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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.

Australian police: American woman hid cocaine in heels at airport

A 49-year-old American woman was arrested at an Australian airport, accused of hiding cocaine in her shoes, CNN reported Saturday.

>> Read more trending news

The unidentified woman was detained after flying from Los Angeles to Sydney, authorities said. She faces smuggling charges in Australia, police said. According to the Australian Federal Police, the woman was selected for baggage examination at Sydney International Airport.

The Australian Border Force found approximately 4.4 pounds of cocaine hidden in the woman’s clothing, shoes, makeup products and other items in her suitcase, CNN reported.

The woman was charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border control drug and is scheduled to appear in court Saturday.

Trump pressured Mexican president to drop public opposition of border wall

President Donald Trump urged Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to refrain from saying outright that Mexico will not pay to build a wall between their two countries, according to a transcript of the call published Thursday by The Washington Post.

>> Read more trending news

Trump touted his proposed wall between the U.S. and Mexico in the race to the White House, making it a central campaign promise and vowing to make America’s southern neighbor pay for the wall.

But during a Jan. 27 phone call with Pena Nieto Trump admitted that funding would have to come from other sources, telling the Mexican president that “it will work out in the formula somehow,” according to the Post transcript.

“The fact is we are both in a little bit of a political bind because I have to have Mexico pay for the wall – I have to,” Trump said.

He urged Pena Nieto to stop saying that Mexico wouldn’t pay for the wall and threatened to cut communications should he refuse.

“What I would like to recommend is – if we are going to have continued dialogue – we will work out the wall,” Trump said. “They are going to say, ‘Who is going to pay for the wall, Mr. President?’ to both of us, and we should both say, ‘We will work it out.’”

The two leaders spoke one day after Pena Nieto cancelled a planned trip to the U.S. and reiterated his refusal to have Mexico pay for the border wall.

For his part, Pena Nieto said he would be willing to work with Trump to find a solution for both countries, but warned that Trump had put “a very big mark on our back … regarding who pays for the wall.”

“This is what I suggest, Mr. President – let us stop talking about the wall,” Pena Nieto said. “I have recognized the right of any government to protect its borders as it deems necessary and convenient. But my position has been, and will continue to be, very firm, saying that Mexico cannot pay for that wall.”

“You cannot say that to the press,” Trump replied. “The press is going to go with that and I cannot live with that.”

The transcript was one of two reportedly prepared by the White House and released by the Post.

In a separate call on Jan. 28, a conversation between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull turned contentious after they clashed over the issue of refugees. Trump characterized the conversation as “ridiculous.”

The White House did not immediately comment on the transcripts.

Prince Philip officially retires at 96 after attending his last solo engagement

Prince Philip has attended his final solo royal engagement.

>> PHOTOS: Prince Philip through the years

On Wednesday, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II officially retired after announcing plans to take a step back from his royal duties in May. In his career as a member of the royal family, Prince Philip has attended 22,219 solo engagements, made 637 overseas visits, given 5,496 speeches and authored 14 books.

As captain general of the Royal Marines, Prince Philip attended a parade to pay tribute to the end of the 1664 Global Challenge at Buckingham Palace.

“The Duke met representatives from the @royalmarines runners’ contingent, including two Royal Marines who have completed the entire 1,664 miles,” the royal family shared on its official Instagram alongside a slideshow of highlights from the day. “His Royal Highness also spoke to veterans and cadets before returning to the dais to receive the 1664 Global Challenge baton. The Royal Marines are the amphibious troops of the Royal Navy, acknowledged as one of the world’s elite commando forces.”

>> Read more trending news

The duke received three cheers from marines and was handed the 1664 Challenge Baton during the parade. He was appointed captain general of the Royal Marines in 1953.

The royal family broadcast the duke’s last day of work on its official Facebook page.

>> Click here to watch

Vladimir Putin to expel hundreds of U.S. diplomats from Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly will require the U.S. embassy in Moscow to cut its staff by 755 in response to Congress’ vote Thursday to increase sanctions on Russia, North Korea and Iran.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that the U.S. had it coming.

“I think retaliation is long, long overdue,” he said. “We have a very rich toolbox at our disposal.”

