Asia

2:04pm

Wed April 11, 2012
Asia

N. Korea May Stage Nuclear Test After Rocket Launch

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 6:51 pm

A concert in Pyongyang in February 2012 commemorates the birthday of North Korea's late leader, Kim Jong Il. The backdrop shows a North Korean rocket that was launched in April 2009 — and was followed a month later by a nuclear test.
Kyodo/Landov

As North Korea reaches the final stage of preparations for a long-range rocket launch, concern is growing that it is in the early stages of preparing its underground test site for another nuclear explosion.

Pyongyang established the pattern three years ago when it tested a similar rocket and then followed it a month later with a nuclear test.

This time around, there may be a more urgent need to test a nuclear device. The bomb is very likely the result of a significant expansion of North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

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11:56am

Wed April 11, 2012
Asia

North Korea To Launch Rocket, And A New Power Play

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 6:51 pm

A North Korean soldier stands guard in front of the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket on a launchpad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, during a guided media tour by North Korean authorities northwest of Pyongyang on April 8.
Bobby Yip Reuters/Landov

As North Korea gears up to launch a long-range rocket, political changes are afoot, too: Pyongyang has consolidated its succession process, giving a new title to its new leader, Kim Jong Un, who came to power in December after his father's death.

The rocket launch, which could come as early as Thursday in North Korea, has been condemned by the international community as being in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. So why now?

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5:00am

Wed April 11, 2012
The Two-Way

After Major Quake Near Indonesia, First Tsunami Is Relatively Small

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 7:04 am

Acehnese women hug each other shortly after the powerful earthquake hit the western coast of Sumatra in Banda Aceh.
Chaideer Mahyhuddin AFP/Getty Images

A powerful, 8.6-magnitude earthquake and an 8.2-magnitude aftershock off the west coast of Northern Sumatra today led authorities to warn that potentially devastating tsunamis might roar across the Indian Ocean.

But to the relief of millions who were immediately reminded of the devastating tsunami that rolled across that ocean in 2004, the waves generated by today's temblors were minor and the tsunami "watch" was canceled just before 9 a.m. ET.

The other welcome news: Initial reports indicated that damage from the quakes themselves may not have been extensive.

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4:17am

Wed April 11, 2012
Asia

Strong Earthquake Strikes Off Indonesia's Coast

A huge earthquake shook the ocean floor off the coast of Indonesia Wednesday. Early measurements by the U.S. Geological Survey give it a strength of 8.7. Surrounding nations have issued tsunami warnings.

9:00am

Mon April 9, 2012
Asia

For Now, A Chance To Breathe In Myanmar

After decades of tight control by the military, Myanmar is opening up. Supporters of Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi campaigned openly during the run-up to the April 1 election, in which her party won 43 of the 45 contested seats.
Altaf Qadri AP

Michael Sullivan made many trips to Myanmar, also known as Burma, when he was NPR's correspondent for Southeast Asia. He recently returned, and found a country changing at a dizzying pace.

I get off the plane and almost immediately feel like I've come to the wrong country. There's a large blue sign at immigration that reads: "Attention journalists covering the by-election: please register at the Media Counter."

"Media Counter"? My kind has never been welcome here.

It's the first surprise in a trip full of them.

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