International


South Korea suspects female assassins killed half-brother of North Korea leader

Seoul/kuala Lumpur:MMNN:15 Feb. 2017


South Korea's spy agency suspects two female North Korean agents assassinated the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Malaysia, lawmakers in Seoul said on Wednesday, as Malaysian medical authorities sought a cause of death. U.S. government sources also told Reuters they believed that North Korean assassins killed Kim Jong Nam. Malaysian police said he had been assaulted on Monday in Kuala Lumpur International Airport and died on the way to hospital.
South Korean intelligence believed Kim Jong Nam was poisoned, lawmakers said after being briefed by the spy agency. They said the spy agency told them that the young, unpredictable North Korean leader had issued a "standing order" for his half-brother's assassination, and that there had been a failed attempt in 2012.
Kim had been at the airport's low-cost terminal to catch a flight to Macau on Monday, when someone grabbed or held Kim's face from behind, after which he felt dizzy and sought help, Malaysian police official Fadzil Ahmat told Reuters.
According to South Korea's spy agency, Kim Jong Nam had been living, under Beijing's protection, with his second wife in the Chinese territory of Macau, the lawmakers said. One of them said Kim Jong Nam also had a wife and son in Beijing.
Portly and gregarious, Kim Jong Nam was the eldest son of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and had spoken out publicly against his family's dynastic control of the isolated state. "If the murder of Kim Jong Nam was confirmed to be committed by the North Korean regime, that would clearly depict the brutality and inhumanity of the Kim Jong Un regime," South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who is also acting president, told a security meeting.
The meeting was called in response to Kim Jong Nam's death, news of which first emerged late on Tuesday. South Korea is acutely sensitive to any sign of instability in isolated North Korea, and is still technically in a state of war with its impoverished and nuclear-armed neighbour, which carried out its latest ballistic missile test on Sunday.

TICKET TO MACAU

Malaysian police said the dead man held a passport under the name Kim Chol, with a birth date that made him 46. Kim Jong Nam was known to spend a significant amount of time outside North Korea, travelling in Macau and Hong Kong as well as mainland China, and has been caught in the past using forged travel documents.
His body was taken on Wednesday morning to a second hospital, where an autopsy was being performed. North Korean embassy officials had arrived at the hospital and were coordinating with local authorities, police sources said.
One of the South Korean lawmakers said Seoul's spy agency expected the body would be returned to Kim's family in Macau. A Malaysian police source who had seen closed-circuit TV footage from the airport said a woman was involved in the attack. "So far from the CCTV we can confirm it's a woman," the source said.
Asked during a news briefing if the murder of Kim Jong Nam was confirmed, South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said: "Yes, I have said it is confirmed." Officials at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur would not speak to reporters gathered outside its gate and refused them entry. A few cars were seen leaving the embassy. There was no mention of Kim Jong Nam's death in North Korean state media. In Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing that he noted media reports of Kim's death and understood the Malaysian authorities were investigating.

WHOSE ORDERS?

Michael Madden, a U.S.-based expert on the North Korean leadership, cast doubt on the notion that Kim Jong Un had personally ordered the killing of his half-brother. Doing so would further feed the perception that Kim Jong Un was engaged in a "reign of terror" and is insecure about his leadership, and would also irritate China and Malaysia, two of the few countries with which North Korea has relatively good relations, he said. "It does not serve Kim Jong Un's political interests to have Jong Nam assassinated," Madden said. "It is likely that if he was killed by North Korean operatives, then someone else pushed the button."
South Korea's Unification Ministry urged North Korean defectors in South Korea and abroad to be mindful of their security. Numerous North Korean officials have been purged or killed since Kim Jong Un took power following his father's death in 2011. Those include his uncle Jang Song Thaek, who was considered the country's second most-powerful person and was believed to have been close to Kim Jong Nam. Jang was executed on Kim Jong Un's orders in 2013. Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, said that given Kim Jong Nam's family connection, it was "difficult to imagine" an assassination would be carried out without the leader's consent.
"Kim Jon Un may have been worried about more and more of North Korean elites turning against him after Thea Yon Ho defected to the South," he said, referring to last year's defection by North Korea's deputy ambassador in London.



