Japan sets up defences ahead of North Korea rocket launch

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Japan has set up anti-missile defences on the Okinawa islands ahead of a planned rocket launch by North Korea.

A Japan naval vessel transported Patriot missiles and related radar equipment to the port of Ishigaki island on Wednesday.

The North Korean state news agency announced a week ago, the intended launch of a satellite into space, some time between the 10th and 22nd of   December.

Senior representatives from Japan the US and South Korea condemn the launch as a disguised ballistic missile test that violates UN resolutions.

“We all agree that we will continue diplomatic efforts until the last minute. The international community will take firm action if North Korea goes ahead with the launch,” said Shinsuke Sugiyama, Head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau.

The J-alert emergency warning system has been tested across Japan, to swiftly let the public know if the missile falls into Japanese territory.

The flight path is similar to that of a failed launch in April.

The Japanese government has given orders to intercept the rocket if it appeared to be falling towards Japan.

US Republican makes abortion gaff

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The Republican candidate for the US senate in Indiana caused outrage by saying that if a woman is raped it is part of God’s will.

Richard Mourdock, who is a favourite of the conservative Tea Party movement, made the comments during a debate on abortion.

He had been locked in a close battle with Democratic candidate Joe Donnelly but these remarks could amount to political suicide:

“I believe that life begins at conception,” Mourdock said. “The only exception I have, to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother. I struggled with it, myself, for a long time, but I came to realise life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who on Monday launched state-wide ads endorsing Mourdock, immediately distanced himself from the comments.

The Republicans need a net gain of four seats in the elections on November 6 to take control of the US senate.