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Rounding up the biggest stories from Monday to Friday.

Your August 12 news briefing

Korea THAAD

To start off, we’re looking into:

South Korea expands defense system

North Korea has been expanding its nuclear program for a while, and, to counter it, the US has been rolling out something called the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile-defense system in South Korea. This system is meant to detect if a missile gets launched and shoots it down. But China isn’t a huge fan of it, saying that its really wide radar system could allow for spying on Chinese missile systems. So back in 2017, the South Korean President at the time, Moon Jae-in, said he was going to stop rolling out the THAAD system to get on China’s good side.

But then, earlier this year, Yoon Suk Yeol was elected president in South Korea, and he just announced that deploying the THAAD system wasn’t negotiable, despite China’s concerns. Yoon has been pushing to move South Korea closer to the US, so this is, in part, a move to also make that happen.

The Chinese really aren’t happy that this expansion is happening, saying that Korea should uphold agreements made with the former president even in the new Yoon administration.

New virus found in China

China virus
A medical worker takes a swab sample from a resident for the nucleic acid test at a makeshift testing site, amid lockdown measures to curb the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sanya, Hainan province, China August 9, 2022. China Daily via REUTERS

More than two years from the onset of the COVID pandemic, we’re already seeing another widespread health concern with monkeypox. And with its first case in 2018, a new virus was discovered in China. Langya henipavirus (LayV) has been known to cause fever, fatigue, cough, loss of appetite, body aches, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Some patients also had impaired liver function.

Last week, scientists’ findings on the virus were officially published. They detected it in two eastern Chinese provinces. Like with COVID, animals likely passed on the virus to humans via direct contact, most likely from shrews. The good news? It looks like LayV can’t be transmitted between people. So far, LayV has been found in 35 people, but none of them died from the virus. So, because of that, scientists aren’t ringing the alarm bell just yet. Because of such a small sample size, though, it’s also hard to come up with set conclusions.

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