Chinese media warns India against playing Taiwan card or challenging 'One China' policy

Beijing:MMNN:15 Feb. 2017

China's official media on Wednesday warned India against playing the 'Taiwan card', saying New Delhi will suffer losses by challenging Beijing over the sensitive issue. The warning came after a Taiwanese women Parliamentary delegation visited India.
"By challenging China over the Taiwan question, India is playing with fire," state-run Global Times said in an op-ed article titled 'New Delhi will suffer losses if it plays Taiwan card'.
"At a time when new US President Donald Trump has put the brakes on challenging China over the Taiwan question, agreeing to change course and respecting the "one China" policy, India stands out as a provocateur," the tabloid daily, which is a part of Communist Party of China's publications, said.
"High-level visits between India and Taiwan are not very frequent, so why did India invite the Taiwan delegation to visit at this time?" the article asked referring to Taiwanese MPs delegation. It is the first such visit since the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen administration took office, it said.
Tsai, who won on elections last year is a strong supporter of Taiwan's independence from China.
"Some Indians view the Taiwan question as an Achilles' Heel of the mainland. India has long wanted to use the Taiwan question, the South China Sea and Dalai Lama issues as bargaining chips in dealing with China," the article said.
India may be looking to use the Taiwan card against China out of its suspicions with China specially over the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project with Pakistan, it said. "With the advancement of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in recent years, India's strategic suspicions about China have been growing," it said.
"It stubbornly misinterprets the flagship project of the One Belt, One Road Initiative that will benefit countries along the route, including India. As the corridor passes through the disputed Kashmir, some Indian strategists have advised the Modi government to play the Taiwan card," it said.
To India, the island can not only help realise some of India's development goals, but also, strategically, check the mainland.
Growing Taiwanese investment in India, including in steel, telecom and information technology sectors, are important to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Made in India" campaign, it said.
"Although the mainland is a major trading partner of India, political discord and the historical feud make economic cooperation between the two difficult," the article said.
"Tsai is exploiting India's vigilance and strategic suspicions against China. The pro-independence leader came up with the new southbound policy" to ramp up trade and economic interactions in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Oceania, in which India is considered not one of the, but the most" important country," it said.
Quoting Taiwan's representative to India Chung Kwang Tien, the article said "Tsai hopes to put pressure on the mainland by tying India and Taiwan closer".
"India wants benefits from the development of trade with Taiwan and Taiwanese investment. But it should be wary of Tsai's political intentions and avoid being used to confront the mainland," it said.



Russia throws its weight behind China-Pakistan corridor, keeps India on tenterhooks

MMNN:19 Dec. 2016


Russia's nebulous public position on its growing ties with Pakistan continues to give sleepless nights to Indian policymakers who have sought to isolate Islamabad on the issue of terrorism.
After it officially denied reports that it had shown any interest in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Moscow has not just declared strong support for the China-funded project but also announced its intention to link its own Eurasian Economic Union project with CPEC.
CPEC, which will link Gwadar in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province to Xinjiang in China, remains a major bugbear for Indian foreign policy as it passes through the Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan administered Kashmir claimed by India. Beijing has shown scant regard for India's concerns despite PM Narendra Modi himself having taken up the issue of Chinese involvement in the disputed territory with President Xi Jinping.
Moscow last month emphatically denied Pakistan media reports that it was looking to involve itself in CPEC by acquiring access to the port built by China at Gwadar . Russia's ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Y Dedov has now been quoted as saying that Russia and Pakistan have held discussions to merge Moscow's Eurasian Economic Union project with the CPEC.
Dedov said Russia "strongly" supported CPEC as it was important for Pakistan's economy and also regional connectivity.
The mixed signals emanating from Moscow, as strategic affairs expert Brahma Chellaney said, are injecting uncertainty in the direction of the Russia-India relationship whose trajectory long epitomized constancy and stability.
"It is as if Moscow no longer sees India as a reliable friend or partner. Indeed, by seeking common cause with India's regional adversaries - including by supporting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor through internationally disputed territory and engaging with the Pakistan-backed Taliban - Russia is challenging India's core interests," said Chellaney.
India continues to officially maintain that it doesn't see any "downward trend" in relations with Russia even as it works behind the scenes to convince Moscow that Pakistan remained the fountainhead of terrorism in the region. For India though, Russia further queered the situation in Afghanistan by declaring that it regarded Afghan Taliban as a national military-political movement. Russia is looking to engage the Taliban apparently to defeat IS but, as the MEA spokesperson warned last week, India wants any engagement with Taliban to respect the internationally recognized red lines, including giving up violence and severing ties with al-Qaida.
The comments made by Dedov are only the latest in a series of Russian doublespeak on Pakistan this year. As it officially conveyed to Moscow, India was disturbed by Russia's decision to hold its first ever joint military exercise with Pakistan days after Uri terror strike which left 19 Indian soldiers dead. The Russians justified it by saying that the exercise was meant to help Pakistan deal with terrorism.
At the Brics Goa summit in October, Russia chose not to help India publicly name Pakistan based terrorist outfits like Lashkar and Jaish in the official declaration in the face of Chinese resistance.
Russia continues to insist that its ties with Pakistan will not come at India's cost. Asked about the Russia-Pakistan military exercise though, at the recent Heart of Asia conference, Russia's presidential envoy to Pakistan Zamir Kabulov said Moscow didn't complain about India's close cooperation with the US and so India also shouldn't complain about "much low level" of cooperation between Russia and Pakistan. India may or may not complain, but it's certainly watching with eyes wide open.


