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U.S. and Asian allies discuss stopping ships fueling North Korea's nuclear program

North Korean ferry 'Man Gyong Bong.' Photo: SONG KYUNG-SEOK/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. has been in talks with Asian allies about "a stepped-up squeeze Pyongyang's use of seagoing trade to feed its nuclear missile program," Reuters reports. The plan "could include deploying U.S. Coast Guard forces to stop and search vessels in Asia-Pacific waters."

Why it matters: The new strategy would lead to the possible seizure of any ships believed to have "banned weapons components and other prohibited cargo" on board and be carrying it to or from North Korea, per Reuters.

  • Japan, Australia, Singapore, and South Korea have been in on the talks with Washington, Reuters reports.
  • This wouldn't be a full blockade but nonetheless could "risk triggering North Korean retaliation."
  • Currently, inspection of ships requires agreement of the country and ship captain, and a Japanese defense ministry official told Reuters that changing those requirements would be seen as "an act of war" by North Korea.
Dave Lawler 7 hours ago
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What Trump and Putin did and didn't discuss

President Trump spoke with Vladimir Putin this afternoon, and congratulated him on winning re-election on Sunday. After the call, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked whether Trump felt the election had been free and fair, and said it wasn’t up to the U.S. to “dictate" how Russia holds elections.

The bottom line: Trump is not alone in congratulating Putin — leaders in France, Germany and elsewhere have done so this week, as Barack Obama did in 2012. But past administrations certainly have seen it as America’s role to call balls and strikes when it comes to elections abroad, and weigh in when democratic institutions are being undermined. A departure from that approach would be welcomed not only by Putin, but other leaders of pseudo democracies around the world.

Haley Britzky 3 hours ago
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Another explosion rattles Austin, unrelated to prior package bombings

Police and FBI Agents investigate at the Sunset Valley FedEx store in Austin, Texas, which is linked to the package bomb.
Police and FBI Agents investigate at the Sunset Valley FedEx store in Austin, Texas, which is linked to the package bomb. Photo: Suzanne Cordeiro / AFP / Getty Images

Officials are responding to a sixth explosion in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday night, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The Austin Police Department said they don't believe it is connected to the previous explosions around the city.

The details: Per the Statesman, the explosion occurred at a Goodwill and one man is being treated for "potentially serious injuries." CBS News' David Begnaud reports that the incendiary device was a flare, "included in a bunch of donated items." Per KVUE in Austin, "the victim was an employee who was looking through donations."