U.S. doubts on North Korea’s H-bomb test
After North Korea announced that it had successfully tested its first hydrogen bomb, the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday unanimously condemned the test and began work to implement new measures against the nation.
Even China, a perennial ally of Pyongyang, “strongly opposes” North Korea’s actions; Russia also disapproved of the test. However, White House officials have said that the initial analysis appears to be “inconsistent” with North Korea’s claims of a successful test, ABC News reports. A more conclusive determination will be made after airborne samples are analyzed. CNBC News, ABC News via The Week
European shares fell 3% on Thursday after trading was suspended on the Chinese markets earlier for the second time this week.
Shares in China fell by 7%, triggering a “circuit-breaker” rule which is designed to stop panic selling. That came in the first 30 minutes of trading, making it China’s shortest trading day on record. The slump prompted renewed panic on global markets.
Investors are nervous after the Chinese central bank moved to weaken the the country’s currency, the yuan, for the eighth day running, sparking fears of a currency war. This move is designed to boost exports by making Chinese goods cheaper outside the country, analysts have speculated.
It is also being interpreted as an indication that consumer demand in China may be slowing more sharply than feared. Official economic growth in China is still running at just below 7%.
Legendary US billionaire investor George Soros has warned that 2016 could see a global financial crisis on as big a scale as that seen in 2008. Giving a speech to an economic forum in Sri Lanka, Mr Soros said China faced a ” major adjustment problem.” BBC
Iran has accused Saudi-led coalition warplanes of “deliberately” bombing its embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. State media quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying members of staff had been wounded in an air strike.
Sanaa residents reported dozens of air strikes on Thursday by the coalition, which is battling Houthi rebels. However, residents and witnesses in Sanaa reported there was no damage to the embassy after the air strikes, Reuters reports. A coalition spokesman said the strikes had targeted rebel missile launchers, and that the rebels had used abandoned embassies for operations.
Saudi Arabia has become embroiled in a diplomatic row with Iran after a Shia cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, was executed by the Saudi authorities. The government in Riyadh accuses Iran of supporting the Houthis militarily – a charge it denies. BBC
After losing key cities in Iraq, militant group changes tactics, moves fighters to al-Jazeera region to train in suicide car bombing techniques, Iraqi officials say.
The Islamic State is controlling some parts of the vast desert in Iraq where it is preparing for car bomb attacks against Iraqi security forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. According to the officials, IS controls a plain and sandy area known as al-Jazeera that is between Mosul, Salahuddin and Anbar provinces.
Iraqi Lieutenant Abdullah Bor, the Kurdish commander in Salahuddin province, told VOA that after IS lost control of some key Iraqi cities — including Tikrit and Ramadi — its fighters retreated to the surrounding desert, where they train and prepare to drive the homemade explosive devices into battle. VOA
Saturday’s Powerball jackpot will be the largest in U.S. history
Because no winning tickets were sold for Wednesday night’s Powerball jackpot worth an estimated $500 million, officials say Saturday’s jackpot will shatter records to become the largest in U.S. history at an estimated $675 million.
The biggest jackpot ever was $590.5 million for the May 18, 2013, drawing. A Powerball jackpot hasn’t been won since Nov. 4, 2015, and Wednesday’s jackpot was the biggest since players in North Carolina, Texas, and Puerto Rico split a $564.1 million prize last February. For those who want to try their luck — and aren’t discouraged with the odds of winning being 1 in 292.2 million — Powerball tickets can be purchased in 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. CBS News
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