Analysts see a direct attack on Seoul as extremely unlikely, and there are no overt signs that North Korea's army is readying for war, let alone a nuclear one.
In Pyongyang, there were no signs of a military buildup. Scores of people were armed on a cold spring day with shovels, not guns, and were busy planting trees as part of a forestation campaign. The national flag fluttered across the city as North Korea marked the 20th anniversary of late leader Kim Jong Il's appointment as chairman of the National Defense Commission, and workers began preparing the city for the April 15 birthday of late President Kim Il Sung.
South Korea's military has reported missile movements on North Korea's east coast, but nothing pointed toward South Korea.
"The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to a thermonuclear war due to the evermore undisguised hostile actions of the United States and the South Korean puppet warmongers and their moves for a war against" the North, said a statement by the North Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, an organization that deals with regional matters.
The statement is similar to past threats that analysts call an attempt to raise anxiety in foreign capitals.
Analysts see the threats of war as a bid to win Pyongyang-friendly policy changes in Seoul and Washington. Last week, North Korea told foreign diplomats in Pyongyang that it will not be able to guarantee their safety starting Wednesday. It is not clear what significance that date holds.
Observers also say the torrent of North Korean prophecies of doom and efforts to raise war hysteria are partly to boost the image and military credentials of young leader Kim Jong Un.
Air Koryo's daily flight from Beijing was only half full on Tuesday. Flight attendants in red suits and blue scarves artfully kept in place by sparkling brooches betrayed no sense of fear or concern.
Among the tourists who arrived Tuesday was Mark Fahey, a biomedical engineer from Sydney, Australia, who said he thought a war was "pretty unlikely."
Fahey, a second-time visitor to North Korea, said he booked his trip to Pyongyang six months ago, eager to see how North Korea might have changed under Kim Jong Un. He said he chose to stick with his plans, suspecting that most of the threats were rhetoric.
"I knew that when I arrived here it would probably be very different to the way it was being reported in the media," he told The Associated Press at Pyongyang airport. He said his family trusts him to make the right judgment, but "my colleagues at work think I am crazy."
He said he took no special precautions. "I haven't brought anything at all - just a camera," he said with a laugh. But he noted that several other tourists who had been slated to travel with his group had canceled their journeys.
Chu Kang Jin, a Pyongyang resident, said everything is calm in the city.
"Everyone, including me, is determined to turn out as one to fight for national reunification ... if the enemies spark a war," he said, using nationalist rhetoric employed by many North Koreans when speaking to the media.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who has sought to re-engage North Korea with dialogue and aid since taking office in February, expressed exasperation Tuesday with what she called the "endless vicious cycle" of Seoul answering Pyongyang's hostile behavior with compromise, only to get more hostility.
U.S. and South Korean defense officials have said they've seen nothing to indicate that Pyongyang is preparing for a major military action, and there was no sign of an exodus of foreign companies or tourists from South Korea.
Still, the United States and South Korea have raised their defense postures, as has Japan, which deployed PAC-3 missile interceptors in key locations around Tokyo on Tuesday as a precaution against possible North Korean ballistic missile tests.
In Rome, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the tensions on the Korean Peninsula as "very dangerous" and said that "any small incident caused by miscalculation or misjudgment" may "create an uncontrollable situation."
Also Tuesday, North Korea pulled out more than 50,000 workers from the Kaesong industrial park, which combines South Korean technology and know-how with cheap North Korean labor. It was the first time that production has been shut down at the complex, the only remaining product of economic cooperation between the two countries that began about a decade ago when relations were much warmer.
Other projects from previous eras of cooperation such as reunions of families separated by war and tours to a scenic North Korean mountain stopped in recent years.
Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, and Nicole Winfield in Rome contributed to this report.
___ Follow AP's Korea bureau chief on Twitter at twitter.com/newsjean.
One of them sat in the corner of the locker room, a net around his neck, grinning away.
The Louisville Cardinals vowed to finish the job for Kevin Ware.
Boy, did they ever.
With their injured teammate cheering them on from the bench, Louisville capped its run through the NCAA tournament, coming back again from a 12-point deficit to beat Michigan 82-76 in the championship game Monday night.
"These are my brothers," said Ware, still getting around on crutches after a horrific injury in the regional final. "They got the job done. I'm so proud of them, so proud of them."
Ware is just getting started on what could be a yearlong recovery from a broken right leg, but he's already got something no one can take away - a championship.
They even lowered the goal so he could take a turn with the scissors, helping cut down the net that wound up around his neck.
"It meant the world to me," Ware said. "I don't really have any other words to describe how I feel right now."
Pitino knows how it feels to win a championship, having guided Kentucky to a crown in 1996. Now, working right down the road from Lexington, he became the first coach to win titles at different schools.
"This team is one of the most together, toughest and hard-nosed teams," he said. "Being down never bothers us. They just come back."
It was quite a capper to perhaps the best week of Pitino's life.
Earlier Monday, he was introduced as a member of the latest Hall of Fame class. On Saturday, his horse won the Santa Anita Derby to set up a run for the roses in the Kentucky Derby. And last week his son got the coaching job at Minnesota.
His first tattoo, apparently.
Pitino vowed to get inked up if his players won the championship. They intend to hold him to that promise.
"I have a couple of ideas," said Luke Hancock, who became the first backup in tournament history to be designated as most outstanding player. "He doesn't know what he's getting into."
"Our biggest motivation," Peyton Siva added, "was to get coach a tattoo."
Not a bad week for Louisville, either. The school has a chance to make it two national titles in 24 hours when the surprising women's team faces Connecticut on Tuesday night in the championship game at New Orleans.
On the eve of their big game, the women got together with hundreds of fans in a hotel lobby to cheer on the men.
"It's a great time to be a Cardinal," coach Jeff Walz said.
A great time, indeed. Hancock produced another huge game off the bench, scoring 22 points, and the Cardinals (35-5) lived up to their billing as the top overall seed in the men's tournament.
They sure had to work for it, though.
Louisville trailed Wichita State by a dozen in the second half before rallying for a 72-68 victory. This time, they fell behind by 12 in the first half, then unleashed a stunning spurt led by Hancock that wiped out the entire deficit before the break.
"I had the 13 toughest guys I've ever coached," Pitino said. "I'm just amazed they could accomplish everything we put out there."
No one was tougher than Hancock, who matched his season high after a 20-point effort in the semifinal victory over Wichita State. This time, he came off the bench to hit four straight 3-pointers in the first half after Michigan got a boost from an even more unlikely player.
Freshman Spike Albrecht made four straight from beyond the arc, too, blowing by his career high before halftime with 17 points. Coming in, Albrecht was averaging 1.8 points a game and had not scored more than seven all season.
Albrecht didn't do much in the second half, but Hancock finished what he started for Louisville. He made it 5-for-5 from long range when he hit his final 3 from the corner with 3:27 remaining to give the Cardinals their biggest lead, 76-66. Michigan wouldn't go away, but Hancock wrapped it up by making two free throws with 29 seconds left.
While Pitino shrugged off any attempt to make this about him, there was no doubt the Cardinals wanted to win a title for Ware.
Watching again from his seat at the end of the Louisville bench, his battered right leg propped up on a chair, Ware smiled and slapped hands with his teammates as they celebrated in the closing seconds, the victory coming just 30 miles from where he played his high school ball.
Ware's awful injury will forever be linked to this tournament. Against Duke, he landed awkwardly, snapped his leg and was left writhing on the floor with the bone sticking through the skin. On this night, he hobbled gingerly onto the court with the aid of crutches, basking in a sea of confetti and streamers.
This one belonged to him as much as anyone on the court.
Siva added 18 points for the Cardinals, who closed the season on a 16-game winning streak, and Chane Behanan chipped in with 15 points and 12 rebounds as Louisville slowly but surely closed out the Wolverines (31-8).
Michigan was in the title game for the first time since the Fab Five lost the second of two straight championship games in 1993. Players from that team, including Chris Webber, cheered on the latest group of young stars.
But, like the Fab Five, national player of the year Trey Burke and a squad with three freshman starters came up short in the last game of the season.
"A lot of people didn't expect us to get this far," said Burke, who led the Wolverines with 24 points. "A lot of people didn't expect us to get past the second round. We fought. We fought up to this point, but Louisville was the better team today, and they're deserving of the win."
The first half, in particular, might have been the most entertaining 20 minutes of the entire men's tournament.
Burke started out on fire for Michigan, hitting his first three shots and scoring seven points to match his output from the semifinal victory over Syracuse, when he made only 1-of-8 shots.
Albrecht took control when Burke picked up his second foul and had to go to the bench for the rest of the half. The kid whose nickname comes from his first pair of baseball spikes showed he's a pretty good hoops player, knocking down one 3-pointer after another to send the Wolverines to a double-digit lead.
