Thursday, May 29, 2014

In The News:

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.

No one outside the inner circle of North Korea’s nuclear program likely knows what advances the country has made. But there has been a shift in thinking by some who study the North since it conducted a nuclear test in February last year and amid on-off indications that it is preparing another.
The isolated and poverty-stricken country, which regularly threatens to destroy the United States and South Korea in a sea of flames, defends its nuclear program as a “treasured sword” to counter what it sees as American-led hostility. And there is now “tremendous technological motivation” to conduct a nuclear test as the North races to perfect the technology to miniaturize warheads, a South Korean nuclear expert said.
“The field deployment of a nuclear missile is imminent,” said Kim Tae-woo, former head of South Korea’s state-run Korea Institute for National Unification.
Diplomatic sources told reporters that China, the North’s lone ally, had used diplomatic channels to warn Pyongyang against a nuclear test — another possible sign that it is considering such a move.
Experts say the delivery vehicle of choice for North Korea’s first nuclear warhead would most likely be the midrange Rodong missile, which has a range of 1,300 km.

“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.”

Muslim Arabs marked Jerusalem Day on Wednesday by violently attacking Jews throughout the capital’s Old City.
The violence began atop the Temple Mount, where a mob of Arab youth heckled Jewish visitors and hurled stones at Israeli police, injuring one officer.
As more security forces entered the compound, the perpetrators barricaded themselves inside the Al Aqsa Mosque, from where they continued to hurl stones and firecrackers.

Police quickly closed to the holy site to all Jews and Christians for fear of further Muslim violence.
Nearby, another gang of Arab youth attacked Jewish high school students who were visiting from the Golan Heights to celebrate Jerusalem Day. As the group of students passed through the Old City, they were suddenly attacked with stones and tear gas. No serious injuries were reported.
Despite the grave nature of the attacks, a group of rabbis who managed to visit the Temple Mount before it was closed said they were actually heartened by the violence, which demonstrates that Islam fears what the future might hold.
“We believe that the rebuilding of the Temple will be a miracle, and that if we stand up for our rights, G-d will deliver a miracle to us,” Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute told Arutz 7. “Seeing the opposition makes us laugh, because it is clear that they are afraid that the Jewish people are returning to the Temple Mount.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a number of Jerusalem Day speeches insisting that Israel would never again allow the city to be divided.
“Jerusalem is Israel’s eternity, it is our heart, and we are guarding our heart - the heart of the nation. We will never divide our heart,” Netanyahu said during a traditional Jerusalem Day visit to the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, a bastion of religious Zionism.
The Messianic blog “One for Israel” has a strong article on additional reasons why Jerusalem remains centrally important for local Israeli believers.
This Jerusalem Day marks the 47th anniversary of the reunification of the city in the 1967 Six Day War. For the 19 years prior, the city was divided, and the eastern half illegally occupied by neighboring Jordan.

 "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."

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