New North Korea Report Suggests Pyongyang Can Hit U.S. With Nukes

North Korea likely already has the ability to mount nuclear warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to a United Nations report acquired by Reuters. The news has deepened concerns that major American cities are in range of Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal, despite the efforts of President Donald Trump’s administration to disarm Kim Jong Un.

The confidential UN report shows that several unnamed nations agree that North Korea has “probably developed miniaturized nuclear devices to fit into the warheads of its ballistic missiles.”

The interim report was submitted to the 15-member UN Security Council North Korea sanctions committee Monday, Reuters said, and also noted that Pyongyang is still violating international sanctions and engaging in lucrative cyberattacks to secure much-needed funds.

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is continuing its nuclear program, including the production of highly enriched uranium and construction of an experimental light water reactor,” the report said. “A Member State assessed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is continuing production of nuclear weapons.” (Read more from “New North Korea Report Suggests Pyongyang Can Hit U.S. With Nukes” HERE)

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WATCH: Massive Explosion Shakes Lebanon’s Capital, Dozens of Deaths Reported

A massive explosion shook Beirut on Tuesday, killing at least 25 people and leaving dozens of others injured amid the widespread damage spread across Lebanon’s capital. . .

The health minister said more than 25 people were killed and over 2,500 injured.

Lebanese Red Cross official Georges Kettaneh said the injured were being taken to hospitals outside the capital because facilities there were at capacity. He put the number of casualties in the hundreds but said he did not have exact figures on dead or injured.

The afternoon blast shook several parts of the capital and thick smoke billowed from the city center. Residents reported windows being blown out, and balconies and ceilings collapsing. The explosion appeared to be centered around Beirut’s port and caused wide-scale destruction and shattered windows miles away.

A civil defense official on the scene of the blast said his men had evacuated dozens to hospitals and that there were still bodies inside the port, many of them under debris.

(Read more from “Massive Explosion Shakes Lebanon’s Capital, Dozens of Deaths Reported” HERE)

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Iran Cover-Up of COVID-19 Deaths Revealed by Data Leak

The number of deaths from coronavirus in Iran is nearly triple what Iran’s government claims, a BBC Persian service investigation has found.

The government’s own records appear to show almost 42,000 people died with COVID-19 symptoms up to 20 July, versus 14,405 reported by its health ministry.

The number of people known to be infected is also almost double official figures: 451,024 as opposed to 278,827. . .

There have been irregularities in data between national and regional levels, which some local authorities have spoken out about, and statisticians have tried to give alternative estimates.

A level of undercounting, largely due to testing capacity, is seen across the world, but the information leaked to the BBC reveals Iranian authorities have reported significantly lower daily numbers despite having a record of all deaths – suggesting they were deliberately suppressed. (Read more from “Iran Cover-Up of COVID-19 Deaths Revealed by Data Leak” HERE)

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Sweden’s No-Lockdown COVID Numbers Are Even Better Than They Look

In case you hadn’t heard, Sweden is one of the very few western nations that didn’t respond to COVID-19 by imposing any lockdowns.

Given the obvious hardship, misery, and death lockdowns bring, Sweden’s leaders decided it made more sense to just isolate the sick and elderly. They let the infection burn through the strong and healthy members of their population at its normal rate instead of trying to slow it down and thereby delaying herd immunity. . .

It turns out their COVID numbers are incredibly good even independently of the fact that they seem to be avoiding the recent spike in cases that lockdown nations are experiencing. . .

To start by considering Sweden’s numbers in isolation, their COVID fatalities were almost entirely restricted to the elderly. 88% were over 70 and 75% were in nursing homes or elder care. Only 4.5% of fatalities were under 60.

Sweden had less than 500 reported COVID fatalities under 70, just 12% of the total.

(Read more from “Sweden’s No-Lockdown COVID Numbers Are Even Better Than They Look” HERE)

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Iran Threatens ‘Crushing’ Retaliation as Pompeo Lauds U.S. Pressure Campaign; Iran Uses First Military Satellite to Map, Publish U.S. Base in Qatar

By Newsweek. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has threatened a “crushing” response to any perceived U.S. aggression, following the conclusion of large military exercises that prompted a high alert at two regional U.S. bases.

The IRGC issued a statement Thursday claiming to have sent a potent message to the U.S. with the combined armed drills, which included ballistic missile launches and an attack on a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. U.S. troops in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were temporarily put on high alert during the missile launches.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has never started a war, but in case of any aggression against Iran, IRGC and other powerful defenders of the country will give a decisive and crushing response,” the elite force—designated a terrorist organization by President Donald Trump’s administration—said, according to the Mehr News Agency. . .

