North Korea's government said its missile and nuclear programs pose no threat to international stability. At the same time, it warned that its military forces are "fully ready for an all-out confrontation" with rival South Korea. The rhetoric, issued through the official Korean Central News Agency, came as new Secretary of State Clinton arrived in South Korea's capital calling the leadership situation in the North "unclear." She said the US and South Korean goal is "to come up with a strategy that is effective in influencing the behavior of the North Koreans."Skip to next paragraph
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As expected Thursday, members of Parliament in Kyrgyzstan endorsed a proposal to close a critical US military base used to supply troops in neighboring Afghanistan. The vote was 78 to 1, with 11 others abstaining or absent. It means that after President Kurmanbek Bakiyev signs the legislation and a formal eviction notice is issued, the US will have six months to vacate. Bakiyev announced plans to close the facility earlier this month after accepting more than $2 billion in aid and credits from Russia, which also maintains a base on Kyrgyz soil. A spokesman for the US base said: "We are saddened by the decision today. We have enjoyed [serving] here."
Prosecutors in Moscow said they'll appeal the "not guilty" verdicts Thursday for all three defendants accused of murdering investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya. But critics, among them the victim's family, accused the prosecution of shoddy investigative work and called the defendants "pawns." The Kremlin has denied accusations that it ordered Politkovskaya's October 2006 murder because of her hard-hitting exposes of official corruption and rights abuses.