North Korea on Sept. 9 said it successfully tested a nuclear warhead for the second time this year, violating UN sanctions and drawing strong rebukes from the US and several other nations. North Korea said it successfully detonated a nuclear warhead capable of being mounted on a ballistic missile at about 9 a.m. local time. The blast was reportedly 10 kilotons, about twice as large as the country’s most recent nuclear test in January. President Barack Obama, in a statement, said the test is a “grave threat to regional security and to international peace and stability.” North Korea is the only country to test a nuclear device this century, and its “provocative and destabilizing actions” are isolating itself and impoverishing its people. Obama spoke immediately with South Korean President Park Geun-Hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and agreed to work with the UN Security Council to take new steps to “demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to its unlawful and dangerous actions.” North Korea has significantly ramped up its ballistic missile testing this year. Just days before the latest nuclear test, North Korea launched three No Dong medium-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, according to US Strategic Command.
The Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness revised the Defense Department’s COVID-19 guidelines. The new rules clarify what’s meant by being “up to date” on vaccinations and when personnel must wear masks in vehicles, among other changes.