- - Tuesday, August 21, 2012

SEOUL — An analyst says a recent satellite image shows that North Korea has completed a key step in the construction of a light-water reactor at its main nuclear complex.

North Korea says the reactor being built at its Yongbyon complex since 2010 is for electricity generation, but some analysts have questioned the North’s intention as the reactor would give the country a reason to enrich uranium that can be used in nuclear bombs.

Allison Puccioni at IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly said in a statement Tuesday that the imagery taken by the GeoEye-1 satellite Aug. 6 showed that a dome had been hoisted atop the reactor building.

She said it may take several more years for the facility to be brought into full operation.

North Korea has vowed to bolster its nuclear capability.

AFGHANISTAN

Rocket shrapnel damages plane of top U.S. general

KABUL — Insurgents fired rockets into an American base in Afghanistan early Tuesday, damaging the parked plane of the visiting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the U.S. military said.

The general was safe in his quarters at the time and later left the country aboard another aircraft.

The Taliban were quick to claim the rocket strike, which hit the C-17 military transport plane of Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, as another propaganda coup. The militants also have said their fighters shot down a U.S. helicopter that crashed last week, killing seven Americans, though U.S. officials cast doubt on both insurgent claims.

Gen. Dempsey was in Afghanistan to discuss the state of the nearly 11-year-old war as well as a string of disturbing killings of U.S. military trainers by their Afghan partners or militants dressed in Afghan uniform.

UNITED NATIONS

Weather agency calls for global drought policies

GENEVA — The world urgently needs to adopt drought-management policies as farmers from Africa to India struggle with a lack of rainfall and the United States endures its worst drought in decades, top officials with the U.N. weather agency said Tuesday.

The World Meteorological Organization says the U.S. drought and its ripple effects on global food markets show the need for policies with more water conservation and less consumption.

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