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday that the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy on Iran was working and stressed that the White House would continue pushing Tehran. (Read more from “Iran Threatens ‘Crushing’ Retaliation as Pompeo Lauds U.S. Pressure Campaign” HERE)

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Iran Uses First Military Satellite to Map, Publish U.S. Base in Qatar

By Newsweek. Iran claims to have used its first military satellite—the launch of which was condemned by President Donald Trump’s administration—to publish detailed images of a U.S. air base in Qatar, according to state media.

The state-backed Press TV channel reported Wednesday that Iran’s Nour-1 satellite—operated by the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRCG)—took photos of the Al Udeid air base in Qatar, which hosts the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command and the headquarters of U.S. Air Forces Central Command.

Press TV said the images covered the “full expanse” of the base, which it said hosts some 13,000 “terrorist” troops. Tehran has classified all U.S. forces as terrorists in retaliation for the Trump administration designating the IRGC a terrorist organization last year. (Read more from “Iran Uses First Military Satellite to Map, Publish U.S. Base in Qatar” HERE)

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10,000 Child Deaths per Month Due to COVID-Linked Mass Hunger

By Life Site News. Over 10,000 children are now dying each month due to the economic disruption that COVID-19 restrictions have imposed in Latin America, Southern Asia, and sub-Saharan African communities.

In those regions, families are faced with a stark future without enough food, according to a study published in The Lancet.

“The unprecedented global social and economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic poses grave risks to the nutritional status and survival of young children in low-income and middle-income countries,” according to the medical journal. “Of particular concern is an expected increase in child malnutrition, including wasting, due to steep declines in household incomes, changes in the availability and affordability of nutritious foods, and interruptions to health, nutrition, and social protection services.”

“It’s been seven months since the first COVID-19 cases were reported and it is increasingly clear that the repercussions of the pandemic are causing more harm to children than the disease itself,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore in a press release. (Read more from “10,000 Child Deaths per Month Due to COVID-Linked Mass Hunger” HERE)

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Virus-Linked Hunger Tied to 10,000 Child Deaths Each Month

By Associated Press. . .All around the world, the coronavirus and its restrictions are pushing already hungry communities over the edge, cutting off meager farms from markets and isolating villages from food and medical aid. Virus-linked hunger is leading to the deaths of 10,000 more children a month over the first year of the pandemic, according to an urgent call to action from the United Nations shared with The Associated Press ahead of its publication in the Lancet medical journal.

Further, more than 550,000 additional children each month are being struck by what is called wasting, according to the U.N. — malnutrition that manifests in spindly limbs and distended bellies. Over a year, that’s up 6.7 million from last year’s total of 47 million. Wasting and stunting can permanently damage children physically and mentally, transforming individual tragedies into a generational catastrophe.

“The food security effects of the COVID crisis are going to reflect many years from now,” said Dr. Francesco Branca, the World Health Organization head of nutrition. “There is going to be a societal effect.” (Read more from “Virus-Linked Hunger Tied to 10,000 Child Deaths Each Month” HERE)

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Investigation Finds Coaches at Government-Run NBA China Academies Complained of Child Abuse

Long before an October tweet in support of Hong Kong protesters spotlighted the NBA’s complicated relationship with China, the league faced complaints from its own employees over human rights concerns inside an NBA youth-development program in that country, an ESPN investigation has found.

American coaches at three NBA training academies in China told league officials their Chinese partners were physically abusing young players and failing to provide schooling, even though commissioner Adam Silver had said that education would be central to the program, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the complaints.

The NBA ran into myriad problems by opening one of the academies in Xinjiang, a police state in western China where more than a million Uighur Muslims are now held in barbed-wire camps. American coaches were frequently harassed and surveilled in Xinjiang, the sources said. One American coach was detained three times without cause; he and others were unable to obtain housing because of their status as foreigners. . .

In an interview with ESPN about its findings, NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum, who oversees international operations, said the NBA is “reevaluating” and “considering other opportunities” for the academy program, which operates out of sports facilities run by the Chinese government. Last week, the league acknowledged for the first time it had closed the Xinjiang academy, but, when pressed, Tatum declined to say whether human rights were a factor. (Read more from “Investigation Finds Coaches at Government-Run NBA China Academies Complained of Child Abuse” HERE)

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WAR ALERT: Multiple Indicators China Preparing for Imminent Hostile Action, Setting Off Alarm Bells in U.S.

By Bill Gertz. What intelligence agencies call “indications and warnings” — signs of potential hostile military or other actions against the United States — are being detected from inside China. Analysts suggest these movements reveal Beijing may be preparing for some type of military or covert action. . .

The account @TruthAbtChina on July 25 tweeted video from Beijing and Shanghai showing posters instructing people how to go to underground bunkers if an alarm signals a military attack . . .

