UK Border staff ‘seize missile parts that were being sent to Iran’ at Heathrow

Iran has continued to expand its missile arsenal despite the deal with international powers signed in 2015 to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. (AFP)
Updated 02 August 2018
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UK Border staff ‘seize missile parts that were being sent to Iran’ at Heathrow

  • The parts were described as being sent for use in Iran’s oil industry, but UK Border Force staff stopped the shipment
  • Two ‘O rings’ — small components made of rubber used to form seals in warheads to stop leakages — were detected

LONDON: Attempts to ship missile parts to Iran have been thwarted by UK border agents at Heathrow Airport.
Two ‘O rings’ — small components made of rubber used to form seals in warheads to stop leakages — were detected during an inspection of cargo leaving the airport, according to a report in London’s Evening Standard.
The parts were described as being sent for use in Iran’s oil industry. But UK Border Force staff stopped the shipment, suspecting that they were actually going to be used in the construction of missiles.
Monique Wrench, UK Border Force’s deputy director at Heathrow Airport, told the newspaper: “We had a couple of O rings that we identified. O rings are pieces of rubber that go between tubes to stop leakage to seal them. They can be used in oil, but they can also be used for warheads and the like. Our staff stopped them from going to Iran.
“It is a component part. It looked like it was going to an oil refinery. But the dots don’t quite join up here.”
Wrench refused to comment on whether any arrests were made in connection with the incident and confirmed that an investigation was being launched by HM Revenue and Customs.
The selling, supplying or transportation of missile-related goods or technology to Iran is banned in the UK, and those found guilty face heavy fines and a possible prison sentence.
In June, UN tests found that Houthi militia missiles fired at Saudi Arabia from Yemen had been manufactured in Iran.
Col. Turki Al-Maliki of the Saudi-led coalition operating in Yemen against the Iranian-backed Houthis said last month that as many as 163 ballistic missiles and 66,362 projectiles have targeted Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the military operations.
Iran has continued to expand its missile arsenal despite the deal with international powers signed in 2015 to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Donald Trump has withdrawn the US from the nuclear deal and one of his chief complaints was that the agreement had failed to tackle Iran’s missile capabilities.


Controversy over South Korean ban on corporal punishment at home

Updated 9 min 34 sec ago
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Controversy over South Korean ban on corporal punishment at home

  • Reporting of child abuse rose more than 10-fold between 2001 and 2017 to 22,386 cases
  • Parental rights to physically discipline their children will be removed from the country’s civil code, an official said

SEOUL: A law allowing South Korean parents to physically discipline their children is to be scrapped, authorities said, prompting controversy in a country where hierarchical family values still predominate.
Reporting of child abuse — including neglect and emotional abuse as well as physical or sexual assaults — rose more than 10-fold between 2001 and 2017 to 22,386 cases, with 77 percent of the perpetrators known to be the victims’ parents.
“More in our society agree that child abuse is a serious social problem,” Seoul’s Welfare Minister Park Neung-hoo told reporters.
“But many are still lenient about corporal punishment. The ministry is to change this perception.”
Parental rights to physically discipline their children will be removed from the country’s civil code, he said, where they have been stated since 1960. Physical punishment was also allowed in schools until 2010.
A recent government survey showed that 76.8 percent of adult South Koreans feel corporal punishment is necessary, and Thursday’s announcement prompted controversy.
Lee Kyung-ja, head of a conservative group of parents, was adamantly opposed to any change.
“I’m going to continue beating my kids even if it requires writing a contract with them,” she told AFP.
“I’ll refuse to give them food and pay for their tuition if they don’t listen to their parents — this is how I’ll re-establish my rights as a parent.”
South Korean children have been repeatedly cited as the least happy in the OECD group of developed countries, facing a high-pressure education system and deeply rooted traditional values which emphasize obedience and respect toward parents and authority figures.
That makes young victims of domestic violence especially vulnerable, as filing a complaint or publicly criticizing a parent can be considered a disgrace — or even a “sin against heaven.”
With few facilities for abuse victims, many parents facing prosecution have their charges dropped as there is no-one else to care for their children, said youth rights activist Kang Min-jin.
Earlier this year a 12-year-old girl who had reported abuse by both her biological father and her stepfather to police was murdered by the stepparent.
“Many Koreans still view as their children as their properties, rather than separate human beings who have their own set of opinions and judgment,” said activist Kang.
But Lee Hee-bum, who leads the conservative Freedom Union group, said the government decision amounted to state interference in personal and family lives.
“One should be able to decide how to parent his or her kids independently,” he said.