Japan detects radio signals of suspected North Korean missile launch

Tokyo: Japan has detected the radio signals which indicate that North Korea may be preparing for a new missile launch, authorities announced on Tuesday.

The radio signals pointed to the North Korean Army’s possible launch of a ballistic missile “within the next few days”, reports Efe news.  However, the authorities said that at the moment no satellite has detected the deployment of any launching platform; hence these signals could be linked to the winter manoeuvers of the North Korean troops.

Meanwhile, a South Korean government source told Yonhap news agency on Tuesday that all the military intelligence agencies of Seoul, Tokyo and Washington have detected in recent days the radio signals such as those that had been detected before a launch.  When asked about this information, Pentagon spokesperson Colonel Robert Manning only maintained that Washington continued to watch Pyongyang very closely.
After a year of constant weapons tests, governments and analysts have speculated possible reasons of the Kim Jong-un regime’s test launches over a period of two and a half months.  The last time the North Korean Army conducted one of these tests was on September 15, when it fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

While some experts believe that the halt may be seasonal due to the aforementioned winter manoeuvers or the abundant resources having been diverted for harvesting the crops in the impoverished country, others believe that Pyongyang might be considering resuming some form of dialogue.  On the other hand, some analysts believe that the US President Donald Trump’s decision on November 20 to re-include North Korea on the list of state sponsors of terrorism could push Pyongyang to conduct more weapons tests.


Twitter suspends 45 suspected propaganda accounts

San Francisco: Twitter has suspended 45 new accounts suspected of spreading propaganda related to Brexit, US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

According to a report in BuzzFeed News on Saturday, Twitter took the action when the tech website uncovered a network directly connected to the Russia-linked accounts Twitter submitted to Congress.  “The 45 suspect accounts were uncovered through basic analysis of those that interacted or retweeted accounts cited by Twitter to Congress, yet none of them appeared on the company’s list,” BuzzFeed News said.

 New Twitter feature to help users save tweets for later
When approached, Twitter suspended all 45 accounts.  A group of data scientists this month found 156,252 Russian accounts on Twitter which mentioned #Brexit and posted nearly 45,000 messages related to the EU referendum in the 48 hours around the vote.  According to data scientists from Swansea University in Wales and the University of California, Berkeley, over 150,000 Russian accounts who were posting about the Ukrainian conflict swiftly started tweeting about Brexit in days leading up to the 2016 vote.

“From posting fewer than 1,000 tweets a day before June 13, the accounts — many of which are virulently pro-Putin — posted 39,000 tweets on June 23-24,” the report said.  Tho Pham, one of the report authors, confirmed to TechCrunch that the majority of those Brexit tweets were posted on June 24, 2016, the day after the vote.  According to researchers, similar trend was observed for the US Election sample.  The data scientists used Twitter’s API to obtain relevant datasets of tweets to analyse and reach the conclusion.

Political events like the Brexit Referendum and the US Presidential Election have observed the use of social bots in spreading fake news and misinformation.  Facebook, Twitter and Google are facing intense fake news scrutiny after disclosing the details about the presence of Russian political ads, tweets and posts on their platforms during the presidential election in 2016.

I declined Time’s ‘Person of the Year’: US President Donald Trump

Washington: United States President Donald Trump claimed that he denied being named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ after the magazine told him he “probably” would be selected “like last year.”

“Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named “Man (Person) of the Year,” like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!” Trump tweeted. The magazine named Trump ‘Person of the Year’ in 2016, following his shocking victory over Hillary Clinton.

“It’s a great honor. It means a lot,” Trump said at the time. “To be on the cover of Time magazine as the person of the year is a tremendous honor,” reported the Hill. Time defended the controversial decision by saying the award is given to “the person who had the greatest influence, for better or worse, on the events of the year”.

Time began conducting a reader poll for its Person of the Year competition earlier this month. Trump’s tweet came in the backdrop of an online readers’ poll that shows Trump being outperformed by singer Taylor Swift and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz for this year’s honor. Voting on the reader’s choice poll ends on December 3. This year’s winner will be announced on December 6.

Explosion in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad, eight dead, 15 injured

                                                  explosion jalalabad

At least eight persons have been killed in an explosion that struck the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad in Nangarhar province. A suicide bomber detonated his explosives, reported Khaama Press, citing Afghan official as saying. 
A further 15 people including children were reportedly injured in the explosion. Provincial health director Najib Kamawal has confirmed the toll and said some of those were in a serious condition. 
Nangarhar is among the relatively calm provinces, however, the Taliban and ISIS militants have increased their insurgency activities in some its remote parts during the recent years. Both the Taliban and Islamic State have been targeted by sustained U.S. air strikes.


