Beijing

Tentative accord reached on North Korea nukes

A tentative agreement announced earlier today on initial steps toward North Korea’s nuclear disarmament could set the stage for the first concrete progress after more than three years of talks marked by delays, deadlock and the communist country’s first nuclear test explosion.

The U.S. envoy to the talks, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, emerged in the early morning hours today looking weary after a marathon 16-hour negotiating session and announced that a tentative deal had been struck at the latest round of six-nation talks on the North’s nuclear program.

The draft agreement contained commitments on disarmament and energy assistance along with “initial actions” to be taken by certain deadlines, Hill said. Working groups will be set up, hopefully in a month, laying out a framework for dealing with regional tensions, he added.

Baghdad

78 killed in a series of car bomb attacks at Shiite market

Thunderous car bombs shattered a crowded marketplace in the heart of Baghdad yesterday, triggering secondary explosions, engulfing an eight-story building in flames and killing at least 78 people in the latest in a series of similar attacks aimed at the country’s Shiite majority.

The blasts in three parked cars obliterated shops and stalls and left bodies scattered among mannequins and other debris in pools of blood. Dense smoke blackened the area and rose hundreds of feet from the market district on the east bank of the Tigris River. Small fires, fueled by clothing and other goods, burned for hours in the rubble-strewn street as firefighters battled blazes in two buildings.

“Where is the government? Where is the security plan?” survivors screamed. “We have had enough. We have lost our money and goods and our source of living.”

Detroit

Production workers fear Chrysler cuts

Auto workers are bracing themselves as they wait to find out whether their job with DiamlerChrysler will be cut.

Some analysts are predicting the company will close two plants, cutting up to 10,000 hourly positions. Another 1,000 to 1,500 white-collar jobs could also be eliminated.

DiamlerChrsysler is expected to announce its restructuring tomorrow, the same day the company will release its 2006 earnings.

Union workers are calling the announcement “The Valentine’s Day Massacre.”

Chrysler recorded $1.5 billion in third quarter loses in 2006, and its sales were down 7 percent last year. Analysts say the company has too much manufacturing capacity and needs to bring production in line with demand.

Washington

Romney draws fire from Jewish Dems for choosing Henry Ford Museum

Republican Mitt Romney’s choice of a museum honoring auto pioneer Henry Ford as the site of his presidential announcement was strongly criticized yesterday by Jewish Democrats, who noted Ford’s history of anti-Semitism.

The former Massachusetts governor, who is scheduled to formally launch his presidential candidacy from The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Mich., today, was taken to task by The National Jewish Democratic Council.

The council “is deeply troubled by Governor Romney’s choice of locations to announce his Presidential campaign,” executive director Ira Forman said in a statement.

– Compiled from

Daily wire reports

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