President Obama has another day of behind-closed-door meetings with receiving his presidential daily briefing this morning and then later at noon holding a conference call with mayors and community leaders. He'll discuss the impending fiscal cliff situation with the mayors but we can only guess if there are other meetings about the issue on his schedule today. We also assume he's being briefed on the launch of the North Korean missile yesterday. We'll get to ask White House Press Secretary Jay Carney questions about these issues and more at the briefing, scheduled for 12:30p today.
Guidance from the White House:
9:45AM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office (Closed Press)
12:00PM THE PRESIDENT holds a conference call with a bipartisan group of mayors and community leaders
Roosevelt Room (Closed Press)
12:30PM Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
Washington (CNN) - David Austin is one of the few outsiders who has seen firsthand how people live in the North Korean countryside, and he describes a population "lethargic" from malnutrition.
Just two weeks ago, he visited an orphanage as part of his work as the North Korea program director for the relief organization Mercy Corps.
He said the last protein children had eaten was in January - eggs.
"That tells us not only are they not getting a balanced diet but in terms of the rations, they're getting only about 60% of what a child needs," he said.
Austin describes widespread severe malnourishment and "an entire generation" that is "stunted physically, developmentally because of chronic malnutrition."
According to Austin, in seven visits since 2007, he has been to dozens of orphanages and hospitals and more than 19 private homes.
He says he is troubled that the United States plans to call off a massive shipment of food aid as a result of the anticipated rocket launch by North Korea between now and Monday.
Pyongyang insists that the rocket is necessary to put a weather satellite in orbit, but Washington and Seoul consider it a ballistic missile test in disguise. Such launches by North Korea breach U.N. Security Council resolutions. FULL POST
President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the demilitarized zone that splits the Korean Peninsula in two for the first time on Sunday.
His planned visit to the heavily fortified border is part of a three-day trip to South Korea to participate in a summit meeting about nuclear security in Seoul.
Top officials from 54 countries including China and Russia will attend the summit meeting next week, but its message of international cooperation has been overshadowed by North Korea's announcement last week that it is planning to carry out a rocket-powered satellite launch in April.
CNN is reporting that North Korean leader Kim Jung Il has died. For more details, read CNN.com.