A US research institute on Thursday said it observed "suspicious activity" at North Korea's Yongbyon Radiochemical Laboratory in recent satellite images, namely exhaust gases at the facility. "Exhaust plumes have rarely been seen there and none have been observed on any examined imagery this past winter. The plumes suggest that the operators of the reprocessing facility are heating their buildings, perhaps indicating that some significant activity is being undertaken, or will be in the near future," said analysts at the US-Korea Institute at John Hopkins University in Washington. "Whether that activity … means reprocessing additional plutonium is underway or will be in the near future remains unclear," the report said. The report cited a recent statement by US National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who said Pyongyang could possibly extract weapons-grade plutonium in weeks. The report comes months after North Korea carried out its fourth nuclear test, which it claimed … [Read more...] about ‘Suspicious activity’ observed at N. Korea nuclear complex, says US group
Iran, along with the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany have reached a historic deal on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, diplomats said on Tuesday. "All the hard work has paid off and we sealed a deal. God bless our people," an Iranian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters news agency. Reuters reported that this statement was confirmed by a second Iranian diplomat, though no remarks have been made from the other major powers taking part in the negotiations. Shortly thereafter, the Associated Press cited an unnamed "senior Western diplomat" as saying that both sides had reached a compromise agreement, also on condition of anonymity. Spokeswomen from the EU and the US Department of State did confirm, however, that all the representatives would be meeting in Vienna for a "final plenary" discussion at 10:30 am local time (0830 UTC/GMT). The delegates from Iran, the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany would hold a press … [Read more...] about Diplomats: ‘we sealed a deal’ in Iranian nuclear talks
A recent report by two top American experts that India's nuclear strategy is targeting China has drawn mixed responses from Indian experts and academics who maintain there is no cause for alarm about the country's nuclear position despite the changing geopolitical situation. Published in the July-August issue of the digital journal After Midnight, the article claimed that India is busy developing a missile, which can target all of China from its bases located in southern India. It also said that while modernizing its atomic arsenal, India has produced around 600 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium, which is sufficient for 150-200 nuclear warheads. China, India and Pakistan are all pursuing new ballistic missile, cruise missile, and sea-based nuclear delivery systems. Like China, India's nuclear doctrine is based on the no-first-use (NFU) concept backed by a policy of assured massive retaliation. "China appears to have maintained a measure of ambiguity on … [Read more...] about Is India turning its nuclear focus toward China?
The Pentagon says it used the bomb on a cave complex believed to be used by the so called "Islamic State" (IS) on Thursday evening. Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said it was the first time the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, which is GPS-guided and contains 11 tons of explosives, was dropped. Read: What makes MOAB the 'Mother of all bombs'? The target was a "system of tunnels and caves used by IS to move around freely," according to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. The bomb fell in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province of eastern Afghanistan, close to the border with US ally Pakistan. "The strike was designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and US forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities," according to a statement from the Pentagon referring to an alternate acronym for IS. Read: 'Mother of all bombs' what has it achieved? On Friday, Afghan officials … [Read more...] about US drops largest non-nuclear bomb on ‘IS’ target in Afghanistan
Founding of a nation: 1945-1950 Following the end of World War II, the Soviet Union and the US agreed to split the Korean Peninsula along the 38th parallel. US forces remained in the southern half following the surrender of Japan, while Soviet forces occupied the northern half. Read more: What is China's role in the North Korean crisis? In response to the South's declaration of statehood as the Republic of Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 1948 declared itself a state with Kim Sung Il, a popular guerrilla commander, as its Soviet-designated leader. Kim was later established as the leader of the Workers' Part of Korea, which consolidated power across the northern part of the peninsula. By 1949, statues of Kim were erected and people began calling him the "Great Leader." The Korean War: 1950-1953 In 1950, with the backing of communist China and the Soviet Union, North Korean forces invaded the South, culminating in the capture of Seoul. The US responded by … [Read more...] about North Korea: From war to nuclear weapons