© 2023 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

News Brief: North Korea Tests Another Missile, Trump And Democrats Talk DACA


North Korea has launched yet another ballistic missile over Japan.


People in the northern region of Hokkaido woke up to these sirens and to instructions to take cover.


KELLY: This is North Korea's latest missile test. And it comes just days after the United Nations slapped another set of sanctions on North Korea and just hours after President Trump spoke about his options on Pyongyang with reporters aboard Air Force One.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We are working on different things. I can't tell you, obviously, what I'm working on. But believe me, the people of this country will be very, very safe.

MARTIN: All right, NPR's Elise Hu is based in Seoul, South Korea. She is on the line now.

Hey, Elise.

ELISE HU, BYLINE: Hey there.

MARTIN: This is the second time this has happened - right? - that North Korea has done one of these tests over Hokkaido, over this island in the northern part of Japan.

HU: That's right. And this missile fired is believed to be the same type that was launched over Japan on August 29. But this time, it went a farther distance of about 2,200 miles before landing in the North Pacific Ocean off of Hokkaido's east coast. And this is important because it sends a message that if the missile was aimed in a different place and flew a different direction, then this type of missile could reach, in theory, the U.S. territory of Guam, which, you recall, North Korea has threatened before.

MARTIN: Indeed. All right, so what did Japan do in response to this?

HU: In addition to blaring those sirens we just heard, it also sent out text alerts to cellphones and interrupted radio and TV broadcasts across about 12 Japanese prefectures because the government was concerned about falling debris. Ultimately, officials there say there was no debris and that the Japanese people were not in danger. The prime minister there, Shinzo Abe, is calling now for international unity. And Japan wants more pressure from the international community to be applied.

But that's basically all Japan can do at the moment, and the same goes for South Korea, where I'm at, because this - the core security issue is between the U.S. and North Korea. And both sides are generally continuing on the same path, which is a cycle of provocation and then condemnation and then more isolation before the cycle starts all over again.

MARTIN: Right. So this is deja vu, right?


MARTIN: Every week or so, we call you because there's been another North Korean missile test, and then all the relative actors say there just needs to be more pressure. But this same thing - what breaks this cycle ever?

HU: That is a key question for policymakers. And if you speak to the proponents of isolation through sanctions, the argument goes that if North Korea feels sufficient pressure from these economic sanctions, then essentially, at some point, it will cry uncle and then want to return to the negotiating table. There have been something like eight rounds of tightening sanctions since 2006, and North Korea has only improved its nuclear capability and its missile testing in that time. The...

MARTIN: So those sanctions clearly aren't (laughter) exerting the kind of pressure people had intended.

HU: Well, you could argue that, unless they start to work. Right? The other approach is to consider dialogue. But even South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, who was elected as someone who was calling for engagement, is now saying that now is not the time.

MARTIN: Elise Hu, reporting from Seoul this morning - thanks so much, Elise.

HU: You bet.


MARTIN: All right, there's been quite a bit of back-and-forth on where things stand for the young people known as DREAMers.

KELLY: Yeah, we are talking about 800,000 immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally when they were children. President Trump has surprised his own party - again - by saying he is close to a deal with Democrats on offering protection to the DREAMers.


TRUMP: We're talking about taking care of people, people that were brought here - people that have done a good job and were not brought here of their own volition. But very importantly, what we want - we have to have a wall.

KELLY: Now, the president says he is not talking about amnesty. But, Rachel, the conversations that he seems to be having every night this week with the Democratic leadership are unnerving Republicans, both moderate and conservative.

MARTIN: All right, NPR's Scott Detrow has been following all this. He's in the studio this morning. Hey, Scott.


MARTIN: All right, yesterday, everyone was asking, deal or no deal? It seems Trump and the Democrats have agreed, in principle, that they want to make DACA permanent. Right? They want protections put in place that are sustainable for this group of people. They are OK with border security. They're agreeing that that has to be part of it. But it's still not that simple. Right?

DETROW: It is not that simple, and this is a good time to remind everyone that this bill has not passed for 16-plus years for a reason. Because even though the majority of Americans want to see something like this happen, there are a lot of factions with very definitive views of what they want to see. And there are many key questions to remain. What exactly does it mean to improve security? Is that money? Is that construction? Is that what?

MARTIN: Is that the wall?

DETROW: Yeah, is that the wall (laughter)? We'll get to that in a second because it seems like the answer to that in this moment is no. But the other key question is what to do with people once you grant them the ability to stay in the country. Because Democrats want a path to citizenship and now Trump is feeling pressure to not go that way.

MARTIN: So let's get to this.


