SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – As you might know is the Galaxy S4 the first Galaxy device by Samsung with Corning Gorilla Glas 3. According to Corning the display of the Galaxy S4 will be the strongest display on the market when it arrives. The Galaxy S4 uses a 5.0” Full HD AMOLED display. A Samsung Mobiler tried to scratch the Galaxy S4 with knifes and coins without success. Watch the video below and let us know what you think. Oh yes, we can’t wait until the droptest…-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- The concept of divine test:
What is called “test” in English is referred to by the Quran with different terms such as trial, tribulation, evil, mischief and ‘tamhis’ which literally means “scrutiny”. God says in the Holy Quran: “He Who created death and life, that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.”
The concept of divine test is very different from the tests carried out by human beings in respect of one another. Our test is aimed at getting more understanding and knowledge and at removing our doubts and ignorance. However, divine test is not for such purpose; it is to educate and train mankind. That is to say, God puts man to test to help train him, mould his character and to enable him gain perfection. For example, divine prophets such as Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) attained high spiritual positions through difficult and unbearable hardship and tribulations.
Cases of divine test:
It is God’s tradition and divine practice [sunnah] to put man to test. The Holy Quran says:
“Do men imagine that they will be left (at ease) because they say, We believe, and will not be tested with affliction? And certainly We tried those before them, so Allah will certainly know those who are true and He will certainly know the liars.”
Sometimes the Quran speaks of a general test which is directed towards God’s servants. He says: “Do men imagine that they will be left (at ease) because they say, We believe, and will not be tested with affliction?”
Sometimes the Quran unveils a series of special tests directed towards special individuals or people. There are stories in the Quran e.g. the stories of prophets and their tribes, which provide examples of such tests.
Verses dealing with general tests are too many to be mentioned here. However, we will mention a few instances of the divine tests that have been pointed out in the Quran:
1. Hardship and difficulties:
God, the Exalted, tests man by means of difficulties and hardship. The Quran says: “Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere.”
Hardship and difficulties are like an oven that helps make a piece of iron harder to break. Man also becomes stronger, steadfast and capable of breaking barriers after he goes through afflictions and difficulties. Hardship and pain train the individual and awaken society, they awaken those who are sleeping in ignorance and motivate them. Hardships are like sandpaper that polishes iron and metal; the more they come in contact with an individual, the more he/she is polished and becomes sharper, because the property and characteristic of life is that one has to be ready and stand up and resist hardships. Hardship is like an alchemy that transforms normal things into valuable ones, changing the individual for the better. There are two elixirs of life; love and hardship, and these two cause one to be extraordinary and make shiny and glowing gems out of dull material., 
2. Evil and good:
As the Holy Quran says, “Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good by way of trial” even the good can be a means for test and trial. For example, someone is given riches and wealth or a position which boosts his social status and respect but he does not properly exploit such an opportunity extended to him. Eventually, Shaitan misleads him from the right path.
3. Abundance of blessings:
Worldly blessings might be a means of comfort and prosperity for the individual, and can also be a means of sorrow and misery. At any rate, the blessings and divine bounties are a means with which man is tested. The Holy Quran quotes Prophet Sulayman as such: “This is of the grace of my Lord that He may try me whether I am grateful or ungrateful; and whoever is grateful, he is grateful only for his own soul, and whoever is ungrateful, then surely my Lord is Self-sufficient, Honored.”
The people who have all kinds of worldly blessings in their disposal are tested in this manner that they are given an opportunity to give thanks and to be grateful in the time of abundance and to help the poor. Such people may be grateful or may drown in negligence, pride, selfishness and autism.
The Holy Quran says: “And know that your possessions and your children are a test, and that with Allah is immense reward.”
5. Belief and disbelief:
The Holy Quran reminds about the guardians of hell and their numbers who are guarded by 19 angels. Then it says:
And We have set none but angels as Guardians of the Fire; and We have fixed their number only as a trial for Unbelievers,- in order that the People of the Book may arrive at certainty, and the Believers may increase in Faith,- and that no doubts may be left for the People of the Book and the Believers, and that those in whose hearts is a disease and the Unbelievers may say, "What symbol doth Allah intend by this?" Thus doth Allah leave to stray whom He pleaseth, and guide whom He pleaseth.”
