Pyongyang takes another step in developing nuclear capabilities; winner - Miss District of Columbia - born in Italy; Clapper says US under assault; China, Japan wake up to cyber issues.

North Korea: New long-range missile can carry heavy nuke

SEOUL, South Korea North Korea said Monday the missile it launched over the weekend was a new type of "medium long-range" ballistic rocket that can carry a heavy nuclear warhead. A jubilant leader Kim Jong Un promised more nuclear and missile tests and warned that North Korean weapons could strike the U.S. mainland and Pacific holdings.

North Korean propaganda must be considered with wariness Pyongyang has threatened for decades to reduce Seoul to a "sea of fire," for instance but Monday's claim, if confirmed, would mark another big advance toward the North's goal of fielding a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Some experts, including officials in Tokyo, estimate that Sunday's launch successfully tested a new type of missile in Pyongyang's arsenal.

The test is also an immediate challenge to South Korea's new leader, Moon Jae-in, a liberal elected last week who expressed a desire to reach out to North Korea. Pyongyang's aggressive push to boost its weapons program also makes it one of the Trump administration's most urgent foreign policy worries, though Washington has struggled to settle on a policy.

Clapper: US govt 'under assault' by Trump after Comey firing

WASHINGTON American democracy is "under assault" on separate fronts from President Donald Trump and Russia, the former U.S. intelligence chief warned Sunday, expressing dismay over the abrupt firing of FBI director James Comey amid a probe into Moscow's meddling in U.S. elections and possible ties with the Trump campaign.

As Trump works to fast-track Comey's successor, lawmakers from both parties urged him to steer clear of any politicians for the job and say he must "clean up the mess that he mostly created."

"I think, in many ways, our institutions are under assault, both externally and that's the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system," said James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence. "I think as well our institutions are under assault internally."

When he was asked, "Internally, from the president?" Clapper said, "Exactly."

Miss District of Columbia wins 2017 edition of Miss USA

LAS VEGAS The District of Columbia has won back-to-back Miss USA titles.

Kara McCullough, a 25-year-old chemist working for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was crowned Sunday at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on the Las Vegas Strip. She will go on to compete on the Miss Universe contest.

The runner-up was Miss New Jersey Chhavi Verg, a student at Rutgers University studying marketing and Spanish. The second runner-up was Miss Minnesota Meridith Gould, who is studying apparel retail merchandising at the University of Minnesota.

McCullough was born in Naples, Italy, and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She said she wants to inspire children to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Log in, look out: Cyber chaos spreads with workweek's start

TOKYO Global cyber chaos is spreading Monday as companies boot up computers at work following the weekend's worldwide "ransomware" cyberattack.

The extortion scheme has created chaos in 150 countries and could wreak even greater havoc as more malicious variations appear. The initial attack, known as "WannaCry," paralyzed computers running Britain's hospital network, Germany's national railway and scores of other companies and government agencies around the world.

As a loose global network of cybersecurity experts fought the ransomware hackers, Chinese state media said 29,372 institutions there had been infected along with hundreds of thousands of devices.

The Japan Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center, a nonprofit providing support for computer attacks, said 2,000 computers at 600 locations in Japan were reported affected so far.