Washington – A recent satellite image appears to show North Korea is restarting a plutonium reactor, in a move that could raise renewed international alarm over its nuclear weapons program, a U.S. research institute said Wednesday.
The 5-megawatt reactor at the Nyongbyon nuclear facility was shuttered in 2007 under the terms of a disarmament agreement. Pyongyang announced plans in April to restart it amid a litany of threats toward the U.S. and South Korea after it faced tougher international censure over its latest nuclear and rocket tests.
North Korea has since toned down its rhetoric and stepped up diplomacy with rival South Korea, but Wednesday’s finding by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies is a sign that the regime of Kim Jong Un is pressing ahead with its nuclear program.
Bomb hits Benghazi on attack anniversary
Tripoli, Libya – A car bomb tore through a Libyan Foreign Ministry building in the eastern city of Benghazi on Wednesday, a powerful reminder of lawlessness in the North African nation on the anniversary of a deadly attack on the U.S. consulate there as well as the 2001 terror attacks in the United States.
The Benghazi blast caused no deaths or serious injuries but destroyed the Foreign Ministry branch building in an attack rich in symbolism. The building once housed the U.S. Consulate under the rule of King Idris, who was overthrown in 1969 in a bloodless coup led by Moammar Gadhafi.
The bombing took place about 6 a.m., well before anybody was due to arrive at the Foreign Ministry for work and at a time when the nearby streets were nearly empty.
Car bombs kill soldiers in Sinai Peninsula
Cairo – A long-simmering Islamist insurgency in the restive Sinai Peninsula appeared to gather force on Wednesday with twin attacks on Egyptian military targets that left at least six military personnel dead.
A pair of powerful car bombs ripped through the border town of Rafah, four days after the Egyptian military launched its largest operation in years in a northern swath of the rugged and arid peninsula.
One of the two bombings targeted an intelligence branch, partially collapsing the two-story building in which it was housed, and the other struck an army checkpoint.
Catalans turn out in Spain separation bid
Barcelona, Spain – More than 1 million flag-draped and face-painted Catalans held hands and formed a 250-mile human chain across the northeastern Spanish region Wednesday in a demonstration of their desires for independence.
It was the second Catalonian National Day in as many years marked by a massive turnout to show support for breaking free of recession-beset Spain.
Secession proponents and the regional government said more than 1 million supporters of independence joined in the chain of humanity bedecked in clothing and face paint in the red, yellow and blue of Catalonia’s flag. The hand-holding lineup stretched from Barcelona’s main square, through its Sagrada Familia cathedral, the Camp Nou Stadium soccer venue of FC Barcelona, and along streets and highways stretching for a reported 250 miles.
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