Bebeto Matthews / AP

The tensions between North Korea and the U.S. are rising, leading to a reconfiguration of how the U.S. will respond to their continued threats.

  • During the U.N. Security Council's emergency meeting on North Korea today, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said "actions are quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution."
  • The U.S. is ready to fight. The top American military commander in South Korea, General Vincent Brooks, echoed Haley's remarks in a statement today. "Self restraint, which is a choice, is all that separates armistice and war. We are able to change our choice when so ordered.…It would be a grave mistake for anyone to believe anything to the contrary."
  • Why now: North Korea confirmed it successfully launched an ICBM and that one of the two missiles it used was previously unknown to the U.S. — both events suggest its nuclear capabilities are more advanced than the U.S. thought.

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Updated 54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court clears way for first federal execution since 2003

Lethal injection facility in San Quentin, California. Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled early Tuesday that federal executions can resume, reversing a lower court decision and paving the way for the first lethal injection since 2003 to take place at a federal prison in Indiana, AP reports.

The big picture: A lower court had delayed the execution, saying inmates had provided evidence the government's plan to carry out executions using lethal injections "poses an unconstitutionally significant risk of serious pain."

2 hours ago - Health

More Republicans say they're wearing masks

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Nearly two-thirds of Americans — and a noticeably increasing number of Republicans — say they’re wearing a face mask whenever they leave the house, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: A weakening partisan divide over masks, and a broad-based increase in the number of people wearing them, would be a welcome development as most of the country tries to beat back a rapidly growing outbreak.

Buildings are getting tested for coronavirus, too

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Testing buildings — not just people — could be an important way to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: People won't feel safe returning to schools, offices, bars and restaurants unless they can be assured they won't be infected by coronavirus particles lingering in the air — or being pumped through the buildings' air ducts. One day, even office furniture lined with plants could be used to clean air in cubicles.