The Daily Briefing — April 13th, 2017
North Korea, Russia, NATO, and New York Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam highlight today’s briefing
TOP STORY: North Korea preparing for nuclear test, satellite images suggest
The US-based monitoring group 38 North said on Thursday that the satellite images from the North’s Punggye-ri site showed it was “primed and ready” for what would be the country’s sixth nuclear test since 2006.
Foreign journalists in North Korea were told to prepare for a “big and important” event Thursday. No details were provided about the event, including whether it was related to the current political climate, Reuters reports. The country prepares to mark the 105th birth anniversary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il-sung, on Saturday. More here
Tillerson meets with Putin amid deepening tensions over U.S. missile strikes in Syria
Donald Trump has said that US relations with Russia may be at “an all-time low” and declared a new-found faith in Nato, suggesting the alliance was “no longer obsolete.”
The US president’s remarks at the White House followed a two-hour meeting in Moscow between his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and Vladimir Putin, which failed to resolve any of the deep differences between the two nations on Syria, Ukraine, or Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US election.
Developing overnight: The US military and intelligence community has intercepted communications featuring Syrian military and chemical experts talking about preparations for the sarin attack in Idlib last week, a senior US official told CNN.
Trump Seemingly Reverses Key Campaign Complaints
During a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, Trump said NATO “is no longer obsolete” because it has adapted to focus on handling the threat of terror — a 180-degree turn on a key campaign complaint.
Additionally, President Trump said Wednesday that he no longer believes China manipulates its currency, a complete shift from the position he repeatedly took during his 2016 campaign. “They’re not currency manipulators,” Trump told the the Wall Street Journal during an Oval Office interview.
Top New York Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam Found Dead by Hudson River
Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American woman appointed to the New York Court of Appeals, was found dead in the Hudson River. She was 65.
Police responded to a 911 call about a woman in the water of the Hudson around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday. They found an unconscious and unresponsive woman, who was later pronounced dead and identified as Abdus-Salaam. More here