When Albrecht blew by Tim Henderson with a brilliant hesitation move, Michigan led 33-21 and Louisville was forced to call timeout. The freshman was mobbed on the Michigan bench, as if the Wolverines had already won the national title, with one teammate waving a towel in tribute.
Not so fast. Not against Louisville.
The Cardinals came back one more time.
"We needed a rally and we've been doing it for a couple of games straight, being down," Hancock said. "We just had to wait and make our run."
Burke, who played only six minutes in the first half because of the foul trouble, did his best to give Michigan its first championship since 1989. But he couldn't do it alone. Albrecht was held scoreless after the break, and no one else posted more than 12 points for the Wolverines.
Still, it was quite a run for a fourth-seeded team that knocked off No. 1-seeded Kansas with the greatest comeback of the tournament, rallying from 14 points down in the second half to beat the Jayhawks in the round of 16.
But they came up against the ultimate comeback team in the final, a group that was intent on keeping the title in the bluegrass state after Kentucky won it all last season.
Louisville had already pulled off a stunning rally in the Big East championship game - down by 16 in the second half, they won by 17 - and another against Wichita State.
"I've had a lot of really good teams over the years, and some emotional locker rooms, and that was the most emotional we've ever had," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "We feel bad about it. There are some things we could have done better and get a win, but at the same time, Louisville is a terrific basketball team."
No wonder Ware was grinning from ear to ear. ---
Mitchell Boggs (0-1), the stand-in closer for St. Louis, yielded six runs while getting only one out and the Cardinals needed four more pitchers to get out of the inning. Only a few thousand fans remained of the largest regular-season crowd of 47,375 for the bottom of the ninth in 8-year-old Busch Stadium history.
The defending NL Central champions Cardinals held a tribute for Stan Musial before the game.
Phillips added his 150th career homer for the Reds, who have won six of seven since losing in extra innings to the Angels on opening day and totaled 11 or more hits the last four games. Jay Bruce had four hits and Chris Heisey doubled twice with an RBI.
Sam LeCure (1-0) pitched an inning for the win.
Cardinals lefty Jamie Garcia matched his career best with 10 strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings and left with a 4-3 lead. Yadier Molina hit both of the fly balls dropped by Choo in the first and sixth, and added an RBI single.
Pinch-hitter Xavier Paul tied it in the eighth with an RBI single off Trevor Rosenthal before the Reds took off in the ninth with six hits, five walks and an error. The Cardinals last surrendered nine runs in the ninth in a 12-9 loss at Colorado July 6, 2010.
Prior to the game, Musial's four children unveiled an oversized red No. 6, the Hall of Famer's retired jersey number, on the wall in left-center. The decal matches memorial patches worn on the team's uniform sleeves.
Reds players stood on the top dugout steps as the Cardinals paraded around the warning track in flat-bed trucks, and manager Dusty Baker gave a hug to Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.
Choo entered the season with 652 games of outfield experience but only 10 in center, and all 155 games with the Indians last year as the right fielder. Two runs scored in the first when Choo twice juggled Molina's fly ball after backtracking, and Matt Holliday scored from first to put the Cardinals up 4-2 in the sixth when the ball popped out on Choo, perhaps fighting the sun.
Reds starter Mat Latos allowed one earned run in six innings, shaving his ERA to 10.23 in five career starts at Busch to 10.23.
Garcia struck out four of the first six batters and retired eight in a row before issuing a four-pitch, two-out walk to Latos in the third. He entered with a 2.48 career ERA at Busch, the stadium's best, and his other 10-strikeout game was at home Aug. 19 against the Pirates.
NOTES: The Reds totaled two errors their first six games while their opponents had 12. ... Jason Isringhausen and Jim Edmonds, teammates on the Cardinals' 2006 championship team, threw first pitches to injured closer Jason Motte and Adam Wainwright.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A man convicted of killing a sports editor in Columbia in 2001 is asking Gov. Jay Nixon for a pardon.
Ryan Ferguson is serving a 40-year prison sentence for murder and robbery in the November 2001 death of Kent Heitholt, a sports editor for the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Ferguson has always maintained his innocence and is also seeking a new trial. Co-defendant Charles Erickson is serving a 25-year prison sentence.
Ferguson's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, says her client is innocent and she is gathering new evidence against another possible suspect.
Nixon's spokesman, Scott Holste, says the governor has never granted a criminal pardon.
The Daily Tribune reports Missouri's Board of Probation and Parole will investigate the case and submit a report to Nixon.