Shimon Peres’ funeral is under way in Jerusalem before a large number of foreign dignitaries, including Barack Obama and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
The former Israeli president died on September 28 at the age of 93.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu described Shimon Peres, one of Israel’s founding fathers, as “a great man of the world”, in his funeral eulogy.
A security crackdown ahead of the funeral ceremony has led to the “preventative arrests” of several people.
Mahmoud Abbas led a delegation of senior Palestinian officials in his first visit to Israel since 2010.
As a negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Mahmoud Abbas was one of the people who signed the Oslo peace accords in 1993, for which Shimon Peres won a Nobel Peace Prize the year after, along with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin.
A senior Palestinian official told the Associated Press that Mahmoud Abbas wanted to “send a strong message to Israeli society that the Palestinians are for peace, and appreciate the efforts of peaceful men like Shimon Peres”.
A spokesman for Hamas, the more hard-line Palestinian group which runs Gaza, called on Mahmoud Abbas to “retract his decision to participate in the funeral of the criminal Shimon Peres”.
Shimon Peres’ reputation in the region is complicated by the 1996 shelling of Qana in southern Lebanon that killed more than 100 people who were sheltering in a UN compound.
It happened when, as prime minister, Shimon Peres ordered an offensive against a wave of rocket fire by the militant Hezbollah movement.
He later said it was a “bitter surprise” to find that several hundred people were in the camp at the time.
Shimon Peres’ coffin was earlier escorted by a military honor guard from the parliament building in Jerusalem to Mount Herzl, Israel’s national cemetery, where he will be laid to rest alongside many of the country’s former leaders.
Jordan and Egypt – the only two Arab countries to have signed peace deals with Israel – have both sent official representatives to the ceremony.
President Barack Obama is due to speak at the ceremony, along with Shimon Peres’ three children.
Shimon Peres’ body has been lying in state outside parliament in Jerusalem.
Israeli police say 8,000 officers have been deployed for the security operation as thousands of people are expected to attend the funeral.
Police chief Roni Alsheikh said it was “an operation on an unprecedented scale”.
The funeral is expected to be the largest such event in Israel since the funeral of PM Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by a Jewish nationalist in 1995.
Shimon Peres suffered a stroke two weeks ago and died in a hospital near Tel Aviv.
Saudi Arabia is concerned that 9/11 relatives will be able to sue the kingdom for damages, the foreign ministry says.
On September 28, the Congress voted for a law allowing families of nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks to sue.
In doing so they overrode a veto by President Barack Obama, who said it would set a “dangerous precedent”.
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers that day were Saudi nationals, but Saudi Arabia has denied any role in the attacks.
In a statement, Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said: “The erosion of sovereign immunity will have a negative impact on all nations, including the United States.”
Their argument parallels the one made by Barack Obama.
The president said on CNN after the vote that the law set a “dangerous precedent” and could lead to the US being opened to “a situation where we’re suddenly exposed to liabilities for all the work that we’re doing all around the world and suddenly finding ourselves subject to private lawsuits”.
Meanwhile, leaders of the Republican Party in Congress have said they want to reconsider the law. The Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell admitted that lawmakers had not understood the possible consequences of the legislation.
“Everybody was aware of who the potential beneficiaries were but nobody really had focused on the downside in terms of our international relationships,” he said.
The White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it was “a pretty classic case of rapid onset buyer’s remorse”.
On CNN, Barack Obama also suggested that that voting patterns in Congress were influenced by political concerns.
“If you’re perceived as voting against 9/11 families right before an election, not surprisingly, that’s a hard vote for people to take,” he said.
“But it would have been the right thing to do.”
Saudi Arabia, the US key ally in the Middle East, had lobbied furiously against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism (Jasta) legislation.
It has stopped short of specifying how it might retaliate but has called on Congress to reverse the decision.
Relatives of those killed in 9/11 have welcomed the bill’s passing.
“We rejoice in this triumph and look forward to our day in court and a time when we may finally get more answers regarding who was truly behind the attacks,” said Terry Strada, national chair of the 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism.
Jeffrey DeLaurentis has been appointed as the first US ambassador to Cuba in 55 years as relations between the countries thaw.
According to President Barack Obama, it was a “step towards a more normal and productive relationship”.
However, the president may face a battle in Congress where some Republicans are opposed to his dealings with Cuba.
Image source Getty Images
Jeffrey DeLaurentis had been working at the new US embassy in Havana, which opened in July 2015.
Barack Obama said there was “no better-qualified public servant”.
