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North Korea Fires Long-Range Rocket Successfully... Obama Admin Was 'Surprised'...

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North Korea fired a long-range rocket Wednesday morning in its second launch under its new leader, defying warnings from the U.N. and Washington only days before South Korean presidential elections.

North Korea declared the launch of a rocket and satellite a success, and state television planned a special broadcast about the launch at noon (0300 GMT).

South Korean and Japanese officials confirmed that liftoff took place shortly before 10 a.m. (0100 GMT). Along with the U.S., they had been urging North Korea to refrain from a launch widely seen as a cover for a test of banned ballistic missile technology.

South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told a nationally televised news conference that a South Korean Aegis-equipped destroyer deployed in the Yellow Sea detected the launch but South Korea still didn't know the launch was successful. North Korea had indicated technical problems with the rocket and recently extended its launch window to Dec. 29.

Japan said one part of the rocket landed west of the Korean Peninsula and another part was expected to have landed east of the Philippines. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak planned an emergency national security council meeting Wednesday, and Japan protested the rocket launch.

Read more via FOX News...

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