World and Nation

Shorts (left)

Past Deals by North Korea May Face Less Scrutiny

The Bush administration appears to be preparing to back away from a demand that North Korea fully disclose all of its past nuclear weapons activities, in an attempt to preserve a nuclear agreement requiring it to disclose and dismantle the bulk of its nuclear weapons program.

As described by administration officials on Thursday, the step would relax a demand for North Korea to admit fully that it supplied Syria with nuclear technology. The United States would also agree to postpone its demand that North Korea provide an immediate and full accounting of its fledgling uranium program.

The new stance is intended to help complete a denuclearization deal that would focus instead on North Korea’s more extensive plutonium program, which has been at the heart of its nuclear weapons development and was the source of raw material for the device it tested in October 2006.

Blair Has Varied History With U.S. Presidents

Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain came to Washington on Thursday to celebrate what he called the “special relationship” between his country and the United States. But before dropping in at the White House, Brown had other business to tend to: meeting the candidates vying to succeed President Bush.

In a stark reminder to Bush that his time in office is short, Brown held back-to-back sessions at the British ambassador’s residence with Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., the Democratic contenders, and with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the presumptive Republican nominee.

Speaking to reporters in the Rose Garden, Bush shrugged the meetings off. When Brown was asked if the trans-Atlantic relationship might improve under a new president, Bush interjected, “One of those three has a good chance of winning.”

Brown ducked the question. “It is for Americans to decide who their president is going to be,” he said. He added, “What I was convinced of, after talking to each of them and talking about the issues that concern them and concern the world, is that the relationship between America and Britain will remain strong, remain steadfast.”

Divorce Details Come Out Online

This week, the potential of the Internet to expose and disgrace when marriages fall apart came into stark relief as Tricia Walsh Smith, who is being divorced by Philip Smith, a theater executive, put a video on YouTube announcing that they had never had sex, and yet she had found him hoarding Viagra, pornography and condoms.

Not surprisingly, Philip Smith’s lawyer, David Aronson, called the video “appalling” and said: “Mr. Smith is a very private person. This is obviously embarrassing.”

But in an era when more than more one in 10 adult Internet users in the United States have blogs, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, many people are using the Web to tell their side of a marital saga — and of course, in separation, one person’s truth can be another’s lie. Despite the legal end of a marriage, the confessions can stretch toward eternity in a steady stream of enraged or despondent postings.

Sometimes the postings are furtive. But even when the ex-spouse is well aware that he or she is starring in an angry blog and sues to stop it, recent rulings in New York and Vermont have showed the courts reluctant to intervene.