North Korea, which this month threatened to carry out a fourth nuclear test, may be closer than previously thought to mounting a nuclear warhead on a missile, some experts say, making a mockery of years of U.N. sanctions aimed at curbing its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons.
“Given the number of years that North Korea has been working at it, my assessment is that they can mount a warhead on a Rodong,” Mark Fitzpatrick, director of nonproliferation and disarmament at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said. “Also, there is no doubt that Pakistan can mount a nuclear warhead on its version of the Rodong. . . . It is reasonable to assume that North Korea can too. How reliable the warhead would be is another question.”
“North Korea is well aware of Pakistan’s and Iran’s work on miniaturizing nuclear warheads for (their) missiles, which originally were copies of the Rodong missile,” he said. “North Korea would have likely made the same judgment as the two countries about the importance of starting early to develop a nuclear warhead for its missiles.”
"Sometimes I ask myself, why me? Why did this have to happen again?" says 31-year-old Andile from the Khayelitsha township in Cape Town, South Africa. "But the problem is I could have got it anywhere, on the bus, in a taxi, in my work. It's everywhere."
Andile has extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), a form of the airborne disease that is resistant to the four main groups of drugs used to treat it, meaning treatment can take years and requires alternative drugs that have more side effects.
TB has long been known as a disease of poverty. Dense housing, shared living space, poor ventilation, poor nutrition and poor healthcare systems are the prime conditions for the infection to spread, and thrive. This ancient disease was known as the "White Plague" in 18th century Europe and still kills more than one million people a year globally.
It's a complicated disease with the potential to affect many parts of the body and it can remain latent in people for many years, leaving them unaware they are infected. The main active form of the disease affects the lungs; if left untreated it can cause considerable lung damage, resulting in eventual death.
"The disease has reached a public health emergency in South Africa," explains Keertan Dheda, professor of medicine at the University of Cape Town. "We treat half a million cases a year and today, the epidemic has taken a turn with drug resistance. We treat 8,000 cases of resistance a year and now a chunk of those have developed resistance beyond XDR-TB -- incurable TB."