Ban Ki- Moon criticises South Korea president, expresses concerns over lack of good governance

Seoul:MMNN:19 Dec. 2016

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has criticised South Korean president Park Geun-hye's administration over a corruption scandal involving her longtime friend, voicing concerns over the country's "lack of good governance", the media reported on Monday.
Ban on Friday said South Korea has never experienced such political turmoil except during the 1950-53 Korean War, Yonhap news agency reported.
Ban's remarks sparked speculation that the Secretary General, long considered a potential presidential candidate, has started distancing himself from the impeached president.
"(South Koreans) were very much frustrated and angry about the complete lack of good governance," he said on Friday.
Addressing the scandal that has gripped South Korea over the past two months, Ban said the political turbulence in the country is "surprising and unexpected".
"When her father President Park Chung-hee was assassinated in 1979, those were the times when Koreans were going through a turbulent process. But this time, in a very peaceful society, very democratic, economically well-to-do society, this has happened," he said.
Pointing to South Koreans' resilience and respect for democratic institutions, Ban expressed hope that the country will soon get over the political crisis.
"I am convinced that soon they will be able to overcome this crisis. I hope that this will give good lessons to those in leadership in Korean society, whether political, economic or social," he said.
Although the outgoing UN chief has yet to declare his intention to run in the presidential election next year, his name has long been bandied about as a formidable presidential candidate.



China Should Build More Nuclear Arms To Prepare For Donald Trump: Chinese Media

BEIJING:MMNN:8 Dec. 2016


China should "significantly" increase military spending and build more nuclear weapons as a response to US President-elect Donald Trump, an editorial in the nationalistic Global Times newspaper said Thursday.
China should "build more strategic nuclear arms and accelerate the deployment of the DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile" to protect its interests, should Trump attempt to corner the country in an "unacceptable way", it said.
"China's military spending in 2017 should be augmented significantly," it added in the print article run in both English and Chinese.
The paper is not part of the official state media, but has close ties to the ruling Communist Party.
Chinese officials are sometimes thought to use it as a rhetorical hammer, but have also admonished it for its often bombastic language.
The president-elect frequently savaged China on the campaign trail, even calling it America's "enemy" and pledging to stand up to a country he says views the US as a pushover.
But he has also indicated he is not interested in projecting US power away from home, saying America is sick of paying to defend allies like Japan and South Korea -- even suggesting they should develop their own nuclear weapons.
The editorial follows a Twitter tirade by Trump earlier in the week blasting China's trade and foreign policies, as well as a protocol-shattering decision to accept a congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a rogue province awaiting unification.
In the editorial, the Global Times said: "We need to get better prepared militarily regarding the Taiwan question to ensure that those who advocate Taiwan's independence will be punished, and take precautions in case of US provocations in the South China Sea."
On Wednesday, Trump selected Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who has close ties to Chinese President Xi Jinping dating back to the mid-1980s, as ambassador to China -- potentially welcome news for Beijing, which called him an "old friend" upon receiving reports of his nomination.
Nevertheless, the state-owned China Daily newspaper remained pessimistic about the future of relations with the US.
A Thursday editorial said that though the Asian giant had thus far responded to Trump with "laudable" prudence, further provocations from the unpredictable politician would jeopardize Sino-US ties.
"China has to prepare for the worst," it said. "What has happened over the past weeks tends to suggest that Sino-US relations are facing uncertainty as never before, as Trump's words are not necessarily more bark than bite."



