Connect with us

International

South says North Korea faked launch of so-called ‘monster’ missile

Published

on

North Korea claimed to have successfully test-fired last Thursday a Hwasong-17 missile -- a long-range ICBM that analysts say may be capable of carrying multiple warheads

North Korea faked the launch of what analysts have dubbed its “monster missile” last week, Seoul’s military said Wednesday, adding that the test was, in reality, likely the same intercontinental ballistic missile Pyongyang fired in 2017.

North Korea last Friday claimed to have successfully test-fired a Hwasong-17 missile — a long-range ICBM that analysts say may be capable of carrying multiple warheads — which it first unveiled at a military parade in 2020.

But South Korea’s defence ministry told AFP that Seoul and Washington have now concluded that the launch was actually of a Hwasong-15, an ICBM that Pyongyang test-fired in 2017.

“US and South Korean intelligence has determined that what was fired on March 24 was a Hwasong-15,” the defence ministry official told AFP.

Both ICBMs are potentially capable of hitting the mainland United States.

Seoul and Tokyo had separately confirmed at the time that the March 24 missile had flown higher and longer than any previous test — but analysts later pointed to discrepancies in North Korea’s account.

The false announcement was likely an attempt by Pyongyang to compensate for a failed launch on March 16, when a missile, which analysts said was actually the Hwasong-17, exploded shortly after launch.

According to Seoul-based specialist website NK News, debris from the failed test fell in or near Pyongyang as a red-tinged ball of smoke zigzagged across the sky.

READ ALSO:

“Pyongyang residents must have been shocked” by the failed launch, and it may have affected public opinion of the Kim regime, lawmaker Ha Tae-keung of the conservative opposition People’s Power Party (PPP), told reporters.

North Korea’s state media — Rodong Sinmun and KCNA news agency — did not report on the failed launch at the time.

They typically carry reports on successful weapons tests within 24 hours of launch, often with photographs.

But the March 24 launch was trumpeted in state media, with KCTV releasing a slick video purportedly showing the giant missile being successfully test-fired.

Analysts have pointed out discrepancies in the footage which may indicate parts of the March 24 launch were faked.

– ‘Propaganda value’ –

The isolated country’s economy is reeling from UN sanctions over leader Kim Jong Un’s weapons programs and a two-year-long self-imposed Covid blockade.

“Not only does the Kim regime derive pride and legitimacy from its nuclear and missile programs, it portrays building military strength against external threats as moral justification for domestic economic suffering,” Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, told AFP.

The “successful” launch as portrayed in state-controlled media has significant “propaganda value” for the Kim regime, he added.

Analysts have warned that North Korea will likely launch a military reconnaissance satellite and conduct tactical nuclear warhead tests later this year.

On Monday, Pyongyang’s state media reported that its leader Kim Jong Un had vowed to build up “overwhelming” and unstoppable military power.

AFP

International

23 years old Nigerian accused of raping Australian tourist in Indonesia

Published

on

A 23-year-old Nigerian tourist risks 12 years in prison after an alleged sexual crime against a 31-year-old tourist in Kuta, Indonesia.

report by Daily Mail revealed that the woman, who is an Australian, was raped after she met up with the Nigerian man on Friday, December 2.

The report also noted that the duo met on a dating app on December 1 and agreed to meet at a bar in Kuta the following day.

Although the Indonesian police are still searching for the Nigerian man, they alleged that he hurriedly took the woman to his hotel after drinking at the bar.

READ ALSO:

The woman was sexually abused at the hotel and had cuts and bruises to her arms, hands and waist.

Witnesses said they saw the Australian staggering after drinking at the bar in Kuta.

FIJ gathered online that the Indonesian law provides a maximum of 12-year sentence for anyone convicted of physical sexual abuse.

Continue Reading

International

Comoros ex-president Sambi jailed for life for ‘high treason’

Published

on

Former Comorian President Ahmed Abdallah Sambi (2nd R), escorted by Gendarmes, arrives at the courthouse in Moroni on November 21, 2022. – Sambi, who served as president from 2006-2011 and is the main opponent of current leader Azali Assoumani, has been held under house arrest since May 2018.
Sambi was originally placed under house arrest for disturbing public order.
Three months later he was placed under pre-trial detention for embezzlement, corruption and forgery, over a scandal involving the sale of Comorian passports to stateless people living in Gulf nations. (Photo by Ibrahim YOUSSOUF / AFP)

A court in the Comoros on Monday handed down a life sentence for high treason to ex-president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, who was convicted of selling passports to stateless people living in the Gulf.

