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N. Korea talks bogged down


The chief U.S. envoy to talks on North Korea’s nuclear program said Monday he saw few chances for quick progress as efforts to draft a statement of basic principles dragged into a second week.

Negotiators were working on a second draft proposed by host China after they spent the weekend struggling with North Korea’s demands for what it should receive if it disarms.

“I don’t see any breakthroughs on the immediate horizon,” a visibly weary U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told reporters after what he said was 12 hours of meetings. “It’s been a long day without a lot of progress to report.”

Ruling puts Academy rape case in jeopardy


A high-profile rape case stemming from the Air Force Academy’s sex assault scandal appeared to have reached a dead end Monday after a military court refused to grant prosecutors more time to appeal.

The decision drew fire from a civilian therapist who was threatened with jail after she refused to surrender records of her sessions with one of two women who accused 1st Lt. Joseph Harding of sexually assaulting them while all attended the academy near Colorado Springs.

“I think this sends the message to cadets that they can’t have private conversations with their therapists and have justice,” therapist Jennifer Bier said.

U.S. puts financial shackles on 3 in Italy


The Treasury Department took action Monday to financially incapacitate three people living in Italy who are accused of providing support to an al-Qaida-linked terror group.

The department’s action targets Ahmed El Bouhali, Faycal Boughanemi and Abdelkader Laagoub, who the United States contends have given financial and other support to the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group.

Under the action, any assets belonging to the three individuals found in the United States must be blocked and Americans are forbidden from doing business with them.

The three are part of a terror cell in Cremona, Italy, that aims to carry out violent attacks in Italy, Morocco, Tunisia and other countries, the department alleged.

Guardsman’s blog leads to demotion, fine


An Arizona National Guardsman serving in Iraq has been demoted for posting classified information on his Web log, an Army official said Monday.

Leonard Clark, 40, was demoted from specialist to private first class and fined $1,640, said Col. Bill Buckner, a spokesman for the Multi-National Corps-Iraq.

Soldiers in Iraq are allowed to maintain blogs or Web sites but cannot post information about Army operations or movements. Clark’s blog contained two posts Monday, one with links to articles on him and one stating Clark would comply with a gag order.

Cigarette smoke poses teen danger, study finds


Exposure to cigarette smoke raises the risk among teens of metabolic syndrome, a disorder associated with excess belly fat that increases the chances of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, according to a study.

Researchers said it is the first study to establish such a link in teenagers.

For the study, metabolic syndrome was defined as having at least three of five characteristics: a big waist, high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats called triglycerides, low levels of good cholesterol, and evidence of insulin resistance, in which the body cannot efficiently use insulin.

In the study, published Monday in the American Heart Association online journal Circulation, researchers found that 6 percent of 12- to 19-year-olds had metabolic syndrome and that the prevalence increased with exposure to tobacco smoke.

The study found that 1 percent of those unexposed to smoke developed the syndrome, 5 percent of those exposed to secondhand smoke had the disorder and 9 percent of active smokers had it.

Fighters in Colombia turn in their weapons

Cristales, Colombia

More than 2,000 outlawed paramilitary fighters laid down their arms Monday in return for amnesty.

Monday’s ceremony for fighters from the “Heroes of Granada” faction of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, was Colombia’s largest demobilization in years.

The ceremony was attended by the faction’s commander, Diego Murillo, who critics say only joined the AUC a few years ago to reap amnesty benefits. U.S. prosecutors, who have charged Murillo with drug trafficking, call him the “de facto” leader of the paramilitary group.

With Monday’s demobilization, a total of 8,500 AUC fighters have turned in their weapons over the past two years.

Nine newborns found buried; woman arrested


Police discovered the remains of nine newborn babies buried in a garden in eastern Germany and arrested a woman believed to be their mother, prosecutors said Monday.

The bodies were found Sunday in Brieskow-Finkenheerd, a village near the Polish border, after police received a tip, said Michael Neff, a spokesman for prosecutors in nearby Frankfurt an der Oder.

Neff said the 39-year-old woman was believed to be the mother and was being held on suspicion of manslaughter.

Investigators believed the children were born between 1988 and 2004 and died shortly after birth, Neff said.


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