Tensions Rise as North Korea Celebrates "Day of the Sun"

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By Rachel Begle

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Despite North Korea's warnings that the threat of war on the Korean Peninsula is so high it cannot guarantee the safety of foreign residents, it literally trotted out athletes from around the world on Sunday for a marathon through the streets of its capital.

It's all part of the celebration surrounding North Korea's most important holiday of the year, the birthday of national founder Kim Il Sung on Monday.

The celebratory mood suggests its concerns of an imminent military crisis might not be as dire as its official pronouncements proclaim.

Pyongyang crowds lined the streets Sunday morning to watch athletes from 16 nations compete in the 26th Mangyongdae Prize Marathon and then filled a performance hall for a gala concert featuring ethnic Korean performers brought in from China, Russia and Japan as part of a slew of a events culminating in Kim's birthday -- called the "Day of the Sun."

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