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US drone strikes in Somalia hit al-Shabaab fighters 

The U.S. military said it conducted two drone strikes Thursday against al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab fighters in southern Somalia, Fox News reported. Somalia’s president said the strikes killed a high-level al-Shabaab leader, The Associated Press reported. 

>> Read more trending news

The strikes occurred near the Banadiir region of Somalia, according to a statement by the U.S. Africa Command. Results were still being assessed, according to the statement.

“We continue to work in coordination with our Somali partners and allies to systematically dismantle al-Shabaab and help achieve stability and security throughout the region,” the statement said.

President Donald Trump authorized the military to conduct offensive operations against al-Shabaab, Fox News reported.

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullah Mohamed said the al-Shabaab leader had been part of a network responsible for planning and carrying out several bombings and assassinations in the country’s capital of Mogadishu, the AP reported.

The U.S. military is now conducting airstrikes in Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen, Fox News reported.

Newspaper: China should stay neutral if N. Korea fires first on US

A state-run newspaper urged that China should remain neutral if North Korea follows through on its plans to fire missiles near Guam, Reuters reported Friday.

>> Read more trending news

The comments by the Global Times came after President Donald Trump raised the level of his rhetoric against North Korea on Thursday, saying his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on Pyongyang if it launched an attack may not have been tough enough.

“This situation is beginning to develop into this generation's Cuban missile crisis moment,” ING's chief Asia economist, Robert Carnell, told Reuters. "While the U.S. president insists on ramping up the war of words, there is a decreasing chance of any diplomatic solution."

China, North Korea's most important ally and trading partner, has reiterated calls for calm during the current crisis..

“China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral,” the Global Times said in an editorial. “If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”

Friday morning, Trump tweeted that U.S. military solutions were “locked and loaded” in case North Korea followed through on its threat.

Double-decker bus crashes into London shop

At least six people were injured Thursday morning when a double-decker bus crashed into a shop on a busy London street, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Police said the driver was taken to a hospital; emergency services freed two passengers trapped on the top deck using an aerial ladder.

Andrew Matthews, who said he was on the bus when it crashed shortly before 7 a.m., told the UK Press Association he heard yelling and screaming.

"I noticed the bus drifting. I heard a smash and saw the roof of the shop going through (the bus) from the front left. It went to the fourth or fifth row," Matthews said.

Russian spy plane spotted at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

A Russian surveillance Tu-154 jet that landed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio on Wednesday remained at the Air Force base one day later.

The jet is expected to fly missions over the United States through Friday, a base spokesman said.

>> Read more trending news

The unarmed observation missions are permitted under the Open Skies treaty, which allows the United States and Russia to fly surveillance flights over each other’s territory to monitor compliance with arms control agreements, Wright-Patterson base spokesman Daryl Mayer said in a statement Thursday.

More than 1,200 Open Skies flights have been flown over the years, according to Daniel S. Gaffney, a Defense Threat Reduction Agency spokesman.

>> Related: Russian spy plane that flew over Washington, D.C., Wednesday trolled Trump

U.S. personnel were reportedly part of the flights.

Politico reported on Wednesday that the Russian surveillance plane flew over the Washington, D.C., area and near Bedminster, New Jersey, where President Donald Trump is on a working vacation, and later appeared to fly at low altitude over Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The website said the trip’s route “appeared to be an attempt to troll President Donald Trump.” The jet also flew over West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Gaffney said in an email Thursday that he could not confirm any locations the jet flew over until the mission is over.

Late Wednesday, Mayer confirmed the Russian plane was at Wright-Patterson.

“We had the standard notification in advance that it was going to happen, and it happened exactly the way it was supposed to,” he said.

The Russians have flown past Open Skies missions from the Miami Valley base, authorities have said.

The National Air and Space Intelligence Center, headquartered at Wright-Patterson, has a film processing facility for Open Skies missions.

Amid North Korea threat, old law prevents Washington state from preparing for nuclear disaster

As North Korea considers a strike against the U.S. territory of Guam, KIRO-TV is looking into the plans to protect Washington state residents.

>> Watch the news report here

KIRO-TV found that a law from the '80s is blocking the state's effort to prepare for the worst.

That law actually prevents Washington State Emergency Management from planning for a nuclear strike.

>> Look at these photos from inside North Korea

Lawmakers passed it as a symbolic end to the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

In the 1950s and '60s during the Cold War, Washington state had a clear plan and places to shelter – even bunkers built inside Seattle bridges – in case of nuclear disaster.

