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UN Nuclear Agency, IAEA finds evidence of North Korea Reactivating its ‘Plutonium’ Plant at Yongbyon

Exhaust plumes had been detected from the thermal plant at Yongbyon's main reprocessing installation on April, 2016

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Plutonium pellet. Image source: Wikipedia
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  • North Korea has probably reopened a plant to reprocess ‘plutonium’
  • 38 North, a website reported in April 2016, exhaust plumes were detected from the thermal plant
  • North Korea conducted a Hydrogen bomb nuclear test in January 2016 

The United Nations nuclear watchdog, IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) says North Korea appears to have reopened a plant to reprocess plutonium, an indication the communist country is widening its arms effort.

The IAEA said on Monday, June 6, that satellite evidence showed North Korea has likely resumed activities at a plant at Yongbyon to produce plutonium from spent nuclear reactor fuel.

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The information matches evidence found by the U.S. monitoring website 38 North, which reported in April that exhaust plumes had been detected from the thermal plant at Yongbyon’s main reprocessing installation.

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A satellite image provided by GeoEye shows the area around the Yongbyon nuclear facility in Yongbyon, North Korea. Image source: voanews.com

IAEA head Yukiya Amano says because the agency does not have monitors in North Korea, it cannot be certain about the North’s activities.

“As we do not have inspectors on the ground we are only observing through satellite imagery.  We cannot say for sure.  But we have indications of certain activities through the satellite imagery,” Amano told a regular news conference in Vienna.

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This year in 2016, in February, the director of U.S. National Intelligence, James Clapper, told U.S. lawmakers that the Korean country could be weeks or months away from recovering plutonium from Yongbyon.

North Korea reportedly conducted a nuclear test in January, in 2016 and followed it with a long-range rocket launch next month, inviting tougher sanctions from the United Nations.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96

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Facebook Cannot Regulate Itself: U.S. Lawmakers

Now we know that once they knew the truth, top @Facebook executives did everything they could to hide it from the public.

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Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., center, talks with Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., right, during a House Judiciary Committee meeting on Capitol Hill. VOA

Democratic U.S. Representative David Cicilline, expected to become the next chairman of House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, said on Wednesday that Facebook cannot be trusted to regulate itself and Congress should take action.

Cicilline, citing a report in the New York Times on Facebook’s efforts to deal with a series of crises, said on Twitter: “This staggering report makes clear that @Facebook executives will always put their massive profits ahead of the interests of their customers.”

“It is long past time for us to take action,” he said. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said a year ago that the company would put its “community” before profit, and it has doubled its staff focused on safety and security issues since then. Spending also has increased on developing automated tools to catch propaganda and material that violates the company’s posting policies.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election and data privacy. VOA

Other initiatives have brought increased transparency about the administrators of pages and purchasers of ads on Facebook. Some critics, including lawmakers and users, still contend that Facebook’s bolstered systems and processes are prone to errors and that only laws will result in better performance. The New York Timessaid Zuckerberg and the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, ignored warning signs that the social media company could be “exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe.” And when the warning signs became evident, they “sought to conceal them from public view.”

“We’ve known for some time that @Facebook chose to turn a blind eye to the spread of hate speech and Russian propaganda on its platform,” said Cicilline, who will likely take the reins of the subcommittee on regulatory reform, commercial and antitrust law when the new, Democratic-controlled Congress is seated in January.

Also Read: Social Media Laws Should Be Tightened: Germany

“Now we know that once they knew the truth, top @Facebook executives did everything they could to hide it from the public by using a playbook of suppressing opposition and propagating conspiracy theories,” he said.

“Next January, Congress should get to work enacting new laws to hold concentrated economic power to account, address the corrupting influence of corporate money in our democracy, and restore the rights of Americans,” Cicilline said. (VOA)