The world is on alert after confirmation of an underground nuclear test near Kilju, North Korea. Seismologists recorded the blast in South Korea with tremors of 4.5 on the Ritcher scale. North Korea tested a much smaller weapon underground in November 2006. Yesterday’s blast was between 10 and 20 kilotons which is about the size of the atom bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki in World War II. The UN Security Council will hold an emergency session this afternoon. As we reported last night when the news broke, Japan has set up an emergency room to monitor the situation in the Prime Minister’s resident. China, a sometimes ally of North Korea, has also condemned the tests. BBC News reports that South Korea has also detected short-range missile tests by North Korea. These tests come at a time when North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-il is said to be in poor health and there is concern over who will be his successor, CNN.
Scientology is on trial in Paris, France on charges of fraud under French anti-cult laws. A woman claims she was persuaded to spend 20,000 euros on bonus services by the church, such as medication for purification. If found guilty, Scientology could be shut down in France, France 24.
Pakistani troops are going house to house in Mingora in a heavy effort to stamp out the Taliban in the Swat Valley in northwestern Pakistan. Although most residents have fled the heavily-fortified town, 10,000-20,000 are estimated to remain. The offensive to clear the Swat Valley has lasted about four weeks. Pakistan army officials say they expect to have taken back Mingora in 7 to 10 days, Reuters.
An Indian guru was killed in the shooting at the Sikh temple in Vienna, Austria this weekend. His death sparked riots in Jalandhar, India, Wall Street Journal.