A Pakistani scientist's confession that he sold nuclear weapons technology to North Korea was a "sheer lie" cooked up by the US to justify an invasion, North Korea said yesterday. \nThe father of Pakistan's nuclear-arms program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, said last week he had sold nuclear secrets to Libya and two countries that US President George W. Bush has labelled part of an "axis of evil," North Korea and Iran. \nKhan's confession came three weeks before North Korea was scheduled to join the US, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea for a second round of talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear-weapons program. \nNorth Korea has long denied US assertions that it had been pursuing an atomic-weapons program using highly enriched uranium. \nUS officials said the North Koreans had admitted to such a program in October 2002 when confronted with evidence of efforts to procure equipment to enrich uranium for bombs. \nThe confrontation led to North Korea withdrawing from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and taking plutonium rods out of storage, an essential step to developing weapons. \nIn the North's first reaction to the revelations out of Pakistan, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said the US had fabricated Khan's story to derail the nuclear talks and lay the groundwork for an Iraq-style invasion. \n"The United States is now hyping the story about the transfer of nuclear technology to the DPRK by a Pakistani scientist in a bid to make the DPRK's enriched uranium programme sound plausible," said the spokesman in a statement published by Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency. \n"This is nothing but a mean and groundless propaganda," the spokesman said, adding that Khan's disclosures are such a "sheer lie that the DPRK does not bat an eyelid even a bit." \nDPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official title. \n"This is aimed to scour the interior of the DPRK on the basis of a legitimate mandate and attack it just as what it did in Iraq in the end and invent a pretext to escape isolation and scuttle the projected six-way talks," it said. \nKhan's admission he had sold the nuclear-weapons technology made North Korea "realize once again what a just measure it took to build nuclear deterrent force," the spokesman said. \nSouth Korean analysts have said North Korea had suffered a big setback from Khan's disclosures, with some in the South worrying that continued denials by the North might ruin prospects for the long-awaited second round of six-party talks in Beijing. \nAfter confessing on television to blackmarket nuclear technology dealings and absolving Pakistan's military and government of blame, Khan was pardoned by President Pervez Musharraf in an apparent effort to lay the controversy to rest. \nThe US has strongly defended Musharraf's handling of the scandal, reflecting a balancing act between its usual aggressive stance on punishing proliferation and its firm support for the Pakistani leader.
Henry Tong (湯偉雄) and Elaine To (杜依蘭) were preparing to spend their first wedding anniversary in separate prison cells until their acquittal for rioting during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. There were gasps and tears of relief in court on Friday last week as a judge declared prosecutors had failed to prove that the couple took part in clashes with police in July last year. The pair walked free in a ruling that has potential consequences for hundreds of other protesters facing similar charges. However, they have a long journey ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and business. “We have already been punished,”
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged