ThinkFast: October 9, 2006

After warnings from the U.N. Security Council just two days ago to not conduct a nuclear test, North Korea yesterday announced that it had set off an atomic weapon underground. The test was the first “manifest proof” of the country’s nuclear capabilities. (Timeline of North Korea’s atomic march HERE.)

Yesterday, James A. Baker, the Republican co-chairman of a bipartisan panel reassessing Iraq strategy for President Bush, said he “absolutely” agrees with Sen. John Warner’s (R-VA) recent remarks on setting a timetable for redeployment from Iraq. “[T]here are alternatives between the stated alternatives…of ‘stay the course’ and ‘cut and run,'” said Baker.

“The United Nations human rights chief said on Monday ‘several hundred’ civilians — far more than first thought — may have died in late August attacks by militias in the south of Sudan’s violent Darfur region.”

“Rising concern over immigration has prompted a wave of cities and states this year to try to make English the official language.” Critics charge that the measures are “a way of putting immigrants in their place.”

“Moving with unusual speed,” the House Ethics Committee has started interviews in its probe of the Mark Foley scandal. Longtime Foley aide and former chief of staff for Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) Kirk Fordham will be testifying this week.

There are “compelling reasons beyond the Foley case to call for the speaker’s resignation from the post,” conclude American Progress’s Scott Lilly and the American Enterprise Institute’s Norman Ornstein, who examine Rep. Dennis Hastert’s (R-IL) “dodgy real estate deals.”

And finally: Florida’s Projet H.O.P.E. — funded by FEMA tax dollars — is supposed to provide “crisis counseling” for victims of hurricanes Wilma and Katrina. But H.O.P.E. officials often cannot locate victims because FEMA refuses to release their names. Instead, counselors “regularly attend ‘stress management’ sessions that have included collecting shells on the beach, ‘silly string and art therapy,’ and ‘the toilet paper game.'”

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.