North Korea blast jolts Obama ahead of State of Union
WASHINGTON (AFP) - North Korea's nuclear blast thrust President Barack Obama into an alarming new overseas crisis on Tuesday, at the moment he hoped to use his annual State of the Union address to focus on jobs.
With a characteristic sense of timing, Pyongyang set off its underground nuclear test as Mr Obama polished a new call for action at home to tackle high unemployment and economic headwinds threatening the fragile recovery.
Less than a month into his second term, the president will step up to deliver the annual showpiece speech in the House of Representatives, and before a huge national television audience at 9:00 pm (10am Wednesday, Singapore time).
Mr Obama will strike the populist message that helped him defy tough times to win re-election in an address largely aimed at a domestic audience - a down payment from the stock of political capital he piled up in November.