South Korean President Lee Myung-bak addresses the nation on Nov. 29, 2010, days after the attack on Yeonpyeong island. (Park Ji-Hwan/AFP/Getty Images)
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called for renewed six-party talks, the stalled nuclear negotiations between the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the U.S. President Lee said there is “no choice but to resolve the problem of dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program diplomatically through the six-party talks,” a departure from South Korea’s recent stance that North Korea must meet some existing obligations before returning to the table.
The president’s spokeswoman said his remarks do not reflect a change in policy, and that his stance has not changed. “North Korea must show substantial changes in terms of the dismantling of its nuclear program,” she said.
President Lee’s call for negotiations comes after several weeks of harsh rhetoric on both sides and stepped-up military preparations in South Korea in the wake of North Korea’s unexpected attack on Yeonyeong island. As South Korea and the U.S. have focused on military preparations, North Korea’s main ally, China, has been cautious to condemn the attack and emphasized the six-party talks.
Suicide Bombers Kill Police Chief in Mosul
An attack by three suicide bombers in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul killed the city’s top police commander and destroyed the police headquarters. Lt. Col. Shamel Ahmed al-Jabouri, who had been praised for confronting terrorist groups operating in the area, had six previous attempts on his life. A colleague who spoke on the condition of anonymity told reporters they had “lost one of our heroes.” It is not yet known how many others were killed or wounded after being trapped in the building, which collapsed in the explosion.
Though violent attacks have declined in the country overall, Mosul has been hit especially hard by extremists. The Iraqi government, struggling to form a coalition, is also faced with the challenge of providing security as U.S. forces continue their withdrawal from the country.
West African Leaders, U.N. Contemplate Response as Gbagbo Refuses to Leave Office
Despite losing the Nov. 28 vote to opponent Alassane Ouattara, Ivory Coast President Lauren Gbagbo has refused to leave office, touching off clashes in the small West African nation that have killed almost 200 people. The presidents of Sierra Leone, Benin, and Cape Verde left the country without Gbagbo after hoping to persuade him to go voluntarily into exile. The U.N. also has called on Gbagbo to accept the election results. Gbagbo is still in control of the country’s military, raising fears of further casualties and escalated violence. The Ivory Coast endured a civil war seven years ago, and there are renewed concerns that post-election divisions leading to another war.
Danish Police Arrest Terror Suspects
Denmark announced the arrest of four people it says were planning an attack on the newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Three of them were reportedly residents of Sweden, and Swedish police arrested a fifth suspect. Police said they believed the attack to be “imminent,” but declined to raise the national threat level because the target was specific. The cartoons, published in 2005, led to several attacks on the newspaper and the artist.
After Blizzard, Air Travel Nightmare Continues
Travelers wait on line to check-in at the Central Terminal at LaGuardia Airport in the Queens borough of New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010. (Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Passengers are still stranded days after a massive snowstorm hit the eastern U.S., creating a major headache at airports as airlines struggle to sort out the ripple effect of 10,000 canceled flights during busy holiday travel days. John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City has been particularly hard-hit, with reports of flights being stranded on the tarmac for up to 11 hours.
Ski Lift Accident Injures Riders at Maine Resort
Eight people were hospitalized after a lift malfunctioned at Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Maine’s Carrabassett Valley. Some riders fell 30 feet to the ground; others were stranded on the lift for several hours. The cause of the accident was unclear; high winds had prevented the lift from being used earlier in the day. It was the first accident at the resort, located 100 miles north of Portland, and safety inspectors were on the scene to investigate the cause of the malfunction.