Top News: Tensions high, Biden invites Israel’s new PM to Washington Associated Press New satellite images show Russia may be preparing to test nuclear powered ‘Skyfall’ missile CNN politics Nuclear-test-ban body chief seeks to untangle challenge of ratification Reuters United States Northrop Grumman opens missile defense futures lab in Huntsville Automation.com8/18/2021 Northrop Grumman Corporation recently opened its new Missile Defense Futures Lab (MDFL) in Huntsville. The company’s MDFL is pioneering change with speed and precision to develop, test and field an integrated missile defense system. East Asia ANALYSIS: U.S. commitment to Taiwan under scrutiny after Afghanistan’s fall PoliticoTong Zhao 8/19/2021 The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban may not have immediate implications for the credibility of U.S. commitment to Taiwan. But the Afghan National Army’s rapid collapse and the American military’s hasty withdrawal highlight an important fact for decision makers in Washington, Taipei and Beijing: The U.S.’ future commitment to defending Taiwan is inherently interconnected with Taiwan’s own commitment to defending itself. ANALYSIS: Experts split over impact of US pullout from Afghanistan on N. Korea issue The Korea TimesKang Seung-woo 8/19/2021 The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is drawing mixed responses here, on speculation that it could leave room for Washington to concentrate efforts on the North Korean nuclear issue that seems to have been put on the back burner under the new Joe Biden administration. OPINION: China’s new silos: nuclear arms control more urgent than ever The InterpreterGareth Evans 8/19/2021 A world with much lower numbers of nuclear weapons, with very few of them physically deployed, with practically none of them on high-alert launch status and with every nuclear-armed state visibly committed to never being the first to use them, would still be very far from being perfect. No one should dream of settling for that as the endpoint. But, with the latest wake-up call from China, it is a start the world now increasingly desperately needs. OPINION: Price of resuming talks with North Korea The Korea TimesTroy Stangerone 8/19/2021 One challenge that negotiators face is determining under what conditions are they willing to resume negotiations with North Korea on its nuclear weapons and missile programs. Middle East Tensions high, Biden invites Israel’s new PM to Washington Associated Press8/18/2021 President Joe Biden has invited Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to Washington next week to discuss Iran as well as Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians, the White House said Wednesday. Iran ramps up uranium enrichment as nuclear talks stall Al-Monitor8/18/2021 Iran says its scientists have ramped up production of near-weapons grade uranium, the latest breach of the landmark nuclear accord that world powers are trying to salvage. Russia and Europe New satellite images show Russia may be preparing to test nuclear powered ‘Skyfall’ missile CNN politics8/18/2021 New satellite images obtained by CNN show Russia may be preparing another test of its nuclear-powered cruise missile, known as “Skyfall”– a controversial weapon that is designed to defeat US defense systems. Russia is top military threat to U.S. homeland, Air Force General says USNI News8/18/2021 Russia, with its array of hard-to-detect cruise missiles and advanced submarines, poses the primary military threat to the American homeland today, the commander of U.S. Northern Command said Tuesday. International Nuclear-test-ban body chief seeks to untangle challenge of ratification Reuters8/18/2021 The new head of the body that would police a global ban on nuclear tests hopes to bring that ban into force by breaking down the main barrier – getting countries such as Iran and Pakistan to ratify it – into regional clusters, he told Reuters.