Probe launched into Pakistan plane crash, PIA blames engine failure

Peshawar:MMNN:8 Dec. 2016

Pakistan International Airlines on Thursday blamed engine failure for the horrific plane crash which claimed 48 lives, even as the country's top civil aviation body launched a probe into the tragic accident. The PIA plane PK-661 with 48 people, including famous pop singer-turned-Islamic preacher Junaid Jamshed, his wife and Deputy Commissioner Chitral
Osama Warraich, on board crashed yesterday in Saddha Batolni village near Havelian while en route to Islamabad from Chitral in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
According to the airline, the plane was an ATR-42 turboprop aircraft, which lost contact with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) at Islamabad's Benazir International Airport en route from Chitral.
PIA Chairman Azam Saigol blamed engine failure for the deadly crash.
"Around 4:15 PM the ATC received an emergency call from the pilot who informed them about the engine failure. A few minutes later, a mayday distress call was received from the pilot," Saigol told reporters.
The ATR-42 aircraft involved in the crash had undergone regular maintenance, including an 'A-check' certification in October, Saigol said.
"I want to make it clear that it was a perfectly sound aircraft," Saigol said, ruling out technical or human error.
Pakistan authorities were conducting DNA testing to identify the victims of plane crash as most of the dead bodies were charred beyond recognition.
According to rescue official Ghayoor Mushtaq, all bodies had been retrieved by 02:00 AM this morning and shifted to Ayub Medical Complex in Abbottabad.
A military official said three helicopters have been deputed to transport the bodies to Islamabad. They will be then moved to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad and Combined Military Hospital in neighbouring Rawalpindi.
Dr Junaid of Ayub Medical Complex said only six bodies were recognised while others will be identified through DNA matching. Jamshed, two Austrians, and a Chinese national were on the ill-fated PIA flight.
The pilot of the ill-fated ATR-42 made his first call to the air traffic control soon after the flight took off. He said the plane's left engine was not functioning and moments later followed with a panicked, 'Mayday! Mayday'.
Minutes before the plane crashed at 4.15 PM, the pilot made the emergency call requesting permission for an emergency landing. The plane vanished from the radar screen and soon after and the communication system stopped.
Aviation Division Secretary Irfan Elahi said the Civil Aviation Authority's investigation board, headed by Air Commodore Munir, would lead the inquiry into the cause of the deadly crash.
"We hope the black box will be found soon which can help investigators. At the moment, there is no other reason for the plane crash other than the failure of the left engine," he said.



US: White man allegedly harasses hijab-clad 'hero' Muslim cop, calls her 'ISIS'

NEW YORK: MMNN:5 Dec. 2016


An off-duty hijab-clad Muslim police officer was called "ISIS" and told to go back to her "country" by a white man who also pushed her 16-year-old son, the latest in a series of incidents in which headscarf-wearing women have been targeted in the US following Donald Trump's win. Officer Aml Elsokary, who was off duty and wearing her hijab, dropped off her son in Brooklyn. After parking her car, she returned to the scene to find her son being shoved by the suspect, a white man in his 30s.
When the officer - a native New Yorker - approached, the man said, "ISIS (expletive), I will cut your throat, go back to your country!" Elsokary did not identify herself as a police officer, and was unarmed, the New York Daily News reported, citing police sources.
The suspect then fled the scene. Police were trying to track him down. The NYPD Hate Crimes Unit is probing the episode as a bias incident which took place on Saturday. Officer Elsokary - who proudly wears her hijab on duty -- was touted as a hero by the New York city mayor after she ran into a burning building to save an elderly man and baby girl in April 2014.
Responding to a call about a fire over the police radio, Elsokary and her partner had rushed to a smoke-filled building. The decorated officer had joined the force shortly after the September 11 terror attacks to "show people that the terrible acts of that day contradicted the teachings of Islam," Mayor de Blasio had said at a 2014 dinner.
The mother-of-five had received a medal for her bravery. Saturday's incident comes amid a slew of intimidation and assault cases that have been reported across the country against hijab-clad women following Trump's win.
On Thursday, a Muslim student was allegedly assaulted aboard a subway train by three drunk white men who repeatedly screamed "Donald Trump!" and hurled anti-Islam slurs before trying to rip her hijab off. Earlier this month, a Hijab-clad Muslim student was allegedly struck in the face with a glass bottle in broad daylight at the University of Washington campus in Seattle.
In another incident, a hijab-clad woman was allegedly accosted at a US store by another customer who called her a "terrorist" and told her to "get out" of the country. Also, a Muslim student's hijab was allegedly ripped off and her hair pulled down by a classmate at a school in Minnesota.



