An unnamed Japanese government source said an analysis of satellite imagery indicates North Korea may be preparing for a missile launch, Japan’s Kyodo news agency said Thursday.
Overhead satellite imagery in recent days has shown the movement of personnel, rocket-related equipment and fuel into the North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station at Tongchang-ri facility in the north of the country, according to a U.S. official. North Korea describes it as a place where the country launches satellites into space.
North Korea will likely say it’s launching a satellite from the site, but U.S. officials say the rocket involved could be used as an intercontinental ballistic missile. CNN
Former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are locked in a tight Democratic presidential nominating contest in Iowa, the latest survey in the farm state showed Wednesday. VOA News
As the U.S. presidential election cycle goes into high gear, and polls become a constant staple of media coverage, experts say it has become harder to gauge who will win the race. They point to past pre-election surveys that did not accurately predict the outcome. They note that Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama in several polls just before the November 2012 election. Once the votes were counted, Obama emerged the winner by a substantial margin. Several surveys also missed the strength of the Republican wave that swept the House of Representatives in 2014. VOA News
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is calling for more debates among all three Democratic Party presidential candidates. His campaign manager Jeff Weaver issued a statement after a spokesperson for Hillary Clinton said she’d be “happy to participate in a debate in New Hampshire if the other candidates agree, which would allow the DNC to sanction the debate.” Sanders proposes three additional debates — one in March, one in April, and one in May — with none falling on a Friday, Saturday, or holiday weekend. The Week
Instead of attending the Fox News Republican debate, Trump’s campaign announced he will host a benefit for veteran organizations at Drake University in Des Moines. His event will start at 8 p.m. CT — the same time as the prime-time debate. Tickets are free, and the campaign did not clarify how the event will raise funds for veterans groups, or which organizations are set to benefit. Trump announced Tuesday he would not attend the Fox News debate because he thinks moderator Megyn Kelly is “biased.” The Guardian
Many presidential candidates seem to be talking about their faith as the election gets closer. Republican candidates Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and even Donald Trump have made a point of discussing their faith in campaign rallies, but faith discussions on the campaign trail are less frequent for Hillary Clinton, an avowed Methodist. Recently, however, on the campaign trail in Iowa, Clinton spoke about her faith and the impact it has on her life. The Christian Headlines
Myanmar President Thein Sein struck a conciliatory tone Thursday in what is likely his last address to a military-dominated parliament before Aung San Suu Kyi‘s pro-democracy party takes control February 1.
Thein Sein hailed the “triumph” of Myanmar’s transition of power and urged political parties to work together for the good of the country, which is also known as Burma. He also said he would help longtime pro-democracty activist Aung San Suu Kyi’s government succeed.
“Even though there were difficulties and challenges, we were able to bring a democratic transformation eventually,” Thein Sein said. “This is a triumph for all Myanmar’s people.” During his speech to lawmakers, whose five-year terms expire on Friday, the president outlined many of the sweeping political and economic reforms his government has accomplished in the past five years.
Thein Sein, who came to power in 2011, has released political prisoners, scrapped censorship, legalized trade unions and protests, sought peace with ethnic minority insurgents, and pushed through legislation on everything from land reform to foreign investment.
However, his greatest achievement might be his adminstration’s ability to organize and conduct credible elections in November that were praised by international observers, as well as his work on the transfer of power to Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD). VOA News
U.S. military forces are on the ground in Libya looking for potential partners in what could soon be an expanded campaign against the Islamic State (IS) terror group.
“There have been some U.S. forces in Libya trying to establish contact with forces on the ground,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters Wednesday. “Get a better sense of who the players are, who might be worthy of U.S. support and support from some of our partners going forward.”
Cook described the U.S. contingent as a small group, adding they were in Libya “at the concurrence of Libyan officials.” While not the biggest fighting force in Libya, IS has been growing stronger there in recent months, cementing its hold on the city of Sirte and surrounding areas. VOA News
The European Commission has stepped up efforts to tackle tax avoidance. It has published measures to “hamper aggressive tax planning”.
One proposal is for tax authorities to share information on multinationals among themselves, as agreed in the OECD deal signed by 31 nations on Wednesday. However, the UK Chancellor George Osborne said he wanted to “see that information made public,” in line with the Conservative Party’s manifesto.
The Commission said it was currently looking at the issue of public country-by-country reporting and will publish its findings the spring. Billions of euros are currently lost to tax avoidance every year, according to the Commission. BBC
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