China ‘concerned’ about N. Korea satellite launch

Updated 03 December 2012
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China ‘concerned’ about N. Korea satellite launch

BEIJING: China yesterday said it was concerned at North Korea’s plans to launch a rocket later this month, state media reported, in a move strongly condemned by the United States and South Korea.
China, North Korea’s sole major ally and its biggest trade partner and aid provider, is seen as one of the few nations with any influence over the regime.
“China ... expressed its concern about the satellite launch plan of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, saying it hopes relevant parties can act in a way that is more conducive to the stability of the Korean peninsula,” Xinhua news agency said.
“North Korea has the right to the peaceful use of outer space, but this right is limited by the relevant Security Council resolutions,” the agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang as saying.
The report came a day after North Korea announced that its second long-range rocket launch this year will take place between Dec. 10 and 22.
The United States and its key Asian military allies South Korea and Japan have condemned the planned launch as a disguised ballistic missile test that violates UN resolutions triggered by Pyongyang’s two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
As in April, North Korea said the launch would be a purely “peaceful, scientific” mission aimed at placing a polar-orbiting earth observation satellite into orbit.
Pyongyang has increased its reliance on China in recent years as sanctions over its missile and nuclear programs strangled its ability to secure international credit and foreign trade.
China joined the other members of the United Nation’s 15-strong Security Council to “strongly condemn,” North Korea’s April launch attempt.
The Council warned Pyongyang this week that going ahead with the December launch, widely seen as aimed at stirring patriotism and support for the country’s young, inexperienced ruler Kim Jong-Un, would be “extremely inadvisable.”
A report by South Korea’s Yonhap News agency Sunday said that North Korea has notified neighbors including Japan of the trajectory of the rocket.
“The North has notified aviation authorities in nations including Japan that could come under potential danger ... of the timing and expected path (of the rocket),” the agency quoted an unnamed senior Seoul official as saying.
Tokyo reportedly postponed talks due next week with North Korea and ordered its military to prepare to shoot down the rocket if it goes over Japan.
The launch, and in particular a successful launch, would likely draw sanctions, either from individual countries or concerned nations acting as a bloc, a move analysts say could trigger Pyongyang to step-up its nuclear program.

Court denial

A Chinese court has asked for an apology from a newspaper which said it jailed 10 “interceptors” who illegally held petitioners attempting to lodge complaints with the government, state media reported yesterday.
The state-run Beijing Youth Daily reported Sunday that 10 were imprisoned for illegally detaining people from the central province of Henan who had traveled to Beijing to complain about local government abuses.
The widely-circulated report struck a chord among many Chinese dissatisfied with the age-old “petitioning” system, which allows citizens to request the central government to investigate disputes such as land grabs and unpaid wages.
Officials, eager to protect their reputations, often employ “interceptors” to catch petitioners and detain them in secret facilities known as “black jails” to prevent them from lodging complaints.
The newspaper said a Beijing court handed down sentences ranging from several months to a year-and-a-half in prison for “illegal imprisonment,” the first time such workers have been sentenced in the capital.
But a court spokeswoman branded the report, which was carried by most major Chinese news websites and widely spread on Chinese social networking websites, as “fake news,” another state-run newspaper, the China Daily, reported.
The spokeswoman, who was not named, “confirmed a case involving city officials from Henan had been heard,” but “denied judges had handed down any verdict,” the paper said.


86 people killed in central Nigeria violence: police

Updated 25 June 2018
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86 people killed in central Nigeria violence: police

  • Analysts believe it could become Nigeria’s biggest security concern, eclipsing Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency that has left at least 20,000 dead since 2009
  • The violence — fueled by ethnic, religious and political allegiances — has killed thousands over several decades

JOS, Nigeria: Eighty-six people have been killed in an attack by suspected nomadic herders against farming communities in restive central Nigeria, police said on Sunday.
The discovery in the Barikin Ladi area of Plateau state came after days of violence apparently sparked by an attack by ethnic Berom farmers on Fulani herders on Thursday.
State police commissioner Undie Adie said a search of Berom villages in the area following clashes on Saturday found “86 persons altogether were killed.”
Adie told reporters six people were also injured and 50 houses razed. Bodies of those who died have been released to their families, he added.
The deaths are the latest in a long-running battle for land and resources that is putting President Muhammadu Buhari under pressure as elections approach next year.
The violence — fueled by ethnic, religious and political allegiances — has killed thousands over several decades.
Analysts believe it could become Nigeria’s biggest security concern, eclipsing Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency that has left at least 20,000 dead since 2009.
The Plateau state government said it had imposed restrictions on movements in the Riyom, Barikin Ladi and Jos South areas “to avert a breakdown of law and order.”
“The curfew takes effect immediately... and movement is restricted from 6:00 p.m. (1700 GMT) to 6:00 am, except (for) those on essential duties,” said spokesman Rufus Bature.
On Sunday, ethnic Berom youths set up barricades on the Jos-Abuja highway and attacked motorists who looked “Fulani and Muslim,” according to those who escaped the violence.
Plateau state police spokesman Tyopev Terna and Major Adam Umar, from the military taskforce in the state capital, Jos, confirmed the blockade and vandalism to several cars.
There were no official reports of deaths but Baba Bala, who escaped the violence on the road, said at least six people were killed.
“I was lucky the convoy of the (Plateau) state government was passing through the scene of the attack shortly after I ran into the attackers,” he said.
“I escaped with smashed windscreens and dents on my car. I saw six dead bodies and several damaged cars.”