North Korea on Friday asked the chief U.N. atomic inspector to visit four years after expelling his experts and dropping out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty – an encouraging sign the reclusive regime is serious about dismantling its weapons program.
The trip would likely occur in the second week of March.
The announcement was significant because it signaled the North’s willingness to subject its nuclear program to outside scrutiny for the first time since withdrawing from the Nonproliferation Treaty in January 2003.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported today that Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, the North’s chief nuclear negotiator, plans to visit the United States within days for follow-up talks on the deal.
Deliberations go on in Libby trial
Jurors deliberated a third day Friday without reaching a verdict on whether former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby obstructed the investigation into who leaked the identity of a CIA operative married to a prominent Iraq war critic.
After 2 1/2 days of deliberations over the fate of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, the eight women and four men went home until Monday.
Airport launches body scanner
The Phoenix airport on Friday became the first in the United States to test new X-ray technology that can see through people’s clothes and show the body’s contours with blush-inducing clarity.
Critics have said the high-resolution images created by the “backscatter” technology are too invasive. But the Transportation Security Administration adjusted the equipment to make the image look something like a line drawing, while still detecting concealed weapons.
During the testing, the machine will be used only as a backup screening measure. Passengers who fail the standard screening will be able to choose between the new device or a pat-down search.
New ADHD drug wins FDA approval
A new amphetamine-based drug to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder won federal approval Friday. It’s harder to abuse than older stimulants, the manufacturer says.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Vyvanse, also known as lisdexamfetamine.
The manufacturer, Shire PLC, hopes the drug will extend its lucrative ADHD franchise once its top-selling Adderall XR begins facing competition from lower-priced generic versions in 2009.
San Jose, Costa Rica
American tourist kills assailant
An American senior citizen killed an alleged mugger with his bare hands, and his traveling companions aboard a tour bus fended off two other assailants in the Atlantic coast city of Limon, police said.
The American, who is about 70 years old and retired from the military, put the 20-year-old in a head lock and broke his clavicle after the suspect and two other men armed with a knife and gun held up their tour bus, said Luis Hernandez, the police chief of Limon, 80 miles east of San Jose. The suspect was later declared dead, apparently from asphyxiation.
The two other men fled when the 12 senior citizens started defending themselves during the Wednesday attack.
The tourists left on their Carnival cruise ship after the incident and Hernandez said authorities do not plan to press charges against them.