VIENNA, Austria

Photos show North Korea doubling enrichment plant

A U.S. institute tracking North Korea’s nuclear weapons program says recent satellite photos show Pyongyang is doubling the size of its uranium enrichment plant, jibing with the country’s announced plans to expand technology that can be used both to create energy and the core of nuclear weapons.

The imagery comes from two sources, satellite companies Digital Globe and Astrium Geoinformation Services, and was seen by The Associated Press ahead of publication by the Institute for Science and International Security on Wednesday. In an accompanying note, ISIS said the photos of the Nyongbyon nuclear complex show construction under way to “effectively double” the size of the enrichment hall.

WASHINGTON

Group asks FTC to examine marketing of baby apps

Smartphones don’t make smart babies, an advocacy group said Wednesday in a complaint to the government about mobile apps that claim to help babies learn.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, whose allegations against “Baby Einstein” videos eventually led to nationwide consumer refunds, is urging federal regulators to examine the marketing practices of Fisher-Price’s “Laugh & Learn” mobile apps and Open Solutions’ games, such as “Baby Hear and Read” and “Baby First Puzzle.”

The Boston-based group says developers are trying to dupe parents into thinking apps are more educational than entertaining. It’s the campaign’s first complaint to the Federal Trade Commission against the mobile app industry.

Scientists want to do tests with new strain of bird flu

Scientists who sparked an outcry by creating easier-to-spread versions of the bird flu for research purposes want to try such experiments again using a worrisome new strain. This time around, the U.S. government is promising extra scrutiny of such high-stakes research up front.

Since it broke out in China in March, the H7N9 bird flu has infected more than 130 people and killed 43. Some leading flu researchers argue that genetically altering that virus in high-security labs is key to studying how it might mutate in the wild to become a bigger threat to people.

“We cannot prevent epidemics or pandemics, but we can accumulate critical knowledge ahead of time” to help countries better prepare and respond, Ron Fouchier of Erasmus University in the Netherlands said.

In letters published Wednesday in the journals Science and Nature, Fouchier and colleagues from a dozen research centers in the U.S., Hong Kong and Britain outlined plans for what’s called gain-of-function research — creating potentially stronger strains, including ones that might spread easily through the air between lab animals. They say the work could highlight the most important mutations for public health officials to watch for as they monitor the virus’ natural spread or determine how to manufacture vaccines.

— From news service reports