Today's Takeaway: US Resumes Talks With North Korea

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

A North Korean soldier looks at the South side. (JUNG YEON-JE/Getty)

US Resumes Talks with North Korea; The US Fight Against the Lord's Resistance Army; The Debate Over a Border Fence; Colson Whitehead on 'Zone One' and Zombies; Is the GOP Losing the Latino Vote?; New Austerity Measures Spark Protests in Greece; The Decline of Empire, Nevada

Top of the Hour: Libyan Rebels Seize Sirte, Headlines

Libyan soldiers overran Sirte on Thursday, taking over the last city where loyalists to Col. Moammar Gadhafi still held control.

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Nuclear Talks Resume With North Korea

The State Department has announced that the United States will resume nuclear talks with North Korea next week for the first time since 2005. The talks are welcomed by Kim Jong-il, who even hinted at the possibility of resuming six-party talks to end his country’s nuclear program. Separate negotiations currently taking place in Bangkok will also touch on the remains of American soldiers still missing in action from the Korean War. Almost 8,000 men are still missing from that conflict, and the remains of nearly 5,500 are thought to be in North Korea.

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US Joins Fight Against Militia in Uganda

U.S. troops were quietly deployed to northern Uganda last Wednesday to help fight the Lord's Resistance Army, a Christian militia responsible for more than 30,000 deaths and countless rapes and kidnappings in Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and southern Sudan over the past ten years. While the troops are combat ready, their official purpose it to advise the Ugandan military. The real U.S. interests in the region are more complex, however. Once the U.S. has established a military presence in the region, it will be well-positioned to take on a enemy that poses more of a direct potential threat to Americans — al-Qaida in Africa.

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UK Loses £3.2 Million to Fraud in Kabul

The BBC has learned that the British government paid £3.2 million AGEF, an aid agency which has shuttered over allegations of fraud. AGEF's mission was to help resettle failed asylum-seekers sent back to Kabul and to train local people. The British government was aware of problems since 2009, according to the BBC, but continued to pay AGEF until this year. Angus Crawford, correspondent for the BBC, filed this report.

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The Conservative Divide Over the Border Fence

The extension of border fences has been a hot topic at recent GOP presidential debates. Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann has signed a pledge urging the completion of a fence by by 2013. Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain also supports a full-border fence, but he backed away from his comments over the weekend that the fence should be "20 feet high, with barbed wire, electrified." Of the nine candidates, only two say they think the fence is a bad idea — Congressman Ron Paul and Texas Governor Rick Perry. But what would it really mean to build a wall from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico? And do the perspectives the GOP candidates reflect most Republican's views on the fence?

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Top of the Hour: Clinton to Meet With Karzai in Kabul, Headlines

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton landed in Kabul last night for meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai today. Clinton is expected to talk about future relations between Afghanistan and the U.S., after the planned American withdrawal in 2014.

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Is the GOP Losing the Latino Vote?

Immigration was a hot topic at the GOP debate on Tuesday. First, Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney attacked each other on the issue. Representative Michele Bachmann also jumped into the fray to attack President Obama. "I think the person who really has a problem with illegal immigration in the country is President Obama," she said. "It’s his uncle and his aunt who are illegal aliens who’ve been allowed to stay in this country despite the fact they're illegal." 

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Colson Whitehead on 'Zone One' and Zombies

Colson Whitehead has famously tackled topics like a young man's coming of age in "Sag Harbor," the social elevation of African Americans in "The Intuitionist," and America’s industrial age in "John Henry Days." In his new novel, the award-winning Whitehead goes just as large, maybe even larger, with a look at how an imaginary apocalypse might bring out the best and worst in humans and American culture. Also, Whitehead's apocalypse includes zombies. The title of the new book, which hits stores this week, is "Zone One."

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Remembering Piri Thomas

Writer and poet Piri Thomas, whose 1967 memoir "Down These Mean Streets" authentically portayed the brutality, racism, and hardship faced by Puerto Ricans in America's urban ghettos, died on Monday. He was 83 years old. Thomas was born in Harlem, and his memoir went on to become a staple of high school reading lists.

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New Austerity Measures Spark Protests in Greece

Massive labor strikes have turned violent in Greece as thousands of protesters have clashed with police in the streets of Athens. The demonstrators are protesting against proposed austerity measures that would lay off more than 30,000 public sector workers while cutting pensions and salaries for those left with jobs. The Greek Parliament will vote on the final austerity package today.

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Moammar Gadhafi Reportedly Captured in Sirte

Col. Moammar Gadhafi was Sirte this morning, and later killed from a gunshot to the head sustained during a gunfight between rebels and loyalists. Adbel Majid of Libya's National Transitional Council was quoted by Reuters as saying Gadhafi was wounded in both legs and was carried away by an ambulance. Earlier in the morning, NTC fighters seized Sirte, the last city loyal to Gadhafi. Gadhafi has been in hiding since Tripoli fell to rebel fighters on August 21. Bani Walid, the other remaining Gadhafi stronghold, was taken by NTC forces on Monday.

