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Ceding Diplomatic Leadership to Russia

Late this month Russia will host and broker a new round of Syrian peace talks in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi.  The Sochi talks will be an extension of talks that had earlier taken place in Astana, Kazakhstan, under the joint sponsorship of Russia, Turkey, and Iran.  If there is to be any diplomatic momentum in the weeks ahead regarding the Syrian conflict, that momentum most likely will be found in Sochi and Russia.  Although some Syrian opposition elements are still hoping the Un

Disturbing Things You Never Knew About North Korea's Nuclear Weapons

Due to Seoul’s population density, a single 250 kiloton nuclear strike on city hall would kill over 717,000 people—tens thousands of whom would likely be American civilians who live and work in the city. The outer perimeter of the radioactive fallout would extend over a four mile radius. Those who are about two and a half miles from the nuclear detonation would be either dead (within 1.1 miles from the impact zone), dying over the next few weeks (1.3–2.72 miles) or suffering internally from the pain of acute radiation poisoning (2.72–4.28 miles).

A Freak Atomic Accident Destroyed a Russian Nuclear Missile Submarine in 1985

On August 10, the submarine was in the process of being refueled. Reportedly, the reactor lid—complete with new nuclear fuel rods—was lifted as part of the process. A beam was placed over the lid to prevent it from being lifted any higher, but incompetent handling apparently resulted in the rods being lifted too high into the air. (One account has a wave generated by a passing motor torpedo boat rocking the submarine in its berth, also raising the rods too high.) This resulted in the starboard reactor achieving critical mass, followed by a chain reaction and explosion.

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