6. Ornaments and embellishments on the earth:
According to a verse in the Holy Quran, the entire things that are on the earth are means for test of human beings. The Quran says: “Lo! We have placed all that is on the earth as an ornament thereof that We may try them: which of them is best in conduct.”
 - Al-Mulk, 2.
 - Makarem Shirazi, Naser, Tafsir Namunah, vol.1, pg. 527, Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyah, 21st edition, 1365 (1986).
 - Al-Baqarah, 124:
"وَ إِذِ ابْتَلى إِبْراهيمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِماتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ قالَ إِنِّي جاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِماماً قالَ وَ مِنْ ذُرِّيَّتي قالَ لا يَنالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمينَ".
And remember that Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: "I will make thee an Imam to the Nations." He pleaded: "And also (Imams) from my offspring!" He answered: "But My Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers."
 Al-Ankabut, 2 – 3.
 Al-Ankabut, 2.
 - Al-Baqarah, 155.
 - Mortedha Mutahhari, Adle Ilahi, pg. 181.
 - Tafsir Namunah, vol.1, pg. 533.
 - Al-Naml, 40.
 - Al-Anfal, 28.
 - Al-Muddather, 31.
 - Al-Kahf, 7.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Just last week Samsung announced the Galaxy S 4 and it has beaten every device on the market at the moment.
Samsung even doubled the speed compared to the Apple’s iPhone 5. Samsung scored in this benchmark test 3163 points. Where the HTC One has scored 2687 points and the iPhone 5 has scored 1596 points. We have to see the fight between all these devices in real life. The iPhone 5 uses a dual-core processor and the HTC One and Galaxy S 4 uses a quad-core processor. The processor of the Galaxy S 4 is clocked on 1.9Ghz which is 200MHz higher than the HTC one.
All on all be happy the testers didn’t use Samsung’s own EXYNOS Octa-Core processor. This processor is expected to beat all current processors in one time. Samsung will sell the Galaxy S 4 with the Octa-Core processor in a couple of countries.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Current screening guidelines for HIV are too conservative, according to a new study that says more frequent testing would be cost-effective for both high- and low-risk groups.
Early HIV treatment can save lives as well as have profound prevention benefits. But those infected with the virus first must be identified before they can be helped.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends annual testing for high-risk groups, such as people with HIV-positive sexual partners, people with multiple sexual partners, injection drug users, and sex workers, and once-in-a-lifetime testing for low-risk groups (whose annual risk of acquiring HIV is only one-hundredth of one percent).
Researchers performed a mathematical modeling study to assess “optimal testing frequencies” for HIV screening in different risk groups and concluded screening should be done up to every three months for the highest-risk individuals and low-risk groups should be tested every three years.
“Our results should encourage policymakers and medical professionals to reconsider how often adolescents and adults should be tested for HIV,” says Benjamin Armbruster, assistant professor of industrial engineering and management sciences at Northwestern University.
He and doctoral student Aaron Lucas modeled various scenarios in an attempt to “optimize the tradeoff” between the societal costs of testing versus the benefits of earlier HIV diagnosis over a patient’s lifetime. Their results are published in the March issue of AIDS.
Frequent testing has been shown to be an effective method for identifying new HIV infections. In the past, people with new HIV infections weren’t treated until they had significant declines in immune functioning, as measured by the CD4 cell count.
But there is a growing consensus that antiretroviral treatment is beneficial for all HIV-infected patients, regardless of CD4 count. Starting treatment immediately after diagnosis also reduces the risk of transmitting HIV.
