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Chatter: North Korea reboots nuclear reactor

North Korea takes its nuclear reactor out of storage, a fire at a Muslim school raises fears in Myanmar, Apple says sorry to China, and these were the April Fools that weren't.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

North Korea hits the switch. No, not that switch – yet. The country has announced that it will restart its dormant nuclear reactor, in order to fuel its atomic weapons program.

The reactor at Yongbyon – North Korea's one source of plutonium – has lain unused since July 2007, when Pyongyang agreed to close it in exchange for foreign aid. The announcement that it will power it up once more is the clearest signal yet that North Korea is ready to ignore international sanctions and throw six years of diplomacy to the wind.

Powerless in Pakistan. Heavily armed gunmen have attacked a major power plant in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing at least seven people, abducting five others, and cutting off electricity to 100,000.

Power has since been restored, but the 50-odd attackers and their hostages are gone. No group has yet claimed responsibility; the area, though, is a frequent target for the Taliban.

WANT TO KNOW

Accident or arson? In Myanmar, 13 children are dead after a fire at their school in Yangon. They were teenage boys, asleep in the dormitory of their Islamic boarding college.

Authorities say faulty electrics started the blaze. But the fact that the victims were Muslims, in a fortnight when more than 40 people have been killed, scores of mosques burned and homes destroyed in anti-Muslim violence, has prompted speculation that the fire was no accident.

Crowds have gathered outside the school to demand answers, while the government appeals for calm. In the words of one Muslim leader: "The whole country is worried now for Yangon."

What's "sorry" in Mandarin? Apple could tell you: the tech giant has formally apologized to Chinese customers for its perceived "arrogance."

The company has taken a hammering in China's state media of late, which accused it of corporate malpractice, greed, and "Westerners' traditional sense of superiority" toward the Chinese (even if consumers themselves didn't necessarily agree). In a statement issued this morning, Apple said it had failed to communicate properly and that there were "many things we have to learn." Humble enough for you, Beijing?

Fight for your country, fight for your sex. The Israeli Defense Forces are the only military in the world that drafts women into regular service. And yet, though 92 percent of positions in the armed services are open to women, only 5 percent of female soldiers serve in combat roles.

Some women are determined to change that. GlobalPost meets the elite female soldiers blazing a trail in Israel's armed forces.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Ah, April 2. The day you look back and realise you were had. (Whaddya mean, I can't Google a smell?) In case you missed it, here's the GlobalPost round-up of this year's finest April Fools' pranks.

We won't go into which ones we fell for. Suffice it to say, the vowels are back in our tweets and we're no longer sniffing the computers.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-north-korea-reboots-nuclear-reactor

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