UN weighs move to enforce sanctions against N. Korea

Kim Jong Un. (AP)
Updated 30 April 2016
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UN weighs move to enforce sanctions against N. Korea

THE UNITED NATIONS: UN Security Council diplomats negotiated a draft statement that would push for tough sanctions on North Korea to be enforced worldwide after Pyongyang’s latest test-firing of medium-range missiles.
The draft statement, obtained by AFP, requests that all UN member-states report no later than May 31 on the “concrete measures” they have taken to implement the sanctions resolution.
It directs a UN sanctions committee to “intensify its work to strengthen enforcement of resolution 2270,” which was adopted in March after North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test and fired a rocket.
The United States and China agreed on the statement but its adoption was delayed after Russia requested more time to consider the text, diplomats said.
The statement was now likely to be adopted during the weekend or next week, they said.
The measure strongly condemns the most recent failed ballistic missile launches and demands that North Korea refrain from further actions that violate UN resolutions.
The 15-member council held urgent closed-door consultations on Thursday after North Korea’s unsuccessful launch, the third attempt in two weeks to test-fly a Musudan missile, which is capable of striking US bases on the Pacific island of Guam.
The United States requested the meeting after a series of test-firings and as fears grew that the secretive country is preparing to conduct a fifth nuclear test.
Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi, who holds the council presidency this month, told reporters that work was continuing on the statement which must be unanimously agreed by the 15 council members to be released.
“It is really a volatile situation. The way out is to have political negotiations of the problems that we face,” said Liu, renewing a call for the resumption of six-party talks on the Korean peninsula.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday underscored Beijing’s commitment to enforcing existing UN sanctions on North Korea and to preventing any instability on its doorstep.
“As a close neighbor, we will never allow war or chaos on the (Korean) peninsula,” he told a meeting of regional foreign ministers in Beijing.
Current UN resolutions bar North Korea from developing any ballistic missile-related and nuclear technology, but Pyongyang has defiantly pressed on with its military programs.
Anxiety has been high since Pyongyang conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and a rocket launch a month later that was widely seen as a disguised ballistic missile test.
The council responded with its toughest sanctions to date, angering the North, which has since made repeated threats of attacks targeting Seoul and Washington.
Among the sweeping measures is a new requirement that all countries must inspect cargo destined for and coming from North Korea, in all airports and sea ports.


World’s 26 richest own same as poorest half of humanity: Oxfam

People are seen in a congress center ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 20, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 10 min 27 sec ago
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World’s 26 richest own same as poorest half of humanity: Oxfam

  • Oxfam warned that governments were exacerbating inequality by increasingly underfunding public services like health care and education at the same time as they consistently under-tax the wealthy

DAVOS, Switzerland: The world’s 26 richest people own the same wealth as the poorest half of humanity, Oxfam said Monday, urging governments to hike taxes on the wealthy to fight soaring inequality.
A new report from the charity, published ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, also found that billionaires around the world saw their combined fortunes grow by $2.5 billion each day in 2018.
The world’s richest man, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, saw his fortune increase to $112 billion last year, Oxfam said, pointing out that just one percent of his wealth was the equivalent to the entire health budget of Ethiopia, a country of 105 million people.
The 3.8 billion people at the bottom of the scale meanwhile saw their wealth decline by 11 percent last year, Oxfam said, stressing that the growing gap between rich and poor was undermining the fight against poverty, damaging economies and fueling public anger.
“People across the globe are angry and frustrated,” warned Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima in a statement.
The numbers are stark: Between 1980 and 2016, the poorest half of humanity pocketed just 12 cents on each dollar of global income growth, compared with the 27 cents captured by the top one percent, the report found.

Oxfam warned that governments were exacerbating inequality by increasingly underfunding public services like health care and education at the same time as they consistently under-tax the wealthy.
Calls for hiking rates on the wealthy have multiplied amid growing popular outrage in a number of countries over swelling inequality.
In the United States, new congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made headlines earlier this month by proposing to tax the ultra-rich up to 70 percent.
The self-described Democratic Socialist’s proposal came after President Donald Trump’s sweeping tax reforms cut the top rate last year from 39.6 percent to 37 percent.
And in Europe, the “yellow vest” movement that has been rocking France with anti-government protests since November is demanding that President Emmanuel Macron repeal controversial cuts to wealth taxes on high earners.
“The super-rich and corporations are paying lower rates of tax than they have in decades,” the Oxfam report said, pointing out that “the human costs — children without teachers, clinics without medicines — are huge.”
“Piecemeal private services punish poor people and privilege elites,” it said, stressing that every day, some 10,000 people die due to lacking access to affordable health care.
The report, released as the world’s rich, famous and influential began arriving for the plush annual gathering at the luxury Swiss ski resort town, urged governments to “stop the race to the bottom” in taxing rich individuals and big corporations.
Oxfam found that asking the richest to pay just 0.5 percent extra tax on their wealth “could raise more money than it would cost to educate all 262 million children out of school and provide health care that would save the lives of 3.3 million people.”