North Korea's hard-line army general, who is believed to have been responsible for attacks on South Korea in 2010 that killed 50 people, has been replaced by a relative unknown.
The move has analysts reading the tea leaves. The consensus is that the reshuffle at the top of the People's Armed Forces is part of a larger effort by leader Kim Jong Un to consolidate power over the military.
Five years after the massive Wenchuan quake in China's Sichuan province left about 90,000 dead and missing, allegations are surfacing that corruption and official wrongdoing have plagued the five-year-long quake reconstruction effort.
The official press is full of praise for how "all Chinese have a reason to be proud of what the concerted efforts of the entire nation achieved in creating a new life for the survivors."
In our wired and rapidly shrinking world, there is no distant war, no isolated economic crisis and no social trend that observes national borders.
When a building collapses in Bangladesh, photos of the dead and grieving appear instantly. When a battle takes place in Syria, YouTube videos surface in real time. You can even get tweets from North Korea.
Laura Stevenson describes herself as an "unfunny Woody Allen," which is another way of saying that her work channels her obsessions with death and doubt. On her third album, Wheel, she finds a way to make it all sound downright jaunty.
Stevenson came to her more folk leanings from roots in punk, as well as a musical family; her grandfather, choral director Harry Simeone, was responsible for "Little Drummer Boy." Listen to two songs from Wheel on this page.