Judge Orders Michigan Vote Recount To Begin At Monday Noon

DETROIT: MMNN:5 Dec. 2016

Michigan must begin its Presidential recount at noon Monday, a federal judge ruled in a late-night order that could make it more likely the state will complete the count ahead of a December 13 deadline.
In his ruling Sunday night, Judge Mark Goldsmith rejected an effort by state officials to delay the hand-counting of about 4.8 million ballots.
Green Party Presidential nominee Jill Stein argued that a law is unconstitutional that requires a break of at least two business days after the Board of Canvassers' final action on a recount request.
Goldsmith found that Stein had "shown the likelihood of irreparable harm" if the count was delayed even by two days and rejected the state's arguments about the cost to taxpayers.
Republican Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by 10,704 votes, or two-tenths of a percentage point, in Michigan. Stein received about 1 percent of the vote.
Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette, the Trump campaign and super PACs have filed separate lawsuits asking state courts to prevent the recount, arguing that Stein, as the fourth-place finisher, is not "aggrieved" because she has no chance of winning in a recount.
The Green Party also wants recounts in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Stein has argued, without evidence, that irregularities in the votes in all three states suggest that there could have been tampering with the vote, perhaps through a well-coordinated, highly complex cyber attack.
Elections officials in the three states, all narrowly won by Trump, have expressed confidence in their results. Even if all three recounts happen, none were expected to give Clinton enough votes to emerge as the winner.



Donald Trump Says Will Step Away From Business, Focus On White House

NEW YORK: MMNN:1 Dec. 2016


US President-elect Donald Trump vowed on Wednesday to step back from running his global business empire to avoid conflicts of interest, as concern over his dual role mounts ahead of the Republican's inauguration on January 20.
Trump, a real estate magnate who owns hotels and golf resorts from Panama to Scotland, said he will spell out at a December 15 news conference how he will separate himself "in total" from his worldwide business holdings, which include a winery, modelling agency, and a range of other businesses.
His company, the Trump Organization, had previously said it was looking at new business structures with the goal of transferring control of his portfolio to his Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump - three of his adult children who are involved with the company.
His children are also on the executive committee of his White House transition team.
Trump gave few details in a series of early morning tweets on Wednesday, but said "legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations" and said his children will attend the news conference.
A brand name around the globe, Trump had previously argued that he had no need to separate himself from the Trump Organization, which includes a hotel down the street from the White House, a Manhattan tower where he lives and is running his transition to office, and a New Jersey golf course where he interviewed cabinet candidates earlier this month.
Trump said on Wednesday he is not required by law to alter his relationship with his business, but added: "I feel it is visually important, as president, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses."
As the Republican heads toward taking over the White House from President Barack Obama, scrutiny of potential conflicts has grown.
Trump's businesswoman daughter Ivanka joined her father's telephone call with Argentine President Mauricio Macri earlier this month and attended a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, raising questions of possible conflicts of interest.
Rules on conflict of interest for executive branch employees do not apply to the president, but Trump will be bound by bribery laws, disclosure requirements and a section of the US Constitution that prohibits elected officials from taking gifts from foreign governments.
Wall Street Picks
Trump, a former reality TV star, has spent much of the last few weeks setting up his new cabinet and interviewing candidates for top jobs in his administration.
On Wednesday, Trump said he will nominate his chief campaign fundraiser Steven Mnuchin to lead the US Treasury. Mnuchin said the administration would make tax reform and trade pact overhauls top priorities as it seeks a sustained pace of 3 percent to 4 percent economic growth.
Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker, also signalled a desire to remove US mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from government ownership, a move that could have wide-ranging ramifications for how Americans pay for their homes, and said banking regulations should be eased to spur lending.
Trump named Wilbur Ross, a billionaire known for his investments in distressed industries, as his nominee for commerce secretary. Both nominees will require confirmation by the US Senate.
Trump also on Wednesday asked Preet Bharara, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan appointed by Obama in 2009, to stay in his role.
Bharara is known for pursuing a series of high-profile cases targeting public corruption and crime on Wall Street, and has won praise in New York for pursuing corruption investigations involving state and city politics, as well as financial crime.
Trump is considering Goldman Sachs President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn, a former commodities trader, to head his White House budget office or to fill another position, a Trump transition official said.
The Wall Street picks were panned by regulatory watchdog groups. Trump's spokesman defended giving top economic jobs to Wall Street figures despite an election campaign pledge to "drain the swamp" of establishment figures in government.
"There's nobody else who understands the challenges that American workers and businesses face," Trump spokesman Jason Miller said.
Trump was also working to fill out his foreign policy team, but no decision appeared imminent on who the next secretary of state will be.
He met on Tuesday with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani about the top diplomatic post, a transition aide said, and later dined with 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, at a French restaurant near Central Park on Tuesday night.
Romney, who had slammed Trump during the campaign, made an impassioned statement in support of the president-elect after their meal.
Miller said Trump had told him that "he thought the dinner went really well" and that there was good chemistry between the men, who are still getting to know each other.
Trump was to meet on Wednesday with another potential secretary of state pick, retired Marine General John Kelly.