President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, have begun to reignite the diplomatic relations that were broken off in 1961 after Cuba’s communist revolution.
Restrictions on flights have been lifted but the US embargo on Cuba remains in place.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who is Cuban-American, has previously said the improved relations will go “a long way in providing the economic lift that the Castro regime needs to become permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come”.
President Barack Obama is due to open Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington DC.
The $540 million museum would “tell a story of America that hasn’t always taken a front seat”, President Obama said.
On September 23, the president said it would also educate Americans about the history of the racial tensions seen during protests over police killings of black men.
The latest have engulfed two cities, Charlotte and Tulsa.
Image source Wikipedia
“As a people, we’ve rightfully passed on the tales of the giants who built this country,” Barack Obama said during his weekly address to the American people.
“But too often, willfull or not, we’ve chosen to gloss over or ignore entirely the experience of millions upon millions of others.”
He added: “And so it is entirely fitting that we tell this story on our National Mall, the same place we tell the stories of [President George] Washington and [President Thomas] Jefferson and our independence.”
The bronze-colored museum, designed by British architect David Adjaye, is located on Washington’s National Mall – not far from the White House.
The museum contains 36,000 items, ranging from trade goods used to buy slaves in Africa to a segregated railway car from the 1920s and a red Cadillac convertible belonging to rock’n’roll pioneer Chuck Berry.
Black veterans of the US Civil War first proposed an African-American museum in 1915. Congress approved its creation in 2003, and construction of the 37,200 sq m building took almost four years.
The Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture ‘s opening is being celebrated with three days of festivities, including concerts by artists such as rap group Public Enemy and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari plagiarized quotes from President Barack Obama in a speech promising change in his country, according to a statement by the presidential office.
Muhammadu Buhari has blamed an “overzealous” staff member for plagiarizing parts of the speech.
He made the address on September 8 to launch a campaign entitled “Change begins with me,” part of his credo to end corruption in Africa’s biggest economy, which is gripped by mismanagement and poverty despite sitting on vast energy reserves.
Several passages of his speech overlapped with President Obama’s address after winning election in 2008.
Muhamamadu Buhari’s office admitted the sentences were “too close to be passed as coincidence”.
The Nigerian president and Barack Obama are due to meet at the UN General Assembly next week.
“There was a mistake by an overzealous staff and we regret that this has happened,” Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu wrote on Twitter, saying those responsible would be punished.
“President Buhari urges Nigerians to look beyond this incident and focus on the message of change which the country needs in order to restore our cherished value systems.”
Muhammadu Buhari’s speech read: “We must resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that have poisoned our country for so long.”
Barack Obama’s speech read: “Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.”
Nigeria, which ranks 136 out of 168 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2015, has struggled for years to fight corruption among its political elite.
But since Muhammadu Buhari was elected to power in 2014 on a campaign that vowed to root out corruption, anti-fraud agencies have arrested several senior politicians accused of embezzlement.
Earlier this year Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, was accused of plagiarizing portions of Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech.
Donald Trump is facing criticism after appearing to hint at the assassination of Hillary Clinton for a second time.
The Republican presidential nominee suggested Hillary Clinton’s security detail should give up their guns and “see what happens to her”.
Donald Trump told supporters his rival Democratic candidate wanted to “destroy your second amendment” – referring to the right to own guns.
Hillary Clinton’s team has accused Donald Trump of “inciting people to violence”.
Speaking at a rally in Miami on September 16, Donald Trump, apparently sarcastically said: “I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons. They should disarm, right?
“Take their guns away, she doesn’t want guns. Take their guns and let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away. OK, it would be very dangerous.”
Robby Mook, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton, said: “Whether this is done to provoke protesters at a rally or casually or even as a joke, it is an unacceptable quality in anyone seeking the job of Commander in Chief.
“This kind of talk should be out of bounds for a presidential candidate.”
Hillary Clinton has called for tighter gun control laws but has also stressed her support for the second amendment, telling the Democratic Party Convention in July: “I’m not here to take away your guns.”
Donald Trump’s remarks echoed a controversial speech last month which many Democrats condemned as a call for Hillary Clinton’s assassination.
Speaking in North Carolina, Donald Trump claimed that Hilalry Clinton wanted to abolish the second amendment, adding: “By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the second amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
The Trump camp later said he was referring to action through the ballot box, not violence.
The latest comments came just hours after Donald Trump was forced to reverse his long-held position that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
Speaking at a campaign event in Washington, Donald Trump said: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.”
