North Korea moved closer Thursday to relaunching its nuclear arms program, announcing that it wants to reactivate the facility that produced its atomic bomb and banning U.N. inspectors from the site.
The U.S. said the moves did not mean the death of international efforts to persuade the North to recommit to an agreement that offers it diplomatic and economic concessions in exchange for nuclear disarmament.
Despite the gloomy implications of North Korea’s moves, they could be a negotiating ploy: The year needed to start its reprocessing plant could be used to wrest more concessions from the regime’s interlocutors.
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan
Missile strike kills 10 in tribal region
A suspected U.S. missile strike targeted two areas in a Pakistani tribal region near the Afghanistan border on Thursday, killing at least nine people, Pakistani intelligence officials said.
Also Thursday, bombings targeting police killed 10 people and wounded 14 in Pakistan’s volatile northwest and the capital – reminders of the challenge facing the country as its lawmakers pursue a national anti-terror consensus.
The alleged missile strikes appeared to be part of a surge in U.S. cross-border assaults from Afghanistan on alleged militant targets in Pakistan, which have strained ties between the two anti-terror allies.
One missile strike occurred at a house in Tappi village in the North Waziristan tribal region. Some of those killed were believed to be foreigners, said two local Pakistani intelligence officials, citing reports from informants and agents.
A local tribesman, Shoaib Dawar, said Taliban militants surrounded the house. He said drones were heard in the area before the strike.
Dalai Lama to undergo surgery
A spokesman for the Dalai Lama said the Tibetan leader will undergo surgery to remove a gallstone.
The Dalai Lama was hospitalized in New Delhi early today, just days after a medical checkup cleared the Tibetan spiritual leader to resume foreign travel.
In August, the 73-year-old Dalai Lama was admitted to a Mumbai hospital and underwent tests for abdominal discomfort. Doctors advised him to cancel a planned trip to Europe and rest, saying he was suffering from exhaustion.
The Dalai Lama normally spends several months a year traveling the world to teach Buddhism and highlight the Tibetans’ struggle for greater freedom in China.
Top al-Sadr aide killed in bombing
Two Shiite lawmakers say a senior member of anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s movement has died of wounds suffered in a roadside bombing in Baghdad.
Officials say Thursday’s explosion occurred as Saleh al-Auqaeili’s car passed about 200 yards away from an Iraqi army checkpoint in a heavily secured area near Baghdad’s main Shiite district of Sadr City.
Ahmed al-Massoudi, a spokesman for the Sadrist bloc, and Hassan al-Rubaie, another lawmaker who was at the hospital, confirmed that al-Auqaeili has died.
Al-Auqaeili is a senior member of al-Sadr political bloc, which has 30 seats in the 275-member parliament.
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