The researchers say that within its limitations, the study suggests that current recommendations for HIV testing are “too conservative, especially for low-risk groups who would benefit from more frequent testing.”-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- Some of the calamities and hardship we endure in our lives are definitely a part of divine trial and tribulations that are aimed to make us choose our path and adopt our strategy and position against them. Adopting a position will, in turn, lead to the formation of our real and inward personality. Also, following the emergence of the secondary habits (malakaat) and inward intentions (niyaat) against the events, the believer and non-believer and a hypocrite are discerned from one another. The things with which a person is put to test and which causes one's true intention to be unveiled are the following: death and life; richness and poverty; intelligence and lust; prophets and successors on the one hand and sneaking whisperers and devils on the other; the world and the hereafter; the creational and existential differences of people in terms of race, capacity, potentialities and the existence of evils, harmful beings etc.
It does not make any difference whether a human being is righteous and truthful or wrong and untruthful, or whether he likes or does not like the above, he must pass these tests. However, the calamities which befall a person as a penalty or punishment after sinning will make him wary and remorseful and cause him to repent and seek divine forgiveness. His patience and forbearance against calamities will result in the forgiveness of his sins because man is well aware of his nafs (soul) and he can better distinguish his mistakes. In fact, when a problem comes into being, it can serve as a sign that enables him to distinguish it from other trials and tribulations.
Man has been created in a way such that if he is left to himself with no difficulty and hardship, he gets arrogant and swollen with pride. He becomes negligent of the consequences of his wrongdoings, misdeeds and the events which he will go through. In order to prevent this, divine wisdom requires that man's worldly life be combined with problems, setbacks, difficulties, predicaments or hardship which are either natural or self-made. For this reason, calamities like diseases, deaths, handicaps, poverty, richness, flood, earthquakes, cyclones, volcanoes, harmful insects, predatory animals encompass man's body making his nafs get involved with intelligence (aql) and lust, divine guide on the one hand and devil (shaitan) on the other, and limitations in the world as well as the necessity of knowledge and faith in the unseen world. Man's confrontation with physical and spiritual strains forms his character and identity. Intelligence, fitra (God-gifted nature) and divine prophets are, respectively, the internal and external guides leading him to the right path and helping him attain perfection. Indeed, the animalistic desires and never-ending worldly wishes are the internal barriers to his prosperity whereas the human and jenni devils are the external barriers preventing him from reaching prosperity. All these hurdles make him choose between good and evil because he has been born to be free and to act of his own free choice. He cannot escape what God has decreed for him. Hence, therefore, we should say that the world with all its bounties and calamities is a scene of test and tribulation. Its evils and calamities are also blessings which cause him to act of free will and to prosper. If these difficulties were not there, his nafs would not prosper. It should be noted that the saints and noble leaders of Islam have a greater share of these calamities because they are more prepared and have greater capacity to grow and promote. The calamities which the prophets and infallible Imams go through bear the following results:
1. The calamities strengthen their will and soul and expand their existential capacity as well as their creational guardianship.
2. They help them get spiritual promotion in the eternal abode.
3. They make the prophets and infallibles further have an aversion to this world and worldly things and to further long for the next world and what has been prepared for them in proximity to God.
4. The calamities cause the nobles and divine prophets to further increase their invocation, beseeching and supplication to God to acquire more reward for the hereafter. In fact, the prophets and infallibles consent to these calamities and hardship and welcome them. That is because with these predicaments, their faith, belief and satisfaction increase and they become further interested in leaving this world for the hereafter. The fact is that passing every test entails promotion in the degree of the individual. Additionally, the short life-span in this world and the calamities which befall man are never comparable with the lasting and never-ending bounties and blessings in the next world. If you read the story of the event of Karbala which took place in the year 61 A.H., you will find clear examples of this love game and enthusiasm.
As for those who have less capacity, they are put to test within the limits of what they can bear. If they pass the test, then they are put to other tests. The point to note is that all people are not put to test in the same way and manner. Different people are tested in different ways and with different things. Some are tested by poverty, some by riches and wealth, some by health, some by sickness, some by prosperity, some by adversity, some by a loss and an affliction, some by abundance; some by the gift of children, others by being deprived of having a child, some by knowledge and scientific success and others by success in worship and ascetic life. It is possible that one might be tested sometimes by one thing, other times by another thing. It depends on what he has prepared himself for. There is no doubt that this preparation emanates from his past actions. The trials and tribulations mentioned are prevalent and that every individual may somehow be inescapably implicated in them. In fact, some tribulations come into being as a result of one's offense or disobedience and they are meant to make him notify his mistake. Such tribulations are only for the fallible, not the infallibles who are inerrant and immune to all kinds of mistakes and sins.
