South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Monday said Japan is a partner as the two countries face “common threats,” offering to improve ties between the allies of the US whose help Washington has sought in putting up a united front against the likes of China, Russia and North Korea. Yoon said in a speech to mark Japan’s World War II surrender and the end of its 1910-1945 colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula that he wants to “swiftly and properly improve” relations with Tokyo stemming from historical disputes. “When Korea-Japan relations move toward a common future, and when the mission of our times align, based on our shared universal values, it will also help us solve the historical problems that exist between our two countries,” Yoon said in the Liberation Day speech. Last month, the two countries’ foreign ministers met in Tokyo and said they would seek an early resolution to the issue of compensation for Koreans conscripted during the colonial period to work in factories and mines that helped power Japan’s Imperial Army. Ties between the neighbors fell to new lows under Yoon’s predecessor, South Korean president Moon Jae-in, over a series of court decisions awarding compensation to the former workers. Japan sees the decisions as unlawful and the issue as “settled completely and finally” under a 1965 agreement that established diplomatic ties and was accompanied by US$500 million in aid and loans. A plan being floated by Yoon for a joint fund between the governments stands little chance of support in Japan, still angry after a separate fund for women trafficked into Imperial Japanese Army brothels was scuttled by Moon. The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted an argument to the Supreme Court last month, asking for a delay of the verdict on liquidizing assets of a Japanese company to pay
Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to expand relations with North Korea, reaching out to his neighbor as the Kremlin scours the globe for weapons for its war in Ukraine. Putin sent congratulations to North Korea for its Liberation Day holiday yesterday, which marks the end of Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula. Although Putin regularly sends messages on the anniversary, this is the first one to be reported in North Korea’s state media since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. The message said that the two countries “would continue to expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts,” the Korean Central News Agency reported. In last year’s message, Putin highlighted World War II cooperation between the Soviet Union and Korean fighters, using similar language to say cooperation would contribute to security. North Korea, which has a rail link with Russia, has backed Putin’s invasion. It is one of the few countries to have recognized the independence of the Kremlin-controlled people’s republics Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. North Korea has also been stockpiling artillery for decades, leading some analysts to speculate that it could be a source of armaments for Putin. Russia’s ambassador to Pyongyang said that North Korea might be willing to send its workers to the two Russian-controlled breakaway areas in Ukraine, NK News reported last month. North Korea has for years sent its workers to Russia and China, where they earn hard currency desperately needed by Pyongyang. The US push to isolate Russia over Putin’s war in Ukraine, coupled with increasing animosity toward China, has enabled North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to bolster his nuclear deterrent without fear of facing more sanctions at the UN Security Council. There is almost no chance Russia or China, which have veto power at the council, would support any
Salman Rushdie is “on the road to recovery,” his agent confirmed Sunday, two days after the author of The Satanic Verses was stabbed at a lecture in New York. The announcement followed news that the lauded writer was on Saturday removed from a ventilator and able to talk. Literary agent Andrew Wylie cautioned that although 75-year-old Rushdie’s “condition is headed in the right direction,” his recovery would be long. Rushdie had a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and in an eye that he is likely to lose, Wylie had said previously. “Though his life changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty & defiant sense of humour remains intact,” Rushdie’s son Zafar Rushdie wrote in a Sunday statement that stressed the author remained in a critical condition. The family statement also thanked the “audience members who bravely leapt to his defence,” as well as police, doctors and “the outpouring of love and support.” Hadi Matar, 24, on Saturday pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges in what a prosecutor called “a targeted, unprovoked, preplanned attack” at western New York’s Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit education and retreat center. The attack was met with global shock and outrage, along with praise for the man who, for more than three decades — including nine years in hiding under the protection of the British government — has weathered death threats and a US$3 million bounty on his head over The Satanic Verses. “It’s an attack against his body, his life and against every value that he stood for,” said Henry Reese, cofounder of Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum, who was on stage with Rushdie and sustained a gash to his forehead and other minor injuries. They had planned to discuss the need for writers’ safety and freedom of expression. Authors, activists and government officials cited