AIG killed, six injured in suicide blast in Peshawar

Peshawar:{PTI} A suicide bomber today rammed his motorcycle into a vehicle, killing a senior Pakistani police officer and his gunman in Peshawar city, capital of the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Additional Inspector General (AIG) Headquarters Ashraf Noor and his gunman were killed and six cops escorting the vehicle were injured in the blast, police said. Ashraf Noor was on his way to work when his vehicle came under the attack. The vehicle caught fire after the blast and a thick cloud of smoke could be seen billowing from the area, police said.

The blast was so powerful that the windowpanes of the passing vehicles also broke and the nearby trees caught fire. The suicide bomber, on a motorbike, targeted the police convoy. The blast appeared to be a suicide attack, Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Tahir Khan was quoted as saying by the Dawn News.
The CCPO confirmed the death of the AIG and added that at least six policemen were injured and shifted to the Hayatabad Medical Complex. Following the blast, security officials cordoned off the area and began a search operation in the surrounding area. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the report said.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi strongly condemned the blast in Peshawar. The premier also lauded the sacrifices of policemen in the fight against terrorism. He said that dastardly acts of the militants cannot deter our law-enforcement agencies and the nation in taking the fight to its logical conclusion. Our resolve to eradicate the menace of terrorism cannot be shaken, Abbasi said.

For decades the city of Peshawar has faced the threat of militants, due to its status as a front line for the ongoing war on terror as well as its proximity to the restless tribal areas and the Pak-Afghan border. In September, at least three policemen were killed by two Taliban gunmen in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Snake on a train: Indonesian kills serpent with bare hands

Jakarta, An Indonesian man who used his bare hands to kill a snake that was discovered slithering on a busy commuter train has become an Internet hero. The train made an emergency stop after the reptile was spotted lurking on a baggage rack in a carriage headed to Jakarta from Bogor, south of the capital.

Smartphone footage, which quickly went viral, showed the bespectacled man casually snatch the snake’s tail and then smash its head on the floor in a violent whipping motion.

The creature was apparently killed instantly as shocked spectators — including a baton-wielding transit security officer — kept their distance. The unidentified man wearing a backpack then tossed its limp body, which appeared to be about one metre (three feet) long, out the door to waiting security staff.

It is not clear what kind of serpent it was, nor whether it was venemous. No injuries to passengers were reported. Train operator KCI said the reptile is thought to have slithered out from a passenger’s bag.

“We regret the incident and apologise to train travellers who were disturbed by it,” spokeswoman Eva Chairunnisa told

Latin America and the Caribbean is world’s most violent region for women: UN

Panama City: Latin America and the Caribbean is the most violent region in the world for women, the United Nations said today, highlighting Central America and Mexico as particularly dangerous.

In a report presented in Panama, UN Women and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) found assaults on women persisted in the region despite severe laws aimed at curbing the phenomenon. “The issue of violence against women in Latin America is critical. It’s the most violent region in the world against women outside of conflict contexts,” Eugenia Piza-Lopez, head of UNDP’s gender mission in Latin America, told AFP.

The rate of sexual violence against women outside of relationships is the highest in the world in the region, and the second-highest for those who are in, or were in, a couple, the report stated. Three of the 10 countries with the highest rates of rape of women and girls were in the Caribbean, it said.

Femicide — the killing of women — occurred on a “devastating scale” in Central America, it said, explaining that two out three women murdered died because of their gender. “In some countries it has become a severe crisis. In the Northern Triangle (Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala) and Mexico the problem of femicide and violence against women has reached epidemic levels, in many cases with links to organised crime,” Piza-Lopez said.

Central America’s Northern Triangle is considered the most dangerous area in the world outside war zones, mainly because of rampant gangs and drug cartels. The UN report noted that 24 of the 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have laws against domestic violence, but only nine of them have passed legislation that tackles a range of forms of other violence against women in public or private.

It also said that 16 of the countries had femicide on the books, and a few punished newer types of crimes, such as cybercrime, political violence, or acid attacks. Despite those advances, though, the “plague” of violence continues to be a threat to human rights, public health and public safety, it said.

The UN recommended strengthening institutions and policies in the region, and allocating resources to empower women. It also advised that “patriarchal” cultural norms that maintain gender inequality needed to be addressed. The report added one third of women worldwide have been a victim of violence in their relationship or of sexual violence by people outside their relationship.

