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U.S. hopes North Korea pressure comes to bear

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WASHINGTON — The United States on Monday voiced hope that North Korea would heed international calls to call off a missile launch after even Pyongyang’s main ally China expressed concern.

The State Department highlighted the unity in position among the five nations that were involved in moribund denuclearization talks with North Korea — China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

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“We were heartened that every single one of the six-party talks participants made clear that they think this would be an extremely bad idea and a violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

“We are hoping and expecting that the DPRK will take that to heart,” Nuland said, referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The United States has warned that North Korea is putting at risk a deal it reached little more than two weeks earlier under which Washington would provide food assistance to the impoverished communist state.

North Korea has described its plans as a satellite launch and set a date of between April 12-16, part of national celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the birth of the regime’s founder Kim Il-Sung.

North Korea has long been a thorn in relations between the United States and China, with many US experts believing that Beijing’s support has allowed Pyongyang to resist change.

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Under the February 29 deal with the United States, North Korea agreed to halt nuclear and missile tests and uranium enrichment and to let in inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Asked if the United States would support a return of the inspectors despite plans for the missile launch, Nuland said that it would depend on how much access North Korea gives to the monitors.

“We don’t want them to waste their time, but we’re not opposed for opposition’s sake,” Nuland said.

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There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

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As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

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This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

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As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

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Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

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On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

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