Kim Jong-un

North Korea flag with building in background
(stephen) / Flickr Creative Commons

Reemerging from his six-week absence, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered the release of American Jeffrey Fowle on Wednesday.

Fowle, 56, was arrested in May for leaving a Bible at a club for foreign sailors in the northern city of Chongjin. He was awaiting trial for anti-state crimes when he was released.

Joshua Landis provides an update on the ongoing removal of chemical weapons in Syria, and Rebecca Cruise examines the recent executions of high-level government officials in North Korea, and what they could mean. 

Later, a conversation with a trio of scientists and engineers about how three very different developing countries share many of the same sanitation and hygiene concerns.

North Korea flag with building in background
(stephen) / Flickr Creative Commons

North Korea marked the second anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il Tuesday with vows to unite behind his son, Kim Jong Un, and a series of events to show the world that the regime has returned to business as usual despite the execution last week of Kim's once-powerful uncle.

“Both his father and his grandfather were known to have these purges as well as a means of gathering power and showing their might,” says Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies. “It was very public. It's a family member, and what message does that send but that no one is safe from this individual?”

North Korea has announced that Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un and formerly the second most powerful man in the country, has been executed after being found guilty of treason by a military tribunal.

"The accused Jang brought together undesirable forces and formed a faction as the boss of a modern day factional group for a long time and thus committed such hideous crime as attempting to overthrow the state," North Korea's official KCNA news agency said.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise discuss the death and legacy of Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and the heightened tensions between North Korea, the U.S., and its allies as the reclusive country threatens to launch a medium-range ballistic missile.

Retired State Department official and former U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson returns to World Views for a conversation about Iran, the energy industry, and nuclear security.

yeowatzup / Flickr

The White House is trying to tamp down concern over a new intelligence report showing North Korea could arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead.

The Defense Intelligence Agency says in a newly revealed report that it has "moderate confidence'' that North Korea knows how to deliver a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile.

“The United States seems to be taking this a little bit differently as we're thinking about the deliverance capabilities of these nuclear missiles that we've started to see tested,” says Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the University of Oklahoma College of International Studies and a regular contributor to KGOU’s World Views.