Fearing abduction by North, South Koreans fleeing China

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Two B-1B Lancers based in Guam flew a mission in the vicinity of the Sea of Japan late Tuesday, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces said in a statement.

During Tuesday's drills, the US bombers, which flew from the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, staged simulated air-to-ground missile striking drills off the peninsula's east coast before flying across the country accompanied by the two South Korean fighters.

South Korea said Tuesday it was maintaining full military readiness following intense speculation of a possible ballistic missile test by the North as it marks a key anniversary.

According to Reuters, North Korea has launched two missiles over Japan and conducted its sixth nuclear test in recent weeks as it fast advances toward its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the us mainland.

- Fears are mounting that North Korea could soon test launch another ballistic missile in response to the USA military's drills in the region.

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The initial service will be from California, said Chief Revenue Officer Andrew Watterson, without elaborating on specific routes. Once approved, he said, Southwest will fly most of its routes from California to Kauai, Honolulu and the island of Hawaii.

The latest in a series of simulated USA bombing runs around North Korea, the operation is described as a "show of force" amid ongoing tensions with North Korea.

Jimmy Carter, the 93-year-old former USA president, has reportedly indicated that he is willing to travel to Pyongyang to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in an effort to head off a military clash in Northeast Asia.

"The briefing and discussion focused on a range of options to respond to any form of North Korean aggression or, if necessary, to prevent North Korea from threatening the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons", the White House said in a statement on the meeting.

Bishop and Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne are in South Korea to hold the third round of the so-called "two-plus-two" talks with their South Korean counterparts Friday.

A spokesman from South Korea's Defense Ministry declined to comment, saying the information is classified.

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The United Nations Security Council, which has imposed a series of ever tighter sanctions on North Korea, has banned four ships from ports globally for carrying coal from North Korea, including one vessel that also had ammunition.

A Russian lawmaker who recently visited Pyongyang told media that North Korea is preparing to test a ballistic missile that can strike the USA west coast.

Rhee Cheol-Hee, a lawmaker for the ruling Democratic party, said the hackers had broken into the South's military network last September and gained access to 235 gigabytes of sensitive data, the Chosun Ilbo daily reported. The US has repeatedly ruled out negotiations with North Korea.

Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity firm, told NBC News in August: "We've been anxious for some time that one of the ways that North Korea can retaliate against further escalation of tensions is via cyber, and particularly attacks against our financial sector". North Korea needs time and proof to believe that abandoning its nuclear programme will contribute to its own political and economic advantage.

The secretive state has been suspected of carrying out cyber attacks on South Korean electric utilities as well as on other government and financial institutions.

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The vast majority of the island remains without power and a good portion without clean drinking water. Puerto Rico was affected by two hurricanes, Irma and Maria, that passed through the Caribbean.

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