Sambi, 64, an arch-rival of President Azali Assoumani, was sentenced by the State Security Court, a special judicial body whose rulings cannot be appealed.

“He betrayed the mission entrusted to him by the Comorians,” public prosecutor Ali Mohamed Djounaid told the court last week as he requested a life sentence.

Sambi, who led the small Indian Ocean archipelago between 2006 and 2011, pushed through a law in 2008 allowing the sale of passports for high fees.

The scheme aimed at the so-called bidoon — an Arab minority numbering in the tens of thousands who cannot obtain citizenship.

READ ALSO:

The former president was accused of embezzling millions of dollars under the scheme.

The prosecution said the cost was more than $1.8 billion — more than the impoverished nation’s GDP.

“They gave thugs the right to sell Comorian nationality as if they were selling peanuts,” said Eric Emmanuel Sossa, a lawyer for civilian plaintiffs.

But Sambi’s French lawyer Jean-Gilles Halimi said “no evidence” of missing money or bank accounts had been put forward to suggest a crime.

Sambi refused to attend the trial after a brief appearance at the first hearing, as his lawyers said there were no guarantees he would be judged fairly.

He was originally prosecuted for corruption, but the charges were reclassified as high treason, a crime that “does not exist in Comorian law,” Halimi said.

Sambi had already spent four years behind bars before he faced trial, far exceeding the maximum eight months. He was originally placed under house arrest for disturbing public order.

Guardian

Continue Reading

International

UK university workers begin strike over ‘falling pay, brutal workloads’

Published

on

Thousands of university and college staff in the United Kingdom, including lecturers, librarians and researchers, have declared a strike to demand pay increase and improved working conditions.

The University and College Union (UCU), the UK trade union for university staff, said the strike, referred to as the biggest in decades, is to improve quality in the education sector.

The UCU “represents over 120,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians, technicians, professional staff and postgraduates in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK”.

“This is the biggest week in our history. Every single university takes strike action on Thursday and Friday. We need every member, student and supporter on our picket lines on Thursday to show the employers that this time is different,” the union said in a statement.

Announcing the strike on Wednesday, Jo Grady, UCU’s general secretary, warned of a “bigger action” unless employers improved their offers.

“Staff are burnt out but they are fighting back and they will bring the whole sector to a standstill,” she said.

READ ALSO:

“Vice-chancellors only have themselves to blame. Their woeful leadership has led to the biggest vote for strike action ever in our sector. Students are standing with staff because they know this can’t go on.”

The strike, which began on Thursday, will also hold on November 25 and November 30.

Commenting on the development on Thursday, Grady expressed satisfaction with the turnout of university staff.

“Today’s picket lines are huge. 70,000 university staff have turned out like never before, defying bullying tactics from management to show they will no longer accept falling pay, pension cuts, brutal workloads and gig-economy working conditions,” she was quoted as saying, according to UCL.

“If vice-chancellors doubted the determination of university staff to save our sector, then today has been a rude awakening for them.”

The strike has affected over 2.5 million students, some of who are standing in solidarity with their lecturers.

Lawyers, nurses, postal workers and many others have also protested to seek pay rises that match the soaring inflation in the country.

The latest protests come after the UK’s National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers announced on Tuesday that more than 40,000 rail workers will stage strikes in December and January, disrupting travel for scores of people during the festive season.

The union said members will have demonstrations for four days from December 13 and in the first week of January.

The UK has been battling difficult economic situations due to surging energy costs arising from the Russia-Ukraine war.

Earlier in August, the Bank of England warned that inflation would climb to just over 13 percent in 2022.

It also projected that the country would enter a recession from the fourth quarter of 2022 until late 2023.

In November, the country’s inflation rate jumped in the last 12 months to 11.1 percent in October — up by one percent from August’s inflation rate.

The Cable

Continue Reading

Trending