South Korean officials are in Washington for two days of talks, during which they're expected to unveil a proposal for easing tensions with nuclear-ambitious North Korea. While details of the proposal were not known as the Monitor went to press, it was expected to involve North Korean concessions on its nuclear weapons program in exchange for security guarantees. The talks will be followed by a visit to Washington later in the week by South Korea's national security adviser, Yim Sung-joon, and a trip to Seoul by assistant secretary of State James Kelly.

President Bush's national security team is assembling plans for a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, including an American military presence in the country for at least 18 months, The New York Times reported. Citing administration officials, the Times said the plan also calls for military trials of the most senior Iraqi leaders and a quick takeover of the country's oil fields to pay for reconstruction. The effort would amount to the most ambitious American effort to administer a country since the occupations of Germany and Japan at the end of World War II.

At least 275 Army Reserve units - involving more than 10,000 soldiers - are on alert for deployment overseas as early as this week, according to USA Today. Defense Department sources told the paper that unit commanders were ordered to be ready to move out between Jan. 10 and Feb. 15 and that Reserves in the latest call-up would likely be sent to the Persian Gulf region, where US forces are massing.

The Republican Party selected New York for its 2004 national convention, a GOP official announced. Other finalists included New Orleans and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida, where Gov. Jeb Bush (R), the president's brother, worked hard for the honor. The convention is set for Aug. 30.

House Democrats were expected to unveil their economic stimulus package Monday, the day before Bush was to release his during a speech in Chicago. House minority leader, US Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) of California, has said the focus of her party's plan will be job creation and that it will not cost as much as Bush's proposal. The latter is expected to carry a price tag of $600 billion over a decade. The president's plan is likely to include the elimination of taxes on shareholder dividends, in a move designed to boost the stock market after three years of losses.

The nation's last 2002 congressional race is over. Democrat Ed Case beat 43 other candidates in a special election to replace the late US Rep. Patsy Mink (D) of Hawaii. Case won with 43 percent of the vote. He will be sworn in today when Congress convenes.

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