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U.N. condemns North Korean satellite launch, threatens new sanctions (+video)

The United Nations on Sunday condemned North Korea’s satellite launch as a “dangerous and serious” violation of international restrictions, and threatened new sanctions aimed at dissuading the rogue nation from building missiles capable of delivering weapons against distant adversaries including the United States.

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China lets the good times roll for the ‘Year of the Monkey’ (+video)

BEIJING — China’s Spring Festival (or “Chinese New Year”) celebrations begin next week. The festival will usher in the Year of the Monkey — the ninth sign in the 12-year zodiac cycle, sandwiched between the sheep and the rooster. According to traditional Chinese belief, babies born this year — so-called monkey babies — will be smart, curious, cute and perhaps a bit condescending. Here’s a further look at the celebrations and some related numbers:

Signing of Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal opens up tough battle in US (+video)

WASHINGTON — Representatives of the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations on Thursday formally signed a sweeping free trade agreement reached last fall, setting in motion what is expected to be a hard battle for approval in national legislatures, none more contentious than in the U.S.