South Korea's bid to resume whaling may be designed more to attract a key voting bloc during an election year than to benefit science. It has been largely condemned by the international community.
More than 50 world leaders, including President Obama, are set to arrive in Seoul to discuss prevention of nuclear terrorism, but Pyongyang's plans for a new missile test have shifted the discussion.
North Korea is unlikely to act erratically following the death of Kim Jong-il. All eyes are on heir Kim Jong-un, whose youth and inexperience mean elder statesmen are likely to guide the transition.