• US, Asian allies hit N. Korea with new sanctions after rocket launch

    11/Feb/2016 // 181 Viewers

     

    The United States and its Asian allies tightened the economic screws on North Korea Thursday, with the US Senate adopting fresh sanctions and South Korean firms abandoning a joint industrial park.
     
    The unilateral moves, which included Japanese sanctions, came with UN Security Council members still stalled on how far to go in punishing the North for its latest nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.
     
    Following Seoul's surprise decision to shut down the Kaesong industrial zone in North Korea, hundreds of South Korean trucks crossed the border Thursday morning to retrieve finished goods and equipment from the factories there.
     
    Defending what it called an "unavoidable" decision to close the jointly run park, Seoul said North Korea had been using the hundreds of millions of dollars in hard-currency that it earned from Kaesong to fund its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.
     
    The move was slammed as "utterly incomprehensible" by owners of the 124 South Korean companies operating factories in the estate, who said their businesses were being destroyed by politics.
     
    "I'm speechless at what has happened," said Jang Ik-Ho, a manager with an engineering company in the complex.
     
    "The companies have all done our best to make things work, and now this happens. What did we do to deserve this?" Jang said, as he prepared to cross into the North.
     
    Seoul has called on Pyongyang to ensure the "safe return of our citizens" amid concerns that the North Korean authorities might refuse to let everyone leave the park, which lies 10 kilometres (six miles) over the border.
     
    In September 2014, Pyongyang drafted a new operational regulation -- rejected by Seoul -- that would have allowed the North to detain South Korean businessmen in Kaesong in the event of an unresolved business dispute.
     
    Safety concerns
     
    "It would be a lie to say I'm not worried about my personal safety," said one textile company operative, Yoon Sang-Young.
     
    Several people who crossed back into the South on Thursday said they had noticed an increased military presence in Kaesong, including armed soldiers carrying backpacks and sleeping bags.
     
    Born out of the "sunshine" reconciliation policy of the late 1990s, Kaesong opened in 2004 and proved remarkably resilient, riding out repeated crises that ended every other facet of inter-Korean cooperation.
     
    The only exception was in 2013 during a period of heightened cross-border tensions when Pyongyang effectively shut down the zone for five months by withdrawing its 53,000 workers.
     
    There has so far been no official reaction from Pyongyang to the shutdown.
     
    US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel welcomed Seoul's initiative.
     
    "More steps are needed to convince the (North Korean) leadership that it is not going to be possible to have access to the international economic system let alone economic or financial aid as long as North Korea continues to pursue nuclear and missile programmes," Russel said.
     
    New US sanctions
     
    The US Senate later voted unanimously to adopt a bill expanding sanctions.
     
    The measure, which must be reconciled with a similar House version that passed last month, would punish any person or entity importing goods, technology or training related to weapons of mass destruction, or engaging in human rights abuses.
     
    Penalties would include the seizure of assets, visa bans and denial of government contracts.
     
    It also aims to cut down on money laundering and narcotics trafficking -- two major illicit activities believed to be funnelling millions of dollars into leader Kim Jong-Un's inner circle.
     
    "This dictatorial regime must learn that its actions have consequences," said House Speaker Paul Ryan.
     
    Japan also unveiled unilateral measures on Wednesday, including prohibiting North Korean ships from entering Japanese ports and a total entry ban on North Korean nationals into Japan.
     
    North Korea's main diplomatic protector, China, has been resisting the US-led push for tougher UN sanctions.
     
    Although fiercely critical of Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, Beijing is more concerned at the prospect of Kim's regime being pushed to collapse -- triggering chaos on China's border.
     
    (AFP)


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  • FG condemns Indian Minister over statement on Nigerians

    11/Jun/2016 // 960 Viewers

     


    PARIS, JUNE 11, 2016: (DGW)  Naik referred to Nigerians with the pejorative: “Negroes causing problems in Goa and other parts of India.

    “They create problems everywhere. We do not want Nigerian tourists.

    “The Nigerians should be asked to leave India, we don’t want Nigerian tourists.

    “The Government of India should ban Nigerians from entering India.”

    Reacting to this statement, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, says the statement against Nigerians as ''condescending and unacceptable'' adding that the statement does not represent that of the government and people of India.

     “As Nigerians, we respect humanity and will not descend so low to use derogatory words even for Indians in Nigeria who are involved in illegal activities. Rather, we will allow the law to take its course.”

    However, she adjured Nigerians in the Diaspora to be law-abiding and to also be good ambassadors in their various countries of residence.


