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Chatter: South Korea talks back

South Korea promises "strong retaliation" to North Korea's threats, another suicide bomber strikes in Iraq, private daily newspapers go on sale in Myanmar for the first time in nearly 50 years, and fleas, it seems, freeze.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

Seoul gets snappy. South Korean President Park Geun-hye has promised "strong" retaliation to provocation from North Korea, her toughest retort yet to weeks of increasingly bellicose talk.

Park says there should be "a strong and immediate retaliation without any other political considerations if [the North] stages any provocation against our people." Let's hope it doesn't.

Tanker bomb in Tikrit. At least seven people are dead after a suicide bomber blew up a tanker truck outside the north-central Iraqi city's police headquarters. A dozen more were wounded, most of them police.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes three weeks before provincial elections are due.

WANT TO KNOW

Read all about it, for the first time in almost 50 years. Privately owned daily newspapers returned today to Myanmar's news stands, where they haven't been seen since 1964. When the junta took power that year, it shut down most dailies and turned others into mouthpieces; but, as Myanmar emerges from military rule, its changing government has granted publishing licences to private media companies for the first time in decades.

It's a milestone for Myanmar's press – but that's not to say the struggle's over. The government is currently consulting on a draft media law that journalists fear would restore many of the controls they have spent decades struggling against.

China's "angry river" has good reason to be angry. The Nujiang, one of China’s two remaining free-flowing rivers, is under threat – again. Nearly a decade after environmentalists succeeded in stalling plans to build 13 dams, the government has reinstated a project to erect five new mega-dams along the Nujiang and other waterways in China's biologically rich southwest.

GlobalPost meets the campaigners struggling to stop one of their largest achievements being undone.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Fleas freeze. Who knew the little critters were so fragile? And yet the entire cast of a Bavarian traveling flea circus was wiped out by an unseasonable cold snap currently gripping Germany. No, seriously.

All 300 insect performers perished as they were transported to an open-air fair in the western town of Mechernich-Kommern. The show must go on, however, and 50 fleas were drummed up at short notice by a local insectologist to take their place in the ring. (Though the ringmaster reports that the understudies lack a certain je ne sais quoi.) Let's hope he invests in some – wait for it – antifleeze.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-south-korea-talks-back