u.s., n. korea envoys reopen nuclear talks
U.S. and North Korea envoys reopen nuclear talks today, seeking ways for Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear programs in return for much-needed aid. The countries were on the verge of a deal to have Washington provide food if Pyongyang suspends its uranium enrichment program when the country's longtime leader Kim Jong Il died Dec. 17. U.S. envoy Glyn Davies said it's a good sign that North Korea agreed to restart talks so soon.
Shot in school, 8-year-old critical
An 8-year-old girl was in critical condition Wednesday after she was shot in the abdomen at her elementary school near Seattle, and one of her classmates was detained, authorities said. The injured third-grader was airlifted to a hospital and underwent surgery, officials said. Police said a third-grade boy was being questioned and a firearm was found in a classroom.
Divers find 8 more bodies in ship
Divers searching the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship found eight bodies Wednesday on a passenger deck, authorities said. Italy's national civil protection agency, which is monitoring the operation off the Tuscan island of Giglio, said four bodies were recovered — those of a woman, a girl, a man and a person whose sex wasn't immediately determined. Identifying them could take days. Worsening weather kept divers from immediately removing the other four bodies.
Military exemption law overturned
Israel's Supreme Court tossed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a political hot potato by overturning a law that effectively exempted tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox religious students from mandatory military service. The decision could force Netanyahu's conservative coalition government to tackle the thorny issue dividing Israel's religious and secular communities. The court ruled that the current law must expire by August, and some think the debate could tear apart Netanyahu's coalition or prompt early elections.
Abkhazia president dodges assassins
Assassins tried Wednesday to kill the president of Abkhazia, a Russian-backed rebel enclave of Georgia, in an assault that raised new questions about Moscow's ability to preserve order. President Alexandr Ankvab wasn't injured, but at least one bodyguard died and two were seriously wounded. It was the sixth attempt on Ankvab's life in less than a decade, a testament to the volatility of Abkhazia. Moscow, has been struggling to calm recent political tremors in Abkhazia.