The BBC and other news sources say the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been killed in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, according to South Korean sources. Recent information leaking out of North Korea has caused some experts to question whether the current regime is being challenged. The regime is ripe with paranoia, so the mysterious and sudden death of a potential challenger, whether real or imagined, is not surprising.
North Korea actions continue to be problematic for the region; the nation is aggressively pursuing a ballistics missile and nuclear weapons program. If successful, this new nuclear power will change the strategic dynamics of the United States, its allies and the world in general.
The BBC reports that TV Chosun, a cable television network in South Korea, said Kim Jong-nam was poisoned at the airport by two women, believed to be North Koreans. A UK source with close ties to the Kim family also told the BBC poison was involved in the death, but reports are still unconfirmed. The late Kim Jong-il’s eldest son had been living a life of exile in Malaysia, becoming one of the regime’s highest profile critics. READ MORE
More cheese brands recalled: Five more brands of cheese are under nationwide recall, this time by Ohio distributor MDS Foods Inc., because of Listeria monocytogenes found in finished cheese made by Deutsch Kase Haus LLC of Indiana. Food Safety News reports that the recall is part of a string of cheese and salad recalls initiated since Feb. 9 when the Tennessee Department of Agriculture reported it had found Listeria through a routine random sampling program of cheese collected from a retail store. Recalled cheeses include Sargento, Sara Lee and Meijer brands as well as certain H-E-B and Signature Cafe salads containing Deutsch Kase Haus cheese and distributed by Taylor Farms. READ MORE
Direct sale of raw milk? A bill to make the direct sale of raw, unpasteurized milk legal in Montana is part of a package to boost farm and ranch incomes in the Big Sky State. Raw milk proponents believe that raw milk and associated products are healthier and taste better, while the Centers for Disease Control and other U.S. health agencies strongly recommend against consumption of raw milk because of the risk of infection. The legislative package includes cottage food legislation along with an agri-tourism section in addition to allowing the sale of raw milk. All three topics are being explored by state lawmakers at a time when commodity prices are hurting and farmers and ranchers are nervous about possible changes in international trade. READ MORE
Raw meat found in traveler’s luggage: The Houston Chronicle reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists seized 22 pounds of raw animal organs from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on Feb. 4. The illegal meat products included raw chicken, cow meat, brains, hearts, tongues, heads and raw pig. The items were found in the luggage of a permanent U.S. resident traveling from Vietnam. Border Patrol agriculture specialists are always on the lookout for these kinds of meat products, which are potential carriers of harmful diseases that could result in devastating effects on our agriculture industry. READ MORE