>> Trump improvised 'fire and fury' warning to North Korea: reports

But currently, with North Korea's escalating threats with nukes, few people know state law prevents planning for nuclear disaster.

A little-known 1984 state law states that "Comprehensive Emergency Management" does not mean preparation for emergency evacuation or relocation of residents in anticipation of a nuclear attack.

>> Why is North Korea threatening Guam?

Washington state Sen. Mark Miloscia has been trying to repeal that old law, which he says enacted in Washington state during the Reagan era.

“I couldn’t believe how this thing could go on the books,” Miloscia said. “If we ever have to evacuate or relocate citizens due to a nuclear attack or an impending nuclear attack, right now, we can’t plan for that. It puts like a big stop order on any sort of planning we have to do to prepare for the unthinkable.”

>> North Korea, Trump exchange threats

Hawaii has a nuclear disaster plan which may include re-opening Cold War-era tunnels and shelters.

The message for lawmakers in Washington state is clear.

“I think there is, right now, a common-sense support for repealing this. We’ve just got to educate people that let’s do that soon,” Miloscia said.

>> Read more trending news

Miloscia knows something about nuclear preparedness. He was a B-52 bomber pilot during the Cold War.

He said lawmakers from both parties want to change the law.

Trump improvised 'fire and fury' warning to North Korea: reports

Officials were surprised Tuesday when President Donald Trump declared that the U.S. would respond with “fire and fury” to continued threats by North Korea hours after a report said the country had the ability to miniaturize nuclear weapons, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The comment, which heightened tension between the U.S. and North Korea and prompted Pyongyang to threaten action on Guam, was not discussed specifically with his advisers beforehand, The New York Times reported, citing unidentified sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

“He had talked over possible responses in a general way,” the newspaper reported.

The Washington Post reported that U.S. officials determined last month that North Korea has produced a nuclear warhead small enough to fit inside its missiles.

>> Related: North Korea has reportedly miniaturized nuclear weapons: 5 things to know

“The (intelligence community) assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” an excerpt of an unrelated analysis from the Defense Intelligence Agency said, according to the Post.

Hours after the report was posted online, Trump told journalists in New Jersey that any threats against the United States would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

"President Trump's comment was unplanned and spontaneous,” a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

Another unnamed official told the news wire that the comment was “all Trump.”

>> Related: Why is North Korea threatening Guam?

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared to try to minimize the president’s comments on Wednesday, telling reporters that North Korea does not present an imminent threat.

"Americans should sleep well at night," Tillerson said. "Nothing that I have seen, and nothing that I know of, would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours."

>> Related: North Korea, Trump exchange threats: Live updates

In a separate, forceful statement released Wednesday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that North Korea “should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people." 

"While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth,” Mattis said.

Look at these photos from inside North Korea

North Korea, formally the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is a notoriously closed dictatorship created after World War II and run by three generations of the same family.

>> Read more trending news

For a fascinating look inside the tightly controlled nation (about the size of Virginia) consider watching “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea” by journalist Barbara Demick. It was published in 2009.

MORE: Quick facts about North Korea

Why North Korea is threatening Guam

More recently, world traveler Nikolai Johnsen, who hails from Norway and has been living in South Korea, has worked to organize educational tours to North Korea, “in hopes that more people around the world will be able to see past politics and see also North Korea for its warm and welcoming people, rich culture and beautiful scenery.”

In an interview with the travel site johnnyjet.com, Johnsen named Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, as his favorite airport on the planet: “Newly renovated to give a great first impression, and the immigration is swift and easy.” His favorite hotel is the Yanggakdo in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital city: “Got everything you want, and more, including a revolving restaurant on top, with a 360-degree view of Pyongyang city.” And Pyongyang is his favorite city overall.

Here are some of his photos and video clips, embedded from his publicly accessible Instagram page:

North Korea has reportedly miniaturized nuclear weapons: 5 things to know

Intelligence officials believe North Korea has produced a nuclear warhead small enough to fit inside its missiles, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing an unreleased report from the Defense Intelligence Agency.

>> Read more trending news

That would mean North Korea has passed a crucial threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.

Here’s what you need to know about North Korea and nuclear threat:

Nuclear weapons small enough to fit onto intercontinental ballistic missiles

The confidential DIA assessment, which was dated July 28, was partially read to the Post. Its contents were verified by a pair of unidentified U.S. officials familiar with the document.

