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North Korea’s Kim supervised ‘new weapon’ test again: KCNA

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un once again supervised a “new weapon” launch, state media said Saturday, complicating efforts at denuclearization ahead of next week’s visit to Seoul by the US envoy to Pyongyang.

Friday’s launch was the North’s sixth test in recent weeks as it protests the annual US-South Korea military exercises which Pyongyang considers rehearsals for invasion.

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Defense officials in Seoul said Pyongyang fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles Friday, that flew some 230 kilometers (140 miles) before splashing down in the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan.

A report by the official Korean Central News Agency said the tests had a “perfect result”, which helped “cement bigger confidence in this weapon system”.

“Juche shells were fired in the presence of the Supreme Leader,” KCNA said.

Pyongyang has routinely expressed anger at the war games, but in the past has avoided carrying out tests while the manoeuvres are taking place.

The KCNA report came after Pyongyang called South Korean President Moon Jae-in “impudent” for hoping to resume inter-Korean talks while continuing military drills with Washington.

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Plans to resume working-level talks between the North and Washington appear to have stalled since an impromptu June meeting between leaders of the two countries.

But US President Donald Trump, who has been playing down Pyongyang’s tests, said last week that he had received a “very beautiful letter” from Kim.

KCNA VIA KNS/AFP / KCNA VIA KNS Friday’s launch was the North’s sixth test in recent weeks

He also agreed with Kim’s opposition to the war games — albeit for financial rather than military reasons.

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Stephen Biegun, the US special envoy for North Korea, will travel to Japan and South Korea next week for talks on denuclearizing the North, the US State Department said Friday.

The North has said nuclear talks would be “strictly” between Pyongyang and Washington, refusing to hold separate dialogue with the South.

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“We have nothing to talk any more with the South Korean authorities nor have any idea to sit with them again,” the North said Friday.

Washington, Seoul’s security ally, stations nearly 30,000 troops in the South to defend it from its neighbor.


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Fox News reporter and right-wing conspiracy theorists planned to wiretap family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich: report

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The Daily Beast on Monday evening broke a bombshell report on a secret 2017 meeting in Texas on a right-wing conspiracy theory where espionage was discussed.

"One of their topics was responding to online critics of wealthy Texas businessman Ed Butowsky, who had recently been outed as a driving force behind a retracted Fox News story about murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich," The Beast reported. "The group that gathered at Butowsky’s home included a conspiracy theorist, a Fox reporter fighting for her career, a former private intelligence contractor married to star journalist Lara Logan, and a Democratic PR operative who lost his business in the face of sexual assault allegations."

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Maddow breaks down potential ‘direct financial connection’ between the Russian government and Donald Trump

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow read bombshell excerpts from a new book set for release on Tuesday.

The host interviewed David Enrich, finance editor at The New York Times, about his forthcoming book Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction.

The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" read excerpts from the book.

"There was no doubt that Deutsche Bank had extensive business dealings with Russia, and those dealings included acting as a conduit for dirty money to get out of Russia and into the western financial system," Enrich wrote.

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Congress still has one big tool left to rein in Trump’s corruption: Oversight Committee Democrat

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Senate Republicans may have managed to quash the impeachment trial without calling forth any new witnesses or seriously considering the evidence against President Donald Trump. And the president may feel vindicated and largely invulnerable as a result.

But, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday, that doesn't mean Democrats don't have one last big play to rein in the president's abuses of power. They can use the first and strongest authority delegated to them: the power of the purse.

"What can Democrats really do when it comes to oversight of the president?" asked Cooper. "I mean, now that impeachment is over, does seem like there are fewer and fewer guardrails, if any."

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