North Korea slams UN chief over call for nuclear disarming

North Korea's ambassador to the UN Ja Song-nam speaks during the UN Security Council Ministerial Briefing on Non-Proliferation and the DPRK, at the United Nations, in this December 15, 2017 file photo, in New York. (AFP)
Updated 11 August 2018
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North Korea slams UN chief over call for nuclear disarming

  • Trump’s administration has argued that sanctions must remain fully in place until North Korea has scrapped its nuclear and missile programs and that the dismantling is verified
  • The United States, backed by Japan, is urging UN member-states to maintain pressure on North Korea to give up its military programs

UNITED NATIONS, United States: North Korea on Friday accused UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of making “reckless remarks” and toeing the US line when he called for verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Guterres made the statement following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Wednesday to discuss the US-led effort to rid North Korea of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The UN chief “should do what is beneficial to the current situation on Korean peninsula for peace and stability, not just by singing (the) chorus for sanctions to please (a) certain country,” said a statement from the North Korean mission to the United Nations.
The mission described as “reckless” a remark from Guterres who said that North Korea “can be a normal member of the international community in this region through total denuclearization that is verifiable, irreversible.”
The statement said North Korea was “astonished” to hear Guterres’ remarks “at a time when the world supports and welcomes the historic DPRK-US summit and the joint statement in Singapore.”
At the first-ever meeting between sitting leaders of the US and North Korea in June, President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un pledged in a joint statement to work toward the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
The statement however was short on details and a UN panel of experts reported last week that North Korea is pressing ahead with its nuclear and missile programs.
The United States, backed by Japan, is urging UN member-states to maintain pressure on North Korea to give up its military programs by fully adhering to a raft of sanctions.
Trump’s administration has argued that sanctions must remain fully in place until North Korea has scrapped its nuclear and missile programs and that the dismantling is verified.
The Security Council last year adopted three rounds of tough economic sanctions on North Korea, banning most of its exports of raw commodities and severely restricting oil supplies.


Indian court eases firecracker ban even as pollution soars

Updated 33 min 53 sec ago
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Indian court eases firecracker ban even as pollution soars

  • Diwali festival is on November 7
  • Every winter, air pollution in Delhi soars as cooler air traps harmful particles from the various emissions

NEW DELHI: India’s top court on Tuesday eased a ban on fireworks for a major Hindu festival despite air pollution in New Delhi and other cities again reaching danger levels.
The Supreme Court, which last year banned firecrackers for the Diwali festival, rejected a new call for a ban in the capital amidst growing concern over pollution.
Firecrackers set off for the Hindu festival of lights add to the toxic mix created by farmers burning crop stubble, diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and industrial emissions.
The World Health Organization in May listed 14 Indian cities, including Delhi, in the world’s top 15 with the dirtiest air.
Ahead of Diwali on November 7, the Supreme Court ordered that only reduced smoke fireworks — so-called ‘green firecrackers’ — could be sold and that this must be through licensed traders. No fireworks can be sold online, it said.
The court has also set a two hour window from 8:00pm to 10:00pm for the lighting of crackers on Diwali.
“It needs to be enforced strictly,” Gopal Sankarnarayan, a lawyer for the petitioners told NDTV television.
Last year, the Supreme Court suspended the licenses of all firecracker sellers in Delhi for one month because of the pollution crisis which leaves the Indian capital’s 20 million residents gasping for clean air during the winter months.
However, many ignored the ban and purchased crackers illegally or brought out old stocks.
Every winter, air pollution in Delhi soars as cooler air traps harmful particles from the various emissions.
Smog has climbed in recent weeks as temperatures have fallen and smoke from burning wheat fields in neighboring states has reached the capital, mingling with urban pollutants.