North Korea agreed today to return to stalled, six-nation talks on its nuclear program following a "candid and in-depth" meeting today in Beijing with Chinese and U.S. officials, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a release posted on its Web site.
U.S. assistant secretary of state Christopher R. Hill, the chief U.S. negotiator on North Korea, was in Beijing for the discussion and told reporters later in the day that the talks could resume by the end of the year.
In a briefing in Beijing, he said the United States anticipated "substantial progress" when the talks resume, the Reuters wire service reported. United Nations trade restrictions on the country would remain in force for now, he said.
North Korea has abandoned it's demand for direct talks with the United States.
Iraq's Prime Minister subverts American troops in Iraq:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered U.S. and Iraqi security forces to lift a five-day-old blockade of the Shiite slum of Sadr City on Tuesday, while militia fighters forced the closure of schools, shops and businesses in the slum to protest the U.S.-led blockade.
Maliki demanded that the security cordon be lifted by 5 p.m. local time (9 a.m. EST), setting the stage for a major showdown with the United States, which surrounded Sadr City last Wednesday -- effectively sealing its 2.5 million residents off from the rest of the capital.
Dennis Hastert met a cold reception in North Texas yesterday, as protestors demonstrated over the Combating Autism Act that's currently stalled in the House:
Proposed legislation on fighting Autism prompted a rally in North Texas Monday. The target of the protest wasn't there, but the presiding officer over the House of Representatives was.“This is not partisan”, a man in the back of the group yelled. Another man, Mike Berrnoski, let it be known he’s a Republican. There they were, a group of men and women dressed in white tops and black pants, standing outside the entrance of a Richardson hotel holding a political demonstration.
The group staged a demonstration to garner support for the Combating Autism Act, a bill already receiving passage in the U.S. Senate.The bill would fund research for possible environmental connections to Autism, but Rep. Joe Barton has become the face of opposition to the bill.
Hastert served as an unfortuante stand-in to Barton, who is getting considerable heat for his decision to single-handedly block a bill that has already passed the Senate and would certainly pass the House. Famous radio host Don Imus is waging his own campaign against Barton:
Two weeks of relentless rants against him from radio talk show host Don Imus is making Rep. Joe Barton a household name - but not in a way the Texas Republican wants. Imus, whose "Imus in the Morning" program is heard on radio stations across much of the country and is seen weekday mornings on MSNBC, has described Barton as "a lying, fat little skunk from Texas," a "pipsqueak," a "coward and a crybaby" and "another congressional dirtbag" for holding up a bill on autism research.
So far, Barton refuses to budge. If you want to help him change his mind, you can write him here. (Also, h/t to a coworker for bringing this whole issue to my attention.)
In election news, Democrats are in a position not only to take the U.S. House and Senate, but also to take over a majority of state legislatures for the first time in a decade.
Oh yeah...and come Thursday night, it's on suckers.