North Korea's attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong comes during a difficult period for the isolated regime in Pyongyang.
It is going through a process of political succession, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il seeking to ensure that his son Kim Jong Un is the country's next leader. At the same time, North Korea is facing new food shortages. In the past, weakness and uncertainty have sparked provocations like the Nov. 23 attack.
This week an Illinois fish processor is sending 44,000 pounds of Asian carp back to Asia as food. A small startup in Pearl, Ill., the Big River Fish Company is just one group that sees Asian carp not as a voracious, invasive species, but as a business opportunity.
Asian carp can be huge -- up to 100 pounds -- and they have been feasting on native fish in the Mississippi and Illinois rivers for years. Originally introduced to the United States in the 1970s to eat algae, the carp now threaten the Great Lakes.
China resisted U.S. pressure to condemn North Korea on Wednesday, a day after Pyongyang shelled a South Korea-held island, killing four people and ratcheting tensions on the peninsula to new highs.
Late Wednesday, China issued its first official statement, which was notable for its failure to condemn or even criticize North Korea. Instead, a foreign ministry spokesman urged both Koreas to show calm and restraint, and to engage in talks.