While everyone has been enjoying the Winter Olympic Games, wondering who the judges will be on this season’s “The Voice,” and shaking their heads in wonder/disgust at the antics of Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, there have been a few important events happening in the past couple of weeks:

- The Syrian peace talks broke down so spectacularly, the two sides could not even agree on an agenda for the meetings. Now government forces have picked up their attacks on the rebels.

- Iran, now free from a vast majority of sanctions because of the recent treaty, is now sailing two warships to patrol off the eastern coast of the United States.

- Argentina is in the middle of its fourth monetary system collapse since the early 1980s. South America’s largest economy is bankrupt - again - because the high costs of its social programs far outstripped tax revenues and piled up an insurmountable mountain of debt.

- Fires burn and the body count is mounting in the Ukraine as government forces fight with lightly armed citizens who are protesting against the leaders. The situation is so bad it has now been reported the Ukrainian Minister of Defense refused this week to take calls from the U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a response the Obama administration called “pretty unusual.”

Even if readers were able to keep updated on all those events, they still might have missed a 372-page report that was issued on Monday. This tome was prepared by a United Nations panel and studied a massive and growing amount of complaints over human rights abuses in North Korea. What the report concluded is that not only are the allegations true, the reality may be far worse than anyone suspected.

Amnesty International estimates that as many as 200,000 political prisoners are being held and tortured in North Korea while other international rights groups put the number closer to 400,000. It is hard to imagine how a government could detain that many political prisoners until one remembers that speaking out against government actions or its leaders is an arrestable offense. It also a crime to own a Bible and religions such as Christianity have been outlawed.

The report detailed that prisoners in some camps are so starved they catch and kill the rats and snakes that wander into the prison areas. Female prisoners who become pregnant are beaten and then forced to drown their babies after they are born. Prisoners are forced to stand with their arms or legs chained in impossible positions for days or weeks, often resulting in permanent disfigurations. No official number of the dead has been compiled but the estimates range in the tens of thousands.

But the world should not be surprised by this kind of treatment by Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un’s government. In fact, we have seen it before.

In February of 1933, after taking control of a weak and divided German government, Chancellor Adolf Hitler ordered the first concentration camp built in his country. By the end of the year, more than 45,000 political prisoners were detained. By 1942, more than 300 concentration camps had been erected and extermination camps like those at Treblinka and Sobibur were in full use as well. By then, when the world’s media and leaders finally began paying close attention to what was happening, millions of people had already paid for the inattention with their lives.

Just as frightening as the treatment of his own people, only a few short months ago Kim Jong-un was desperately attempting to secure nuclear weapons and technology for North Korea. It is horrifying to consider what those weapons of mass destruction could do to the region if he was ever able to get them under his control.

It is getting harder every day to keep track of all the hot spots around the world that we need to keep an eye on. However, North Korea has proved that it deserves to be somewhere near the top of the list.