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Nation & World Briefs


Friday, December 22, 2017
UN Security Council imposes sanctions on North Korea

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions against North Korea on Friday in response to its latest launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang says is capable of reaching anywhere on the U.S. mainland.

The resolution adopted by the council includes sharply lower limits on North Korea’s oil imports, the return home of all North Koreans working overseas within 24 months, and a crackdown on ships smuggling banned items including coal and oil to and from the country.

But the resolution doesn’t include even harsher measures sought by the Trump administration that would ban all oil imports and freeze international assets of the government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said after the vote that “the unity this council has shown in leveling these unprecedented sanctions is a reflection of the international outrage at the Kim regime’s actions.”

Russian hackers hunted journalists in long campaign

PARIS — Russian television anchor Pavel Lobkov was in the studio getting ready for his show when jarring news flashed across his phone: Some of his most intimate messages had just been published to the web.

Days earlier, the veteran journalist had come out live on air as HIV-positive, a taboo-breaking revelation that drew responses from hundreds of Russians fighting their own lonely struggles with the virus. Now he’d been hacked.

“These were very personal messages,” Lobkov said in a recent interview, describing a frantic call to his lawyer in an abortive effort to stop the spread of nearly 300 pages of Facebook correspondence, including sexually explicit messages.

The AP identified journalists as the third-largest group on a hacking hit list obtained from cybersecurity firm Secureworks, after diplomatic personnel and U.S. Democrats. About 50 of the journalists worked at The New York Times.

Another 50 were either foreign correspondents based in Moscow or Russian reporters like Lobkov who worked for independent news outlets.

Others were prominent media figures in Ukraine, Moldova, the Baltics or Washington.

Citing crass emails, Miss Americas ask for CEO’s ouster

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Dozens of former Miss Americas called on leaders of the pageant organization to step down in the wake of an email scandal in which the CEO and other officials used crass and vulgar terms to refer to past winners.

The Huffington Post reported Thursday on the emails, which mock some former winners’ appearance, intellect and sex lives. One email used a vulgar term for female genitalia to refer to past Miss America winners.

A petition organized by former Miss North Carolina Jennifer Vaden Barth garnered the signatures of 49 former Miss Americas by midafternoon Friday. The petition called the emails by CEO Sam Haskell and others “despicable” and faulted officials who “sat by without objection while such derisive comments were passed around.”

“We are deeply disturbed and saddened to learn of the sickening and egregious words used by Miss America leadership,” the petition read. “We collectively call for their immediate resignation.”

The Miss America Organization said Thursday night that Haskell has apologized, and that the group is revising its policies regarding communications, adding it considers the matter closed. Haskell and Miss America Organization officials did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

More than 4 in 5 in Obamacare are in Trump states

WASHINGTON — Americans in states that Donald Trump carried in his march to the White House account for more than 4 in 5 of those signed up for coverage under the health care law the president still wants to take down.

An Associated Press analysis of new figures from the government found that 7.3 million of the 8.8 million consumers signed up so far for next year come from states Trump won in the 2016 presidential election.

The four states with the highest number of sign-ups — Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia, accounting for nearly 3.9 million customers — were all Trump states.

“There’s politics, and then there’s taking care of yourself and your family,” said analyst Chris Sloan of the consulting firm Avalere Health. “You can have political views about a program like the Affordable Care Act, but when you get an opportunity to get subsidized health insurance for you and your family ... politics is a distant consideration.”

AP’s analysis found that 11 states beat 2017’s enrollment figures. Of them eight —Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming— went for Trump, who posted double-digit victories in all but Iowa.

To be sure, Trump states are also home to many people who voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

But the AP’s analysis points to a pattern of benefits from the health law in states the president won. The premium dollars have economic ripple effects, reimbursing hospitals and doctors for services that might otherwise have gone unpaid and written off as bad debt.

From Associated Press