Donald Trump went on to accuse Hilalry Clinton of starting the so-called birther controversy.
“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it,” he said.
There is no evidence to link Hillary Clinton to the birther conspiracy.
President Barack Obama has hit back at “wacky” Donald Trump after Vladimir Putin jibe.
He said described Donald Trump as “uninformed” after the Republican presidential nominee said Vladimir Putin was a better leader.
Speaking at the ASEAN summit in Laos, Barack Obama said that every time Donald Trump spoke it became clearer that the Republican contender was not qualified to be president.
In a televised forum on September 7, Donald Trump had praised the Russian president’s “great control” and 82% approval rating.
Donald Trump and rival Hillary Clinton had taken questions from military veterans.
Barack Obama said: “I don’t think the guy’s qualified to be president of the United States and every time he speaks, that opinion is confirmed.”
He pointed to the diplomatic work he had faced at both the ASEAN summit in Laos and the earlier G20 meeting in China.
Barack Obama said: “I can tell you from the interactions I have had over the last eight or nine days with foreign leaders that this is serious business.
“You actually have to know what you are talking about and you actually have to have done your homework. When you speak, it should actually reflect thought-out-policy you can implement.”
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, pilloried Donald Trump for having suggested US military leaders had been “reduced to rubble”, accusing him of having “trash-talked American generals”.
In a rare press conference, Hillary Clinton said on September 8: “That’s how he talks about distinguished men and women who’ve spent their lives serving our country, sacrificing for us.”
Donald Trump had told the forum in New York that Vladimir Putin had “been a leader far more than our president has been”.
Quizzed by NBC host Matt Lauer on his previous complimentary remarks about Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump responded: “He does have an 82% approval rating.”
“I think when he calls me <<brilliant>>, I’ll take the compliment, OK?” said Donald Trump, adding that Vladimir Putin had “great control over his country”.
Donald Trump also said that, as a result of the confidential intelligence briefings he has been entitled to as an election candidate, he had been “shocked” at how the president, Hillary Clinton and current Secretary of State John Kerry had done “exactly the opposite” of what intelligence experts had told them.
In the forum, Donald Trump also said: “I was totally against the war in Iraq.”
This appeared to contradict a statement in a 2002 interview with radio host Howard Stern and the forum’s moderator, Matt Lauer, came in for intense criticism after the event for not pressing Donald Trump on the statement.
Barack Obama said in Laos: “The most important thing for the public and the press is to just listen to what he says and follow up and ask questions to what appear to be either contradictory or uninformed or outright wacky ideas.”
Hillary Clinton had found herself once again on the defensive during the forum over her private email server.
The forum offered a preview of the questions Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will face in their three forthcoming presidential debates, the first at Hofstra University near New York on September 26.
President Barack Obama has called off a meeting with controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who had insulted him earlier.
Rodrigo Duterte was responding to Barack Obama’s promise to raise the issue of drug-related extra-judicial killings in the Philippines at their meeting.
The Filipino leader is known for his colorful language, though this time it has had a diplomatic impact, correspondents say.
Rodrigo Duterte has now said he regrets the remark.
A statement by his office said: “While the immediate cause was my strong comments to certain press questions that elicited concern and distress, we also regret that it came across as a personal attack on the US president.”
Rodrigo Duterte and Barack Obama are among leaders gathering for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Laos.
Barack Obama, who flew to Laos after attending the G20 meeting in Hangzhou, China, had been set to raise concerns about human rights abuses in the Philippines.
Speaking in Manila on September 5 before he left for Laos, Rodrigo Duterte bristled at the suggestion, saying it was “rude” and cursing the US president: “Putang ina (son of a whore) I will swear at you in that forum.”
Rodrigo Duterte added: “We will be wallowing in the mud like pigs if you do that to me.”
The Filipino leader then referred to the anti-drugs campaign that has led to the killing of 2,400 suspected drug dealers and users in the Philippines since he took office in June: “The campaign against drugs will continue. Many will die, plenty will be killed until the last pusher is out of the streets….until the [last] drug manufacturer is killed we will continue.”
Barack Obama initially appeared to play down the insult saying that he had asked his aides to work out if this is “a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations”.
His aides later canceled the talks.
Barack Obama’s last scheduled trip to Asia as president has not been without incident: he was also caught up in a protocol row with hosts China over his arrival in Hangzhou.
This is not the first time President Rodrigo Duterte has used such a language against prominent figures.
He has also insulted Pope Francis, the US ambassador to Philippines and Secretary of State John Kerry.
