North Korea says it just tested a hydrogen bomb. Here's what we know. [Vox]
According to top experts, it's very plausible this was a test. "I think it is *probably* a test," Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, tweeted. "DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the formal name of North Korea] event epicenter close to test site and on 1/2 hour." Generally, earthquakes don't just happen on exactly the half hour.[more inside]
North Korea has warned foreign embassies in Pyongyang that it cannot guarantee their safety from the threat of conflict after 10 April, and has advised them to consider pulling their staff out of the capital. This follows North Korea blocking South Korean Workers from the Kaesong industrial complex - a sign that this might be more material than the usual posturing, warning that a 'moment of explosion' is nearing and moving missiles with "considerable range" to its east coast. Though the US is playing down the threat and the UK and Russia have no plans of moving their diplomats the possibility of an accident or miscalculation leading to war looms. North Korea has earned the reprobation of Russia and Fidel Castro in recent days and even longtime supporter China is beginning to lose patience with it - something some say is not before time.
Current TV previously & previously, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
Kōfuku-no-Kagaku (幸福の科学), also called Happy Science, is a relatively new religious and spiritual movement, founded in Japan in October 1986. The organization is gaining ground world-wide, with the international headquarter office in central Tokyo, 6 local temples located in London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seoul and Taiwan, and an additional 37 local offices around the world. The group's leader, Master Ryuho Okawa, has is not limiting the scope of the movement to politics, and in May 2009 the Happiness Realization Party was formed, with over 300 HRP candidates running for the coming general election. To provide background on the religion and political movement, here is a little investigation of Happy Science by MeFi's own shii [via mefi projects] [more inside]
From 1977 to 1983, between 16-70 Japanese citizens were abducted in their home country by agents of the North Korean government. 13-year-old Megumi Yokota was the youngest. This is her story.
Japanese abducted by North Korea in Japan for brief visit. After many years of denying accusations, North Korea finally came clean last month and admitted to having kidnapped a number of Japanese civilians. Of the thirteen they admit to abducting, they say only five are still alive, and these five have been allowed a visit to Japan this week. On a less encouraging note, however, the five survivors were not allowed to bring their children or spouses and arrived donning pins bearing an image of the Great Leader. Is Kim Jong Il genuinely turning over a new leaf, is this just another part of a heartless cash grab scheme, or did the "axis of evil" speech intimidate them into softening up for a moment?
China thumbs nose at Japan, sends asylum seekers on their way. A happy ending (beginning) for five North Korean asylum seekers who were dragged out of the Japanese consulate in Shenyang by Chinese police -- with more than tacit initial approval from local Japanese officials.
"I am Kim Jong Nam." This is funny. Maybe Disney will precipate the collapse of North Korea. Or a nuclear exchange.