. The nonbinding resolution now goes to the General Assembly for a vote in the coming weeks. China and Russia, which hold veto power on the council, voted against it.

The resolution was inspired by a groundbreaking report early this year by the U.N. commission of inquiry that declared North Korea’s human rights situation “exceeds all others in duration, intensity and horror.”

North Korea sent a sharp warning in comments before the vote. Trying to punish it over human rights “is compelling us not to refrain any further from conducting nuclear tests,” said Choe Myong Nam, a foreign ministry adviser for U.N. and human rights issues.

NORFOLK, Va.

Federal deal will allow ‘fracking’ in national forest

Environmentalists and energy investers alike welcomed a federal compromise announced Tuesday that will allow fracking in the largest national forest in the eastern United States, but make most of its woods off-limits to drilling.

The decision was highly anticipated because about half of the George Washington National Forest sits atop the Marcellus shale formation, a vast underground deposit of natural gas that runs from upstate New York to West Virginia and yields more than $10 billion in gas a year.

The federal management plan reverses an outright ban on hydraulic fracturing that the U.S. Forest Service had proposed in 2011 for the 1.1 million-acre forest, but environmentalists applaud the fact that most of the forest is protected in this decision.

A total ban would have been a first for America’s national forests, which unlike national parks are commonly leased out for mining, timber and drilling.