He added: “If the U.S. side decides to move further towards further deterioration, we will answer, we will respond in kind. We will mirror this. We will retaliate. ... But my whole point is, don’t do this, it is to the detriment of the interests of the US.”

Putin gave a TV interview with Rossiya 1 and said he doesn’t see things changing soon.

“We waited for quite some time that maybe something will change for the better, had such hope that the situation will somehow change, but, judging by everything, if it changes, it will not be soon,” he said.

>> Read more trending news

Russian’s Foreign Ministry on Friday ordered a reduction by Sept. 1 in the number of U.S. diplomats in Russia. It said it is ordering the U.S. Embassy to limit the number of embassy and consular employees in the country to 455 in response to the U.S. Senate’s approval of a new package of sanctions.

Putin said the response would be “painful” for the U.S., but he opposes further measures at this time.

“We certainly have something to respond with and restrict those areas of joint cooperation that will be painful for the American side but I don’t think we need to do it,” he said.

In December, in former President Barack Obama’s final days in office, 35 Russian diplomats were expelled from buildings in New York and Maryland.

“These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior,” then-President Obama said in a letter, explaining sanctions.

Obama said the sanctions were a response to “a global campaign of malicious cyber activities” conducted by Russia.

It is now up to President Donald Trump to sign the sanctions into law or veto, and the White House says he will sign it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Iranians: U.S. Navy ship fired warning flares in Persian Gulf

A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier fired warning flares at Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf on Friday, according to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

>> Read more trending news

In a statement Saturday, the IRGC navy said the American ship was “unprofessional and provocative,” CNN reported.

The USS Nimitz and a second American ship approached the Iranian ships, the IRGC navy said. The Iranian vessels ignored the flares, and the U.S. ships later left the area, CNN reported.

Pentagon spokesman U.S. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis previously told reporters that there had been 35 incidents of unsafe or unprofessional behavior by Iranian vessels in 2016, CNN reported.

British baby dies after long legal dispute between parents and doctors

An 11-month old British baby who became the focus of a bitter dispute between his parents and doctors over whether he should be transferred to the United States died Friday, Reuters reported.

>> Read more trending news

Charlie Gard, who would have turned 1-year-old on Aug. 4, died after his life support was withdrawn and he was moved to a hospice. The boy’s parents said their “final wish” was to have the child spend his final hours at home, but they were overruled by the court, the Telegraph reported.

Gard suffered from a rare genetic condition that caused progressive brain damage and muscle weakness. His parents’ struggle to save him was followed worldwide, evoking sympathy from President Donald Trump and Pope Francis.

“Our beautiful little boy has gone, we are so proud of you.,” Connie Yates, the boy’s mother, told the Daily Mail

Yates and the baby's father, Chris Gard, wanted the child to undergo a treatment that had not been tried on anyone with his condition, Reuters reported, a request that went against the advice of London doctors who said it would prolong his suffering.

The boy needed a ventilator to breathe and was unable to see, hear or swallow, Reuters reported.

Charlie Gard’s death ended five months of legal battles.

A spokesman for Great Ormond Street Hospital said the facility “had tried absolutely everything” to accommodate the couple’s wishes, but added that “the risk of an unplanned and chaotic end to Charlie’s life (would have been) an unthinkable outcome for all concerned.”

The couple ended its legal battle on July 24, in what they called the “most painful of decisions,” and their son was moved to a hospice on July 27, the Daily Mail reported. 

“Mummy and Daddy love you so much Charlie, we always have and we always will and we are so sorry that we couldn't save you,” Chris Gard said. “We had the chance but we weren't allowed to give you that chance. Sweet dreams baby. Sleep tight our beautiful little boy.'”

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

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

>> Read more trending news

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.

Scientist David Wright of The Union of Concerned Scientists estimated the missile could fly a range of 10,400 kilometers, potentially 11,000 km. Ranges would be based on the size of the payload it was carrying. 

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

Anna Fifield, the Tokyo bureau chief for the Washington Post, wrote the missile could at least hit Chicago, with New York a possibility

The Russian Ministry of Defense’s assessment was quite different. The Russians said the launch Friday was 732 km, far below the estimates of the United States, North Korea, South Korea, Japan and China. 

Thediplomat.com is the website for The Diplomat Magazine, an international news publication covering politics and society in the Asia-Pacific region out of Tokyo. 

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