Defiant N. Korea vows more launches

Updated 15 December 2012
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Defiant N. Korea vows more launches

SEOUL: Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans rallied yesterday in the freezing cold to celebrate the country’s rocket launch, staging a choreographed show of defiance under their youthful leader’s “endless” wisdom.
The enormous rally in central Pyongyang, shown on state television, came two days after the launch of the three-stage rocket and just ahead of the anniversary Monday of the death of new leader Kim Jong-Un’s father.
The West fears the launch has taken the nuclear-armed state a step closer to firing intercontinental ballistic missiles across the planet, and it has provoked UN Security Council condemnation along with calls for more sanctions.
Refueling its criticism of Wednesday’s launch, the US State Department said Kim had the chance as new leader “to take his country back into the 21st century” but instead was making the “wrong choices.”
Unbowed, North Korean state media said Kim, who is in his late 20s, had personally signed off on the rocket launch and had declared his regime’s “unshakable stand” that the programme will continue.
Kim stressed the need “to launch satellites in the future... to develop the country’s science, technology and economy,” according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as it gave new details of the launch.
The “dear respected Marshal” visited mission control an hour before the rocket took off on Wednesday morning and praised the “ardent loyalty and patriotic devotion” of the technical team, KCNA said in the report early Friday.
The report gave no reaction to the international opprobrium that has been heaped on North Korea since the rocket went up, ostensibly to place a research satellite in orbit, with even close ally China expressing its “regrets.” But Friday’s rally was an emphatic demonstration of organized support for the Kim dynasty, as the massed ranks of civilians and soldiers chanted their obeisance under giant portraits of Kim’s father and grandfather. Many of the civilians were in dark winter coats, and the soldiers in olive-green overcoats and Russian-style trappers’ hats, as they pumped their fists and chanted “long live!,” the state TV’s hour-long broadcast showed.
Addressing the crowd, which stood in organized ranks in Kim Il-Sung Square, senior officials lavished praise on the Kim dynasty and its scion for the rocket launch — which came after an April attempt ended in fiery failure. “This was achieved thanks to the Great Marshal Kim Jong-Un’s endless loyalty, bravery and wisdom,” said Jang Chol, president of the State Academy of Sciences, which helps to steer North Korea’s rocket programme.
The UN Security Council held emergency talks on Wednesday after the North, already under international sanctions for nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, ignored pleas from friends and foes to stop the launch.
The council warned of possible measures over what the United States called a “highly provocative” act as countries including South Korea and Japan pressed for stronger sanctions against Pyongyang.




Both South Korea and Japan are holding general elections in the coming days, shadowed by the perennial unpredictability of their deeply poor but heavily armed neighbor.
China — North Korea’s leading patron — supported the UN statement but its foreign ministry also pushed back against the pressure for stronger action, arguing that any response by the international community should be “prudent.”
Analysts say the symbolism of the launch was a prime motivating factor for North Korea as Kim shores up his leadership credentials.
“The launch means the fulfilment of Kim Jong-Il’s last wish,” said Yoo Ho-Yeol, a political science professor at Korea University in Seoul.
“As such, it helps cement Jong-Un’s grip on power and strengthens his authority over the North’s military elites, securing their loyalty and a sense of solidarity under his leadership,” Yoo said.
While there is no hint of another nuclear test being imminent in North Korea, the US and South Korean intelligence communities will be looking for any insights into the country’s level of ballistic expertise.
South Korea’s navy has recovered a section of the rocket that splashed into the sea, apparently a fuel tank inscribed with the name of the “Unha-3” rocket, the defense ministry in Seoul said.
“This debris is expected to be an important piece of information in determining North Korea’s rocket capability,” ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok said.


No clear US plan yet on how to reunite children with illegal immigrant parents

Updated 42 min 18 sec ago
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No clear US plan yet on how to reunite children with illegal immigrant parents

  • More than 2,000 minors have been separated from their families since early May
  • In May, the Department of Justice adopted the zero-tolerance policy in which anyone caught entering the US illegally is criminally prosecuted

MCALLEN, Texas: Trump administration officials say they have no clear plan yet on how to reunite the thousands of children separated from their families at the border since the implementation of a zero-tolerance policy in which anyone caught entering the US illegally is criminally prosecuted.
“This policy is relatively new,” said Steven Wagner, an acting assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services “We’re still working through the experience of reunifying kids with their parents after adjudication.”
Federal officials say there are some methods parents can use to try to find their children: hotlines to call and an email address for those seeking information. But advocates say it’s not that simple.
In a courtroom near the Rio Grande, lawyer Efren Olivares and his team with the Texas Civil Rights Project frantically scribble down children’s names, birthdates and other details from handcuffed men and women waiting for court to begin. There are sometimes 80 of them in the same hearing.
The Texas Civil Rights Project works to document the separations in the hopes of helping them reunite with the children.
They have one hour to collect as much information as they can before the hearing begins. The immigrants plead guilty to illegally entering the US, and they are typically sent either to jail or directly to an immigration detention center. At this point, lawyers with the civil rights group often lose access to the detainees.
“If we don’t get that information, then there’s no way of knowing that child was separated,” Olivares said. “No one else but the government will know that the separation happened if we don’t document it there.”
Olivares has documented more than 300 cases of adults who have been separated from a child. Most are parents, but some are older siblings, aunts, uncles or grandparents. Some are illiterate and don’t know how to spell the children’s names.
More than 2,000 minors have been separated from their families since early May. The children are put into the custody of the US Department of Health and Human Services with the aim of keeping them as close to their parents as possible and reuniting the family after the case goes through the courts, said Wagner.
But it’s not clear that’s working.
According to Olivares, the agency is generally “very willing to help,” often helping to find a child even if there’s a misspelling in the group’s records. But if a child has been transferred out of a government shelter — including if the child has been deported — agency representatives won’t give any information.
“Sometimes the parent gives us contact information for a relative,” Olivares said. “If they have the phone number right and the phone number is working ... we call that number and sometimes we’re able to locate that relative and ask them what they know.”
In May, the Department of Justice adopted the zero-tolerance policy in which anyone caught entering the US illegally is criminally prosecuted. Children can’t be jailed with their parents. Instead, after the adult is charged, children are held briefly by Homeland Security officials before being transferred to Health and Human Services, which operates more than 100 shelters for minors in 17 states.
The department has set up new facilities to manage the influx of children, and Wagner said they were prepared to expand as more children come into custody.
The children are classified as unaccompanied minors, a legal term generally used for children who cross the border alone and have a possible sponsor in the US willing to care for them. Most of the more than 10,000 children in shelters under HHS care came to the US alone and are waiting to be placed with family members living in the US
But these children are different — they arrived with their families.
“They should just give the kids back to their parents. This isn’t difficult,” said Lee Gelernt of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Gelernt represents a Brazilian asylum seeker in a closely watched lawsuit that seeks a nationwide halt to family separation. The woman, identified as Mrs. C in court documents, was split from her son for nearly a year after entering the country illegally in August near Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
On Tuesday, Olivares’ team had seven people left to interview with five minutes left. They took down just the names, dates of birth, and countries of origin of the children.
“One woman (said), ‘What about me, what about me?’” Olivares said a few hours later. “She wanted to give us information because she realized what we were trying to do.”