U.S. to send missile defenses to Guam over North Korea threat

April 4, 2013

North Korea and U.S. make missile moves, Syria hits up Iran for training, and deadly flash floods ravage Argentina. Today is Thursday, April 4, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) presides over an urgent operation meeting on the Korean People’s Army Strategic Rocket Force’s performance of duty for firepower strike at the Supreme Command in Pyongyang, early March 29, 2013, in this picture released by the North’s official KCNA news agency. REUTERS/KCNA

Guam to get defense system after North Korea’s missile move. The U.S. said it will send a missile defense system to Guam to protect it from North Korea, which Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said posed a “real and clear danger.” Hagel spoke hours before the North reportedly moved a mid-range missile to its east coast:

[South Korean news agency] Yonhap quoted multiple government sources privy to intelligence from U.S. and South Korean authorities as saying North Korea had moved what appeared to be a Musudan missile to its east coast. The missile is believed to have a range of 3,000 km (1,865 miles) or more, which would put all of South Korea and Japan in range and possibly also Guam. North Korea is not believed to have tested the Musudan mid-range missiles, according to most independent experts.

It is unclear whether Pyongyang intends to fire the missile or just moved it for the sake of display. Some onlookers suspect the North has increased its belligerent rhetoric to whip up patriotism ahead of an April 15 birthday celebration for state founder Kim Il-sung. North Korea barred entry to Kaesong, a joint industrial park which employs North and South Koreans, for a second consecutive day on Thursday. Food supplies at the park are running low, as most food is delivered to the park from Seoul. Reuters captured shots from inside the industrial park showing employees at work peeling garlic and sewing garments.

Secret Iranian base may be training pro-Assad factions. Syria is sending pro-government paramilitary soldiers to a secret base camp in Iran for guerrilla and combat training, according to fighters and activists. A Western diplomat and Israel’s intelligence chief said that Iran is helping train at least 50,000 militiamen in an undisclosed location:

[I]f the reports by Syrian fighters are true, the move to train combatants in Iran suggests that their country’s increasingly regionalized conflict has grown well beyond – and could even outlast – a battle for power between Assad’s circle and the opposition.

A Syrian government security source denied the reports. Fighters in Homs said those sent to Iran for training are mostly from Assad’s Alawite sect. Iran, a key Syrian ally, views Syria as integral to its influence in the region and its link to Lebanon-based Hezbollah.

Flash flood kills dozens in Argentina. Tuesday’s flash flooding in La Plata, the capital of Buenos Aires province, killed at least 46 people and forced around 1,500 to evacuate on Tuesday:

“Families and small children spent the night on their roofs, getting wet. People in wheelchairs were up to their waists in water all night. It was a disaster,” Bruno Zorzit, a resident of La Plata, told Reuters Television. Local media said between 300 and 400 millimeters (12 to 16 inches) of rain fell in just two hours, flooding low-lying neighborhoods in La Plata and surrounding areas.

Provincial governor Daniel Scioli said that some victims drowned in their cars or were electrocuted. President Cristina Fernandez said she will send police to the city to protect abandoned homes from looting. Reuters has images of Buenos Aires underwater.

Nota Bene: “Ruby,” the nightclub dancer at the center of Silvio Berlusconi’s sex trial, staged an emotional protest outside of the courthouse.


Black sheep hires – Meet Paris’ furry new lawnmowers. (The New York Times)

Gay Surrogacy – Why having babies is the key to acceptance in Israel. (The Atlantic)

What’s the beef in Burma? – BBC correspondent Jonathan Head discusses what’s behind recent religious violence in Myanmar. (BBC)

Caffeine culture – Reuters reporter Shilpa Jamkhandikar spoke to Avani Davda, head of the Starbucks-Tata joint venture, about how to please an Indian palate. (Reuters)

Syria side effect – Syria’s refugee crisis may drain Jordan of its water. (Time)

Cold competitor – Chinese customers ice out Baskin Robbins in favor of other providers (CNN Money)

From the File:

  • U.S. sends F/A-18 warplanes to Philippine military drills
  • Florence mayor challenges Bersani, calls for coalition with Berlusconi
  • South Africa’s Mandela improving, visited by Zuma
  • U.S. official puts onus on Iran in upcoming Nuclear talks
  • Ukraine pro-government deputies set up rival parliament

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