When it comes to others also, the divine test takes place in several ways:
A) The tribulations are short and meant to notify him; keep him off arrogance and steer him towards invocation, supplication, beseeching and remembrance of God.
B) Punishment, respite and graduation for those who are haughty, proud and arrogant and who never seem to give up haughtiness and arrogance. They, seeing themselves in the abundance of divine bounties, forget God, resurrection, death and their human dignity.
C) Punishment and desperation: Divine punishment and afflictions befall them when they are at the peak of haughtiness and arrogance; they are taken straight to the Fire so that they taste the bitterness of divine punishment in the hereafter.
The first type of the trials and tribulations are in fact divine bounties which lead to man's vigilance and consciousness throughout his faith-based life. His patience against the hardship, his seeking divine forgiveness, supplications and invocations cause his bad deeds to be removed and get replaced with good deeds (or virtues) which will earn him reward and proximity to God. Consequently, he will be protected and saved from divine wrath and punishment. As for the other two types of tests, they are in fact divine punishments which befall the arrogant and haughty in this world, though they might seem apparently to be at the peak of happiness and welfare.
As the Holy Quran states "man is evidence against himself, though he puts forth his excuses" he knows himself and is better aware of his intentions than anyone else. If he looks at his intentions and what he does fairly and avoids justifying his mistakes and putting blames on others, he can easily find whether he is on the right path or on the wrong one. Therefore, if after holding an evil intention or making an evil attempt or committing an offence, a calamity befalls him, it is a clear indication of God's benevolent intention towards him because God wants to make him notice his mistake and desist from evil deeds. If he becomes vigilant and is grateful to God for this bounty, thereafter abundant divine blessings and bounties will be bestowed upon him, and he will be guided and inspired by the Lord for the rest of his life. In case, however, he is negligent and heedless towards divine commandments, prohibitions and warnings, God will also leaves him to himself depriving him of His warnings, giving him wealth and affluence until he completely separates from God and His blessings and becomes entitled to eternal punishment (graduation or istidraj).
In a nutshell, the world, its glamour, charm and all the events in it are divine tests and tribulations that are meant to make a human being become vigilant and to lead to the formation of his character and identity and finally his promotion to higher levels human excellences, if he makes good use of them and of the guidance of prophets and demonstrates appropriate reaction against them. If goes wrong, he will be punished several times to stop him from further act of defiance and grudge. If he does not mend himself, he will be put to either immediate or gradual punishment as was explained above.
1. The Holy Quran
2. Tafasir of the Holy Quran under the verses mentioned in the footnotes.
3. Imam Khomeini, Sharh-e Chihil Hadith, pg. 589 and 236 – 246, The Centre for Preparation and Publication of Imam Khomeini's Works, Tehran, 1376 (1997).
4. Mesbah Yazdi, Muhammad Taqi, Maaref Quran (Rah wa Rahshenasi), vol.5 & 5, pg. 115 – 153.
 - See index: The Meaning of Wilayah, question 128 (site: 1068).
 - Muhammad, 31; al-Anbiya, 35; al-Baqarah, 155
 - al-A'raf, 68, 90 – 94.
 - al-Muminoon, 53 -56; Al-A'raf, 182 -183.
 - Fusselat, 50, 16, 27.
 - al-Qiyamah, 14,15.
 - al-Anfal, 26; al-Ankabut, 69; al-Baqarah, 282.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Australia's government on Thursday canceled a planned visit by North Korean diplomats in the wake of the secretive nation's recent nuclear test.
Officials from Pyongyang had been scheduled to visit Canberra this weekend to try and reopen its embassy, which North Korea closed in 2008 for financial reasons.
The bid to reopen the embassy was initially welcomed by Australia, with Foreign Minister Bob Carr saying last month the move would give Australia the opportunity to air its concerns about what it views as North Korea's "catastrophic position on human rights."