Correspondents say that such colorful talk plays well with the domestic audience, but it could cost Rodrigo Duterte on the international stage.
The UN has repeatedly condemned Rodrigo Duterte’s policies as a violation of human rights.
In August, two UN human rights experts said Rodrigo Duterte’s directive for police and the public to kill suspected drug traffickers amounted to “incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law”.
This round of ASEAN talks comes against the backdrop of tensions over China’s territorial ambitions in the South China Sea – the Philippines and the US are key players in that debate.
President Barack Obama has defended San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem.
He said Colin Kaepernick was exercising his constitutional right to make a point.
Speaking in China at the G20 meeting, Barack Obama said the NFL player had raised legitimate issues.
Colin Kaepernick stirred controversy when he sat during the national anthem to protest against racial injustice.
Some players have followed his example and sat or kneeled through the anthem.
Asked about the issue during a news conference at the G20 in Hangzhou, Barack Obama said it was tough for those in the military to understand why Colin Kaepernick might snub the national anthem.
However, President Obama said he did not doubt his sincerity to raise issues: “If nothing else, what he’s done is he’s generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about.”
The president added he would rather have young people engaged in the argument in a democratic process than “people who are just sitting on the sidelines and not paying attention at all”.
A week after staying seated during The Star-Spangled Banner, Colin Kaepernick quarterback kneeled during the anthem before a match on September 1.
Team-mate Eric Reid also kneeled, but they were booed by some in the crowd.
On September 4, US women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe knelt during the national anthem before the Seattle Reign’s game against the Chicago Red Stars in what she said was “a little nod”‘ to Colin Kaepernick.
Colin Kaepernick has said he will continue to sit out the national anthem until he sees improvements in US race relations.
President Barack Obama has announced the expansion of Hawaii’s Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.
Therefore, the monument has become the world’s largest marine reserve, the White House says.
Barack Obama’s announcement on August 26 quadruples in size a monument originally created by President George W. Bush in 2006.
The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument will now span 582,578 sq miles, more than twice the size of Texas.
The designation bans commercial fishing and any new mining.
The White House says the marine reserve’s expansion is helping to protect more than 7,000 species and improves an ecosystem affected by ocean acidification and warming.
A fact sheet previewing the announcement also states that the expanded area is considered a sacred place for Native Hawaiians.
The expansion was welcomed by environmental campaigners.
Joshua Reichert, an executive vice president at the Pew Charitable Trusts said: “By expanding the monument, President Obama has increased protections for one of the most biologically and culturally significant places on the planet.”
Greenpeace also hailed what it called a “bold decision” that will ban commercial fishing and mineral extraction in the region.
However, some fishing groups have voiced concerns.
Sean Martin, the president of the Hawaii Longline Association told the Associated Press: “We are disappointed that the president has made a decision to close an area nearly the size of the entire state of Alaska without public process.”
“This action will forever prohibit American fishermen from accessing those American waters. Quite a legacy indeed,” he added.
The area is also known for its many shipwrecks and downed aircraft from the Battle of Midway, which marked a major shift in World War Two.
Barack Obama, who was born in Hawaii, will travel to the Midway Atoll next week.
With this announcement, President Obama will have created or expanded 26 national monuments during his time in office.
In 2014, Barack Obama extended the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument south-west of Hawaii, which now covers 490,343 sq miles.
The Pentagon has announced it has sent 15 Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
This is the largest single transfer during President Barack Obama’s administration.
According to the Pentagon, the transfer of 12 Yemeni nationals and three Afghans brings the total number of prisoners down to 61 at the US facility in Cuba.
The released prisoners had been held without charge, some for over 14 years.
President Barack Obama wants to close the Guantanamo Bay prison before he leaves office.
The White House also wants to transfer the remaining detainees to the US – but has been blocked by Congress.
Barack Obama believes Guantanamo Bay fuels the recruitment of jihadists and creates stronger anti-US feelings.
In a statement on August 15, the Pentagon said: “The United States is grateful to the government of the United Arab Emirates for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing US efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.”
In April, nine Yemeni prisoners were sent to Saudi Arabia.
The Guantanamo Bay prison is located on an American naval base in south-eastern Cuba.
Ex-President George W. Bush opened the jail in January 2002 to accommodate foreign terror suspects after the 9/11 attacks.
The facility, which costs $445 million to run annually, one point held more than 700 detainees.
In February 2016, the White House presented a plan to Congress to close the camp.
However, many Republicans remain strongly opposed to bringing prisoners to the US, saying they are extremely dangerous and do not belong in civilian prisons.
Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, condemned the latest releases, saying: “Once again, hardened terrorists are being released to foreign countries where they will be a threat.”
Most of the inmates freed from Guantanamo Bay – a total of 532 – were released under the previous administration of George W. Bush.
The office of the director of national intelligence says 21% of those went on to re-engage in militant activities, while of those released under President Barack Obama only 5% have done so.
Donald Trump has vowed to keep the Guantanamo Bay facility open, saying he will fill it with “bad dudes” and “bring back a hell of a lot worse than water boarding”, referring to the controversial interrogation technique human rights activists regard as torture.
Naureen Shah, security and human rights program director for Amnesty International US, urged President Obama to close the Guantanamo Bay prison before he left office, saying: “We are at an extremely dangerous and pivotal point.”
President Barack Obama has attacked the Muslim ban proposed by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump saying that is “not the America we want”.
Treating Muslim-Americans differently will only make the US less safe by increasing division between the West and the Muslim world, Barack Obama said.
On June 13, Donald Trump extended his ban plan to people from all countries with a terror history against the US.
The New York billionaire said the deadly Orlando nightclub shootings justified such action.
Forty-nine people were killed when Omar Mateen, a US national with Afghan parents, opened fire in a gay club on June 12.
Donald Trump said his proposal could be implemented through unilateral executive action, given the president’s power to “suspend entry into the country of any class of persons that the president deems detrimental to the interests or security of the United States”.
On June 14, at the US Treasury in Washington, a visibly angry Barack Obama launched his strongest assault yet on Donald Trump who is expected to be confirmed as the Republican nominee next month.
Barack Obama said the US had been founded on freedom of religion and having a “religious test” would be against the US Constitution.
The president also noted that recent terror attacks in the US had been carried out by people born in the US.
Omar Mateen, 29, was born in the same New York neighborhood as Donald Trump.
Barack Obama also urged the US to reinstate the ban on assault weapons.
He dismissed Donald Trump’s suggestion that he resign because he refuses to use the word “radical Islamic terrorism”.
“If we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush and imply that we are at war with an entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists’ work for them,” he said.
PresidentObama will visit the scene of the carnage in Orlando on June 16.
Secret Service has launched an investigation after Donald Trump’s ex-butler, Anthony Senecal, called for the death of President Barack Obama.
In a Facebook post, Anthony Senecal wrote that Barack Obama “should have been taken out by our military and shot as an enemy agent in his first term”.
Anthony Senecal worked for Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, for nearly 30 years.
However, the Trump campaign quickly disavowed Anthony Senecal’s remarks, saying: “He is not employed by Mr. Trump, and hasn’t been since June of 2009.”
Donald Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks added in a statement: “We strongly condemn these horrible comments from Mr. Senecal.”
Anthony Senecal’s post, which was not public, was first reported by Mother Jones, but he later confirmed its authenticity to several news organizations.
On May 12, Anthony Senecal, 84, told CNN that President Barack Obama should be “hung” outside the White House. He also called the White House the “White Mosque”.
The New York Times profiled Anthony Senecal in March, saying despite retiring in 2009 he has stayed at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida as “a kind of unofficial historian”.
According to the publication, Anthony Senecal “understands Mr. Trump’s sleeping patterns and how he likes his steak (“It would rock on the plate, it was so well done”), and how Mr. Trump insists – despite the hair salon on the premises – on doing his own hair”.
In a recent interview, Donald Trump has said the UK would be “better off without” the European Union.
The Republican presidential hopeful told Fox News the migration crisis had been a “horrible thing for Europe” and blamed the EU for driving it.
Donald Trump said he was not making a “recommendation” but his “feeling” was that the UK should vote to sever ties with the EU in its June 23 referendum.
Photo Getty Images
When he visited the UK last month, Democratic President Barack Obama expressed support for the UK remaining in the EU.
Donald Trump, who has emerged as the Republican presumptive nominee for the US presidency, told Fox News: “I think the migration has been a horrible thing for Europe, a lot of that was pushed by the EU.
“I would say [the UK] are better off without [the EU], personally, but I’m not making that as a recommendation, just my feeling.
“I know Great Britain very well, I know the country very well, I have a lot of investments there.”
However, Donald Trump added: “I want them to make their own decision.”
Last month, President Barack Obama said Britain would go to the “back of the queue” for trade deals with the US if it votes to leave the European Union, sparking anger among Leave campaigners in the UK.
