Kim Jong Un looks up at the sky at what is said to have been a missile launch on Aug. 29, 2017. Photo: KRT via AP Video

North Korea has launched an intercontinental ballistic missile toward South Korea for the first time in two months. Japan detected radio signals last night that North Korea may have been preparing to fire a missile, per Reuters. South Korea has fired pinpoint missiles into the water in response, Defense Secretary General James Mattis told reporters.

Why it matters: The missile "went higher, frankly, than any previous shots they have taken," Mattis said. "It's a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that could threaten everywhere in the world basically," he said.

Be smart: Eurasia Group's Ian Bremmer tells Axios: "Small tit for tat for the [U.S. government's] state sponsor of terror announcement. This shouldn't be a headline."

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Regeneron and Sanofi stop trial for coronavirus treatment

Kevzara was tested on critically ill coronavirus patients. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi have shut down the late-stage clinical trial that was testing whether their existing arthritis drug, Kevzara, could improve the condition of COVID-19 patients who were on ventilators.

The bottom line: Kevzara fared no better than a placebo, as it failed to help COVID-19 patients recover or prevent death. Remdesivir remains as the only treatment that has shown any kind of benefit for sick coronavirus patients, although dexamethasone appears to hold the most promise.

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Texas governor mandates face masks in public spaces

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order Thursday requiring all Texans to wear a face covering in public in counties with 20 or more positive coronavirus cases.

Why it matters: It's a dramatic reversal by the Republican governor that underscores the severity of the outbreak in Texas, which set a single-day record on Wednesday with more than 8,000 confirmed new cases. On June 3, Abbott issued an executive order banning local governments from imposing fines on people who don't wear masks in public.

1 hour ago - Health

Top business leaders urge White House to develop mandatory mask guidelines

A man walks past a Ramen restaurant in Los Angeles, California on July 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The heads of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, National Retail Federation and other top business organizations wrote an open letter on Thursday urging the White House coronavirus task force to work with governors to make face coverings mandatory in all public spaces.

Driving the news: An analysis led by Goldman Sachs' chief economist found that a national mandate requiring face coverings would "could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP," the Washington Post reports.