September 17, 2008 in Nation/World

Reports suggest long-range missile


North Korea has tested the engine mechanism for a long-range intercontinental missile that might be able to hit major cities on the West Coast of the United States, according to accounts published Tuesday in the South Korean press.

A previously unknown missile launch site on the west coast of North Korea was identified last week by Jane’s Defense Weekly, which cited commercial satellite images. The facility has a mobile launch pad and a 10-story tower that would support the North’s largest ballistic missiles, Jane’s reported.

If accurate, these reports indicate that while North Korea has pursued on-again, off-again negotiations with the United States and five other countries over abandoning its nuclear weapons program, it has continued to work long-range ballistic missile development.

Kiev, Ukraine

Pro-Western coalition falls

The pro-Western government in Ukraine that took power in the Orange Revolution in 2004 fell apart again Tuesday, setting the stage for the former Soviet republic’s third parliamentary election in as many years with the nation’s policies toward NATO and Russia hanging once more in the balance.

After only nine months in power, the on-again, off-again ruling coalition between President Viktor Yushchenko and his Orange Revolution partner, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, formally collapsed after weeks of infighting over charges of corruption and treason. If the parliament cannot form a new government within 30 days, the president can call for fresh elections.

The collapse came less than two weeks after Vice President Dick Cheney traveled to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, in the aftermath of Russia’s five-day war with Georgia and urged the two leaders to unite in the face of what he called Russian aggression.

Havana, Cuba

Storm costs set at $5 billion

Storm damages to housing, crops, electrical lines, schools and hospitals in Cuba will cost about $5 billion, the Cuban government announced.

An approximately 3,000-word statement published in Tuesday’s Cuban newspaper Granma marks the first time the Cuban government has quantified the nationwide damage of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

The figures published paint a daunting figure for a nation that was already facing a housing crisis, low agricultural production and shortages of key materials.

The government said more than 444,000 homes were damaged, 63,249 destroyed.

From wire reports

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