According to a confidential statement made by diplomats associated with the International Atomic Energy Agency on October 9, the North Korean government has barred UN monitoring of its Yongbyon nuclear complex. The diplomats made anonymous statements to both Reuters news service and the Associated Press, citing confidentiality.
The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna announced on September 24 that North Korea had barred United Nations inspectors from a reprocessing plant at its nuclear reactor plant in Yongbyon. The plant converts spent nuclear fuel rods into weapons-grade plutonium. By its decision, North Korea has reneged on an agreement reached in February 2007.
The ongoing chaos in the world’s financial markets shows no sign of abating, and governments, financiers, and their kept economists are now openly talking of a reprise of the Great Depression, unless something is done quickly.
In the wake of the tainted toothpaste and pet food scandals, thousands of infants have been sickened in China by contaminated powdered milk. So far, two infants have died from the product that has been contaminated with melamine, the same agent that was found to have contaminated pet food sold in the United States.
His vociferous support for Russia's heavy aerial bombardment and invasion of Georgia notwithstanding, Mikhail S. Gorbachev is scheduled to be presented the Liberty Medal on September 18 by former President George H. W. Bush.
As tension over the Russian occupation of Georgia continues to simmer, Moscow is quietly stirring the embers of the Cold War in another part of the world — still-communist Cuba. In August, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin and Russian Security Council Secretary General Nikolai Patrushev traveled to Havana and met with Cuban President Raul Castro.
While Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was in Beijing schmoozing with world leaders during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on August 8, Russian troops, tanks, and bombers were launching a surprise attack on neighboring Georgia.
“There has been no deal with China to censor the Internet,” stated International Olympic Committee spokeswoman Giselle Davies according to Associated Press. The controversy began, AP reported on July 31, “when Kevan Gosper, the press commission head of the IOC, said he was surprised to learn that Web sites for Amnesty International along with others … would be blocked to reporters,” and also said he suspected that “an agreement has been reached” with China “by very senior people in the IOC.”
On August 3, the world lost Nobel Prize laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the conscience of the Cold War. Convicted in 1945 of criticizing Joseph Stalin’s regime, Solzhenitsyn spent years in a Soviet prison camp, nearly succumbing to disease and other hardships. After his release, Solzhenitsyn began publishing materials describing the horrors of the Soviet prison camps, or gulags. His most famous book, The Gulag Archipelago, led to his being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1970.