News In Focus: A Look at the World’s Most Interesting Stories


North Korea: North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles on March 10, although the missile fell into the water off North Korea’s east coast after having flown about 500 km.

The move was seen to be the country’s latest response to the sanctions imposed by the United Nations along with the joint US-South Korea military drills that began on Monday and are set to last until April 30.

The sanctions, which are said to be the toughest against North Korea to date, were approved by the United Nations’ Security Council on March 2 with the blessing of China and the United States, following North Korea’s recent nuclear test and missile launch.

Right after the sanctions took effect, the Philippines impounded a North Korean vessel on March 5.  On March 9, China barred a North Korean freighter, Grand Karo, from a port in Rizhao in northeastern China.

Here’s a CNN report about a particular threat North Korean made last week:


Sports: Tennis star Maria Sharapova admitted on Monday to have been taking a banned drug.

The 28-year-old athlete tested positive on March 2 at the Australian Open for using meldonium, a drug for treating certain heart diseases.

She has since been provisionally suspended from tennis, pending a ruling from the International Tennis Federation.

Meldonium was included in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list in January this year, as the agency believes that some athletes are using it to enhance sports performance.

But the five-time Grand Slam champion claims she has been prescribed the medicine to deal with irregular heartbeat and other health issues for years, and was unaware that the drug was prohibited.

Meanwhile, sportswear group Nike, Swiss watch brand TAG Heuer, and automotive giant Porsche have suspended their contracts with Sharapova.

Below is a timely report from ABC News:


Technology: AlphaGo, an artificial-intelligence program designed by Google DeepMind, beat the Korean world Go champion Lee Se-dol twice in a five-game series on Wednesday and Thursday.

Go is an ancient Chinese game with trillions of possible moves, and is known to be one of the hardest games devised by humans.

Lee Se-dol, crowned “World Champion” 18 times, is regarded as one of the best Go players in the world.

AlphaGo first defeated Lee on Wednesday after more than three hours of play.  It won its second game on Thursday within four hours.

The computer program’s easy victory shocked the technology world, where it was believed that it would take at least another decade before a machine could challenge a human to Go.

AlphaGo is developed by Demis Hassabis and colleagues at Google DeepMind, a London-based company specializing in artificial intelligence that was acquired by Google in 2014.

Lee still has three more games that run until next Tuesday to save his championship.

If he wins, Mr. Lee will receive US$1 million from Google.  But if AlphaGo wins, Google will donate the sum to UNICEF, Go groups, and charities.

For a description of the game, we go to this following video:


UK: The Queen denies having said she backed Brexit – a buzzword for UK  leaving the European Union (EU).

On Wednesday, the UK tabloid, the Sun, carried a story with a headline that went, “Queen backs Brexit as alleged EU bust-up with ex-Deputy PM emerges.”

The story suggests that the monarch told pro-EU former Deputy Prime Minister Nicholas Clegg that “EU was heading in the wrong direction.”

The report apparently infuriated the Queen, who filed a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation, UK’s regulator of the newspaper and magazine industry for inaccurate reporting.

The Buckingham Palace denies the Sun’s claim and insists that the Queen is neutral on political issues.

For more on “Brexit,” we present this Bloomberg Business report:


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Lead-In Image (Go Game) Courtesy of Alexandru Nika /