Korean Peninsula: Security Situation Remains Stable

North Korean media and US President Donald Trump traded rhetorical threats Aug. 8-9, with both sides warning of widespread destruction if attacked by the other. Such rhetoric has long been commonplace from the Kim regime's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA); however, uncharacteristically provocative language from the US has elevated concern that conflict is possible. The hyperbolic exchange resulted in Pyongyang stating that it was "considering" a plan to fire, by mid-August, four Hwasong-12 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that would would overfly Japan and land in the western Pacific Ocean off the island of Guam, a US territory and key regional military base. However, the likelihood of military strikes by either country remains low.

Zika Mosquitoes - Distribution of "Aedes aegypti" in the US

The mosquitoes capable of transmitting Zika virus are not present in most US states; therefore, local Zika virus transmission is not possible in much of the country. However, these mosquitoes are common in southern states. Most Zika virus cases in the continental United States are identified among travelers returning to the US from countries with ongoing Zika virus transmission. Despite concerns about these imported cases, the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit Zika virus are not present in most US states, making local Zika virus transmission impossible in much of the US.
North Korea threat to commercial airlines

North Korea: Ballistic Missile Tests Unlikely to Threaten Commercial Airliners

Reports that a North Korean ballistic missile passed near a commercial airliner during a missile test on July 28 have raised concerns that Pyongyang's ballistic missile testing could pose a threat to civil aviation in the region. While North Korea's failure to announce its missile tests in advance is worrisome, the ballistic missile tests themselves pose only a minimal threat to commercial airliners. Other aspects of North Korea's behavior, such as surface-to-air missile tests, could pose a slight threat to commercial airliners flying near the Korean Peninsula. The greatest threat to commercial aircraft would be during a major North Korean offensive on Seoul, as airlines struggle to redirect flights out of the area. However, despite elevated tensions, there is no indication that major hostilities are imminent in the near term.    

Summer is Here! Protect Yourself From the Heat

With summer almost upon the Northern Hemisphere, the first heat waves have already caused disruptions. Excessive heat watches have been issued for southwestern US states and southern UK. While the range of temperatures are vastly different in both areas (43 C in the US compared to 33 C in the UK), it’s important to keep in mind that individuals react differently to temperature. In order to avoid heat-related illnesses it is crucial to protect yourself from heat and sun exposure.