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  • North Korean leader Kim orders more nuclear tests: KCNA

    11/Mar/2016 // 306 Viewers

     

    SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watched a ballistic missile launch test and ordered the country to improve nuclear attack capability by continuing to conduct more tests, the official KCNA news agency reported on Friday.

     

    The report did not say when the test took place but it was likely referring to the launch of two short-range missiles by North Korea on Thursday that flew 500 km (300 miles) and splashed into the sea.

    "Dear comrade Kim Jong Un said work ... must be strengthened to improve nuclear attack capability and issued combat tasks to continue nuclear explosion tests to assess the power of newly developed nuclear warheads and tests to improve nuclear attack capability," KCNA said.

    Tension rose sharply on the Korean peninsula after the North conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and fired a long-range rocket last month leading to the U.N. Security Council to adopt a new sanctions resolution.

    Conducting more nuclear tests would be in clear violation of U.N. sanctions which also ban ballistic missile tests, although Pyongyang has rejected them. North Korea has a large stockpile of short-range missiles and is developing long-range and intercontinental missiles.

    The North Korean leader was quoted in state media on Wednesday as saying that his country had miniaturized nuclear warheads to mount on ballistic missiles. South Korea said it did not believe that North Korea had successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead or deployed a functioning intercontinental ballistic missile.

    Pyongyang has conducted four nuclear tests in the past decade and claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb in January but most experts expressed doubt saying the blast was too small to back up the assertion.

    North Korea has issued nearly daily reports this week of Kim's instructions to fight South Korea and the United States as those two allies began large-scale military drills.

    North Korea called the annual drills "nuclear war moves" and threatened to respond with an all-out offensive. Kim last week ordered his country to be ready to use nuclear weapons in the face of what he sees as growing threats from enemies.


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  • Breaking: Another Nigerian, UCHENNA, others busted in INDIA in anti-drug raid

    12/Feb/2017 // 977 Viewers

     

    India’s Delhi Police Crime Branch claimed to have busted in two incidents,  two drug trafficking modules with the arrest of three drug traffickers, including a Nigerian.

    The accused were identified as Uchenna (28), from Nigeria,  Indian Ajay (33) and his associate Naresh Kumar (39), from Mohan Garden in west Delhi’s Uttam Nagar.

    The Hindu newspaper said as much as 170 grams of cocaine and 590 grams of fine-quality heroin estimated to be worth a consolidated amount of ₹2 crore, about $320,000 in the underground drug market were seized from the trio, said Ravindra Yadav, joint commissioner of police (crime).

    In the first incident, Mr. Yadav said, information was received that Uchena would arrive near the Dwarka Mor between 2 p.m and 3 p.m following which a trap was laid near the local taxi stand leading to Uchenne’s apprehension on Saturday.

    Around 330 grams of fine-quality heroin and 170 grams of fine-quality cocaine valued at 1.5 crore, $240,000 in the international market was seized from him.

    In the second incident, a tip-off led a Crime Branch team to Ajay and Naresh Kumar from near the local TVS Bajaj showroom on the Mor road leading towards Vikas Nagar.
     
    The duo were apprehended and 260 grams of fine quality heroin was seized from Ajay.

    The heroin is roughly worth 50 lakh in the international market, according to the police.


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  • Breaking News: Explosion at Shanghai Airport Injures at Least Five People

    12/Jun/2016 // 499 Viewers

     

    SHANGHAI—At least five people were hurt Sunday in an attack in front of check-in counters at Shanghai’s main international airport, which police blamed on a man who tossed an explosive made from a beer bottle.

    Police said that after the man threw the bottle—just steps away from a check-in counter at Shanghai Pudong International Airport’s Terminal 2—about 2.30 p.m. local time, he took out a knife and cut his throat. He was taken to a hospital and is in critical condition.

    Four others, including a Philippine national, were hospitalized with cuts from glass fragments, according to a statement by Shanghai police posted online.

    Police said the explosive was homemade and that an investigation had started. Other reports, including from state media, said the attack involved fireworks.

    The incident comes at the start of a week expected to draw global media attention to Shanghai as Walt Disney Co. officially opens a theme park in the city, its first in mainland China.

    An unverified video shared on social media showed what appeared to be a parcel or suitcase exploding with small reddish-colored blasts close to check-in counters. The video indicated passengers lining up to check in scattered just ahead of the explosion, suggesting a moment of warning. The explosion appeared to leave most of the people nearby unhurt.

    Another video showed a light plume of smoke wafting toward the terminal’s high ceiling, and a photo showed medical authorities rushing a person with a white bandage on their neck on a stretcher through the terminal.

    The blast comes days before the scheduled opening of Shanghai Disneyland a short distance from the airport.