Another source in Asia reported that Taiwanese ham radio operators were picking up indicators that China may be preparing to take some type of action against Taiwan’s outer islands, which are closer to the mainland than the main Taiwan island, which sits around 100 miles off the southern coast.

A third indicator comes from a businessman with contacts inside China who says locals there are reporting unusual movements of equipment and shifts in production at some factories away from producing civilian products.

There are also rumors of a major political power struggle in Beijing pitting Chinese President Xi Jinping against political elements behind former Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong — an ally of former leader Jiang Zemin and part of the Shanghai political faction. (Read more about China preparing for military action HERE)

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More Reasons China Preparing for Conflict with U.S.

By Alice Su and Tracy Wilkinson. Fears are rising on both sides of the Pacific that the U.S. and China could be headed for a total breakdown of relations and even outright conflict within the next few months.

As the two powers ordered the closure of each other’s consulates in Houston and Chengdu last week amid allegations of espionage, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo called for the end of “engagement,” a policy that has defined U.S.-China relations for nearly five decades and is considered one of the Republican establishment’s most important foreign policy achievements in recent history. . .

In addition to the consulate shutdowns, the U.S. last week charged two Chinese nationals with hacking for Chinese intelligence agencies and arrested a Chinese researcher who had been hiding in the San Francisco consulate. She was part of a long-standing network of Chinese industrial spies spanning 25 cities, the U.S. Justice Department claimed.

The two countries have also clashed in recent weeks over tech, trade, student and journalist visas, the coronavirus outbreak, the South China Sea, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong. . .

“I am extremely worried about the arrogant inflexibility of China in the South China Sea,” [said Orville Schell, director of the Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations], pointing also to Xi’s stances on Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan and Hong Kong so far. To Xi, those are “core interests,” Schell said: “End of story. Shut up. No negotiation.” (Read more about China preparing for conflict with the U.S. HERE)

New ISIS Video: Carry Out Arson Attacks in U.S.

The Islamic State’s media wing has released a video calling for supporters in the United States to commit acts of arson.

The 4-minute video, which was released over the weekend, was produced in both Arabic and English and features high-end video editing, according to a report by the Middle East Media Research Center’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor.

The narrator speaks about how ISIS supporters should fight “fire with fire” and includes an image of a military-style rifle while discussing how some would-be terrorists don’t have access to certain weapons. Instead, the narrator advocates for arson attacks and highlights the devastating effect that fires have had recently in places such as Australia, Greece, and the U.S.

“To become more convinced of this option, try looking at the fires in the lands of the crusaders every year. Fires in forests and fields, cities and villages completely destroyed, people displaced, armies of firefighters and civil defense personnel working continuously days to no avail,” the narrator says. He also instructs terrorists to be careful to dispose of incriminating evidence. (Read more from “New ISIS Video: Carry Out Arson Attacks in U.S.” HERE)

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Iran Launches Mock U.S. Aircraft Carrier for Target Practice (VIDEO)

By Townhall. Iran staged attacks on a diminished replica of a U.S. aircraft carrier into the Straits of Hormuz in the “Prophet Mohammad 14” military drills on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the operation told the IRNA, a state news agency, that exercises involve navy and aerospace forces and are “aimed at safeguarding air and sea lines, continuing supports, and readiness for every scenario.”

On Monday, a tugboat maneuvered the vessel into position. It floated in contested waters for a day while the U.S. and other nations speculated over Iran’s intent. Roughly 20 percent of the world’s oil output passes through the Straits of Hormuz on its way to export destinations across the globe.

The vessel resembles the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, often deployed to the Gulf area. One ship, the USS Dwight. D. Eisenhower, traveled through the strait last week. (Read more from “Iran Launches Mock U.S. Aircraft Carrier for Target Practice” HERE)

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Iran Launches Underground Ballistic Missiles During Exercise

By Associated Press. Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched underground ballistic missiles as part of an exercise involving a fake aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, state television reported Wednesday, the latest barrage in a drill that saw two American bases temporarily go on alert over the launches. . .

A semiofficial news agency close to the Guard published a graphic overnight that photoshopped the image of an American carrier into the shape of a casket, with a caption quoting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pledging to seek revenge for the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in January.

The drill — and the American response to it — underlined the lingering threat of military conflict between Iran and the U.S. after a series of escalating incidents last year led to the January drone strike. Tehran responded to that strike by firing ballistic missiles that wounded dozens of American forces in Iraq.

While the coronavirus pandemic has engulfed both Iran and the U.S. for months, there has been a growing confrontation as America argues to extend a yearslong U.N. weapons embargo on Tehran that is due to expire in October. A recent incident over Syria involving an American jet fighter approaching an Iranian passenger plane also has renewed tensions. (Read more from “Iran Launches Underground Ballistic Missiles During Exercise” HERE)

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