Israel and its allies had an earful on Monday. \nWith the world pressing Iran and North Korea to give up nuclear programs, Arab states on Monday criticized the West for allowing Israel to remain outside global non-proliferation regimes. \nIsrael is widely believed to have nuclear weapons capability but has not signed on to major agreements, including the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which is aimed at curbing the spread of nuclear arms. \n"What surprises us is that at a time when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is intensifying its efforts and monitoring members countries ... we see that it continues to ignore the rejection of Israel in not joining the treaty," Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly. \nMeanwhile, the US, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan have been working to engage Pyongyang in a negotiating process aimed at persuading the North to abandon its nuclear weapons programs. \nEgyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said: "It is unacceptable that Israel's possession of such weapons should remain a reality that some prefer to ignore or prevent the international community ... from facing it squarely and frankly." \nSyria, accused by the US of developing chemical and biological arms, took aim at both Washington and Israel. \nForeign Minister Farouq al-Shara noted that "a lot has been said lately about the dangers of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by countries that already have different types of such weapons." \n"Some have even waged war under the pretext of eliminating these weapons," he said in an apparent reference to the US and its war to oust Saddam Hussein in Iraq. \nShara called it "regrettable ... that some quarters selectively choose to level their false accusations at some Arab and Islamic states but not on others, while simultaneously ignoring the Israeli arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons." \nThe Arab ministers repeated their support for making the Middle East region free from all weapons of mass destruction. \nIsrael maintains an ambiguity about its weapons programs but Joe Circincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has written that the Jewish state is believed to have between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons, a stockpile of chemical weapons and an active biological arms program. \nArabs were not the only critics to voice opinion on Israel on Monday. \nA senior US diplomat said on Monday that Israel's refusal to stop building settlements in the West Bank threatened its future as a democratic Jewish state. \nThe warning came in a speech by William Burns, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, at the US-Arab Economic Forum in Detroit, a conference exploring ways of fostering growth, development and trade between the US and the Arab world. \n"As Israeli settlements expand and their populations increase, it becomes increasingly difficult to see how the two peoples will be separated into two states," Burns said. \n"The fact is that settlements continue to grow today, encouraged by specific government policies and at enormous expense to Israel's economy, and this persists even as it becomes clear that the logic of settlements and the reality of demographics could threaten the future of Israel as a Jewish democracy." \nBurns was referring to experts' predictions that Jews will become a minority in the area encompassing Israel, the West Bank and Gaza by 2020. \nSecretary of State Colin Powell, in a speech to the forum later, claimed US progress in rebuilding Iraq and having "mobilized the world against terrorism," while calling on Palestinians to help get the "road map" back on track. \nPowell's 35-minute speech was interrupted by applause just twice, in a city with one of the largest Arab and Islamic populations outside the Middle East. \nOne was when Powell reinforced the call for an end to Israeli settlement activity and the other when he urged an end to the opening of "unauthorized outposts" by Israel.
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
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big