Top news: North Korea confirmed Tuesday that it has carried out a third nuclear test in defiance of U.N. resolutions. According to the state-run KCNA news service, authorities tested a "miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously." The underground nuclear explosion, the first under Kim Jong-un, comes on the heels of two long-range rocket launches in the new leader's first year in office.
The test drew criticism from around the world, including from China, Pionyang's only major ally, which said it was "strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposed" to North Korea's behavior. Beijing also summoned its North Korean ambassador in protest.
Pionyang fired back with a statement saying, "The U.S. and their followers are sadly mistaken if they miscalculate the DPRK would respect the entirely unreasonable resolutions against it. The DPRK will never bow to any resolutions." The statement further characterized the prospects for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as "gloomy."
Afghanistan: As the 2014 withdrawal deadline approaches, the Pentagon is peddling a plan that would keep roughly 8,000 troops in Afghanistan after the NATO mission ends, the Washington Post reports. The U.S. contingent would then shrink to between 3,500 and 6,000 troops in 2016, and then as low as 1,000 by 2017, according to one option that is under consideration.
- Gen. Souleymane Kelefa Diallo, the head of Guinea's armed forces, died Monday in a plane crash in Liberia.
- Mali has not yet green-lighted a U.N. peacekeeping mission, the U.N. deputy secretary general said on Monday.
- Hundreds protested in Kigali Monday after a U.N. tribunal acquitted two cabinet ministers accused of plotting the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
- The head of the Kumbh Mela festival organizing committee resigned after a stampede in northern India that left at least 36 people dead.
- A government panel in Afghanistan acknowledged widespread torture of detainees, but denied that there is a "systemic problem."
- Police fatally shot at least eight people in during election violence in the Indian state of Assam.
- Syrian rebels on Tuesday captured a military airport near Aleppo, according to opposition sources.
- Libya will close its borders with Tunisia and Egypt in advance of the two-year anniversary of Muammar al-Qaddafi's ouster.
- Israel on Monday approved 90 new homes in Beit El, a major Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
- British health officials said Monday that a SARS-like virus has infected a patient in Manchester, bringing the number to 10 confirmed cases globally.
- A methane gas explosion at a coal mine in northern Russia killed as many as 18 miners.
- Georgia's interior minister accused President Mikheil Saakashvili of "artificially" provoking violence during his annual address to the nation.
- Colombian ELN rebels said Monday that they want proof that their German prisoners are not spies before they enter negotiations.
- Latin America is home to the world's largest Catholic population, but there is little chance the next pope will hail from the region, according to experts.
- Jamaica's prime minister announced plans for its second debt swap in three years because of a "serious economic crisis."