North Korea, American Elections, and The EU

Just a quick post today covering a couple of newsworthy items today (other than the first major snowstorm of the year in Stockholm).

The first is the fact that the predictions of Far East analysts regarding North Korea using their Nuclear tests as a ploy to gain an advantage in diplomatic negotiations in the stalled six party talks seems to be accurate. While the DPRK's official news site has said this all along, now even Reuters is reporting (via the Moscow Times) that North Korea is "ready" to return to the 6 party talks, apparently dropping their demand for strict one-on-one talks with the U.S. This is likely due to pressure from Beijing to stop with their "provacative" measures, and likely to have been their strategy from the beginning. As they have been asserting all along, they have no desire to see a large scale conflict erupt.

On the American Elections, I'm sure most people are aware of former Presidential candidate John Kerry's comments saying that if you don't work hard and study you end up in Iraq. This was aimed at the Bush administration, and he followed up that statement (after an attack by the White House saying he was attacking the troops that were serving) by explaining further that it was the bush administration who didn't do their homework and thus ended up in Iraq.

Perhaps slightly more important for the hopes of changes in the US Government is the recent work of M. J. Fox for democratic candidates who support stem cell research, which seems to be increasing the lead most democrats have over republicans in the US, mere days before elections.

It's also interesting to note that Hilliary Clinton is openly advocating direct negotiations with North Korea, Iran, and Syria, finally taking a stand against pervailing American militarism (or so it would seem).

Also in the news is a recently leaked EU report on Turkey "slamming" their economic progress, and likely to curtail EU spending in that country and strain relations. Also the EU election inspectors currently in the Congo for elections being held there are urging calm following disputable results. Where were they in 2000 in the US? Hopefully they'll make a showing at the US elections and try to keep everything on the up-and-up.

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