The New York Times leads with Japan, the United States, China, and Russia hashing out the draft of a U.N. Security Council response to North Korea's nuclear-bomb test. The Washington Post stuffs North Korea on A14 and leads with the implementation of new anti-Internet-gambling legislation. The Los Angeles Times fronts North Korea but leads locally.
The Security Council is scheduled to meet about sanctions for North Korea at noon today. (All the papers mention that the U.S. wants to get a resolution before Condoleezza Rice leaves for Asia next week.) Chinese and Russian reticence forced U.S. and Japan to soften the measures from earlier resolutions; the resolution condemns the test, and all countries are still required to prevent the transfer of material or people associated with Pyongyang's unconventional weapons' programs, but China rejected any stipulations that could imply a trigger for military action or interdiction in international waters. China's U.N. ambassador also crinkled his nose at a proposed embargo on luxury goods and a blanket ban on conventional-weapon sales but seemed open to a ban of specific equipment like helicopters and artillery systems.
All the papers report the preliminary results of tests conducted by U.S. military planes flying over North Korea: the presence of radiation in the atmosphere was consistent with an atomic test. And Ban Ki-moon, the foreign minister of South Korea, was appointed secretary-general of the U.N. yesterday. TP is unsure whether his new job, which starts Jan. 1, will be easier or harder than his current one.
The WP, NYT, and LAT all interview Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad al Bolani, the man charged with overseeing the police force, which has been blamed for much of the country's sectarian violence. The NYT focuses on Bowani's pledge to reshuffle and rein in his ministry; the LAT indicates that he deflected much of the responsibility to the Defense Ministry; while the WP highlights his accusation that members from an unregulated guard force—not soldiers from Defense or police from Interior—have caused the recent spates of violence. All three papers seem dubious of his claims.
The WP fronts a sobering report on the death of Col. Salam al-Mamuri, a skilled Shiite commando leader in the Iraqi army. Al-Mamuri, who was killed by an explosion yesterday, was respected by American troops and disliked by the Iraqi Interior Ministry for his willingness to take on both Sunni insurgents and, recently, Shiite militia leaders like Moqtada al-Sadr.
In more Iraq news, the commander of British ground troops in Iraq clarified (read: backtracked from) previous remarks that soldiers would be withdrawing "sometime soon," while a British coroner issued a report blaming the American military for the shooting death of journalist Terry Lloyd in spring 2003.
A Georgia imam pleaded guilty for providing material support to terrorism, agreeing to a maximum of 15 years of in prison for sending small amounts of cash to a foundation associated with Hamas. The WP notes that "the agreement, charges and even the plea hearing were handled in secret."
The LAT reports that rising health-care costs are leading long-term insurers to renege on promised benefits for the elderly, usually by finding a bureaucratic loophole. "Insurance companies are expecting record profits in 2006," notes the NYT.
Israel killed at least nine Palestinians—with missiles killing at least eight Hamas militants—in the area surrounding Gaza yesterday amid a renewed violent struggle between Fatah and Hamas.
The new anti-Internet-gambling legislation was tucked into a port-security bill and restricts online gamblers from using credit cards, electronic transfers, or checks to settle bets. Some businesses, dependent on U.S. online addicts, have already collapsed.