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In brief: N. Korea-U.S. talks gear up

Mon., Oct. 24, 2011

GENEVA – U.S. diplomats arrived in Geneva on Sunday for talks with North Korean officials about Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, the second direct encounter between the two sides in less than three months.

U.S. officials say the “exploratory” meeting is aimed at keeping North Korea engaged in discussions but remains a step short of formal negotiations.

North Korea’s delegation, headed by First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, arrived in Geneva on Saturday after flying to China and Russia. The U.S. delegation is headed by the U.S. top envoy on Pyongyang, Stephen Bosworth, and Glyn Davies, the U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Man kills deputy, self

ATLANTA – A National Guardsman who appeared to be drunk and firing gunshots at passing cars shot and killed a sheriff’s deputy, then committed suicide on a Georgia road, authorities said Sunday.

Evidence shows Spc. Christopher Michael Hodges, 26, fired 35 rounds from his M4 semiautomatic rifle, Richmond County sheriff’s Capt. Scott Gay said. Hodges and Deputy James D. Paugh, 47, were found dead on the side of Bobby Jones Expressway after 1 a.m. Sunday.

Hodges served in the Tennessee National Guard but was on temporary duty at Fort Gordon in eastern Georgia for training, said Buz Yarnell, a spokesman for the military post. Yarnell said he was not aware of any problems with Hodges before the shooting and he would not say if Hodges had previously been deployed in combat.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength told the Augusta Chronicle that Paugh was off duty and on his way home when he saw a suspicious car on the side of the road. He was shot several times when he stopped to check on the car and apparently fired two shots from his service weapon before he was killed.

“He was just checking that car. He pulled over his motorcycle and didn’t even get to put the kickstand down before the suspect began firing on him,” the sheriff said.

Two reported dead in crash

VERACRUZ, Mexico – Mexican authorities say two Americans have died in the crash of a small plane near Mexico’s Gulf coast.

Veracruz state official Noemi Guzman said witnesses reported the plane appeared to have mechanical problems before it crashed Sunday morning in the city of Ángel R. Cabada.

Authorities haven’t released the victims’ hometown. The Associated Press has not yet confirmed the identities of the American couple.

Jailed man to leave Libya

BALTIMORE – The mother of an American who was jailed in Libya for six months and then stayed on to join rebel fighters says her son will be coming home in a couple of weeks.

Sharon VanDyke told the Baltimore Sun that she spoke with her son, Matthew VanDyke, Sunday morning. She said that he was in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, and that he sounded fine.

The 32-year-old VanDyke was captured in March by forces loyal to longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi and was freed by rebels in August.


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