UN Security Council members and West African leaders started trying to assemble a peace force for warring Liberia, renewing calls for the US to contribute troops. \nAmbassadors from the 15-nation council were in Nigeria on Sunday, discussing that nation's possible participation in such a force. Nigeria, whose military is the region's largest and best trained, would be expected to play a key role in any peacekeeping mission in Liberia. \nWest Africa has said it is prepared to take the lead in solving Liberia's crisis but it would like help from the US, which has strong ties to Liberia, a West African nation founded by freed American slaves. \n"It's their baby, and they have a responsibility there," Cameroon UN Ambassador Martin Chungong Ayafor said. \nWashington has shown no inclination to contribute Americans for an international peace force to stand between Liberia's rebels and President Charles Taylor, an indicted UN war crimes suspect who has broken repeated peace pacts. \nOn Sunday, the US reiterated calls for the armed parties to honor a ceasefire agreement they signed on June 17. A US State Department spokeswoman, Amanda Batt, said the US was ready to participate in monitoring efforts. \nUS President George W. Bush made similar comments Thursday when he also called for Taylor to step down. \nUN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asked the Security Council on Saturday for an international peace force for Liberia, where artillery, rockets and arms fire killed an estimated 500 trapped civilians last week as rebels battled Taylor's forces for control of the capital. \nIn Monrovia, Taylor toured battle-devastated western neighborhoods Sunday in a bulletproof Mercedes under guard of machine guns and rocket-launchers, driving down what had been rebels' route into the city. \nTaylor thanked his rag-tag, largely unpaid fighters for their "gallantry," but ordered them to stop nighttime robberies and shooting that continue to panic the city.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference