Update as of 0900 Eastern Time:
Bottom Line Up Front:
1. North Korea
From Fox News (North Korea):
The head of the U.N. nuclear agency said Monday that North Korea has asked his agency to remove its seals from the Yongbyon nuclear reactor.
The move raised concerns that the North may be preparing to restart its mothballed nuclear program. International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said authorities in Pyongyang say they only want to carry out unspecified tests that will not involve nuclear materials.
North Korea said last week it was making "thorough preparations" to restart Yongbyon, which it began disabling last year under a now-stalled disarmament-for-aid deal.
The announcement, the communist regime's first confirmation it has started undoing the dismantlement, came amid reports that leader Kim Jong Il suffered a stroke, news that fueled worries about instability in North Korea.
North Korea pledged to disable its nuclear program as a step toward its eventual dismantlement in return for diplomatic concessions and energy aid equivalent to 1 million tons of oil under a disarmament accord in February 2007 with South Korea, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan.
From CNN (Pakistan):
Pakistan's president, prime minister and other Cabinet members were supposed to have been at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad when a massive truck bomb detonated outside, killing 57 and injuring 266, Pakistan's head of the Interior Ministry Rehman Malik said Monday.
Malik said their planned dinner was changed at the last minute, although did not say how far in advance it had been planned.
The Speaker of the House, Fahmida Mirza, had planned the event for ministers, the president, their guests and various foreign dignitaries.
But at the last minute, President Asif Ali Zardari asked that the event be transferred to the Prime Minister's compound, Malik told reporters during a handover service for Czech Ambassador Ivo Zdarek, who died in the blast.
On Sunday Malik called the massive blast "the biggest attack, volume-wise" in Pakistan in seven years, based on the quantity -- 600kg -- and type of explosives used.
Two American military personnel who worked for the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad were among those killed, the U.S. military said. A Lithuanian Pakistan was also among the fatalities, police superintendent Sheikh Zubair told CNN Sunday. The injured included 11 foreigners, Malik said.
No arrests have been made in connection with the attack. But Malik said suspicion is falling on militants in Pakistan's tribal regions.
"I am not in a position to tell you who has done it, but (in) all the previous investigations, all the roads have gone to South Waziristan," he said Sunday.
South Waziristan is one of seven agencies of Pakistan's tribal areas where Taliban and al Qaeda militants are active.
From NY Times (Iran):
The U.N. nuclear watchdog chief on Monday rejected Iran's argument that an investigation into its atomic program threatened its national security, telling Tehran he could ensure confidentiality if it cooperated.
The watchdog believes Iran is withholding information needed to explain "serious" intelligence material from 10 countries that it has pursued projects to build an atomic weapon.
"(We do) not seek to 'pry' into Iran's conventional or missile-related military activities. Our focus is clearly nuclear material and activities," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said.
"We need, however, to make use of all relevant information to be able to confirm that no nuclear material is being used for nuclear weapons purposes," he added in a speech at the start of a meeting of the IAEA's board of governors in Vienna.
"I again urge Iran to show full transparency and to implement all measures required to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program at the earliest possible date," he told delegates.
A September 15 IAEA report detailed Iranian non-cooperation with agency requests for documents and access to sites to back up Iran's denials of the allegations. Senior U.N. officials said the IAEA had "reached gridlock" with Iran.
More to follow:
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