‘ARCHAIC AND REDUNDANT’: Speakers are to be installed across the capital for daily pronouncements as old-school propaganda methods in places such as Myanmar return
Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, is famous for its noise pollution, with the sound of vehicles driving, horns blasting, construction hammering, hawkers yelling and neighbors singing karaoke combining in a discordant cacophony, but if the city government has its way, there will soon be one more source clamoring for ear space: loudspeakers blaring out state proclamations. The use of loudspeakers harkens back to Cold War-era information sharing and propaganda. They were officially retired by the city’s mayor in 2017, but started creeping back in a limited capacity during COVID-19. The government has since unveiled plans to roll out loudspeakers for daily announcements starting this year, aiming to cover the entire city by 2025. Political analyst Carl Thayer called the plan “archaic and redundant,” and at odds with the government’s usual “future-orientated” strategy with a “focus on digital technology.” “The average Vietnamese citizen prizes his/her independence to access news and information independently,” he said, adding that the government could easily use a neighborhood smartphone app instead. Human rights activist and Hanoi resident Nguyen Quang A said noise pollution in the city is already a “big problem,” and reintroducing loudspeakers into the mix is likely to be “very annoying” and even “torturing.” Another Hanoi resident, a local journalist, was even more blunt. “I’d say most people, myself included, think this is a stupid idea,” he said, asking to remain anonymous. “The loudspeakers were an integral part of life during the war time, when it warned people of incoming bombers and gave updates on the front line. Now it is at best a white noise machine, at worse a nuisance.” Nguyen Quang A said some local people would likely be “frustrated” but unable to do anything about it except complain on social media, while others would support it simply because they supported the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam. He called the decision “whimsical,”
Malaysia is likely to hold a general election this year, the head of the largest party in the ruling Barisan Nasional alliance was cited as saying by the Star newspaper and other local media. The public statement increases pressure on Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who has been resisting an early vote, saying he is dealing with economic issues, including rising food prices. United Malays National Organization (UMNO) president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that Ismail might have a different reading about the election date, but he would definitely have to consult with UMNO’s top leaders, the paper said. “I’m confident that it will be held this year because there are many indicators pointing in that direction,” the Star and media including state news agency Bernama quoted Zahid as saying after the closing of the alliance’s annual convention in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. UMNO has repeatedly urged the prime minister to bring forward the election, due to be held by September next year, to capitalize on a string of landslide wins in recent state polls. On Sunday, the prime minister said he would dissolve parliament if a survey by the women’s wing of Barisan Nasional shows that voters favor the coalition.
The Taliban on Monday marked the first anniversary of their return to power in Afghanistan with a national holiday, following a turbulent year that saw women’s rights crushed and a humanitarian crisis worsen. Exactly a year ago, the hardline Islamists captured Kabul after their nationwide lightning offensive against government forces ended 20 years of US-led military intervention. “We fulfilled the obligation of jihad and liberated our country,” said Niamatullah Hekmat, a fighter who entered Kabul on Aug. 15 last year just hours after then-Afghan president Ashraf Ghani fled the country. A chaotic withdrawal of foreign forces continued until Aug. 31, with tens of thousands of people rushing to Kabul’s airport hoping to be evacuated on any flight out of Afghanistan. Images of crowds storming the airport, climbing atop aircraft — and some clinging to a departing US military cargo plane as it rolled down the runway — aired on news bulletins around the world. Authorities have so far not announced any official celebrations to mark the anniversary, but state television said it would air special programs. However, Taliban fighters expressed happiness that their movement was now in power — even as aid agencies say that half the country’s 38 million people face extreme poverty. “The time when we entered Kabul, and when the Americans left, those were moments of joy,” said Hekmat, now a member of the special forces guarding the presidential palace. Yet for ordinary Afghans — especially women — the return of the Taliban has only increased hardships. Initially, the Taliban promised a softer version of the harsh Islamist rule that characterized their first stint in power from 1996 to 2001, but many restrictions have been imposed on women to comply with the movement’s austere vision of Islam. Tens of thousands of girls have been shut out of secondary schools, while women have been barred from returning to
