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A training of the fire division, guided by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (not pictured), is held in North Korea, March 18, 2024, in this picture released on March 19, 2024, by the Korean Central News Agency.


Hard Numbers: Kim Jong Un takes aim, Pakistan launches deadly airstrikes, Sunak’s asylum-seeking plan proves costly, BOJ raises rates, Death toll rises in Haiti

186: Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: On Monday, North Korea responded to a visit to South Korea by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken by firing short-range ballistic missiles from Pyongyang an estimated 186 miles into the Sea of Japan. North Korea’s military has recently staged military maneuvers in response to annual US-South Korean joint drills.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is welcomed upon arriving at King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024.

Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS

Blinken swims against current to push for Gaza truce

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is touring the Middle East this week – his fifth visit since Oct. 7 – to continue Washington’s push for a new truce in the Gaza war. The US and its Arab partners back a deal that would involve a temporary pause in the fighting to open the door for the release of more hostages from Gaza.
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Houthi tribesmen parade to show defiance after U.S. and U.K. air strikes on Houthi positions near Sanaa, Yemen February 4, 2024.

REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Houthis threaten to retaliate after US, UK attacks

On Sunday, Houthi militants vowed to punish the United States and the United Kingdom for pounding Houthi targets on Saturday. A coalition of countries supported attacks on 36 targets across 13 locations in Yemen, including rebel strongholds in the capital Sanaa, as the conflict between Israel, Hamas, and its proxies continued to spread well beyond Gaza. US forces also took out an anti-ship missile that was set to be used in the Red Sea.

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The logo of the World Economic Forum (WEF) is displayed on a window, during the 54th annual meeting of the WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, January 18, 2024.

REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Who’s skipping Davos – and watching the polls?

While Donald Trump was winning in Iowa and preparing for New Hampshire, economic and political elites were in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum … where they were worrying about a potential Trump 2.0.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin hold a joint press conference after their talks in Seoul on Nov. 9, 2023.

Kyodo via Reuters

Blinken comes home, Biden gears up for Xi

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wrapped up a tour of Asian nations last week, as the United States worked to shore up support for its positions on issues including Russia’s war in Ukraine, China’s increased belligerence toward Taiwan, and the Israel-Hamas war in the Middle East.

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Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ramallah in the West Bank on Nov. 5, 2023.

Thaer Ganaim apaimages via Reuters

Israel-Hamas war, 31 days in

A month in, and there’s no end in sight for the Israel-Hamas war. At least 1,400 Israeli civilians are dead, and 240 remain hostages, while some 9,500 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza. Protests around the world are calling for an end to the fighting, but there is no sign that a cease-fire is in the cards for either side.

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US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, meets with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kirya in Tel Aviv on Thursday Oct 12, 2023 during a visit to show solidarity with Israel.

Eyepress via Reuters

Biden and Blinken work to contain the Gaza war

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv today. Before his trip, the State Department said he was going to Israel to “reiterate US support for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism … work to secure the immediate release of hostages, increase the pace and volume of humanitarian assistance entering Gaza for distribution to Palestinian civilians, and prevent the conflict from spreading.”

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to members of the media before leaving Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday.

Jacquelyn Martin/Pool via REUTERS

World powers weigh in on Israel-Hamas War

As the crisis in Israel and Gaza deepens, various world powers are weighing in and offering to help mediate, some for their own geopolitical interests.

Washington repeatedly offered unwavering support to Israel following the Hamas attacks, but it is now also trying to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In a phone call Saturday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – whose authority extends primarily to the West Bank – President Joe Biden pledged his full support for "urgently needed humanitarian assistance to Palestinian people, especially in Gaza."

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