Kim Il-sung

North Korea Issues Unusually Specific Threat

North Korea’s military vowed a new and unusually specific threat to its neighbors, saying it would reduce South Korea “to ashes” in less than four minutes. The statement, released Monday when programming was interrupted on North Korea’s state TV by a special report, comes amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Earlier this month, North Korea was unsuccessful in a long-range missile launch, prompting worries that North Korea may conduct another nuclear test. South Korean officials say new satellite images show that North Korea has been digging a tunnel in what appears to be preparation for a third atomic test. According to the Associated Press, the statement from North Korea was unusual in promising something soon and in describing a specific period of time.

The North Korean military threatened to “reduce all the rat-like groups and the bases for provocations to ashes in three or four minutes, (or) in much shorter time, by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style.” For months the North has castigated South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and the conservative administration for insulting their leadership and criticizing a new cruise missile capable of striking anywhere in the south.

South Korean officials responded, urging North Korea to end the threats. “We urge North Korea to immediately stop this practice,” Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk said, according to the Associated Press. “We express deep concern that the North’s threats and accusations have worsened inter-Korean ties and heightened tensions.” Meanwhile, in a meeting Sunday with a North Korean delegation in Beijing, China’s senior official on foreign policy praised the leadership shown by North Korea’s new young leader, Kim Jong Un. The meeting follows the April 13 launch of what the United States called a disguised ballistic missile test by North Korea. The rocket disintegrated minutes after launch.

10 things you need to know for Friday

Houston Skyline

Houston Skyline (Photo credit: seoulpolaris)

Below are some of the top news stories that are happening around the world. It case you missed them below is a brief description of each, What an easy way to brush up on your current events!

1. What’s next for North Korea after failed rocket launch. It was supposed to be a celebration of its founder’s birth, but now Pyongyang is dealing with the embarrassing aftermath of a failed satellite launch.

2. Assad to face test of restraint. Syria’s opposition calls for massive protests across the country, to test the regime’s commitment to an internationally brokered and fragile cease-fire.

3. Romney to speak before the National Rifle Association. In the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, the Republican presidential candidate tries to woo conservatives who view him warily at 1:20 p.m.

4. Attorney for neighborhood watch volunteer begins defense. The lawyer for George Zimmerman undertakes what could be a lengthy legal battle to free him from the second-degree murder charge in the Trayvon Martin shooting.

5. U.S., Iran poised for nuclear talks. With Israel watching closely and the U.S. skeptical of any breakthrough, Iran gets another chance at diplomacy this weekend.

6. Unlikely pairing lands Whole Foods in the Motor City. Detroit, infamous for its population exodus, unemployment, decay and crime, would seem an odd place for an upscale natural and organic grocery chain to plant roots.

7. Bizarre kidnapping saga in Houston comes to light. Two women accused of kidnapping an infant eight years ago and keeping his identity a secret appear in a Texas courtroom at 2:30 p.m.

8. Operation: River Watch. La Crosse, Wis., has struggled for years to end a string of alcohol-related drownings and close calls. Now the area’s college students are doing something about it.

9. The price for propaganda. An electrician from northern Virginia who admitted producing an online propaganda video for a Pakistani terrorist organization will learn his fate at 9 a.m.

10. The future of Megaupload data to be determined. A judge will hear arguments at 10 a.m. on what should be done with millions of data files that went dark when the feds shut down one of the world’s largest file-sharing sites