As the shock sinks in of North Korea’s extraordinary announcement of the execution of leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle and former protector, government officials and analysts are trying to decipher what the brutal move means.
The ruthless disposal of Jang Song Thaek — Kim’s uncle by marriage who had, until recently, been regarded as the second-most powerful figure in the secretive, nuclear-armed nation — has serious implications for North Korea, its neighbors and the United States, observers said.
But exactly what is going on inside the notoriously opaque North Korea regime remains as murky as ever.
“We don’t have a clear sense of this at all,” said Victor Cha, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who represented the United States in nuclear talks with North Korea.
The execution of an opposition leader in Bangladesh sparked violent protests Friday as activists torched homes and businesses belonging to government supporters, leaving at least three people dead, in a new wave of bloodshed ahead of elections next month.
Abdul Quader Mollah, 65, was hanged Thursday night for war crimes during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence against Pakistan. The case has exacerbated the explosive political divide in Bangladesh, an impoverished country of 160 million.
Even as violence swept through parts of the country Friday, hundreds of people rejoiced in the streets of the capital, Dhaka, and said justice had been served.
The new survey, taken Dec. 3-8, shows a conundrum: Democratic congressional leaders rate higher and registered voters by 48%-44% say they would vote for the Democratic congressional candidate in their district over the Republican if the election were held today.
At the same time, by 53%-47% Republican voters are more likely than Democrats to say they are “very enthusiastic” about voting in 2014 â?? a key test of whether they’ll bother to go to the polls. And they predict better results for their party next year, another poll question that in the past has signaled the elections that follow.
Battle-fatigued and suddenly bipartisan, the House voted Thursday night to ease across-the-board federal spending cuts and head off future government shutdowns, acting after Speaker John Boehner unleashed a stinging attack on tea party-aligned conservative groups campaigning for the measure’s defeat.
The legislation, backed by the White House, cleared on a vote of 332-94, with lopsided majorities of Republicans and Democrats alike voting in favor. Final passage is expected next week in the Senate.
The House vote gave a light coating of bipartisan cooperation to the end of a bruising year divided government.
Details of the unusual disappearance were described in documents obtained or reviewed by the AP, plus interviews over several years with dozens of current and former U.S. and foreign officials close to the search for Levinson. Nearly all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the sensitive case.
The AP first confirmed Levinson’s CIA ties in 2010 and continued reporting to uncover more details. It agreed three times to delay publishing the story because the U.S. government said it was pursuing promising leads to get him home.
The AP is reporting the story now because, nearly seven years after his disappearance, those efforts have repeatedly come up empty. The government has not received any sign of life in nearly three years. Top U.S. officials, meanwhile, say his captors almost certainly already know about his CIA association.
Just two days after referring to Democratic women as “abortion machines,” on Friday’s show serial sexist Rush Limbaugh made a vulgar reference to single mothers as “receptacles for male semen.”
The right wing talk show host made the comment about unmarried Democratic mothers voting in this week’s Virginia gubernatorial race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli.
Let’s hope Congress also appropriates the funds for this.
Thursday’s development represents the biggest step that Congress has taken to expand mental health care in nearly a full year since Sandy Hook. If passed, the bill will “establish criteria for certified community behavioral health clinics to ensure the providers cover a broad range of mental health services — including 24-hour crisis care, increased integration of physical, mental, and substance abuse treatment so they are treated simultaneously rather than separately, and expanded support for families of people living with mental health issues,” according to a press release from Stabenow’s office. The version passed in committee today would set up federally-funded pilot programs in 10 states to expand access to mental health care along those lines.
“Our bipartisan bill expands access to care and improves quality of care so people living with mental illness can get the treatment they need,” said Stabenow in a statement. “Instead of merely talking about this issue in the wake of tragedies, it is time for Congress to finally take action.”
Other bipartisan federal legislation such as the Mental Health First Aid Act and Mental Health In Schools Act are still stuck in Congress. On Thursday, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) — a former psychologist — introduced his own legislation aiming to boost outpatient mental health care, make it easier for Americans in rural regions to get treatment, and create behavioral health awareness programs for teens to reduce the stigma of mental illness among young people.
Years of growing friction between the Republican Party leaders and its Tea Party faction has erupted into what one conservative said today was “full-scale civil war.”
House Speaker John Boehner, whose strategies have been repeatedly thwarted by Tea Party revolts in recent years, was blunt today when asked whether he thought the ultra-conservatives should get in line.
“I don’t care what they do,” Boehner replied.
The speaker lashed out at Tea Party activists.
“Well, frankly, I think they’re misleading their followers,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters today. “I think they’re pushing our members in places where they don’t want to be.”
“And frankly, I just think that they’ve lost all credibility,” Boehner said.
An unusually well-preserved fossil of a duck-billed dinosaur has revealed a body part never seen before on any dinosaur.
The Edmontosaurus regalis specimen found west of Grand Prairie , Alta., last year had a soft, fleshy comb on its head, similar to those found on roosters.
“It’s a structure that was completely unexpected,” said Victoria Arbour, a University of Alberta paleontologist who co-authored the scientific paper published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, describing the new fossil.
“It kind of makes us wonder what other dinosaurs might have had.”
Edmontosaurus was a plant-eating dinosaur with a duck-like bill that grew to be 12 metres long — about the length of a bus. It was thought to have roamed North America in herds during the late Cretaceous, about 75 and 65 million years ago, and belonged to a group of dinosaurs known as hadrosaurs, which were the most common dinosaurs on the continent at the time.
Strange and secretive North Korea made news again Thursday when the powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was executed as a “traitor for all ages,” the official news agency reported. North Korean media said Jang Song Thaek had been purged for crimes that included faction-building, corruption, drug use and womanizing. Here are some of the most bizarre stories that have been reported about the country since Kim Jong Un took power in late 2011.