2. Satellite sneak: Watch China build up
In the three satellite images above, we see China upsetting the balance of power in the South China Sea, starting in 2013, by dredging sand on a massive scale to build seven new island outposts, creating 3,200 acres of strategic new land.
- AP reports that Fiery Cross Reef — built in a neighborhood where China is scrapping for control with Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia — is among the most extensively developed new islands, boasting large facilities for aircraft, missile batteries and marine forces.
- Why it matters: If the U.S. is drawn into an unintentional war with China, the flashpoint could very well be in the South China Sea.
Go higher: This is part of a clever, fascinating AP package, "Looking down on a decade: Satellite images tell the stories" — of hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, oil spills, glacial melting, the Rohingya exodus, the Arab Spring protests and the Islamic State's territory loss.