North Korea vows to become 'space power' as Kim Jong-un orders test of new rocket engines

The regime conducted two tests of new rocket engines at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground in December 2019. High-resolution satellite images have detected that North Korea are extending their satellite launch facilities. New construction activity has been detected at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground in March 2020.

Satellite images showed a large shipping container at the Sohae site’s engine test stand.

Observers announced that this could indicate a plan to resume testing rocket engines.

This has alarmed the US and South Korea over the use of these new rocket engines to power nuclear warhead armed intercontinental ballistic missiles.

After conducting its first nuclear test in 2006 North Korea came under UN sanctions.

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International observers are now keeping a watchful eye on activity around the country’s launch sites as a surprise launch is a high possibility.

At the weekend state-run television aired a programme that celebrated the communist state’s space program and satellite engineers.

State broadcaster Korean Central Television, KCTV, aired a program on 5 September that portrayed supreme leader Kim Jong-un as having “love” for the country’s space scientists.

State media declared the country will “continue launching satellites for a peaceful purpose and emerge a space power to be envied by the world”.

The television program was called “Love’s Golden Cushion” and it explained the nation’s two recent satellite launches.

The scientists involved in North Korea’s spacefaring initiatives were shown to live in lavish surroundings in the recent television documentary.

The countries space program began in the 1990s with the development of the Kwangmyongsong 1 satellite.

Although Pyongyang celebrated the launch as their first successful satellite launch, internationally it was not detected to have attained orbit.

The last satellite launch by North Korea was in February 2016 when the Kwangmyongsong 4 satellite reached orbit.

Melania Trump 'nervous' as she makes 'personal appeal for power' in White House speech

“Although there was a fan-girl element to her words and her support for Donald, they also often also sounded like an apology,” Judi said.

“She spun some of the criticism of her husband into unique selling points, like his habit of speaking his mind, which she reassured everyone meant they knew what he was thinking and that he was being ‘honest’.”

During her speech, which lasted for 25 minutes, Judi claimed she looked nervous to begin.

However, she soon built up her confidence to take control of what she was saying.

Meghan Markle heartbreak: Duchess left distraught after being denied 'unrivalled power'

Royal commentator Emily Andrews argued that Meghan Markle quickly realised being part of the Royal Family would not give her unlimited power and freedom. During Channel 5’s royal documentary, Meghan and Harry: The New Revelations, she argued the Duchess of Sussex hoped to be a beacon of change in the monarchy. However, the Duchess quickly realised this would not be the case and wanted to leave to pursue her own goals with husband Prince Harry.

Ms Andrews said: “I think Meghan Markle found this all very difficult.

“What she thought she was getting was unrivalled power and she would be able to help and be this changemaker.

“This is what she wanted to be.

“But actually she found she was living in a gilded cage.”

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The narrator Jennifer Saayeng added that as Harry and Meghan’s relationship flourished it became clear their relationship with the rest of the Royal Family was put under more strain.

The narrator said: “As Meghan and Harry’s relationship blossomed their relationship with the palace and the rest of the Royal Family seemed to have soured.

“The new book Finding Freedom says: ‘increasingly Harry had grown frustrated that he and Meghan often took a back seat to other family members.

“The pair had to wait to announce projects if other more senior royals had announcements of their own.”

“The men in grey suits, that they believed were stalking the corridors trying to clip their wings might have been an invention in their own heads, rather than what was actually going on.”

Some commentators have argued the unofficial biography, Finding Freedom, written by royal commentators Carolyn Duran and Omid Scobie, acts as a mouthpiece for the two royals.

Ms Andrews insisted it better painted a picture of what Meghan and Harry thought about controversial moments during their time in the Royal Family.

Both Meghan and Harry have denied direct involvement in the book, however.

Trump sparks fury over TikTok ban as expert criticises POTUS for display of 'soft power'

Donald Trump said he is looking at banning TikTok amid concerns over the security of the personal data collected by the popular short video app. But technology expert, Andrew Griffin, believes the US President is trying to regain power from China by censoring the app which America has no control over. He added that there is no concrete data the app is stealing people’s information.

Speaking to LBC, Mr Griffin said: “I think the thing is noboday really knows and it’s clear the Trump administration doesn’t know exactly this grand Chinese takeover through TikTok is going to happen.

“There’s been all sorts of vague whisperings that when you use it’s taking your data but there’s not been anything concrete.

“I think it’s more a general fear that this is the most popular app among young people and it’s not US-made, nor do they have control over it.

“I think it’s a display of soft power thing than an immediate takeover.”

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He added that it might be to detract from his election campaign.

It comes as a group of top Republican US Senators on Tuesday ramped up pressure on TikTok, asking the Trump administration to assess the threat that the popular Chinese-owned video sharing app might meddle in US elections.