MARTIN: Like, what - Republicans are not going to be pleased, I would imagine, because now the president is engaging in these direct talks with Democrats. And it feels like Democrats are steering the ship on this.

DETROW: Yeah. And there's just a lot of confusion on Capitol Hill. It's not that Trump's just talking to Democrats, though Republicans are clearly getting more frustrated that they're never in the room for these conversations, it's that Trump seems to be giving away his key leverage before the talks even get going.

Take the wall, signature issue for Trump - he campaigned on it. We remember the chants. But he is saying, publicly, we can do the wall later. So he's taking that off the table at a moment where both sides needs to give to get a result they both want. It's a key moment of leverage to get it done. But he's now saying, we can do that later. And remember, he's already taken it out of conversations, two points this year, when they were negotiating for government funding. So it seems like he keeps putting that off.

MARTIN: So where does this go now?

DETROW: It is unclear. There are...


MARTIN: Somehow, I knew you were going to say that...


MARTIN: ...It's unclear.

DETROW: And remember, there is a six-month timeline here because of a step that President Trump and the Trump administration took last week. So as these talks continue - as all leaders say, yeah, we want to get to the finish line, but we don't know how exactly we're going to get there, there are 800,000 people or so who have real concerns about what this means for their future and their lives.

KELLY: And then the big question mark of, how much is Trump's base going to put up with this?

DETROW: Exactly.

KELLY: He said on the campaign trail he was going to walk back DACA. He said on the campaign trail he was going to build a wall. And so far, no deal.

MARTIN: Not so much so far.

All right, Scott Detrow, we'll have you back to cover more of this. Thanks so much.

DETROW: Thank you.


MARTIN: We're going to turn now to Silicon Valley and new controversies for Facebook and Google. Right, Mary Louise?

KELLY: That is right. So Google is being accused of gender discrimination, of paying women less for doing the same work as men. And Facebook is in the news again for its ad-buying policies. This is investigative journalists over at ProPublica. And they have discovered that Facebook is taking money to connect advertisers with, quote, "Jew haters."

MARTIN: OK. That phrase in particular demands more explanation.

KELLY: Yeah.

MARTIN: We're going to get into it with NPR's Aarti Shahani.

Hey, Aarti.


MARTIN: What exactly did Facebook do?

SHAHANI: (Laughter) Well, ProPublica did some really simple, clever reporting. OK, the official line from Facebook is hate speech is in violation of our community standards, and we don't tolerate it. The reality is Facebook is creating tools to sell it.

ProPublica decided to go into Facebook, not as a regular user but in the advertising section. It's automated online. You know, it's not like they called a customer service line. And they selected terms like, we want to target ads to people who expressed interest in Jew hater and how to burn Jews. Facebook...

MARTIN: Wait. I'm sorry. So people - how do you know someone expresses interest in those things?

SHAHANI: Because Facebook is monitoring the things that you visit, the things that you actually like, the groups that you join.

MARTIN: And this...

SHAHANI: So there are lots of different factors that help them to know, what are things that would resonate with you as a user?


SHAHANI: And so Facebook accepted the money, $30, and placed the ad for a ProPublica. And, you know, just to be clear, what ProPublica placed was links to a news article. Then, ProPublica called Facebook and said, you guys are letting us target to anti-Semitic subgroups.

Those ad terms have since disappeared from the platform. And Facebook says that they were not common or widespread.

MARTIN: Wow. So that seems like a big oversight on the company's part. Right?

SHAHANI: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, think of it this way - Facebook's business - OK? - it's based on letting advertisers do exactly what ProPublica did, which is targeting the most personal, even insidious parts of ourselves, you know, their users. There's an industry term for this. OK? It's called psychographic marketing. In the old days, if you were placing ads, you relied on demographics. But with psychographics, you go deeper. You don't just advertise to, say, you know, men in Baltimore age 19 to 35 who are black. You can add interest terms, like cop killer. And if Facebook zaps that term, you can pick a proxy, say, a band or movie that's about mowing down cops.

MARTIN: Wow, dark parts of ourselves. OK. So quickly - I'm asking you to do a lot of work here. But we mentioned this other controversy around Google. What's going on?

SHAHANI: Right. So on Thursday, plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit in California. It's on behalf of all women employed by Google in the state over the last four years. And the claim is that Google is breaking the law - labor laws, that is - by paying women less than men for substantially similar work. And it's notable, several women have stepped up in Silicon Valley to talk about discrimination in the last few months. So I think we're going to see more legal practice around this.

MARTIN: All right, NPR's Aarti Shahani.

Thanks so much, Aarti.

SHAHANI: Thank you.


KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.