Little progress made in latest Korea talks

SATURDAY, NOV. 12, 2005

Beijing Six-nation negotiations aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear programs adjourned Friday with delegates reporting little progress and agreeing only to hold more detailed negotiations “at the earliest possible date.”

The chief U.S. envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, described the talks as “businesslike” but said negotiators did not have enough time to come up with a plan for disarming North Korea or even to settle on a framework for future discussions.

The delegates left after three days of meetings so officials could attend an Asian economic summit in South Korea next week.

A prior round of talks in September ended with a vague North Korean promise to close its nuclear programs in exchange for aid, diplomatic recognition and security guarantees. But key questions remain, including procedures on dismantling the programs, verification and when other nations would begin providing the North with promised assistance.

Saddam confederate reportedly has died

Baghdad, Iraq A statement circulated in the name of the Baath Party said Friday that Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the highest-ranking figure from Saddam Hussein’s regime who was thought to still be at large, had died. The report could not be independently confirmed.

The report was based on an e-mail sent to a Western news agency and signed by the “Arab Socialist Baath Party – Iraq Command.” It said al-Douri died at 2:30 a.m. Friday but gave no indication of the cause.

U.S. officials believed al-Douri played a key role in organizing resistance that erupted in 2003 against the U.S.-led coalition and was instrumental in forging links between remnants of Saddam’s regime and Islamic extremists.

Hebrew alphabet on 3,000-year-old stone

American researchers have discovered a 3,000-year-old stone on which is written the oldest known version of the Hebrew alphabet, the precursor of all the alphabets used in the Middle East as well as the modern English alphabet.

The 22 letters of the ancient alphabet were inscribed on the 38-pound stone in their proper order, making it the oldest known abecedary – the letters written out in their traditional order.

The stone was discovered July 15 in an excavation at Tel Zayit, about 35 miles southwest of Jerusalem on the outskirts of ancient Judah.

Italian prosecutors seek 22 CIA operatives

Rome Italian prosecutors have requested the extradition of 22 purported CIA operatives in the alleged kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric in 2003, prosecutors said Friday.

The request was sent to Italy’s Justice Ministry in Rome, which will decide whether to pass it on to the United States.

The purported CIA operatives were allegedly involved in the kidnapping of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, a cleric who was believed to belong to an Islamic terror group. He was allegedly abducted on a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003, before being flown to Egypt, where he was reportedly tortured.

Prosecutors claimed Nasr’s abduction was a violation of Italian sovereignty and hindered Italian terrorism investigations.


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