Saturday, Aug 19 2017 | Time 22:09 Hrs(IST)
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  • Darjeeling blast: Bimal Gurung writes Rajnath Singh for NIA probe with supreme court monitoring
  • Trump, first lady will not attend Kennedy Center Honors -White House
  • 23 killed, 400 injured in Kalinga Utkal Express accident
  • Richarlison, Capoue lead Watford to win at Bournemouth
  • Mane strikes as Liverpool scrape 1-0 win over Palace
  • SER to run special train to and from Bangaluru cant
  • Mehbooba announces release of Rs 10 cr for LAHDC Kargil
  • Mehbooba hopes PM’s Kashmir remark would encourage pleasant change
  • Girish Chodankar supports observations made by church-run magazine
  • Shah speaks of 'time limit' for MP’s bigwigs
  • ----
  • Prez condoles deaths in train derailment in UP
  • Congress lacks capability to provide alternative: JD (U)
  • Kashmir situation deteriorated in 3 yrs of BJP rule: J&K Congress
  • Mehbooba visits Kargil to rousing reception
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Trump administration weighing broad sanctions on North Korea -US official

Washington, March 21 (Reuters) The Trump administration is considering sweeping sanctions aimed at cutting North Korea off from the global financial system as part of a broad review of measures to counter Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threat, a senior US official said.
The sanctions would be part of a multi-pronged approach of increased economic and diplomatic pressure – especially on Chinese banks and firms that do the most business with North Korea – plus beefed-up defenses by the United States and its South Korean and Japanese allies, according to the administration official familiar with the deliberations.
While the long-standing option of pre-emptive military strikes against North Korea is not off the table – as reflected by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's warning to Pyongyang during his Asia tour last week - the new administration is giving priority for now to less-risky options.
The policy recommendations being assembled by President Donald Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, are expected to reach the president's desk within weeks, possibly before a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in early April, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. North Korea is expected to top the agenda at that meeting.
It is not clear how quickly Trump will decide on a course of action, which could be delayed by the slow pace at which the administration is filling key national security jobs.
The White House declined comment.
Trump met McMaster on Saturday to discuss North Korea and said afterward that the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, was "acting very, very badly."
The president spoke hours after North Korea boasted of a successful rocket-engine test, which officials and experts think is part of a program aimed at building an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States.
'SECONDARY SANCTIONS'
The administration source said US officials, including Tillerson, had privately warned China about broader "secondary sanctions" that would target banks and other companies that do business with North Korea, most of which are Chinese.
The move under consideration would mark an escalation of Trump's pressure on China to do more to contain North Korea. It was not clear how Chinese officials responded to those warnings but Beijing has made clear its strong opposition to such moves.
The objective would be to tighten the screws in the same way that the widening of sanctions - to encompass foreign firms dealing with Iran - was used to pressure Tehran to open negotiations with the West on its suspected nuclear weapons program. That effort ultimately led to a 2015 deal to restrict Iran's nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.
For such measures to have any chance to influence the behavior of North Korea, which is already under heavy sanctions, Washington must secure full international cooperation - especially from China, which has shown little appetite for putting such a squeeze on its neighbor.
Analysts also have questioned whether such sanctions would be as effective on North Korea as they were on a major oil producer such as Iran, given the isolated nation's limited links to the world financial system.
North Korea has relied heavily on illicit trade done via small Chinese banks. So, to be applied successfully, the new measures would have to threaten to bar those banks from the international financial system.
Also under consideration are expanded efforts to seize assets of Kim and his family outside North Korea, the official said.
MILITARY OPTIONS
The military dimension of the review includes a strengthened US presence in the region and deployment of advanced missile defenses, initially in South Korea and possibly in Japan. The US military has begun to install a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system in South Korea, despite Chinese opposition.
Washington is increasingly concerned, however, that the winner of South Korea's May 9 presidential election might backtrack on the deployment and be less supportive of tougher sanctions.
Tillerson warned on Friday that Washington had not ruled out military action if the threat from North Korea becomes unacceptable.
For now, US officials consider pre-emptive strikes too risky, given the danger of igniting a regional war and causing massive casualties in Japan and South Korea and among tens of thousands of US troops based in both allied countries.
Another US government source said Trump could also opt to escalate cyber attacks and other covert action aimed at undermining North Korea's leadership.
"These options are not done as stand-alones," the first US official said. "It's going to be some form of 'all of the above,' probably excluding military action."
Trump is known to have little patience for foreign policy details, but officials say he seems to have heeded a warning from his predecessor, Barack Obama, that North Korea would be the most urgent international issue he would face.
In his North Korea briefings, Trump has asked repeatedly how many nuclear warheads and missiles Pyongyang has, at the same time as demanding to know how much South Korea and Japan are paying for their own defense, one US official said.
REUTERS RSD 0522
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23 killed, 400 injured in Kalinga Utkal Express accident

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19 Aug 2017 | 6:19 PM
Mehbooba hopes PM’s Kashmir remark would encourage pleasant change

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19 Aug 2017 | 10:07 PM

Kargil, Aug 19 (UNI) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed hope that the remarks made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi about Kashmir during his Independence Day speech would bring about a welcome change in the State as it did during the previous tenure of former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Richarlison, Capoue lead Watford to win at Bournemouth

19 Aug 2017 | 9:34 PM

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ebtor has to service his debt or make way for somebody else: FM Jaitley

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Professional dancer Lourd Vijay to start pan-India drive on kidney disease & organ donation

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19 Aug 2017 | 11:18 AM

Mumbai, Aug 18 (UNI) Lourd Vijay, a professional dancer and Guinness World Record holder, who underwent a kidney transplant operation last year, is all set to drive his social responsibility initiative called 'Spreading Hope', a not for profit foundation, on a mission to raise nation-wide awareness on kidney disease and the importance of organ donation.

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