UN slaps new sanctions on North Korea

MMNN:1 Dec. 2016

The UN Security Council has imposed new sanctions on North Korea aimed at cutting the Asian country's annual export revenue by a quarter in response to Pyongyang's fifth and largest nuclear test in September.
The 15-member council unanimously adopted a resolution to slash North Korea's biggest export, coal, by about 60 per cent with an annual sales cap of $US400.9 million ($A540.8 million), or 7.5 million tonnes, whichever is lower.
The US-drafted resolution also bans North Korean copper, nickel, silver and zinc exports - and the sale of statues.
Pyongyang is famous for building huge, socialist-style statues, which it exports mainly to African countries.
The US was realistic about what the new sanctions on North Korea would achieve, its UN ambassador, Samantha Power, told the council after the vote.
"No resolution in New York will likely, tomorrow, persuade Pyongyang to cease its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons. But this resolution imposes unprecedented costs on the DPRK regime for defying this council's demands," she said.
That $US800 million is 6.5 times the amount the World Food Program said it needed in 2016 to fund its North Korea operations, or 1.2 million tonnes of rice at market prices.
North Korea needs 5.2 million tonnes of rice annually to meet its stated target of providing people with 573g of rice a day.
A South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said South Korea welcomed the new resolution and would pursue additional unilateral sanctions against North Korea with the US and Japan.


Tokyo Hit By First November Snow In 54 Years

TOKYO:MMNN:24 Nov. 2016


The Japanese capital of Tokyo on Thursday was hit by its first November snow in 54 years, slowing rush hour trains as residents slogged to work wearing heavy coats and boots in a city far more accustomed to earthquakes than to snow.
The last time snow fell in November in Tokyo, John F. Kennedy was President of the United States and singer Bob Dylan - who this year won the Nobel Literature Prize - had released his debut album just months before.
The snow, which began as sleet around dawn but turned to snow soon after, was sparked by an unusual cold front spreading over the Tokyo area that sent temperatures down to near zero C (32 F).
Average temperatures at this time of year are highs of 14 C (57 F) and rose as far as 20 C (68 F) as recently as Sunday.
"I was shocked," said Masaru Machida, who had just finished night shift work and was walking home. "It's too early."
Though Tokyo, which is on roughly the same latitude as the U.S. city of Raleigh, North Carolina, does see snow at least once a year, it usually falls in January or February and rarely accumulates for long.
As much as 2 cm of snow was predicted for central Tokyo by the time the snow stops, likely by early afternoon, according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency.


Donald Trump Declining Intelligence Briefings

WASHINGTON: MMNN:24 Nov. 2016

Donald Trump has received just two classified intelligence briefings since winning the presidency earlier this month, far less than his immediate predecessors, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
The Republican's limited engagement with his team of intelligence analysts has some officials questioning the real estate mogul's commitment to national security or international affairs, arenas in which he has no significant experience.
The Trump transition team has brushed off those concerns, saying the president-elect has simply been busy appointing his administration members.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence, in contrast, has received intelligence briefings nearly every day since the November 8 vote, the paper reported.
Within days of his win Trump received his initial briefing, and met once more with top US intelligence analysts before heading to Florida for the US Thanksgiving holiday.
The billionaire has turned away other opportunities to meet with intelligence officials, according to the Post.
Trump's last three predecessors regularly received intelligence briefings during their transitions, often on a daily basis. President Barack Obama took regular briefings as well as scheduled "deep dives" on major security issues such as Iran's nuclear program.
As a candidate Trump had voiced skepticism of the US intelligence community, and brushed off intelligence findings throughout the campaign.
Prior to his first classified intelligence briefing -- a privilege reserved for presidential candidates from the two main political parties -- Trump told Fox News he had scant trust in the experts he was slated to meet with.
"Not so much from the people that have been doing it for our country. Look what's happened over the last 10 years. Look what's happened over the years. It's been catastrophic," he told Fox News.
Following Trump's shock victory, the White House had said in a fact sheet on the transition process that "the president-elect and other senior officials will begin receiving daily intelligence briefings from the intelligence community".