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Top of the Hour: Gadhafi is Reportedly Dead, Headlines

Unconfirmed reports out of Libya this morning say Col. Moammar Gadhafi is dead after sustaining injuries when captured in his birthplace of Sirte this morning.

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Unconfirmed Reports: Moammar Gadhafi is Dead

Unconfirmed reports out of Libya this morning say Col. Moammar Gadhafi has died of injuries he sustained when he was captured in his birthplace of Sirte earlier in the day. Adbel Majid of Libya's National Transitional Council was quoted by Reuters as saying Gadhafi was wounded in both legs and was carried away by an ambulance. Earlier in the morning, NTC fighters seized Sirte, the last city loyal to Gadhafi. Gadhafi has been in hiding since Tripoli fell to rebel fighters on August 21.

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The Brutal Legacy of Moammar Gadhafi

Unconfirmed reports out of Libya this morning say Col. Moammar Gadhafi has died of injuries he sustained when he was captured in his birthplace of Sirte earlier in the day. Adbel Majid of Libya's National Transitional Council was quoted by Reuters as saying Gadhafi was wounded in both legs and was carried away by an ambulance. Earlier in the morning, NTC fighters seized Sirte, the last city loyal to Gadhafi. If Gadhafi is indeed dead, it will bring an end to Libya's civil war. The BBC's Alan Little looks back at the strongman leader over his four decades of rule.

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Celebrating Reports of Gadhafi's Death on the Road to Misrata

Unconfirmed reports out of Libya this morning say Col. Moammar Gadhafi is dead, bringing an official end to his four decades of brutal rule. Gadhafi has been missing since Tripoli fell to rebel fighters on August 21. Ibrahim Bayu, a Libyan citizen, joins the program from the road to Mistara, where celebrations are breaking out all around him.

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Nicholas Kristof on the Reported Death of Gadhafi

Unconfirmed reports out of Libya this morning say Col. Moammar Gadhafi has died of injuries he sustained when he was captured in his birthplace of Sirte earlier in the day. Celebrations are breaking out all over the country, as jubilant Libyans rejoice over the dawn of a new country, and the alleged death of a brutal leader. Gadhafi was hated by many Libyans, says New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who has followed Libya for many years. Kristof looks back at the four decades of Gadhafi's rule.

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Top of the Hour: Moammar Gadhafi Reportedly Dead, Headlines

Col. Moammar Gadhafi has reportedly been captured and wounded. There are also unconfirmed reports from a Libyan government official that he has died from his wounds.

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NTC: Moammar Gadhafi is Dead

Col. Moammar Gadhafi was killed this morning in his birthplace of Sirte as forces of the National Transitional Council swept the city, according to the leader of the Tripoli military council. The reports have not been confirmed outside of the NTC. Unconfirmed reports also say his spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, was captured, and Abu Bakr Younus Jabr, head of his military, was killed. Celebrations have erupted all over the country as Libyans rejoiced over the end of his rule. Gadhafi has been in hiding since Tripoli fell to rebel fighters on August 21.

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The Son of a Libyan Dissident on Gadhafi's Death

Ahmed Almegaryaf's father was a Libyan political dissident opposed to Moammar Gadhafi. The elder Almegaryaf was kidnapped in Egypt in 1990, and is thought to have been held in a prison in Libya ever since. His children last heard from their father in a letter in 1993. The Takeaway spoke to Ahmed's brother, Bashir in August after Tripoli fell to the rebels. Ahmed reacts to the reported death of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, and shares his hopes for a new Libya.

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NTC Spokesman: 'I Will Confirm That Gadhafi is Dead'

"I will confirm that Gadhafi is dead and also his second man in the army, Abu Bakr Younus Jabr," Abdullah Kenshil told The Takeaway. "This is definitely confirmed by our commander and our miltary council in Tripoli, so he is killed." Kenshil was the chief negotiator for Libya's National Transitional Council's forces in Bani Walid. He and Sarah, a resident of Tripoli, react to Gadhafi's death.

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The Foreign Policy Implications of Gadhafi's Death

Col. Moammar Gadhafi was killed this morning in his birthplace of Sirte as forces of the National Transitional Council swept the city, according to the leader of the Tripoli military council. The reports have not been confirmed outside of the NTC. Martin Indyk, former U.S ambassador to Israel, and director of the Foreign Policy Institute at the Brookings Institution, comments on how Gadhafi's reported death will shake up international relations in the region.

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The Apparent Final Chapter of the Gadhafi Story

"I will confirm that Gadhafi is dead and also his second man in the army, Abu Bakr Younus Jabr," Abdullah Kenshil, a spokesman for Libya's National Transitional Council, told The Takeaway. "This is definitely confirmed by our commander and our miltary council in Tripoli, so he is killed." Gadhafi was killed this morning in his birthplace of Sirte as forces of the NTC swept the city. His death has not been confirmed outside of the NTC.

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