CHERNOBYL MEMORIES: Alarm over the Zaporizhzhia plant has many people fearing the same fate as from the world’s worst nuclear accident, some Ukrainians have said
The risk of disaster at Europe’s largest nuclear plant is “increasing every day,” the mayor of the city where it is located said on Sunday, after Ukraine and Russia exchanged blame for fresh shelling around the facility. The Zaporizhzhia plant in southeastern Ukraine has been occupied by Russian forces since March, and Kyiv has accused Moscow of basing hundreds of soldiers and storing arms there. The facility has come under fire repeatedly in the past week, raising the specter of a nuclear catastrophe. “What is happening there is outright nuclear terrorism, and it can end unpredictably at any moment,” said Dmytro Orlov, the mayor of Energodar, where the plant is based. “The risks are increasing every day,” said, adding that there was mortar shelling on the plant “every day and night.” “The situation is hazardous, and what causes the most concern is that there is no de-escalation process,” he said. During his televised address on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of nuclear “blackmail” and using the plant to “intimidate people in an extremely cynical way.” He added that Russian troops were “hiding” behind the plant to stage bombings on the Ukrainian-controlled towns of Nikopol and Marganets. However, pro-Moscow officials in the occupied areas of Zaporizhzhia blamed the shelling on Ukrainian forces. Missiles fell “in the areas located on the banks of the Dnipro River and in the plant,” said Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Moscow-installed administration, without reporting any casualties or damage. The river divides the areas occupied by Russia and those under Ukraine’s control. Orlov said over the past 24 hours, Energodar — which he left at the end of April — was shelled for the first time leading to a dramatic increase in those hoping to evacuate. Amid safety fears, he warned that in the “near future” there might not be enough personnel to man the station. Kyiv
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is seeking legal advice over reports that his predecessor, Scott Morrison, was secretly sworn into three ministry positions while in government, accusing the former prime minister of “running a shadow government.” Without the knowledge of some senior cabinet colleagues — including then-Australian minister of finance Mathias Cormann — Morrison allegedly had himself secretly appointed as the minister for health, finance and resources at various times in office. In April last year, Australian Governor General David Hurley also reportedly appointed Morrison to oversee the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, according to federal court filings obtained by the Australian newspaper. Morrison’s then-Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce described the alleged arrangements as “very bad practice,” while a constitutional law expert said the alleged secrecy around the move was “bizarre.” “This is extraordinary and unprecedented,” Albanese said at a news conference in Melbourne, calling the alleged appointments “the sort of tin-pot activity that we would ridicule if it was in a non-democratic country.” “Australians knew during the election campaign that I was running a shadow [opposition] ministry. What they didn’t know was that Scott Morrison was running a shadow government,” Albanese said. A spokesperson for the governor general confirmed he had “appointed former prime minister Morrison to administer portfolios other than the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.” “It is not uncommon for ministers to be appointed to administer departments other than their portfolio responsibility. These appointments do not require a swearing-in ceremony — the governor general signs an administrative instrument on the advice of the prime minister,” the spokesperson said. “The decision whether to publicize appointments to administer additional portfolios is a matter for the government of the day.” Guardian Australia has confirmed that Cormann, the former finance minister, was not aware that Morrison had given himself the powers of the finance minister, and
The mass die-off of fish in the Oder River is an ecological catastrophe and it is not clear yet how long it will take the river to recover, German Federal Minister of the Environment Steffi Lemke said on Sunday. Lemke spoke at a news conference alongside her Polish counterpart, Anna Moskwa, after a meeting in Szczecin, a Polish city on the Oder River. The Oder runs from Czechia to the border between Poland and Germany before flowing into the Baltic Sea. Ten tonnes of dead fish were removed from it last week, but Mokswa said the cause of the mass die-off has not yet been determined. “So far, at least 150 samples of water from the Oder River have been tested. None of the studies have confirmed the presence of toxic substances. At the same time, we are testing fish. No mercury or other heavy metals have been found in them,” she said. Some Oder water samples were being sent to foreign laboratories to be tested for about 300 substances, she added. Both ministers said they were focused now on doing what they can to limit the damage to the river’s ecosystem. Lemke suggested that German authorities were not alerted quickly enough after dead fish were detected in Poland and said communications between the two countries should be improved.
