Update as of 0900 Eastern Time:
Bottom Line Up Front:
2. North Korea
From CNN (Pakistan):
Pakistan's newly elected president, Asif Ali Zardari, will meet with President Bush next week on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, the White House announced Thursday.
"The two leaders will discuss efforts to strengthen the bilateral relationship and build a long-term partnership based on common values," said Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino.
Zardari is the widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated last year. He was sworn in as Pakistan's president earlier this month after his predecessor, U.S. ally Pervez Musharraf, resigned following nine years of rule.
Tuesday's meeting in New York will come amid tensions between the two countries over the battle against Taliban and al Qaeda remnants in Pakistan's tribal region, which borders Afghanistan.
The U.S. military sent ground forces into South Waziristan earlier this month without Islamabad's permission. The attack followed an order by President Bush earlier this year authorizing U.S. special forces to carry out ground assaults inside Pakistan without seeking Islamabad's permission.
The Pakistani government responded harshly to the incursion. Last week Pakistan's military chief, Gen. Parvez Kayani, announced that no foreign forces will be allowed to conduct operations inside Pakistan in light of the "reckless" U.S. military ground operation.
Kayani said Pakistan's "territorial integrity ... will be defended at all cost and no external force is allowed to conduct operations ... inside Pakistan."
From Fox News (North Korea):
North Korea said Friday it was undertaking "thorough preparations" to restart its nuclear reactor, accusing the United States of failing to fulfill its obligations under an international disarment-for-aid pact.
It was the first time the North has confirmed it has begun reversing what it has done so far to roll back its nuclear program, though it has warned it would do so in anger over Washington's failure to remove it from the U.S. terrorism blacklist.
"We are making through preparation for restoration works" at the Yongbyon nuclear complex, Pyongyang diplomat Hyun Hak Bong told reporters. He did not say when Yongbyon would be operating again.
Hyun spoke to reporters in the border village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone before sitting down for one-day talks Friday with South Korean officials on sending energy aid to the North as part of the six-party disarmament deal.
The landmark 2007 pact — made with the United States, China, South Korea, Russia and Japan — called on Pyongyang to disable its nuclear program in a step twoard its dismantlement in exchange for the equivalent of 1 million tons of energy aid.
From CNN (Russia):
Russia's policies are putting it on a path to isolation and irrelevance, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday.
Rice also said that Moscow's other behavior, including using oil and gas as a weapon, threatening countries with nuclear attack, selling arms to rogue states and political persecution of journalists and dissidents, paints a picture of "a Russia increasingly authoritarian at home and aggressive abroad."
Her comments came in a speech on the state of relations between Washington and Moscow.
While the United States has taken issue with Russia's behavior for some time, Rice called its invasion of Georgia last month a "critical moment for Russia and the world."
She warned that Moscow's international standing following the Georgia conflict is at a post-Cold War low.
"Russia's invasion of Georgia has achieved -- and will achieve -- no strategic objective," Rice said. "Russia's leaders will not accomplish their primary war aim of removing Georgia's government. And our strategic goal now is to make it clear to Russia's leaders that their choices are putting Russia on a one-way path to self-imposed isolation and international irrelevance."
The United States and Europe will stand up to Russia and not allow it to bully or threaten its neighbors, she said.
From NY Times (Russia):
With NATO divided over how to respond to a newly assertive Russia, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday that he would urge alliance ministers meeting here to adopt a cautious and deliberate approach that would reassure newer members along the Russian border without provoking hostilities.
Mr. Gates has said he does not anticipate any armed Russian incursions into the territory of NATO member countries, but said Moscow was more likely to pursue strategies of “pressure and intimidation,” including restricting its supplies of oil and gas, on which Europe depends.
Mr. Gates made his comments as the Russian president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, struck a conciliatory tone in Moscow, saying he hoped that Russia and the United States could find a way to improve relations.
At the same time, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave a tough speech to the German Marshall Fund in Washington, saying the West must stand up to the Kremlin’s “bullying.” And European security officials walked away from talks with Russia about a proposal to place observers in South Ossetia, the breakaway Georgian enclave, over Moscow’s refusal to allow the observers to enter the territory.
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