North Korea ended two months of relative calm with a bang this week, launching its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile yet in defiance of U.S.-led efforts to halt Pyongyang’s nuclear progress.
The missile reportedly traveled more than 2,800 miles into space – ten times higher than the International Space Station – flying for more than 50 minutes before splashing down in the Sea of Japan. Experts say it is another major leap forward in North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, potentially putting the entire U.S. mainland in range, including Washington, D.C.
Continue reading “Don’t Panic About North Korea’s Latest Missile Launch. (But Still Worry)”
The Justice Department moved this week to block AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable. Now, the courts must decide the fate of the blockbuster deal that, if approved, would give America’s largest telecom company control over a media empire that includes CNN, HBO and other cable staples.
Will the merger go through? Flip a coin. This isn’t how antitrust cases of this kind normally proceed. The Justice Department regularly blocks transactions it deems “anti-competitive,” among them AT&T’s 2011 bid to acquire rival T-Mobile. But so-called “vertical mergers,” which involve firms operating at two different levels of an industry, have a better record of success.
Continue reading “Justice Dept. Trumps Blockbuster AT&T, Time-Warner Deal on Antitrust Grounds”
As you relax over the holiday weekend, pay close attention to what’s happening in Lebanon. Tensions are rising in this perennial Middle East battleground, with potentially big implications for the stability of an already unstable region.
The trouble began Saturday when Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned during a trip to Saudi Arabia, saying his life was threatened by the Iran-backed militia-cum-political party Hezbollah. Continue reading “Assertive Saudi Prince Sets His Sights On Lebanon”
It’s deja vu all over again for President Trump’s travel ban. This week, a federal court in Hawaii blocked the latest version of the president’s controversial executive order from going into effect, only seven months after the same court put a similar hold on Trump’s second travel ban.
Much has happened in those seven months. After multiple unfavorable lower level rulings, the second ban finally reached the Supreme Court this summer. But the justices ultimately declined to hear the case during the court’s fall session, arguing that the issue was moot since the order had already expired.
Continue reading “Trump’s Travel Ban: Third Time Not a Charm”
On the campaign trail, candidate Donald Trump frequently vowed to “rip up” the Iran nuclear deal—a near-impossible promise to keep considering that the agreement is roughly the size of a large phonebook, making it physically the biggest multilateral treaty negotiated since World War II.
The hardline rhetoric remains, but Trump is unlikely to keep his word. The president still refers to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name of the document signed by the U.S., Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia that placed strict limits on Iran’s nuclear program for the next 10-15 years in exchange for sanctions relief, as “an embarrassment to the United States.” Continue reading “Trump To Poke Holes In Iran Deal, Not Rip It Up”
If any diplomatic solutions to the North Korean nuclear crisis remain, President Trump is rapidly burning through them. His escalating war of words with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, replete with colorful name-calling and provocative threats, is making actual dialogue impossible and upping chances of armed conflict.
Trump kicked off the latest round of verbal sparring with his speech before the United Nations General Assembly, during which he referred to Kim as “Rocket Man” and threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if the U.S. is “forced to defend itself or its allies.”
Continue reading “North Korea: Trump and Kim’s War of Words”
America’s opioid epidemic is the country’s worst public health crisis in a generation. A deadly combination of prescription pills and various black-market drugs, including heroin, is killing more than 100 people per day. Public health experts expect that number to rise, potentially claiming an additional 650,000 lives over the next decade.
The bottom line: Things will get worse before they get better. The United States remains awash in opioids, despite nascent efforts to clamp down on the problem. The main culprit is overprescription.
Continue reading “Federal, State Response to Opioid Crisis Lacking”
Houston is still reeling from Hurricane Harvey, a record-breaking tropical storm that has drenched the Texas coast with an estimated 21 trillion gallons of water since Aug. 25 and inflicted untold damage on both lives and property.
As with previous hurricanes, many people are asking: What could have been done differently this time to mitigate the damage? And what can be done to prepare for the next storm?
Continue reading “Hurricane-Proofing a City: How Houston Should Prepare for the Next Big Storm”
President Trump’s plan to send thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan and emphasize “killing terrorists” over “nation building” put to rest any notion that he intends to wind down America’s longest war.
Trump was short on detail during his first prime-time speech since addressing Congress in February. He didn’t say how many soldiers will join the 8,400-strong U.S. force already in Afghanistan, leaving that specific for the Pentagon to sort out. Nor did he elaborate on the most provocative component of his new strategy: Putting more pressure on Pakistan to stop harboring the Taliban.
Continue reading “Afghanistan: Donald Trump Continues America’s Longest War”
Don’t panic yet: The U.S. is not on the brink of war with North Korea, even after a heated exchange between the two countries that culminated with Pyongyang threatening to put Guam, a strategically important U.S. territory that hosts several American military bases, in the crosshairs.
Heated exchanges are routine in U.S.-North Korean relations. Pyongyang regularly threatens to turn Seoul, the capital of South Korea, into a “sea of fire.” This time, the stakes are higher — as are the tensions between Washington and Pyongyang — but the old rule of thumb still holds: Kim Jong-un knows that any needless military provocation could result in the destruction of his regime, which means he’s unlikely to take such a drastic step.
Continue reading “Conflict Still Unlikely in North Korea Nuclear Standoff”