NOVEL APPROACH: The new law follows Maori traditional views that the river is a living force, from the mountains to the sea, giving it the same rights as people
The Whanganui River is surging into the ocean, fattened from days of winter rain and yellowed from the earth and clay that has collapsed into its sides. Logs and debris hurtle past as dusk looms. Sixty-one-year-old Tahi Nepia is calmly paddling his outrigger canoe, called a waka ama in his indigenous Maori language, as it is buffeted from side to side. Before venturing out, he makes sure to ask permission from his ancestors in a prayer, or karakia. It is the top item on his safety list. He said his ancestors inhabit the river and each time he dips his paddle into the water he touches them. “You are giving them a mihimihi, you are giving them a massage,” Nepia said. “That’s how we see that river. It’s a part of us.” In 2017, New Zealand passed a groundbreaking law granting personhood status to the Whanganui River. The law declares that the river is a living whole, from the mountains to the sea, incorporating all its physical and metaphysical elements. The law is part of a settlement with the Whanganui Iwi, comprising Maori from a number of tribes who have long viewed the river as a living force. The novel legal approach set a precedent that has been followed by some other countries including Bangladesh, which in 2019 granted all its rivers the same rights as people. Five years after the New Zealand law was passed, 290km river upstream, the river’s enhanced standing has come to reflect a wider rebirth of Maori culture and a chance to reverse generations of discrimination against Maori and degradation of the river. Whanganui Maori have a saying: Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au: “I am the river, and the river is me.” Nepia, a caretaker at a Maori immersion school, is among a group of expert waka ama paddlers who
Hundreds of firefighters on Sunday battled a blaze in northern Spain that forced hundreds to evacuate and devastated swathes of land, officials said. The fire was raging in the Aragon region where about 300 firefighters are trying to contain the blaze with the help of helicopters. At least 1,500 people were evacuated from the rural region that includes a natural park in the Zaragoza province, the regional government said. The Aragon emergency services estimated that “thousands” of hectares have been destroyed by the fire. The “rapid spread” of the flames, stoked by winds, is “critical,” Aragon President Javier Lamban told media. Spain has faced 388 wildfires since the start of the year, fueled by scorching temperatures and drought conditions. The blazes have destroyed 261,930 hectares in Spain this year, more than in any other country in Europe, data from the European Forest Fire Information System showed. Fires have blazed in other European countries, including France, Greece and Portugal, making this year a record for wildfire activity on the continent. Scientists say human-induced climate change is making extreme weather events — including heat waves and droughts — more frequent and more intense.
