REFILE-ANALYSIS-N.Korea urges citizens to 'break through barriers' as nuclear standoff continues

REFILE-ANALYSIS-N.Korea urges citizens to 'break through barriers' as nuclear standoff continuesWhile a North Korean deadline for the United States to soften its stand on denuclearisation talks passed uneventfully over the New Year, state media and propaganda efforts have been focussing on the prospect of a long confrontation with the United States. Optimism that two years of contacts between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump would usher in a new age, and related hopes for economic improvement after decades of deprivation, appear to have faded.

China stiffens defences against epidemic as death toll hits 56

China stiffens defences against epidemic as death toll hits 56China expanded drastic travel restrictions Sunday to contain an epidemic that has killed 56 people and infected nearly 2,000, as the US, France and Japan prepared to evacuate their citizens from a quarantined city at the outbreak’s epicentre. China has locked down the hard-hit province of Hubei in the country’s centre in an unprecedented operation affecting tens of millions of people in a bid to slow the spread of the respiratory virus. Its ability to spread appears to be “getting stronger” though it is “not as powerful as SARS”, top Chinese health officials said at a press conference.