 >> Related: What is an ICBM and why should we be worried at North Korea has one? 

“The (intelligence community) assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” an excerpt of the assessment said, according to the newspaper.

Officials believed that it would still be years before North Korean scientists were able to design warheads compact enough to be delivered by missile, according to the Post

Tension mounts between North Korea, U.S.

President Donald Trump reacted within hours of the Post report, telling reporters gathered for a photo op at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf course that any threats made against the United States would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

He said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “has been very threatening.”

"As I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly, power -- the likes of which this world has never seen before,” Trump said.

Japanese assessment says miniaturization ‘possible’

An annual white paper released Tuesday by Japan’s Defense Ministry determined that “it is possible that North Korea has achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and has developed nuclear warheads,” according to The Associated Press.

Japan, a key U.S. ally, is also a potential target of North Korean aggression.

North Korea claimed it launched its first ICBM in July

Pyongyang claimed in July that officials had successfully launched an ICBM for the first time, in spite of a United Nations ban. Such missiles can carry a warhead over more than 3,400 miles through air and space.

>> Related: North Korea fires intercontinental ballistic missile, Pentagon says 

As of Aug. 8, North Korea has conducted 14 missile tests this year.

Missile tested last month could reach U.S.

The North Korean Hwasong-14/KN20 intercontinental ballistic missile fired last by North Korea could have the range to reach Washington, D.C., or New York City, according to thediplomat.com, while other sources estimated it could hit Chicago or Denver.

>> Related: Reports: Latest North Korean missile could reach Chicago, East Coast

The website, citing sources in the U.S. government, said based on the missile’s flight time and it’s 3,700 mile-high apogee, it showed a vast improvement from the test of the missile in early July, and could reach as far as Washington, D.C., while carrying a nuclear warhead.

The Associated Press and the Dayton Daily News contributed to this report.

Hungry sea lice likely attacked, bloodied teen's legs at Australian beach

An Australian teen is recovering after tiny creatures – likely sea lice – attacked his legs at a beach in Brighton, a Melbourne suburb.

According to a report by the Guardian and the Australian Associated Press, 16-year-old Sam Kanizay of Melbourne went to the beach Saturday to soak his legs after a soccer game. But when he got out of the water 30 minutes later, his legs were numb, bloody and "covered in what his family said were tiny marine creatures eating his legs," the article said.

Sam's father, Jarrod Kanizay, took Sam to the hospital for the wounds, which the teen described to 3AW as "hundreds of little pin-sized bites" on his feet and ankles.

"There was a massive pool of blood on the floor," Jarrod Kanizay said, adding that "no one" at the hospital "knows what the creatures are." 

Marine experts say parasitic sea lice may be to blame.

>> Read more trending news

"They're scavengers who'll clean up dead fish and feed on living tissue," University of Melbourne marine biologist Michael Keough told The Age. "They're mostly less than a centimeter long, and so the bites they make are pretty small, and so that's more consistent with pinprick size marks."

He added: "It's just food for them. Especially if he's been standing around for a long time, it's the chance for more of them to come in and start biting. Just be attracted to a little bit of blood. And if he's standing in the water and he's cold and may not notice a whole lot of little bites."

University of New South Wales Associate Professor Alistair Poore, an authority on marine invertebrates, echoed the sentiment.

"If it is sea lice, then it is a pretty dramatic example of it," he told the Guardian.

In an effort to solve the mystery, Jarrod Kanizay said he returned to the spot where his son was attacked and caught some of the creatures using a net filled with meat. He then recorded the creatures eating the meat in a now-viral – and nauseating – video.

>> See the clip here (WARNING: Graphic content.)

Read more here or here.

Vladimir Putin bares chest, goes spearfishing

Russian president Vladimir Putin took a short vacation to begin August, heading to Tuva in southern Siberia to fish, swim and catch some rays.

In images and footage released by Russian state television, Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu can be seen enjoying the outdoors, The Associated Press reports. Putin is seen swimming and fishing, including spending two hours hunting a pike while spearfishing.

>> Read more trending news

Most of the images of Putin feature him bare-chested, except for the photos where Putin dons a wetsuit.

Putin is known for his love of adventure and the outdoors, and has taken active vacations since becoming Russia's president, The Associated Press reports.

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