Israeli air strikes on Syria killed three soldiers and wounded three others on Friday, state media said, after the latest such incident in the war-torn country. “The aggression led to the death of three soldiers, the wounding of three others,” Syria’s official news agency SANA said, quoting a military source. Since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes inside the country, targeting government positions as well as allied Iran-backed forces and Hezbollah fighters. The latest Israeli strikes targeted sites in the countryside around the capital, Damascus, and south of coastal Tartus Province, SANA said, adding that Syria’s air defense systems intercepted some of the missiles. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor also gave the same toll of killed and wounded from the strikes near an air defense base in Tartus province, where Iranian-backed groups are active. The targeted site in Tartus is located 8km from a Russian base, said the monitor, which has a wide network of sources in Syria. It said ambulances had rushed to the scene of the strikes in Tartus. In early July, Syria’s Ministry of Defense said an Israeli strike conducted from the Mediterranean Sea near the town of Al-Hamadiyah, south of Tartus, had wounded two civilians. On Friday, Israeli shelling wounded two civilians in southern Syria near the occupied Golan Heights, according to state media. Last month, an Israeli strike near Damascus killed three Syrian soldiers, state media said at the time. The Observatory said that strike targeted a military facility and an “Iranian weapons depot.” After the latest incident, Israeli authorities said that they “do not comment on reports in the foreign media.” While Israel rarely comments on individual strikes in Syria, the military has defended them as necessary to prevent its archfoe Iran from gaining a foothold on its doorstep. The conflict in Syria began
A Sudanese boy carries a snake as hundreds of demonstrators rally outside the Al-Sadaka hall in the capital, Khartoum, on Sunday in support of the Call of Sudan’s People political initiative, which is backed by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who led last year’s military coup.
EIGHT INJURED: Hamas hailed a ‘heroic operation,’ after which a pregnant woman delivered a healthy baby while intubated, a week after a conflict with militants ended
Israeli police said yesterday that they arrested a suspect in a shooting attack on a bus in Jerusalem’s Old City, wounding eight people, two critically, including a pregnant woman. “The terrorist is in our hands,” police spokesman Kan Eli Levy told public radio hours after an attack that took place not far from the Western Wall, the holiest prayer site for Jews. A gunman started spraying bullets at the public transport bus and people outside the vehicle in the pre-dawn attack at the Tomb of David bus stop, bus driver Daniel Kanievsky said. “I was coming from the Western Wall. The bus was full of passengers,” he told reporters in front of his bullet-riddled vehicle. “I stopped at the station of the Tomb of David. At this moment, the shooting started. Two people outside I see falling, two inside were bleeding. Everybody panicked,” he said. Israel’s emergency medical services, the Magen David Adom (MDA), called the incident a “terror attack in the Old City.” “We were on the scene very quickly,” its medics said in a statement. “On Ma’ale Hashalom Street, we saw a passenger bus ... in the middle of the road. Bystanders called us to treat two males around 30 years old who were on the bus with gunshot wounds.” MDA spokesperson Zaki Heller initially said six men and one woman were wounded, with all seven “fully conscious,” before police raised the wounded toll to eight. One of the wounded was a pregnant woman, whose baby was delivered after the attack, a Shaarei Tsedek Hospital spokesman said. “She remains intubated and in serious condition,” he said. “The infant was delivered and is in serious but stable condition.” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said after the attack that police, the army and other security services “are working to apprehend the terrorist and will not cease until he is caught.” “All
NO MOTIVE: A clean-cut, middle-aged man began shooting into the air near a check-in counter, a witness said, forcing some flights to be canceled after he was detained
A gunman fired about five shots inside Canberra’s main airport yesterday, sending passengers fleeing, but not injuring anyone, before he was detained by Australian police. The airport was evacuated and locked down, leading to a suspension of flights. Images posted on social media showed a police officer restraining a man on the ground inside the terminal as an emergency alarm sounded in the capital’s main airport. “A male has entered Canberra Airport in the departures area. He has sat in one of the areas adjacent to the glass windows,” detective acting superintendent Dave Craft told reporters outside the airport building. “After approximately five minutes, this male has removed a firearm from his possession and let off approximately five rounds,” he added. Craft said the crime scene indicated that the man had fired shots at the glass inside the terminal. No shots were directed at people, he said. Several apparent bullet impacts were visible on the glass front of the airport, as shown on Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) television. A woman identified only as Helen was quoted in the Guardian that she saw a man “shooting into the air” not far from the check-in counter, describing him as being middle-aged and “clean cut.” Police said the man was taken into custody and a firearm was recovered. He was being detained at a police station in the city. After examining the airport’s closed-circuit television images, police said they believed the man had acted alone, adding that no motive was known. