US military detects failed N. Korean missile launch

A man watches a TV news program showing a file image of a missile launch conducted by North Korea, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Sunday. (AP)
Updated 17 October 2016

US military detects failed N. Korean missile launch

WASHINGTON: The US military said late Saturday it had detected an unsuccessful launch by North Korea of a powerful medium-range missile capable of hitting US bases as far away as Guam.
UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from using ballistic missile technology, and this latest test came as the UN Security Council is debating fresh sanctions on Pyongyang following its fifth nuclear test in September. The US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) said the launch, detected just after midday Saturday Korea time, was believed to be of a much-hyped Musudan missile which North Korea has now test-fired seven times — with one partial success.
Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross condemned what he called a clear violation of UN resolutions and urged Pyongyang to refrain from any further actions that might raise already elevated tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Seoul’s defense ministry also confirmed the failed launch, held near an air base in the northwestern city of Kusong in North Korea at 1203 Pyongyang time (0333 GMT).
“This provocation only serves to increase the international community’s resolve to counter (North Korea’s) prohibited activities,” said Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross.
“We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation,” Ross added.
Such launches are usually reported within hours or even minutes by the South Korean and US militaries, but Seoul’s defense ministry refused to say why the announcement came so long after the event.
First unveiled as an indigenous missile at a military parade in Pyongyang in October 2010, the Musudan has a theoretical range of anywhere between 2,500 and 4,000 kilometers.
US weapons analysts say successful Musudan testing could help the nuclear-armed North develop an operational intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of striking the US mainland by 2020.
The North has publicly displayed an ICBM, called the KN-08, which uses the same engine technology as the Musudan but has never been test-fired.
The North Korean state media made no mention of Saturday’s attempted launch, but the official KCNA news agency carried a foreign ministry statement warning that the United States would “pay a high price” for recent hostile behavior that had “hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership.”


World political and religious leaders denounce deadly terror attack in French church

Updated 30 October 2020

World political and religious leaders denounce deadly terror attack in French church

  • Attacker killed three at the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Nice

JEDDAH: Political and religious leaders worldwide united in condemnation on Thursday after a man wielding a knife beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in the French city of Nice.
The attacker, Brahim Aouissaoui, 21, a Tunisian migrant, was shot six times by police as he fled the Basilica of Notre-Dame, and taken to hospital for treatment.
President Emmanuel Macron said France had been attacked by an Islamist terrorist “over our values, for our taste for freedom, for the ability on our soil to have freedom of belief. And I say it with lots of clarity again today, we will not give any ground.”
The attack took place as Muslims observed the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. A spokesman for the French Council for the Muslim Faith said: “As a sign of mourning and solidarity with the victims and their loved ones, I call on all Muslims in France to cancel all the celebrations of the holiday.”
Saudi Arabia condemned the attack. “We reiterate the Kingdom’s categorical rejection of such extremist acts that are inconsistent with all religions, human beliefs and common sense, and we affirm the importance of rejecting practices that generate hatred, violence and extremism,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation “affirmed its steadfast position rejecting the phenomenon of hyperbole, extremism and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, whatever the causes and motives, calling for avoiding practices that lead to hate and violence.”

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Arab and Muslim leaders drew a distinction between Islam and violent acts that claimed to defend it. At Al-Azhar in Cairo, the center of Sunni Muslim learning, Grand Mufti Ahmed Al-Tayeb denounced the murders as a “hateful terror act.” He said: “There is nothing that justifies these heinous terror acts which are contrary to Islam’s teachings.”
Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri voiced his “strongest condemnation and disapproval of the heinous criminal attack,” and urged Muslims “to reject this criminal act that has nothing to do with Islam or the prophet.”
There was condemnation from US President Donald Trump, UN chief Antonio Guterres, and European, Arab and Israeli leaders. “Our hearts are with the people of France. America stands with our oldest ally in this fight,” Trump tweeted.
Thursday’s attack began at about 9 a.m. when Aouissaoui burst into the church in Avenue Jean Medecin, the French Riviera city’s main shopping street. He slit the throat of a church worker, beheaded an elderly woman, and badly wounded another woman.
The church official and the elderly woman died at the scene. The third victim escaped to a nearby cafe, where she died from her wounds.
Nice’s Mayor, Christian Estrosi, compared the attack to the beheading this month near Paris of teacher Samuel Paty, who had used cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a civics class.
The cartoons caused widespread offense in the Muslim world when they were published five years ago in a Danish newspaper and a French satirical magazine. Their re-emergence has led to anti-French protests in several Muslim-majority countries.