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  • Nuclear Threats: North Korea and Beyond

    With the increasingly bellicose rhetoric from North Korea, the world is waiting to see whether what has so far been a war of words will turn to one of force. But North Korea is only one of several nuclear hotspots around the world that bear watching.

    In the latest salvo, the North Korean army issued a statement that its “cutting-edge” nuclear weapons would be part of “merciless” military strikes on the United States.

    This comes a day after news that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had authorized restarting the Yongbyon Nuclear Facility as a source of plutonium to beef up the country’s nuclear arsenal.

    North Korea’s increasingly sharp threats to attack South Korea and specific targets in the United States are not being taken lightly. The U.S. sent B-2 bombers and F-22 stealth fighter jets for military drills in South Korea; the U.S. Navy is positioning missile destroyers off the Korean Peninsula; and, within a few weeks, the Pentagon will deploy an advanced missile defense system to

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  • Before Constitution, Magna Carta, the Cyrus Cylinder Was Model of Tolerance

    Britain’s Magna Carta and the U.S. Constitution may spring to mind as great foundations of modern government, but the much older Cyrus Cylinder has been described as the very “first declaration of human rights.”

    The 2,600-year-old artifact is a fairly small, baked, clay object covered in cuneiform script, whose size belies its importance. What it says about a key moment in history provides important lessons in tolerance and justice even today, many millennia later.

    “It’s an astonishing statement of how you run a multicultural, multi-faith community,”said Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, where the Cyrus Cylinder is part of the permanent collection.

    Christiane Amanpour sat down with MacGregor at the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., the first leg of a five-city tour for the cylinder.

    The Cyrus Cylinder was a charter created during the reign of Cyrus the Great, a Persian ruler whose kingdom covered much of modern-day Middle East.

    In 539 B.C., Cyrus’

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  • A Decade Later, Iraq a ‘Broken Country’

    Insurgents killed at least 65 people and injured more than 200 as a wave of attacks, mostly car bombs, targeted parts of Baghdad and other provinces. The coordinated attacks came on the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and hit mostly Shiite targets, including small restaurants and bus stops.

    Violence has dominated Iraq for the past decade. In March 2003, the war began with a “shock and awe” campaign followed by tanks rolling into Baghdad. The U.S.-led forces easily won the war but not the peace as the Iraq insurgency and sectarian tensions between Shia and Shiite Muslims flared. The last U.S. troops left the country at the end of 2011.

    Now Iraq is “a broken country with deep wounds, increasing sectarianism and with increasing Iranian influence,” said Shibley Telhami, a professor at the University of Maryland, in an interview with Christiane Amanpour.

    Before the start of the invasion, Telhami organized an ad in the New York Times, signed by leading international

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