Breaking News -- United States
North Korea on COLLISION course with West as leaders vow harsh
punishment for missile test
by Scott Campbell and Tom Batchelor
The launch, which South Korean officials confirmed early on Sunday morning, follows North Korea's claim last month that it had tested a hydrogen bomb.
Amid boasts from Pyongyang that more missile launches would follow, world leaders have condemned the action as an "irresponsible provocation" and urged the United Nations to punish the communist nation.
Among those condemning the move was US security adviser Susan Rice, who issued a stark warning that "reckless actions must have serious consequences".
Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond also "strongly condemned" the launch.
He said: "This is a clear and deliberate violation of a number of UN Security Council Resolutions. North Korea's actions continue to present a threat to regional and international security
"In conducting this provocation, North Korea has clearly demonstrated that it is intent on prioritising the development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes over improving the well-being of its own people."
North Korea defied international warnings by launching the rocket that the UN fears could be a test for a missile that could strike the US.
Pyongyang claimed the latest rocket launch, which was fired from a launch pad on the west coast between 9.30am and 9.35am local time, had successfully delivered a satellite into orbit and vowed to continue launching satellites in future.
In a statement read on the state-run channel North Korean TV an announcer said the launch had been ordered by Mr Kim.
Footage from Japan's NHK broadcaster showed an object visible from the southern island of Okinawa believed to be the rocket in flight over the East China Sea.
The rocket launch was tracked by officials over the southern Japanese island of Okinawa but no anti-missile weapons were fired.
They had deployed Patriot missile batteries ready to shoot down any debris that might potentially fall on Japanese territory.
apan and South Korea immediately convened an emergency national security council meeting after the launch.
US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the launch as "a flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolutions".
And South Korean President Park Geun-hye called for strong sanctions as he branded the move "an unforgivable act of provocation".
He said the move was the second time in just over a month that North Korea had chosen to conduct "a major provocation, threatening not only the security of the Korean Peninsula, but that of the region and the United States as well".
He also reaffirmed Washington's "ironclad commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan".
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We strongly condemn North Korea's missile launch.
"North Korea is fully aware that multiple UN Security Council Resolutions prohibit the use of ballistic missile technology.
"We will work with allies and partners to ensure there is a robust response if the DPRK persists in violating these resolutions.
"We will also emphasise to North Korea through diplomatic channels that such actions will only serve to isolate the country further."
A South Korean official said the launch from the North's west coast launching pad was made between 9:30-9:35 a.m. local time.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters: "We absolutely cannot allow this. We will take action to totally protect the safety and well-being of our people."
Rocket and nuclear tests are seen as crucial steps toward the country's ultimate goal of a nuclear armed long-range missile arsenal.
North Korea says its weapons programs are necessary to defend itself against what it calls decades of US hostility.
Leader Kim Jong Un has overseen two of the four nuclear tests and three long-range rocket tests since taking over after the death of his father Kim Jong Il in late 2011.
North Korea says its rocket launches are satellite missions, but the US, South Korea and others say they are a covert test of ballistic missile technology.
The UN Security Council has attempted to prohibit North Korea from nuclear and ballistic missile activity.
Even North Korea's biggest neighbour and trade partner China criticised the launch, with a spokesperson for their foreign ministry declaring they "regret that, disregarding the opposition from the international community, North Korea obstinately insisted in carrying out a launch by using ballistic missile technologies".
In 2013 North Korea also carried out a nuclear test and unnerved the international community by orchestrating an escalating campaign of military might including threats to fire nuclear missiles at the US and Seoul.
The Korean border is the world's most heavily armed and the rivals' navies occasionally trade gunfire near a disputed boundary in the Yellow Sea.
North Korea has spent decades trying to develop operational nuclear weapons.
It is thought to have a small arsenal of atomic bombs and an impressive array of short and medium-range missiles.
But it has yet to demonstrate that it can produce nuclear bombs small enough to place on a missile, or missiles that can reliably deliver their bombs to faraway targets.
Record High Numbers of People Renounced US Citizenship in 2015
As many as 4,279 people renounced US citizenship or residency in 2015, making it an all-time high, local media reported citing the US Treasury Department.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to The Wall Street Journal’s Friday report, the numbers for renunciations has been hitting record levels for three years in a row.
Last year, experts told Sputnik that the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) requiring US citizens living abroad to pay taxes in the United States is the main reason why more and more people are giving up their US citizenship.
With the passage of FATCA, the Internal Revenue Service has enlisted the help of foreign banks to inform US citizens, no matter where they reside, that they are required to pay tax on their worldwide income.
Obama depicted as murderous devil in downtown Moscow
by Andrew Blake
A video depicting President Obama feasting on the souls of a half-million people was reportedly projected onto buildings in downtown Moscow early Friday along with a message calling for him to be tried in international court.
Video footage uploaded to YouTube shows a computer-generated version of Mr. Obama picking up little spheres colored in the national flags of several countries and placing them in his mouth.
The president’s face gradually turns red and horns sprout from his head as he begins to chew and symbolically destroys the populations of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine and Libya.
A death toll next to Mr. Obama’s face rises to 561,832 as the video concludes with a caption reading: “Obama, welcome to the Hague tribunal in 2016.”
The footage was projected onto a building in Moscow’s Pushking Square next to Russia’s first-ever McDonald’s location, then on a nearby wall not far from the British Embassy, according to the video clip uploaded by 60sec, a Russian documentary project.
RSN, a Russian news agency that first reported the projection, said that “many experts” believe coups, civil wars and civilian slayings in the countries shown in the clip were “organized by a direct or indirect participation of American political consultants … and NGOs, as well as directly on the orders of the U.S. president,” according to an English translation.
Late last month, activists unfurled a three-story banner across from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow that showed Mr. Obama above the word “KILLER,” then projected the words “Obama killer” onto the American statehouse.
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, who is running to succeed Mr. Obama, said Thursday that Russia is the “greatest threat” to U.S. national security, even more so than North Korea and China.
“Russia is trying to move the boundaries of the post-World War II Europe,” she said. “The way that [Russia] is trying to set European countries against one another, seizing territory, holding it in Crimea, beginning to explore whether they could make some inroads in the Baltics.”
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