But on Tuesday, North Korea detonated a nuclear device at a remote underground site, defying U.N. Security Council resolutions. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard condemned the nuclear test, which is seen as a key step toward North Korea's goal of building a bomb small enough to be fitted on a missile capable of striking the U.S.
"We postponed the arrival of North Korean diplomats in Australia as a gesture following this detonation," Carr told a Senate hearing on Thursday.
But Australia still plans to allow North Korea to reestablish its embassy, he said.
"We still adhere to the view that there's value in having a North Korean diplomatic presence here," Carr said.
Australia has diplomatic ties with North Korea, though they are strained. Australia imposed targeted sanctions on North Korea in 2006 in response to Pyongyang's steps to develop atomic weapons.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The UN Security Council has "strongly condemned" North Korea's third nuclear test and vowed to take action against Pyongyang, the president of the Security Council said.
"The members of the Security Council strongly condemned this test, which is a grave violation of Security Council resolutions," South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, whose country is president of the council this month, told reporters on Tuesday.
He said the council would now consider "appropriate measures".
North Korea's third nuclear test drew wide condemnation from several countries and organisations, with the US calling it a threat to regional security and Pyongyang's ally China calling for calm.
State media said the country had successfully carried out the underground nuclear test, involving a new "miniaturised", device.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it was "deplorable" that North Korea had defied international appeals to refrain from such provocative acts.
"The secretary-general condemns the underground nuclear weapon test conducted by [North Korea] today," Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement.
"It is a clear and grave violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions."
The Korean Central News Agency said the test was conducted in a safe manner and was aimed at coping with "outrageous" US hostility that "violently" undermines the North's peaceful, sovereign rights to launch satellites.
"The high-level nuclear test, unlike in the past, had more explosive power and involved a miniaturised and lighter atomic bomb and was staged safely and perfectly."
The announcement that the detonated device was "miniaturised" suggests that North Korea has mastered the technically complex process of producing a warhead small enough to fit on a long-range missile.
"The danger posed by North Korea's threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community," US President Barack Obama said in a statement.
The magnitude of the "explosion-like event" was roughly twice as large as that of a 2009 nuclear test in North Korea, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty Organisation, a group monitoring nuclear tests, said.
NATO said the "irresponsible" nuclear test was a flagrant breach of UN resolutions and a grave threat to international security.
Al Jazeera's Marga Ortigas, reporting from Hong Kong, said China's relationship with North Korea might change under the new Chinese leadership due to take over in March.
"It may no longer tolerate what has become a bigger and bigger thorn in its side," she said.
"The new president, Xi Jinping, has made it very clear clear he intends to make relationships between China and the US better.
Trade with China has enabled the impoverished North to survive for decades since the end of the Korean War.
In neighbouring South Korea, President Lee Myung-bak held emergency meetings in an underground bunker in his office building.
"We have strengthened the readiness of our military by increasing the security alert level to level two," Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.
"We have also operated the South Korea-US joint surveillance platform to closely monitor North Korea's military movements."
Meanwhile, Iran, hit by UN sanctions for its controversial nuclear programme that the West believes is aimed at developing nuclear weapons, called for the destruction of all atomic weapons after North Korea's test.
"We need to come to the point where no country has any nuclear weapons and at the same time all weapons of mass destruction and nuclear arms need to be destroyed," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.
"At the same all countries should have the right to make use of nuclear activities for peaceful purposes."-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – North Korea has conducted a nuclear test, South Korea's defence ministry says, after seismic activity measuring 4.9 magnitude was registered by the US Geological Survey.
The epicentre of the seismic activity on Tuesday was close to the North's known nuclear test site.
There was no confirmation from Pyongyang that it had conducted a test, which it has been threatening for weeks.
The apparent nuclear test on Tuesday had an explosive yield of six to seven kilotons or more, South Korea's defence ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok said citing seismic data.
He also said North Korea had informed China and the United States of its plans to conduct a nuclear test. The South's official news agency said the warning had been given on Monday to both capitals.
Yonhap initially reported a magnitude 4.9 "artificial earthquake" in the northern tip of North Korea, where the communist state previously conducted underground nuclear tests.
