Largely isolated and secretive, North Korea’s nuclear ambitions pose security threats to the rest of the world. North Korea continues developing nuclear and ballistic missiles programs by importing banned cargo using deceptive techniques to circumvent international sanctions. In March 2014 North Korea launched two midrange missiles demonstrating its ballistic missile capabilities even as the leaders of from the US, Japan and South Korea gathered in Netherlands to discuss North Korea’s nuclear threats. The UN Security Council unanimously condemned North Korea’s provocative action as it violated the council resolutions.
The Taliban emerged as a politico-religious movement in the 1980s aimed to end Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Backed by Pakistan, it gained control over Afghanistan in 1996 and sponsored international terrorist activities, especially of disgruntled Osama Bin Laden after the US action against Iraq. After the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, the US bombed the Taliban’s strategic military sites and completely routed it out leading to the installation of a new democratic government in Afghanistan. However, pushed out by NATO forces, the Taliban still continues terrorist activities from the mountainous Pashtun region of Waziristan in Pakistan.
The extraordinary economic growth and the pragmatic diplomacy are turning China into a key player in the politico-economic sphere of the 21st century. Some historians have already noted that the wars-torn 20th century witnessed the slow decadence of the Western influence and reorientation of the world towards the east. As China becomes more powerful, the political arena will also become reshaped. But if opportunistic China tries to reshape the world order to serve its vested interests, rather than facilitating a smooth transition, would again destabilize the existing order and can pose new security threats.
Swine Flu (H1N1) is a relatively new strain of viral influenza that attained pandemic proportions among humans during 2009-2010 (though common throughout pig populations worldwide). The viruses circulate mainly during winter. High risk groups like pregnant women, aged people or those weakened by drugs treatment need to be seasonally vaccinated for protection against this type of flu. The affected people typically experience high temperature (over 38°C) accompanied by muscle ache, sore throat and dry cough.
On April 2007, twenty-three year old Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people before taking his own life on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. The massacre was the deadliest by a single gunman in U.S history. Cho was a resident student majoring in English at Virginia Tech and had a history of mental problems including suicidal tendency. A month prior to the shooting, he had purchased a 9mm Glock pistol and 50 rounds of ammunition from a local firearms store for $571.