In a letter dated Tuesday, Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton and other lawmakers cited alleged censorship by TikTok of sensitive content, including a video critical of China’s treatment of Uighur minorities, as well as alleged attempts by Beijing to manipulate political discussions on social media apps.

It said: “We are greatly concerned that the (Chinese Communist Party) could use its control over TikTok to distort or manipulate (political) conversations to sow discord among Americans and to achieve its preferred political outcomes.”

A spokesperson for the company said that TikTok, though not a “go-to” for political news, was “proactively investing to safeguard our app,” and taking cues from the experience of peers during the last election.

“TikTok already has a strict policy against disinformation, and we don’t accept political ads,” the person said, adding that content and moderation policies are led by a California-based team and aren’t “influenced by any foreign government.”

The FBI and DHS did not respond to requests for comment while an ODNI official confirmed receipt of the letter and said “we will respond accordingly.”

The lawmakers, joined by Republicans Ted Cruz, Joni Ernst Thom Tilis, Kevin Cramer and Rick Scott, asked the officials to say whether Beijing could amplify certain political views and conduct influence operations through the popular app, which is owned by Beijing ByteDance Technology Co.


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“If evidence emerges of CCP electoral interference via TikTok, would ByteDance be eligible for sanctions?” under an executive order on foreign electoral influence, the lawmakers asked.

TikTok is in the crosshairs of the Trump administration as US-China ties have soured over the pandemic and Beijing’s move to curb freedoms in Hong Kong.

This month, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said action was imminent to address national security risks posed by TikTok.

Trump’s poll numbers have been sagging as he prepares to face Democrat Joe Biden in the November election. In 2019, special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s report found extensive cases of Russian meddling that benefited the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.

Nicola Sturgeon begs Boris Johnson for 'more financial power' in bid to help Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon insisted Boris Johnson should grant Scotland new powers over the nation’s finance to allow a more suitable response to the economic threat of the coronavirus pandemic. The First Minister on Monday unveiled a series of proposals aimed at the financial recovery of the whole UK which include a Germany-inspired £80 billion stimulus package to boost the economy and cut inequalities. Speaking at her daily press conference, Ms Sturgeon said: “Along with those UK-wide proposals, we propose Scotland should gain greater financial powers, for example over borrowing so we can shape our own response to the economic implications of the pandemic.

“The economic crisis caused by COVID is undoubtedly the most serious of our lifetime.

The Scottish Government proposal is therefore ambitious but also practical and sustainable.

We believe it would benefit not just Scotland but the whole of the UK.

“Central to them is the strong belief that austerity mistakes of and post the financial crash period must not be repeated.”

More to follow…

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Melania Trump made change to show 'wealth, status and power' when Donald became President

Melania Trump, 50, is the wife of the 45th US President, Donald Trump, 74. Since taking on her political role, she has made a subtle change to show off her new role, according to an expert.

Before her 2005 wedding to Donald, Melania worked as a model in New York.

The couple are used to having all eyes on them with Melania’s former career and Donald’s success as a businessman and television personality.

In 2017, Donald was inaugurated as the US President and Melania took on the role of First Lady.

While she was already in the limelight, Melania made a drastic change when entering the White House, according to Head of Buying at Pure Collection Kate Stacey.

READ MORE: Melania Trump made change when she met Donald to appear more ‘serious’

Kate told “Melania Trump has undergone a transformation, taking power dressing to the next level.

“It’s hard to imagine an item of clothing more synonymous with influence and prestige than the cape – and Melania adores the cape.”

Melania has often attended political events with her husband and turned heads with her outfits.

The mother-of-one is no stranger to designer looks and often puts together expensive ensembles.


She is happy to flaunt her new power and success with her style choices, the expert explained.

“Melania’s striking silhouette on trips abroad is often achieved by adopting svelte designer choices,” Kate added.

“She favours Givenchy, Dolce and Gabbana and Dior – grown-up luxe labels.

“These looks are elevated by her footwear, almost always a pair of stiletto Louboutin pumps.

“Melania makes it clear that the best way to emulate her look of wealth, status and power is by having the means to do so.”

Her preference of luxurious labels is something Melania is widely known for, but it was not always her style.

She has veered away from more glamorous and revealing outfits in favour of strong looks.

Kate explained added: “The image Melania has cultivated following her husband’s presidency is a far cry from the style choices she made before entering the white house.

“As a supermodel, Melania was no stranger to glam dressing, opting for satin slips and off the shoulder bodycon dresses.

“The exposed shoulder, in particular, makes a clear distinction between Melania as glamazon supermodel and First Lady.

“This is something Melania has moved away from – a move rooted in sophistication.”