Norks Nab Venerable Vet

Strange goings-on north of the DMZ:

An 85-year-old Korean War veteran and experienced globetrotter from Palo Alto is being detained in North Korea, where he was removed from a plane three weeks ago while leaving the reclusive country at the end of a visit — setting off a mysterious and tense diplomatic effort to free him.

North Korean authorities detained Merrill E. Newman on Oct. 26 as he and a neighbor wrapped up a vacation booked through a Beijing-based tour business.

The day before he was to depart, Newman met with North Korean officials, who discussed his Army service in the Korean War more than a half-century earlier, Newman’s son, Jeffrey Newman said Wednesday night.

Merrill Newman was slightly unnerved, his son said, but went to dinner and thought nothing of it until the next day, five minutes before take-off, when he was escorted off the plane.

What the hell?