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Despite Trump’s ‘fire and fury’ threat – North Korea fires missile over Japan into the Pacific

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North Korea fired an unidentified missile eastwards over Japan and into the Pacific on Friday, Seoul and Tokyo said, its latest provocation amid high tensions over its banned weapons programmes.

The launch, from near Pyongyang, came after the United Nations Security Council imposed an eighth set of sanctions on the country over its ballistic missile and atomic weapons programmes.

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That was in response to its sixth nuclear test — by far its largest yet — earlier this month, which Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit onto a missile.

The North has raised tensions in the region with its rapid progress in weapons technology under leader Kim Jong-Un, who is closely associated with the programme and regularly pictured by state media overseeing launches and visiting facilities.

Its last missile launch, a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile just over two weeks ago, also overflew Japan — its first to do so for years — sparking emergency sirens and text alerts, before coming down in the Pacific Ocean.

Friday’s missile flew over Hokkaido in northern Japan “at around 07:06 am (2206 GMT) towards the Pacific Ocean”, Japan’s J-Alert system said, with reports saying it came down around 2,000 kilometres east of Hokkaido.

“Japan can never tolerate this repeated provocative action by North Korea,” Tokyo’s top government spokesman told reporters.

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“We have strongly protested to the North, telling them the strong anger by the Japanese people and condemn with the strongest words possible.’

Seoul’s defence ministry said it probably travelled around 3,700 kilometres and reached a maximum altitude of 770 kilometres — both higher and further than the previous device.

It was fired from a similar location near the capital’s airport, it added.

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The South’s President Moon Jae-In called an emergency meeting of Seoul’s national security council, a standard procedure after the North fires a missile or tests a nuclear device.

Seoul’s military carried out a ballistic missile drill of its own on Friday in the East Sea, Korea’s name for the Sea of Japan, the Yonhap news agency reported.

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In July, Pyongyang fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles that appeared to bring much of the US mainland into range.

It followed that up with an announcement it was planning to send a salvo of rockets towards the US Pacific territory of Guam, home to significant military facilities.

US President Donald Trump threatened it with “fire and fury”, heightening fears of conflict.

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The United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed on Monday are the strongest so far, banning the North’s textile trade and imposing restrictions on shipments of oil products, among a series of other measures.

But analysts expect them to do little to dissuade Pyongyang, which says it needs nuclear weapons to defend itself against the threat of invasion by the US.


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Ex-Devin Nunes aide sues publication that exposed his alleged role in Trump’s Ukraine scandal

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Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), is suing Politico after it published a report that exposed his alleged role in the Ukraine scandal that's engulfing the Trump White House.

Fox News reports that Patel, who currently works at the National Security Council, is alleging that the Politico story is false and defamatory and part of a broad conspiracy to bring down President Donald Trump.

The story in question claimed that Patel constantly fed negative information about Ukraine to the president and helped convince him that the country was out to get him.

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Trump’s pardoning of convicted war criminals is a ‘serious threat to the military he professes to love’: retired US Marine Colonel

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In an op-ed published over at Just Security this Monday, retired US Marine Col. David Lapan accused President Trump of "damaging our military" with his recent interventions in military justice cases involving US servicemembers convicted of war crimes.

This Friday, Trump cleared three service members who had been accused of or convicted of war crimes, directly refuting military leaders who sought to bring them to justice. As The New York Times points out, all three servicemembers have been praised by conservative lawmakers and commentators who have portrayed them as heroes unfairly maligned for actions taken during the complicated process of war.

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Investigation picking up steam after IRS whistleblower claims political appointee meddled with audit of Trump or Pence tax returns

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U.S. Senate investigators are probing a whistleblower’s complaint charging that a political appointee may have “meddled” with an IRS audit of either President Donald Trump’s or Vice President Mike Pence’s taxes, or the returns of both.

Of note is the investigation is bipartisan, and is moving forward, The Washington Post reports.

Investigators are on the staffs of both Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Vice Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR).

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