    Other international events are currently under way in Shanghai include a major financial conference, Lujiazui Forum, and an annual film festival that has drawn Hollywood stars including Ian McKellen.

    Authorities said that apart from three flights, the airport was operating normally on Sunday evening. The area where the blast occurred houses the check-in area for several Asian and European carriers. - WSJ


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  • U.S., South Korea stage assault drill; North threatens to wipe out enemies

    12/Mar/2016 // 362 Viewers

     

    By Do-gyun Kim

     

    POHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - U.S. and South Korean troops staged a big amphibious landing exercise on Saturday, storming simulated North Korean beach defenses amid heightened tension and threats by the North to annihilate its enemies.

    The landing and assault drills on South Korea's east coast were part of eight weeks of joint exercises between the allies which the South has said are the largest ever. The North has denounced the exercises as "nuclear war moves" and threatened to respond with an all-out offensive.

    Tension on the Korean peninsula has been high since the North conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and followed that with a long-range rocket launch last month, triggering new U.N. sanctions.

    About 55 U.S. marine aircraft and 30 U.S. and South Korean ships, including the USS Bonhomme Richard and USS Boxer, which carry AV-8B Harrier attack jets and V-22 Osprey aircrafts, took part in the assault on beaches near Pohang city, the U.S. navy said.

    "They will penetrate notional enemy beach defenses, establish a beach head, and rapidly transition forces and sustainment ashore," the U.S. military based in South Korea said in a statement before the exercise.

    The North's military said it was prepared to counter the U.S. and South Korean forces "with an ultra-precision blitzkrieg strike of the Korean style".

    "The revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK holding tightly the arms to annihilate the enemies with towering hatred for them are waiting for the dignified Supreme Command to issue an order to launch a preemptive strike of justice," it said in comments carried by the state KCNA news agency.

    DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    CNN reported on Saturday that North Korea has been searching for one of its submarines that has been missing for days off its east coast.

    The submarine may be adrift under the sea or have sunk, perhaps after a technical problem during an exercise, CNN quoted U.S. officials with intelligence of secret U.S. monitoring of the North's activities as saying.

    North Korea has said it is developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles although doubts about that were raised after Western experts said publicly released footage of tests appeared to be fake.

    On Thursday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watched as his forces fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea. This month the North conducted drills with what it said were newly developed large caliber rocket launchers.

    Kim has ordered the country to improve its nuclear attack capability by conducting more tests, in defiance of a U.N. Security Council resolution adopted last week in response to the isolated state's latest nuclear test.

    Kim also said his country had miniaturized nuclear warheads to mount on ballistic missiles, although the U.S. and South Korean governments have expressed doubts about that too.

    The South Korean and U.S. militaries have said they had notified the North of "the non-provocative nature" of the exercises involving about 17,000 American troops and more than 300,000 South Koreans.

    The United States has about 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea.


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  • Breaking News: Deadly bomb blast, dozens of casualties reported

    12/Nov/2016 // 2320 Viewers

     

    Reports coming in say , it is all tears, sorrow,  and blood as a heavy bomb exploded killing  dozens of people  on Saturday  and with many other people sustaining various degree of mortal injuries    in the restive southwestern province of Balochistan also in southern Pakistan, Al Jazeera has reported.

    Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from the capital Islamabad, said the blast occurred 30km outside Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, in Hub district.

    The bombing at the remote Shah Noorani shrine, 100km north of the port city of Karachi, took place while hundreds of people were inside, according to local television.

    The religious shrine attracts a lot of people at this time of the year from other parts of Pakistan.

    Emergency services were facing difficulties reaching the site because of its remote location.

    Dozens of wounded people were being moved to the nearby town of Hub and to Karachi, rescue official Hakeem Nasi told Geo TV.


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  • Soldier's WW II Letters to Wife Find Son 69 Years Later

    12/Oct/2016 // 268 Viewers

     

    When Chuck Kunellis opened his mailbox last week, he found a handwritten letter postmarked from Australia.

    Kunellis, 71, of Fair Oaks, was puzzled. He had visited Australia, but didn't remember meeting the letter writer, John Armstrong.

    But when Kunellis opened the letter, his puzzlement changed to astonishment. Armstrong, a stamp collector, had sent Kunellis a scanned image of an envelope that was addressed in his own father's distinctive handwriting.

    "Whoa!" Kunellis said, recalling his reaction in an interview with ABCNews.com.

    Armstrong explained in his letter that that he was in possession of two letters from Chris Kunellis, who had been serving in the Army in Italy during World War II.

    "He said that he had purchased a bundle of letters from a dealer and he came across this and thought it might be something that its recipient would like to have …," Kunellis said. The letters had been addressed to his mother, Phyllis.

