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Report: N. Korea fires long-range rocket

Published By United Press International
SEOUL, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- North Korea, defying international warnings and a U.N. resolution, Wednesday fired a long-range rocket, South Korean news reports said.

Yonhap News Agency, quoting the South Korean Defense Ministry, said North Korea launch the rocket at 9:51 a.m. local time.

The report quoted the Japanese government that some debris from the rocket fell into waters off the Philippines at 10:05 a.m. after passing over Okinawa.

The isolated Communist country had earlier extended the launch window until Dec. 29 from its earlier Dec. 10-22 period. The North has maintained the launch was designed to put an Earth satellite in space, but critics, including the United States, suspect it was designed to test a ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

A similar test in April failed, earning North Korea strong condemnation from the United Nations.

A South Korean military official had told Yonhap Tuesday the North had removed its UNH-3 rocket from the launch pad in Dongchang-Ri because of a "technical deficiency."

Min Kyung-joo, the chief of South Korea's Naro Space Center, had said it was clearly a major problem. An official told Yonhap the problem appeared to have been in the direction control system.
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Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa