– On the heels of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s death, the U.S. is set to announce a significant food-aid donation to the impoverished nation this week. North Korea will reportedly then agree to suspend its uranium enrichment program.
– The New York Times notes that Kim Jong-il “played his one card, his nuclear weapons program, brilliantly, first defying the Bush administration’s efforts to push his country over the brink, then exploiting America’s distraction with the war in Iraq to harvest enough nuclear fuel from his main nuclear reactor at Yongbyon to produce the fuel for six to eight weapons.”
– Syria signed an Arab League initiative permitting observers into the country as part of a peace deal aimed at ending the violent nine-month crackdown against anti-government protesters.
– Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev responded to a series of anti-Kremlin protests acknowledging that Russia’s political system had “exhausted itself” and must be changed.
– NATO will continue controversial nighttime raids against suspected insurgents in Afghanistan despite protests by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
– After about a half dozen secret meetings with delegations representing top Taliban leaders, U.S. officials say the 10-month talks reached a potential tipping point where the U.S. is considering sending Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay into Afghan custody and asking that the Taliban talk directly with Afghanistan’s government.
– With a death toll of at least ten and hundreds injured in three days of fighting at Tahrir Sqare in Cairo, the credibility of Egypt’s military rulers faced harsh criticism, including from the usually cautious Muslim Brotherhood.
– A New York Times investigation found that, despite NATO denials, at least 40 and perhaps as many as 70 civilians died in airstrikes during the war with the Libyan government of the late dictator Muammar Qaddafi.