Indian jailed for robbing compatriot jeweller in Singapore

Singapore, A 53-year-old Indian in Singapore has been jailed for over three years for robbing a compatriot jeweller of cash and valuables to the tune of USD 31,910, media reports said. Yelchur Sreenivas, 51, was robbed by Srinath Bari Ramdeo Bari and his two accomplices near Towner Road as he was returning home on May 25 last year. Srinath along with his two accomplices repeatedly hit Sreenivas with a wooden pole and robbed him of cash and valuables worth about 43,000 Singapore dollars (USD 31,910), The Straits Times reported.

Srinath also pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to report for a urine test (for drug checks) and was given a six month jail term on each charge, the report said. A fourth charge of failing to report for his test was considered during his sentencing, it said. In lieu of the mandatory 12 strokes of the cane, Srinath, who is above 50 and cannot be caned, was given an additional jail term of 20 weeks, the report said.

District Judge Jasvender Kaur ordered the sentence for the robbery and one of the urine tests to run consecutively, making a total of four years and 20 weeks in jail, it said. She backdated his sentence to September 23 last year.

The robbery’s mastermind Venkatachalapathy, 48, was sentenced to four years and three months’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane on November 2. The third accomplice, Hassan, 36, who goes by one name, has claimed trial. Deputy Public Prosecutor Zulhafni Zulkeflee said Venkatachalapathy knew the victim was involved in the jewellery business and roped in Srinath and Hassan for the robbery.

Yelchur was carrying a haversack containing cash and jewellery samples while walking along Towner road at midnight when he felt somebody pulling it from behind. He turned around and saw Venkatachalapathy, who shoved him to the ground. Venkatachalapathy tried to snatch the haversack but failed. He then ran away.

Yelchur was getting up when Srinath came from behind and struck his shoulder a few times with a pole. Just then, Venkatachalapathy came back, grabbed the haversack, and fled with Srinath. The bag had cash and valuables totalling 42,775 dollars. When Venkatachalapathy was arrested the next day, the police recovered cash and valuables amounting to 36,175 dollars. Srinath, arrested in August last year, could have been jailed for up to 14 years for robbery.

For failing to report for a urine test, the maximum penalty is a 10,000 dollars fine and four years’ jail.

No nuclear strike in 2 months: Is Kim Jong-un unwell?

Pyongyang: It seems like North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is not keeping well these days as the country has not launched any ballistic missile since last two months. North Korea, who staged repeated weapons tests in the recent past, has been noticeably quiet in the past 60 days, leading to fears about the health of its leader, says a report by News.com.au.

Recently, pictures of the North Korean leader surfaced on media, which show he has put on weight. The Daily Star further claimed thatKim has been suffering from gout, diabetes and heart disease and hypertension. A South Korean spy agency also claimed that he binges on food and drink to cope with his constant fear of being assassinated, the report quoted the Guardian as saying. Kim took over as the supreme leader of North Korea after the demise of his father Kim Jong-il, who suffered from a heart attack in 2011.

In July, North Korea successfully launched the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which had the capability of reaching the U.S territory. Over the past few months Kim and U.S President Donald Trump also engaged in incessant verbal spat, with the latter branding the former as “rocket man”, and the North Korean leader calling Trump a “mentally-deranged dotard” in response.

India’s Dalveer Bhandari re-elected as ICJ judge

New York: India’s nominee Dalveer Bhandari was re-elected as the fifth judge to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) after the United Kingdom withdrew the nomination of Christopher Greenwood on Monday. According to the U.N. News, Bhandari received the absolute majority of votes in elections at the Security Council and the General Assembly.

Expressing her happiness over the victory of Indian nominee at the ICJ election, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took to her Twitter page to say, “Vande Matram – India wins election to the International Court of Justice. JaiHind. #ICJ”

Sushma Swaraj

Vande Matram - India wins election to the International Court of Justice. JaiHind. #ICJ
2:36 AM - Nov 21, 2017
 2,159 2,159 Replies   11,555 11,555 Retweets   33,224 33,224 likes
Twitter Ads info and privacy
Bhandari joins Ronny Abraham of France, Chaloka Beyani (Zambia), Antonio Augusto Cançado Trindade (Brazil), Nawaf Salam (Lebanon), and Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia) as the five judges who will serve along with ten other judges at the ICJ.

Their nine-year terms will begin on February 6, 2018.

After withdrawing their candidate, the U.K. will not have a judge on the bench of the ICJ for the first time in its 71-year history. Earlier, India reportedly called out the U.K. for its ‘undemocratic’ and ‘cabalistic’ tactics to win elections at the ICJ. Established in 1945, the ICJ is composed of 15 judges, who are elected by an absolute majority in both the General Assembly and Security Council.

202 Total