    Armstrong provided Kunellis an email address.

    "I immediately emailed him back said 'Yes, I'm the right one. I would like very much to have those letters,' and within, like, three or four days I had them," Kunellis said.

    From his post in Italy, Chris Kunellis had written the letters to his wife in June and July 1944. The letters were postmarked, but never made it to her. Instead, they somehow found their way to an American stamp dealer, who sold them to Armstrong.

    Kunellis said he experienced "an element of shock" when he saw the letters.

    "I felt almost like a child again," he said.

    Kunellis' father, whom he never thought of as being a romantic, started the July letter with the tender opening, "My most beloved darling."

    Chris Kunellis went on to tell his wife that he'd received her airmail, and mentioned his sister and brother. The second letter was more of the same catching up with his family, Chuck Kunellis said.

    Chuck Kunellis was born on Dec. 10, 1941, three days after Japan attacked the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. His father was placed on alert just days later, and went off to war. Chris Kunellis wouldn't see his wife and son again until 1946.

    Chuck Kunellis' parents, who have both died, never mentioned the two letters. Since his father wrote frequently, a few undelivered letters may not have been missed, Kunellis explained.

    In an interview with ABC News affiliate KXTV in Sacramento, Armstrong explained that he sent the letters to Chuck Kunellis "because that's where they belong."

    Armstrong collects World War II postal memorabilia from Italy. He says lots of letters were not delivered during the war.

    "It was quite chaotic. The fact that any man got any mail was quite astonishing," he told KXTV.

    Armstrong is also building a postal exhibit focusing on the stories behind the stamps, and he's trying to find soldier's war records to tell whether they survived the war.

    "I've been a historian all my life. It's the stories that get to me," he said. "An envelope on my desk doesn't have a story until I start looking at it. If I can finish the story by sending it to the person who it relates to, that's great."


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  • China court rules against same-sex couple's marriage application

    13/Apr/2016 // 211 Viewers

     

    BEIJING (AFP) - A Chinese court ruled against two men seeking to marry, it said Wednesday, as more sexual minorities push for equal rights in the country.
    Sun Wenlin, 27, sued a civil affairs bureau after it refused to grant him and his partner, Hu Mingliang, a marriage certificate.

    The Furong district court in Changsha, in the central province of Hunan, agreed in January to hear the case, a move many observers considered a landmark development in itself.

    But the court quickly dismissed the suit after hearing it on Wednesday.

    "According to our country's relevant marriage laws and regulations, marriage is only between a man and a woman," it said on an official social media account.

    The couple's lawyer said they would appeal against the verdict.

    "This is the first gay marriage case in China, and I believe there will be more gay people fighting for their rights in different ways," attorney Shi Fulong told AFP.

    China's judicial system is firmly under the control of the Communist Party, and so-called politically sensitive rulings are rarely decided based purely on legal matters.

    China only officially decriminalised homosexuality in 1997, and listed it as a mental illness for another four years.

    More recently tolerance has grown in larger Chinese cities, but conservative attitudes remain deeply ingrained and discrimination against gays and lesbians is common.

    The same-sex marriage case is just the latest in an increasingly vocal tide advocating for equal rights for China's sexual minorities.

    A tribunal in the southwestern city of Guiyang is hearing a transgender discrimination suit where a man, identified only as Chen, who was born female, claimed he was fired from his job at a health clinic.

    According to the Guiyang Evening News, a manager at the Ciming Medical Centre said: "Chen's appearance really didn't fit our standards."

    Chen is now claiming he was unfairly dismissed and is seeking 2,000 yuan ($309) in compensation at a labour tribunal. He has also demanded an apology.

    But the Changsha couple's lawyer remained upbeat about prospects for same-sex couples.

    "We lost, but I think it is just a matter of time for same-sex partners being allowed to get married," Shi said.


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  • Breaking News: Tears as powerful earthquake strikes again

    13/Nov/2016 // 562 Viewers

     

    A powerful earthquake  measuring 7.4 magnitude reportedly struck causing large-scale destruction   just after midnight (11:02) on Sunday some 95 km about (59 miles from  Christchurch,  New Zealand’s South Island, BBC has just reported.

    Recall Christchurch is still recovering from the 2011 earthquake that killed 185 people and destroyed the city centre.

    New Zealand lies on the notorious Ring of Fire, the line of frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions that circles virtually the entire Pacific rim.

    There are no immediate reports of damage from the latest quake.
    ‘The Herald’ newspaper said the tremor was felt all the way to Wellington, where sirens sounded and people fled buildings into the streets, some of them crying.

    The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no tsunami threat, reports the BBC.


     


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