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This Week In World: North Korea, The Pope, and More

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North Korea Launches New Missiles

North Korea launched two new short-range missileson Thursday. This is the second weapons test in a week, further straining attempts to denuclearize North and South Korea. They launched the missiles from the city of Kusong. The missiles traveled about 260 miles east. South Korea announced the launches in a statement.

These tests are the first weapons tests since November 2017. However, North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that the launch was a “routine and self-defensive military drill.” They also said the launch did not threaten Japan, South Korea, or the US. The missile landed in North Korean controlled waters. The White House has yet to comment on the launch.

The Pope Says Bishops Must Take Responsibility

Pope Francis issued a new decree that states that all bishops must be directly accountable for any sexual abuse to minors on Thursday. It also requires clerics to report any and all cases to Church superiors. Ever since he was elected in 2013, battling the Church’s reputation has been a problem for Francis. Many of the victims demanded a crackdown on bishops.

While similar systems already existed in some countries, including the US, many others don’t. The new decree ensures that systems will be set up on the diocese level. It also calls for nuns and priests worldwide to report the issues. Overall, the decree allows the victims to directly talk to the Vatican or a Vatican representative, instead of the diocesan procedures that led to coverups.

Montenegro Jails Russian Coup Plot Leaders

Montenegro courts sentenced multiple men, including two Russians, to prison after a failed coup back in October 2016. Two pro-Russian politicians were given 5-year sentences. The Russians, however, received the longest sentences. Eduard Shishmakov and Vladimir Popov got 12 and 15 years, respectively. However, Russia has called the coup investigation “absurd.”

The coup involved a plot to assassinate then-Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic. They planned it to take place on Montenegro’s election day, October 16. Reports say that Russian nationalists helped plan it. However, prosecutors found no links to President Vladimir Putin’s aides. Those involved planned to bring a pro-Russian government into power.

Theresa May Will Honor Promise To Resign

If her Brexit plan passes, British Prime Minister Theresa May will honor her promise to step down. Finance minister Phillip Hammond announced the news in a statement. “May is as good as her word,” he said. He also said that any lawmakers that wish to see May step down should vote on her Brexit plan as soon as possible.

US Seizes Control Of North Korean Ship

The US seized control of a North Korean cargo ship, accusing it of violating international sanctions. The Justice Department says North Korea used the ship to transport coal and weapons. The vessel, initially impounded in April 2018, carried nearly $3M in coal. “This scheme not only allowed North Korea to evade sanctions, but the Wise Honest was also used to import heavy machinery to North Korea, helping expand North Korea’s capabilities and continuing the cycle of sanctions evasion,” said US attorney Geoffrey S Berman.