The tremor was recorded at 11:57 am local time on Tuesday.
The South Korean defence ministry raised its military alert level, saying the country was on alert for additional nuclear activity or missile launch.
Scientists in Japan said the earth tremor measured in the northeast of the Korean peninsula was "different from a
"The Japanese meteorological agency detected the wave is different from a normal earthquake and centred at a latitude of 41.2 North and longitude 129.3 East, which is estimated at magnitude 5.2 when converting to an earthquake," public broadcaster NHK reported.
The North had previously carried out nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
The UN Security Council will meet at 14:00 GMT on Tuesday for emergency consultations on a suspected
nuclear weapons test by North Korea.
"Diplomats here certainly believe it was a nuclear test," Al Jazeera's James Bays, reporting from the UN, said.
"All the countries around that table, I think, will condemn what happened. The question is what action they will take."
South Korea is the current president of the 15-country Security Council and had been calling for strong action against its neighbour in the event of a nuclear test.
After the UN Security Council voted to extend sanctions on North Korea last month in response to its December rocket launch, the North warned the US that it was ready to carry out a nuclear test.
"North Korea's announcements have become very vitriolic, even in the context of the last couple of years," Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from Seoul, said. "They said they would be carrying out rocket launches, satellite launches, missile tests and key, a higher-level nuclear test - all of which they say could be targeted at the US."-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A North Korean state media outlet has accused the US of “jumping to conclusions” that Pyongyang will carry out a third nuclear test. Weekly magazine Tongil Sinbo said Washington and South Korea are getting worked up over an assumption.
The Japan-based, pro-North weekly magazine funded by Pyongyang said the US and South Korea are “fussing over speculation” without knowing exactly what action the North plans to take, AFP reports.
"The US and enemies, based on their own hypothesis and arguments, jumped to the conclusion that we would stage a third nuclear test," said the editorial.
The magazine went on to say that the North’s actions were not intended to threaten anyone, but only aimed at protecting its national interest in the midst of threats from the US and South Korea.
The comments add confusion over Pyongyang’s actual intentions regarding a nuclear test – because until now, the North has been singing a very different tune.
Less than three weeks ago, North Korea’s National Defense Commission announced it would carry out a “high-level nuclear test” and further rocket launches. It said the move was in response to UN sanctions implemented after its successful long-range rocket launch in December.
North Korea’s National Defense Commission says the December rocket launch was a peaceful bid to send a satellite into space. Pyongyang has called the UN sanctions which were implemented in response to the launch “a declaration of war.”
A satellite photo of the Punggye-ri nuclear site suggests that the nuclear test may be taking place in the very near future. The picture shows that nearby roads have been kept clear of snow and that North Koreans may have been sealing the tunnel into a mountainside where a nuclear device would be detonated.
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, also recently vowed to take “important state measures” and discussed a “great turn” in boosting the nation’s military capability.
Meanwhile, a South Korean official described the Tongil Sinbo remarks as an attempt to confuse Seoul and Washington ahead of the nuclear test, Newsis news agency reported.
"It's only wishful thinking that the North will not stage a third nuclear test," the official said.
"If the North genuinely decides to scrap a plan for a nuclear test, it will be announced by official state media like the Rodong Sinmun," said the official, referring to the ruling Communist Party's official newspaper.
South Korea has said it will launch a pre-emptive strike against the North if it moves to test a nuclear weapon.
To top off the threat of a nuclear test, Pyongyang said last week promised an even ‘stronger measure,’ KCNA state news agency reported.
North Korea did not spell out which actions it would take.
But former US Secretary of Defense William Perry says that although North Korea is technically ready for a third nuclear test, Pyongyang’s long-range rockets or nuclear weapons will not be a serious threat to the US.
"Suppose North Korea has 10 intercontinental ballistic missiles [ICBM], but how can they threaten the US that has more than a thousand ICBMs? I don't think the North Korean government is suicidal," he said in an interview with Yonhap news agency.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The anticipated North Korean third nuclear test may trigger an eruption of Mt. Baekdu, a dormant volcano, which is located not far from the North Korean Punggye-ri nuclear site, claims a South Korean geologist.
