The UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling for nuclear disarmament. While not mentioned specifically in the resolution, President Obama, who chaired the session, said the resolution was, in part, in response to the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, BBC News. Women’s rights discussed behind the scenes at the UN, CNN.
The FBI is investigating the death of a U.S. Census Bureau worker, William Sparkman, who was found hanged in Kentucky with the word “fed” written on his chest to see if the death is linked to anti-government radicalism, USA Today. More on right-wing attacks on the Census, which the U.S. Constitution mandates be taken every ten years, USA Today. The results of the Cesus are used to allocate congressional districts, electoral votes, and government spending.
A new vaccine for the AIDS virus has been effective in trials. In a trial of 16,000 volunteers in Thailand, the vaccine reduced the risk of getting the virus by 31%, National Public Radio.
Sydney and Brisbane clean up after the dust storm, the Big Picture.
A car bomb in Lahore, Pakistan has killed at least 30 and injured hundreds others. The bomb went off outside a police and secret service headquarters after men step out of the car and began firing rifles. The attack is thought to be in retaliation for the crackdown on Taliban militants in the Swat Valley, BBC News. Images of the blast, BBC News.
The UN Security Council is scrambling to find the right response to North Korea’s declaration that it will not abide by the terms of the 1950s armistice that ended the Korea War. Outright military engagement is undesirable as North Korea has a one million member military. Sanctions are not likely to have much effect as North Korea is already very impoverished. The Security Council will try to get North Korea allies Russia and China to apply pressure, CNN.
Illinois Senator Roland Burris caught on tape offering to write a check to disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich as he asks for consideration for the Senate seat vacated by President Obama, Washington Post.
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.
Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is scheduled to testify in her defense on Thursday, Associated Press. The bizarre story of the charges against Suu Kyi.
In a bizarre story, Burmese pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged by the military junta running the government of violating the terms of her house arrest. Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for the past six years and is not allowed to have guests other than family visit overnight. Under the terms of her arrest, Suu Kyi’s detention was due to expire at the end of May. It is feared that this charge is simply a way of keeping her out of the public eye until next year’s elections occur. The elections are expected to be a rubber stamp of the current government. The charge stems from an incident in which John William Yeattaw, an American man from Missouri, wearing flippers he handmade, swam one mile across a lake to get to Suu Kyi’s house. According to Suu Kyi’s lawyers, once at the house he claimed he was diabetic and was too ill to leave. In 1990, in the first election Burma had held in 30 years, Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won a solid majority of votes, but that result was ignored. Burma’s government officially renamed the country Myanmar, Guardian. CNN has a picture of Yeattaw said to have been taken in Suu Kyi’s home and a picture of his handmade flippers.
40,000 attended an outdoor papal mass in Nazareth. After the mass, Pope Benedict XVI met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Al Jazeera.
North Korea has set a trial date of June 4 for two American journalists charged with illegally crossing the border from China to North Korea, New York Times.
The UN Security Council has issued a statement condemning the Sri Lankan government’s use of heavy artillery on civilians trapped in a warzone, Bloomberg. The Sri Lankan government says that thousands of civilians trapped in the warzone, where the government claims they were being used as human shield by Tamil Tiger rebels, have escaped by crossing a lagoon, Reuters.
On April 5, 2009, Citizen’s Daily Brief reported that North Korea had launched a rocket using long range ballistic missile technology. North Korea still insists that the rocket was actually a satellite that is now orbiting in space, but the country also used world criticism of the launch as an excuse to withdraw from negotiations. The UN Security Council voted to impose new sanctions on North Korea following the launch. North Korea is now threatening to test a second nuclear weapon. North Korea tested a nuclear weapon in June 2006 and it is believed that North Korea is capable of carrying out the threat, United Press International.
Relations with North Korea appeared to be improving in the 1990s when U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with North Korean President Kim Jong-il. However, the Bush administration broke off relations with North Korea and famously referred to the country as part of the “Axis of Evil,” which also included Iraq and Iran.
Thousands have been injured in an earthquake that struck the mountainous central area of Italy. At least 90 are reported dead. The earthquake struck in the early morning hours when most were asleep. Hardest hit was the medieval city of L’Aquila where hundreds of historic buildings may have been destroyed. A strong earthquake previously struck the region in 2002, resulting in the deaths of 28 people, BBC News.
2 aid workers kidnapped in Sudan, CTV.
Vancouver gang violence continues with a shooting at a Boston Pizza in East Vancouver. The shooting is thought to be a targeted hit . There have been 41 shootings in Vancouver this year, BC Local News.
Car bombs rock Baghdad. Six car bombs, all set off remotely, have killed at least 32 and injured dozens more. U.S. military officials also announced a soldier was killed in the Diyala province on Sunday, the first combat casualty since March 16, Washington Post.
Still no agreement on response to North Korea’s ballistic missile launch from the UN Security Council, Voice of America.