Freed Journalists Return to U.S. Safely

The two journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who have been released from North Korean prison after former President Bill Clinton obtained a pardon from North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, have landed safely on U.S. soil and have been reunited with their families, Washington Post. The U.S. had diplomatic relations agreed to normalize relations with North Korea in the early 1990s under the George H.W. Bush administration, but the agreement was broken off after the George W. Bush administration called North Korea a member of an “axis of evil.” Relations were again picked up in 2007 when North Korea agreed to be part of the “Six Party Talks.” Though it is stressed his visit was not official, Clinton’s visit may be a sign that the U.S. is willing to resume talks.

A U.S. drone has struck the home of a family member of Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistan’s most wanted Taliban leader. It is unknown if Mehsud was in the home at the time, but there are reports that his wife was killed in the airstrike, BBC News.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was officially sworn in for his second term as Iran’s president, Reuters.

New information is available on the tragic shooting at an LA Fitness gym in Pennsylvania last night. We know that George Sodini, a 48 year-old white man, who was a member of the gym, entered a Latin dance class around 8pm last night, turned off the lights, and fired about 50 rounds from handguns. He then fatally shot himself. Three women are dead and 9 are injured, ABC News. ABC News has a link to Sodini’s online diary, Gerogesodini.com.  According to the diary, he had originally planned the shooting for January 6, 2009, but did not go through with it. Viewing the source code for the page shows that Sodini included a paragraph about his interest in a woman at the gym and his feeling that if he could strike up a relationship with her, he would not go through with the shooting. Update: The death toll is reported to now be six, including Sodini, UPI.

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