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News Wrap: North Korea issues warning to U.S. amid speculation of another nuclear test

April 14, 2017 at 6:50 PM EDT
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un observes a target-striking contest by the Korean People's Army (KPA) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 13, 2017. KCNA via Reuters
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JUDY WOODRUFF: North Korea issued a new warning today to the United States. It came amid signs the North might be getting ready for another nuclear test.

The vice foreign minister charged that the Trump administration is — quote — “more vicious and more aggressive” than President Obama’s.

HAN SONG RYOL, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister (through interpreter): We are taking into account the most aggressive and dangerous option that the U.S. might come up with, and we have also got our options, our countermeasures ready in our hands, which means we will go to war if they choose.

JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s rising speculation that Pyongyang could carry out a nuclear or a missile test tomorrow. That’s when the North marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-Sung, who founded the hard-line communist state in 1948.

Russia, Syria and Iran say they have sent a — quote — “strong message” to the U.S. not to attack Syria again. Their foreign ministers met in Moscow today. They warned that another U.S. military strike could have grave consequences for regional and global security. President Trump ordered a cruise missile barrage in Syria last week, after accusing its government of a poison gas attack.

In Turkey, voters headed toward a momentous decision: whether to approve greatly expanded powers for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Sunday’s referendum has sharply divided the country, and European election observers say the government has tried to intimidate the opposition. Erdogan lashed out at them today.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkish President (through interpreter): Now they say, if the result is yes, that means there are a lot of problems. Who are you? First of all, you should know your place. This is not your duty. You can’t talk about what will happen if the result is yes or no.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Erdogan has carried out a sweeping crackdown since an attempted coup last year.

Back in this country, death penalty opponents rallied in Little Rock, Arkansas, against plans to execute seven death row inmates by the end of the month. The protest featured celebrity speakers and hundreds of others. The first execution is scheduled for Monday night. Arkansas has not put anyone to death since 2005, but officials say the state’s supply of a lethal injection drug is about to pass its expiration date.

A federal judge in San Francisco is being asked to block President Trump’s executive order on so-called sanctuary cities. It withholds federal funding from cities that won’t cooperate on deporting undocumented immigrants. San Francisco and Santa Clara counties argued today for a nationwide injunction against enforcing the funding ban.

The Trump White House says that it will not release logs of its visitors. Today’s announcement was a break from President Obama’s practice, but Trump administration officials say that it is in line with what previous presidents did. They cited privacy and national security concerns.

And Christians around the world marked this Good Friday with solemn observances. Pope Francis presided at the traditional Way of the Cross procession in Rome, with thousands in attendance. And in this country, hundreds of people walked the Brooklyn Bridge in New York behind a man carrying a cross.

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