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he had been briefed on the shooting. “I am advised a man has been detained and there is no ongoing threat present,” he said in a statement. ABC journalist Lily Thomson reported that she heard the shots before people started to scream. She saw a fearful woman looking after a baby. “We all ran and I stayed with that
‘TREAT THEM GENTLY’: Many animals recover from conditions that seemed impossible to treat, pet owners said, although the furry patients might be scared at first
Strapped in tight, the prone poodle nervously eyes the vet, who gently sticks fine needles into its back and paws, summoning the ancient art of acupuncture to treat the pet’s aches and pains. Duniu is just one of a growing number of animals being signed up for traditional medicine in China — care their masters have said is less invasive and comes with fewer side effects than conventional treatments. In one Beijing practice, pets of all shapes and sizes come for treatments. “The advantage of traditional Chinese medicine is that there is no surgery,” 38-year-old Zhai Chunyu said, accompanied by Duniu, his poodle. “The animal’s suffering is reduced.” At just three years old, Duniu suffers from Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, which affects the thigh bone and can lead to painful osteoarthritis. “He was in so much pain that he could no longer put his paw on the ground” and “had no appetite,” said Zhai, who works in finance. “A doctor advised me to have the head of the femur removed, but I didn’t want to because I have another poodle who has been there and he suffered a lot from the operation and the after-effects,” Zhai said. A friend advised him to try acupuncture. “After five to six sessions, we saw the results. Duniu manages to walk and even run a little now,” Zhai said. Animal acupuncture is centuries old in China, said veterinarian Li Wen, who founded his practice in 2016. “Traditional Chinese medicine is not intended to replace conventional medicine” because “both have their strengths” and are complementary, he said. Before starting the treatment, the vet first checks the animal’s body, examines its eyesight and the color of its tongue, takes its pulse and asks its owner questions. He then plants his needles at acupuncture points specific to dogs and cats. “Out of the 10 animals that I receive on average every day,
Shanghai yesterday said it would reopen all schools including kindergartens, primary schools and middle schools on Sept. 1 after months of COVID-19 closures. All teachers and students are to be required to take nucleic acid tests for COVID-19 every day before leaving campus, the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission said in a statement. It also called for teachers and students to carry out a 14-day “self health management” within the city ahead of the school reopening, it said. Shanghai shut all schools in March before the city’s two-month lockdown to combat its worst COVID-19 outbreak through April and May. It allowed some students of high school and middle school to return to classrooms in June, while most of the rest continued to study at home for the remainder of the semester. The announcement brings relief to many residents, but fears about COVID-19 lockdowns continue to persist, as China vows to stick to its “dynamic zero” policy, which requires all positive cases and their close contacts to undergo quarantine. On Saturday, videos circulating on Chinese social media showed customers pushing past security guards and running out of an IKEA mall in central Shanghai in panic as an announcement blared over its sound system saying the mall was being locked down due to COVID-19 contact tracing. Reuters was not able to independently verify the authenticity of the videos, but IKEA customer service said yesterday that the mall was shut due to COVID-19 curbs. Shanghai, the most populous city in China, reported five new local infections of COVID-19, all asymptomatic, for Saturday, while 2,467 domestically transmitted cases were reported nationwide. It has extended its weekly COVID-19 test requirement and extended free testing until the end of September in a bid to keep the virus in check, authorities said on Saturday. The southern province of Hainan is now China’s worst hit region, with 494
