World digest 02/22/05

N. Korean leader may return to nuclear talks

SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Il told a visiting Chinese envoy that his government will return to six-party nuclear disarmament talks if the United States shows "sincerity," the communist state's official news agency said today. The announcement -- the latest in more than two years of conflicting statements over North Korea's nuclear program -- came less than two weeks after Kim taunted Washington and its allies by claiming that it had nuclear weapons and would boycott the talks.

Irish police looking overseas for IRA money

HILLSBOROUGH, Northern Ireland -- Detectives will travel overseas in search of Irish Republican Army money, Ireland's police chief said Monday as his force pursued its biggest crackdown ever on the finances of the underground group suspected in a massive bank robbery. Commissioner Noel Conroy also said he expects forensic analysis of the $5.7 million seized in raids over the past week to confirm at least some is linked to the Dec. 20 robbery in Belfast, the world's biggest cash heist. One detective, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they have evidence the IRA was working with a Bulgarian gang to acquire a bank to process IRA funds.

Still frail, pope slowly resuming activities

VATICAN CITY -- Three weeks after being rushed to the hospital with breathing problems, Pope John Paul II is slowly resuming his regular activities while making clear -- once again -- that he has no intention of stepping down. Acting with caution, the Vatican said the frail pontiff will not preside at his weekly public audience Wednesday but he will greet and bless the faithful from his apartment window overlooking St. Peter's Square. However, the Vatican also said John Paul will hold his first meeting with a foreign dignitary since his illness, an audience today with the prime minister of Croatia. John Paul met Monday with a group of Spanish bishops.