"A nuclear test will probably exert a direct or indirect impact on volcanic activity at the mountain, and this is worrisome,” said Yoon Sung-ho as cited by Yonhap News agency. Yoon is a geological scientist at Pusan National University, who is considered to be the South Korean leading expert on Mt. Baekdu.
In the past he’s commented on the increased emission of sulphur dioxide from the volcano. This is interpreted as a sign of magma expanding, as volcanic gases undergo a tremendous increase in volume when magma rises to the Earth's surface and erupts.
Backing the scenario of the growing eruption threat is the changing height of Mt. Baekdu. It has risen nearly 10 centimeters since 2002 due to the expanding magma pool. Also in 2006 a satellite detected an increase of the surfaces temperature just days after North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test in its northern territory, which may have been a catalyst reactivating magma flows, says the South Korea-based newspaper The Korea Times.
At 2,744 meters, Baekdu Mountain is the highest mountain in the Korean peninsula. It is a volcanic mountain located on the border between North Korea and China. There is large crater lake, called Heaven Lake, in the caldera atop the mountain. The Baekdu Mountain has been worshipped by the surrounding peoples throughout history. Both the Koreans and Manchus consider it the place of their ancestral origin. Mt. Baekdu is a tourist destination for foreigners. Koreans argue that recent activities conducted by the Chinese on their side of the mountain, such as promotion of the tourism and attempts at registration as a World Heritage Site, are an attempt to claim the mountain as Chinese territory.
Mt. Baekdu is an active volcano located on the North Korean-Chinese border with its last activity recorded in 1925. The volcano lies about 110 kilometers from the Punggye-ri nuclear site.
Another test will certainly affect the volcanic activity at Mt. Baekdu and may even lead to a massive eruption, said Shin Young-soo, a member of South Korean Parliament's Construction and Transportation Committee. He added that in 2010 underground magma was detected near Punggye-ri test site according to the information by China's earthquake monitoring office.
The first nuclear test conducted in Punggye-ri in 2006, with an explosive yield of about 1 kiloton, resulted in a magnitude 3.6 tremor.The second test was carried out in 2009 and the yield was estimated at 2-6 kilotons, which led to a tremor with a magnitude of 4.4 on Richter magnitude scale, according to The Korea Meteorological Administration.
North Korea watchers speculated that the third test may lead to the detonation of a boosted fission weapon with the yield around 20 kilotons, Yonhap News agency reports. If true, this can be compared to the Nagasaki bomb estimated yield of 21 kilotons dropped by the United States on Japan in 1945 during World War II.
Meanwhile, Japanese scientists connected previous eruptions of Mt. Baekdu with major subterranean stresses in the region. According to Hiromitsu Taniguchi a volcano expert from Tohoku University,Mt. Baekdu erupted at least six times between the 14th and 20th centuries,and every time it followed an earthquake in Japan.
North Korean volcanologists observed abnormal activity at a lake atop the mountain after the March 2011 9.0-magnitude earthquake in Japan, The Korea Times reports.The lake’s water was shaking and splashing, causing a 60 centimeters rise. An eruption is likely to cause severe flooding of the neighboring area within a 30-kilometer radius, causing devastating damage of infrastructure and endangering people’s lives. The volcanic ash spreading 10 kilometers into the atmosphere will affect air traffic in the Koreas, China, Russia and Japan disrupting business activities, Yonhap News agency says.
On January 24 North Korea announced that it is planning to conduct a third nuclear test. It comes in the wake of sanctions enforced by the UN Security Council, following the December 12th long-range rocket launch. The launch was in violation of UN resolutions, banning the country from developing missile or nuclear technology after nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
In the beginning of February intelligence reports from South Korea detected activity at two tunnels at the North's Punggye-ri nuclear test site, causing speculation that Pyongyang is going to carry out two simultaneous tests.
On February 5th North Korea threatened to take stronger measures and go beyond its promised third nuclear test, KCNA state news agency reported.-www.shfaqna.com/English