Kenya’s peaceful presidential election saw a brief disruption on Saturday when riot police responded to scuffles at the national tallying center amid tensions over the close results. An agent for longtime opposition leader and candidate Raila Odinga announced from the lectern that the tallying center was the “scene of a crime” before calm was restored. The agent, Saitabao Ole Kanchory, offered no evidence in the latest example of the unverified claims that both top campaigns have made as Kenya waits for official results. The electoral commission has seven days from Tuesday’s election to announce results. Commission chair Wafula Chebukati on Saturday again said the process was too slow, and the commission told nonessential people watching at the center to leave. Police remained at the center yesterday morning. The race remains close between Odinga and Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto as the electoral commission physically verifies more than 46,000 results forms electronically transmitted from across the country. Turnout dipped sharply in this election, to 65 percent, as some Kenyans expressed weariness with seeing long-familiar political leaders on the ballot and frustration with economic issues including widespread corruption and rising prices. Outgoing Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta crossed the ethnic lines that have long marked politics by backing Odinga. The president fell out with his deputy Ruto years ago. Past elections have been marked by political violence, but civil society observers, police, religious leaders and others have said this one has been peaceful. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a call with Kenyatta on Saturday, “encouraged continued peace and patience as the vote tallying from Kenya’s Aug. 9 election proceeds,” Department of State spokesman Ned Price said. In western Kenya, residents said they were tired of waiting for results, adding that they were also sapped from the turbulence of the past. “We aren’t ready for any violence here,” said Ezekiel Kibet, 40,
North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday criticized the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ recent comment on his support for the country’s complete denuclearization, calling the remarks lacking in impartiality and fairness. North Korea’s state news agency, KCNA, released a statement from the ministry after Guterres on Friday said he fully supports efforts to completely denuclearize North Korea when he met with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol. “I cannot but express deep regret over the said remarks of the UN secretary-general that grossly lack impartiality and fairness and go against the obligations of his duty, specified in the UN Charter, as regards the issue of the Korean peninsula,” North Korean Vice Minister for International Organizations Kim Son-gyong said in a statement. Kim added that a UN secretary-general should not request or accept orders from the government of a specific country, and refrain from committing any act that might impair his or her position as an international official. Kim said that North Korea’s “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” was “an infringement upon the sovereignty” of the country. “It demands the unilateral disarmament, and Secretary-General Guterres perhaps knows well that the [North Korea] has totally rejected it without any toleration,” Kim said, adding that Guterres should be careful when uttering “dangerous words” amid the acute situation on the Korean peninsula. North Korea has test fired a record number of missiles this year, and officials in Seoul and Washington have said that it is preparing to test a nuclear weapon for the first time since 2017, amid stalled denuclearization talks.
PLEAS FOR PEACE: After dozens of vehicles had been destroyed, Tijuana’s mayor told gangs the city would ‘take care of its citizens,’ and asked them to leave bystanders alone
Hundreds of Mexican military troops were on Saturday flown into Tijuana to beef up street patrols after armed gangs hijacked and burned at least a dozen vehicles in the border city, the latest in a wave of attacks hitting civilians across the country. The US consulate in Tijuana instructed its employees “to shelter in place until further notice” around midnight on Friday because of the violence, as the Tijuana hijackings snarled traffic across the city and temporarily blocked access to one of the world’s busiest border crossings. About 350 national guard troops were flown in to reinforce thousands of federal troops already in the state of Baja California, Reforma reported on its Web site. It was the third time this week Mexican cities have seen widespread arson and shootings by drug cartels. The gangs appear to be targeting stores, vehicles and bystanders in response to disputes or attempts to capture gang members. Baja California officials said 24 vehicles had been hijacked and burned at different points throughout the state: 15 in Tijuana, three in Rosarito and two each in Mexicali, Ensenada, and Tecate. Tijuana is home to the San Ysidro-El Chaparral ports of entry, the busiest US border crossing. Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero blamed it on disputes between drug gangs and asked them to stop the violence. “Today we are saying to the organized crime groups that are committing these crimes, that Tijuana is going to remain open and take care of its citizens,” Caballero said in a video statement. “And we also ask them to settle their debts with those who didn’t pay what they owe, not with families and hard-working citizens.” On Saturday, few people ventured out on the streets in Tijuana and many of the bus and passenger van services stopped running, leaving some residents unable to get where they were going. “Let them fight