GENEVA (AP) – The United States and Russia working in lockstep against the Islamic State group and al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria signed a rejuvenated truce that will compel President Bashar Assad’s air and ground forces to pull back. With the treaty there will be new flows of badly needed humanitarian aid.
Those details emerged this week as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov capped another marathon meeting in Geneva to present their latest ambitious push to end Syria’s devastating and complex war. The potential breakthrough deal, which launches a nationwide cessation of hostilities beginning this week, will hinge on compliance by Assad’s Russian-backed forces and U.S.-supported rebel groups, plus key regional powers such as Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia with hands directly or indirectly in Syria’s 5-1/2 years of carnage.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea’s latest nuclear test, its most powerful to date, is a game-changer according to North Korea. As with anything reported by Pyongyang, an authoritarian state run by a third-generation dictator who allows zero dissent or outside investigation, there’s reason to be skeptical. But even if the North’s assertion that it has rounded a crucial corner in nuclear development is more rhetoric than real, the content of its claim holds some important clues about where the country’s atomic efforts may be heading.
In a recent meeting in Seoul, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said that North Korea’s test showed that the countries’ nuclear capacity has reached a “considerable level” after quickly progressing in the past 10 years.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The man who shot President Ronald Reagan left a Washington mental hospital for good, more than 35 years after the shooting. A federal judge ruled in late July that the 61-year-old John Hinckley Jr. is not a danger to himself or the public and can live full-time at his mother’s home in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Hinckley had already been visiting Williamsburg for long stretches at a time and preparing for the full-time transition. He’ll have to follow a lot of rules while in Williamsburg, but his longtime lawyer Barry Levine says he thinks Hinckley will be a “citizen about whom we can all be proud.”