North Korea may soon launch a ballistic missile from a submarine in its first such test in about a year, a top South Korean military official said Wednesday.
Won In-choul, the nominee for chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Hermit Kingdom has been repairing recent typhoon damage at its northeastern Sinpo shipyard, where it builds submarines.
When the repairs are complete, there is a chance Pyongyang will carry out a sub-launched missile, Won said, adding that the South Korean military is keeping a close watch, according to a copy of his remarks lawmaker Kang Dae-sik provided to The Associated Press.
The rogue regime has been pushing strongly to acquire the ability to launch missiles from submarines in what experts say is a worrisome development because such weapons are difficult to detect before launch.
The North last conducted an underwater-launched missile test in October 2019, the first of its kind in three years, and the most provocative weapons test since the country entered nuclear negotiations with the US in 2018.
The talks have made little progress since the second summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump in Vietnam in early 2019 collapsed amid disputes over US-led sanctions against Pyongyang.
Jung Changwook, who heads the private Korea Defense Study Forum in Seoul, said the North could perform a test to upgrade its nuclear attack capability and put pressure on Washington after the Nov. 3 presidential election.
But some experts say it’s unlikely that Pyongyang will conduct any major test soon because it is grappling with several crises, including the typhoon damage, the coronavirus pandemic and US-led sanctions.
According to 38 North, a website that specialized in North Korea studies, recent satellite photos of the Sinpo shipyard show the repositioning or departure of the submersible test barge.
It said the barge’s location “may signal an impending SLBM test though conducting such a launch on the heels of a destructive typhoon seems unlikely.”
The secretive regime hasn’t carried out any recent nuclear or long-range missile tests in an apparent bid to keep chances for a resumption of diplomacy alive.
With Post wires
Debate commission considers new actions after disastrous debate
The presidential debate commission is considering giving the moderator the opportunity to cut a candidate’s mic at the next matchup between President Trump and Joe Biden, it was revealed Wednesday.
The debate commission announced that it will adopt changes in order to avoid a repeat of Tuesday night’s clash between the candidates, which has been referred to as a “dumpster fire” and a “sh–storm.”
The Associated Press reported that one change being discussed is giving the moderator the ability to cut off the microphone of one of the debate participants while his opponent is talking.
The debate commission only released a statement that said: “Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.”
They added that the commission “will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly.”
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said the commission was only making the changes “because their guy got pummeled last night.” The presidential debate commission is a non-partisan entity.
The first presidential debate was marred by constant interruptions as both Trump and Biden talked over each other. Debate moderator Chris Wallace accused Trump of being the more boisterous offender.
“Well, frankly, you’ve been doing more interrupting than he has,” Wallace said to Trump at one point.
Biden also heckled Trump, calling him a “clown” and telling him to “shut up.”
Wallace was widely panned for not controlling the discussion. CNN’s Jake Tapper called the event a “hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck.”
Even Wallace appeared to be shell shocked by the unsettling nature of the discussion.
“I never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did,” Wallace said in an interview with the New York Times after the contest.
However, the Nielsen company said that 73.1 million people tuned in, more than any other television event since the Super Bowl. The event did, however, fall short of the 84 million who watched the first debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The next presidential debate is a town hall format scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami.
Trump signs short-term spending bill to prevent government shutdown
President Donald Trump signed a spending bill early Thursday to prevent an imminent government shutdown.
The Senate voted 84-10 to pass the bipartisan bill, extending federal agency funding to Dec. 11 and avoiding a potentially nasty fight ahead of the Nov. 3 election. The House already passed the bill in a 359-57 vote last week.
Trump signed the bill after returning to the White House from a campaign event in Minnesota, right as federal funds ran dry.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin negotiated the short-term deal — though they continue to be at odds over further coronavirus relief legislation that would send out more stimulus checks and revive an expired unemployment insurance supplement.
The funding extension secures money for a host of programs set to lapse on Sept. 30, from transit to health care, and would finance a new White House transition should Joe Biden win.
Pelosi said in a statement earlier the bill adds $8 billion in food assistance over current spending levels for lower-income Americans and prevents the use of “funds for farmers” held by the Commodity Credit Corporation “from being misused for a Big Oil bailout.”
With Post wires
California police bust ‘cult’ party with 4-foot model vagina
Cops in California’s Bay Area busted what they called a ‘cult or activist group’ party involving a four-foot model vagina on the beach over the weekend.
The cult-like gathering was broken up by cops in Point Molate Beach Park early Saturday morning, just hours after police responded to a suspected “Antifa” gathering at the same location, according to the chief of the Richmond Police Department.
At around 9:33 p.m., Richmond cops responded to the Antifa report when they discovered 50 people dressed in all-black uniforms who had traveled to the beach on a party bus.
The dark-clad group — which were described as a possible Antifa meet-up — agreed to get back on the party bus and disperse without incident.
Just hours later, police found another group of 60 people listening to the climate change recordings huddled around the giant facsimile of a vagina in a dock building nearby.
“The group was listening to recordings about climate change and Mother Earth while assembled around a 4 ft. model of a vagina,” Richmond Police Chief Al Walle wrote on Facebook.
“The group was identified, warned for trespassing, and escorted out of Point Molate.”
Walle said the second group had no affiliation but instead was “some type of cult gathering,” without giving specifics.
Inside the dock building, police “located some items (that won’t be further described) that led the officers to believe this was some type of occult group or activist group since this event was in close proximity to the Chevron refinery,” the police department said in a statement to Patch.
Some joked online that the “cult” party seemed like a garden-variety Bay Area fête.
“Who’s the Bay Area noob that wrote this article?” a reader tweeted. about a local report. “Sounds like a pretty standard Bay Area underground art party to me…”
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