Barack Obama said Britain was at its best when “helping to lead” a strong EU and membership made it a “bigger player” on the world stage.
President Barack Obama has rejected North Korea’s proposal to halt nuclear tests if the US ceases its annual military exercises with South Korea.
On April 24, Barack Obama told reporters that the US did not take such a proposal seriously and that Pyongyang would “have to do better than that”.
North Korean foreign minister Ri Su-yong made the offer in a rare interview.
Annual military drills conducted by the US and South Korea routinely inflames tensions with North Korea.
Ri Su-yong’s comments came as North Korea said it fired a ballistic missile from a submarine off its eastern coast.
The UN condemned the test, which it called a “serious violation” of past resolutions aimed at curbing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
International sanctions have been stepped up in the wake of several controversial nuclear and missile tests by North Korea.
The latest allegedly took place last week, with North Korea claiming to have used “cold launch” technology to fire a missile from a submarine, where it is expelled using gas pressure.
North Korea also conducted its fourth nuclear test with a hydrogen bomb in January sparking worldwide condemnation, and claimed last month that it has developed nuclear warheads small enough to fit on ballistic missiles, though experts have disputed such claims.
Analysts believe that North Korea may be gearing up for a fifth nuclear test as a show of strength ahead of the Workers’ Party Congress, the first since 1980.
The US will send 250 additional military personnel to Syria to support local militias in the fight against ISIS, officials have said.
The goal, they say, is to encourage more Sunni Arabs to join Kurdish fighters in north-eastern Syria.
The new deployment will bring to 300 the number of US forces in non-combat roles in Syria.
Most of the additional personnel will be special operation forces, the AP reports. The group will also include medical and logistical troops, it adds.
A formal announcement is expected from President Barack Obama during his visit to Hannover on April 25, where he will discuss Syria and other foreign policy issues with leaders of the UK, Germany, France and Italy.
Barack Obama has resisted calls to send US troops into Syria, where a five-year-old conflict has killed more than 250,000 people and displaced some 11 million others.isis
Of those, four million have fled abroad, including growing numbers who are making the dangerous journey to Europe.
The crisis has put pressure on leaders there, who are struggling to halt a massive influx of migrants and refugees.
Speaking alongside Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on April 24 urged warring parties to set up safe zones in Syria where refugees would be protected within the country.
Angela Merkel expressed hope that such a plan might eventually be agreed at peace talks taking place in Geneva.
Barack Obama, however, said it would be “very difficult” for those zones to work without a large military commitment.
ISIS has lost parts of the territory it once controlled in Syria. Most recently, they were pushed back by Russian-backed Syrian forces from the strategic city of Palmyra.
The group has also had significant setbacks in Iraq, including the loss of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.
The US has led a coalition against the militant group in both Syria and Iraq.
President Barack Obama has blamed the media for the rise of Republican Donald Trump as a political force.
Speaking at an event for political reporters, Barack Obama said it was not enough to give “someone a microphone”.
Donald Trump, who has made waves with a series of controversial remarks, is winning the race to be GOP’s presidential nominee.
The New York businessman and the other two Republicans in contention will appear on TV later.
CNN is hosting a town hall event on March 29 ahead of a crucial primary in Wisconsin next week.
Giving a keynote address at a journalists’ award dinner, Barack Obama did not mention Donald Trump by name but his target was clear.
Politicians, journalists and citizens are all responsible for the divisive and bitter political atmosphere, the president said, but reporters should be digging deeper on the 2016 presidential candidates.
In a reference to Donald Trump’s domination of the news cycle, Barack Obama said the job of a political reporter was “more than just handing someone a microphone”.
Billions of dollars in free media should come with serious accountability, especially when politicians issue unworkable plans or make promises they cannot keep, Barack Obama said.
Donald Trump has had a rough couple of days in the state that will next make its choice for Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin primary is on April 5, with Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz neck-and-neck in the state’s polls.
First Donald Trump faced a hostile conservative talk-radio host, Charlie Sykes, who grilled him on his donations to Democrats and his insults to women, most recently Ted Cruz’s wife.
“Wouldn’t it be a good way to start off your Wisconsin campaign by saying that wives should be off-limits and that you apologize for mocking her looks?” Charlie Sykes asked Donald Trump during the interview.
Charlie Sykes also wrongfooted Donald Trump on air by revealing he was part of the #NeverTrump movement.
Conservative websites The Federalist and RedState said Donald Trump “fell apart live on-air when asked tough questions”.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said on March 29 he was backing Ted Cruz because he was the candidate most likely to win the election in November.