City airport reopens commercial flights

The New Orleans airport reopened to commercial flights yesterday for the first time since Hurricane Katrina struck more than two weeks ago, and the port was back in operation, too, as a battered New Orleans struggled to get up and running again.

The slow signs of recovery came amid promises from the White House and FEMA to learn from their mistakes and intensify their efforts to help the victims.

Northwest Airlines Flight 947 from Memphis, Tenn., landed around midday with about 30 people aboard, far fewer than the jet could hold.

Those aboard included emergency workers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some carried only a few belongings in plastic bags and gym bags.

Among those returning to New Orleans was Steven Kischner, who said the mood aboard the plane was “eerie.”



Six-nation talks on nuclear program resume

The United States and North Korea were at odds over the communist nation’s demands for peaceful atomic power, as officials gathered in Beijing yesterday for talks on ending the North’s nuclear weapons program.

Participants in the six-nation talks are working on a statement of principles laying the groundwork for stopping the North’s nuclear programs. The latest round of talks broke for a recess early last month after a record 13 days of talks failed to yield an agreement.

But sticking point has emerged over the North’s demands for a civilian nuclear program – something Washington has strongly resisted, saying the communist state’s past record proves it can’t be trusted with any nuclear program.

Yesterday the head of North Korea’s delegation said his country won’t tolerate any obstructions to its right to a peaceful nuclear program, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.



Militant with ties to al-Qaida captured

U.S. forces along the Euphrates River attacked the insurgent stronghold of Haditha early yesterday, capturing a militant with ties to al-Qaida in Iraq and killing four others, the military said.

The assault on Haditha followed a recent offensive to retake Tal Afar, another northern town, which U.S. commanders said netted more than 400 suspected militants. The Iraqi military said its troops had detained 36 others, including a Yemeni citizen, just south of Tal Afar.

In southern Iraq, a roadside bomb exploded near a convoy of Iraqi security guards and foreign contwract workers outside Basra, killing four people, police said. While one Iraqi official said the four dead were Americans, U.S. officials were unable to confirm the report.



Envoys try to reach agreement on U.N reform

With the U.N. summit a day away, negotiators tried to agree yesterday on a watered-down plan for reforming the United Nations, having abandoned many of the sweeping changes recommended by Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

More than 160 presidents, prime ministers, kings and their entourages are descending on New York for today’s summit opening. But it appeared less likely that the 191 U.N. member states would reach consensus on a document enabling the world body to tackle the major global issues of the 21st century.


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