Mar 22, 2018

North Korean state media ends silence over thaw with U.S.

Kim Jong-un. Photo: Ed Jones / AFP / Getty Images

North Korea’s state media agency KCNA has broken its silence over the regime’s latest diplomatic moves, noting a “dramatic atmosphere for reconciliation” with South Korea and a “sign of change” with the U.S., AFP reports. The release doesn’t mention President Trump by name.

Why it matters: The North Korean populace likely has little awareness of potential talks between Kim Jong-un and Trump, but this release indicates that Kim's government is setting the stage.

What the release said:

  • "The dialogue peace offensive of the DPRK is an expression of self-confidence as it has acquired everything it desires."
  • It denied that sanctions would pressure North Korea to engage diplomatically: "Such rubbish as 'result of sanctions and pressure'... spread by hostile forces is just as meaningless as a dog barking at the moon."

Go deeper

Japan to close schools through late March to control coronavirus outbreak

A couple takes photos in front of the Olympic rings in Tokyo. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday that the government will ask elementary, middle and high schools around the country to close until late March as an attempt to contain its novel coronavirus outbreak, AP reports.

Why it matters: The government's decision — impacting 12.8 million students across 34,847 schools — comes as concerns mount about the spread of the virus in Japan, which has 189 confirmed cases and hundreds more abroad the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeper: The latest coronavirus updates

What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A poor response to the coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it’s still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts.

Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

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 is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health