Mar 4, 2018

How North Korea has "laundered" coal to undercut sanctions

A mountain of North Korean coal piled up on one side of the barrier in Rajin harbour. Photo: ED JONES / AFP / Getty Images

Despite sanctions, North Korean coal has made its way to the international market, including in South Korea and Japan, through a deceptive process that involves falsified documents and the cooperation of officials and businesses in at least three countries, The Washington Post reports, citing records produced by investigators and U.N. experts.

At a glance: In August and September of last year, at least four ships dumped North Korean coal at a harbor in Russia before six other vessels arrived to transport both Russian and North Korean coal to foreign markets, the Post reports.

Why it matters, per the Post: "It was hardly the first time that North Korea has used subterfuge to fool its adversaries and flout international trade restrictions. But independent analysts say the movement of coal through Russia’s Kholmsk port last year was remarkable, because of the timing — it came just as the U.N. Security Council imposed new sanctions on the sale of North Korean coal — and because of the ruse’s elaborate, multilayered deceptions."

The backdrop: This revelation further underscores why the Trump administration slapped new, heightened economic sanctions last month on North Korea-related shipping in an attempt to curtail the country's revenue sources, used to fund nuclear and military programs. The sanctions target 27 entities, 28 vessels and one individuals all involved in sanction evasion schemes.

Go deeper with the Washington Post report.

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Clyburn: Sanders' "socialist" label will be "extra burden" in House races

Clyburn with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Sen. Bernie Sanders' identification as a democratic socialist may be an "extra burden" in down-ballot House races if he were to win the Democratic nomination.

Why it matters: Clyburn's comments echo fears from many establishment Democrats, who worry the House majority they won in 2018 by taking moderate seats carried by President Trump could be at risk with Sanders at the top of the ticket.

O'Brien rejects intelligence report of Russia effort to re-elect Trump

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien. Photo: Chris Usher/CBS via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected on ABC's "This Week" an assessment from a congressional briefing led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected.

Why it matters: The report put the Trump administration under fresh scrutiny in regard to steps it has been taking to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. encountered in 2016.

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Italy becomes site of largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures as it confirmed a spike from three to 132 cases in matter of days, making it the largest outbreak outside of Asia.

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