North tests rocket system
North Korea yesterday said that it had developed a new control system for a multiple rocket launcher that would lead to a “qualitative change” in its defense capabilities. Pyongyang’s Academy of Defense Science successfully carried out a “ballistic control test firing of 240mm caliber multiple rocket launcher shells” on Saturday to develop a “controllable shell and ballistic control system” for the launcher, state news agency KCNA reported. The new rocket launcher would now be “reevaluated” and its battlefield role “increased,” KCNA said. Nuclear-armed North Korea this year declared South Korea as its “principal enemy,” closing agencies dedicated to reunification and outreach, and threatening war over “even 0.001 millimeters” of territorial infringement.
Qatar frees Indian officers
Qatar has freed eight retired Indian navy officers who had been given death sentences for alleged spying that were commuted last year, the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The eight men were accused of spying while working at Al Dahra, a consulting company in the oil-rich Gulf state that advises the Qatari government on submarine acquisitions. They were imprisoned in 2022 and handed death sentences in October that were reduced to prison sentences after New Delhi said it was exploring legal options and filed an appeal. “We appreciate the decision by the Amir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that seven of the men had returned to India. It gave no further details. The news came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on the sidelines of the COP28 climate talks in Dubai in December.
NY expands migrant curfew
New York is expanding a curfew to additional migrant shelters after violent incidents attributed to migrant shelter residents gained national attention in recent weeks. Starting yesterday, Mayor Eric Adams’ administration imposed an 11pm to 6am curfew at 20 migrant shelters, after initially placing the restrictions at four other locations, the Daily News reported. The curfew impacts about 3,600 migrants, with the largest of the emergency centers housing about 1,000 migrants in Long Island City, Queens. City officials initially placed a curfew on four shelters last month in response to neighborhood complaints.
Skydivers’ plane kills man
A plane carrying four Canadian skydivers came down on a beach on Sunday in the south, killing one man who was on the beach. There was no immediate information on why the plane went down, but it appeared to have made a forced landing and was largely intact. However, it fell in a relatively populated section of the beach at the Pacific coast town of Puerto Escondido, and landed almost on top of the victim, whose nationality was not disclosed. The four Canadians and one Mexican man aboard the small aircraft were removed from the plane and taken for treatment. The Oaxaca state civil defense office said they were in “stable” condition. There was no immediate information on the names or hometowns of the Canadians. The office said the dead man’s wife had been nearby, but was unharmed. The accident happened just meters away from the water and even closer to a wood beach structure of the kind frequently used in Puerto Escondido for restaurants.
Vaccines that protect against severe illness, death and lingering long COVID-19 symptoms from a SARS-CoV-2 infection were linked to small increases in neurological, blood and heart-related conditions in the largest global vaccine safety study to date. The rare events — identified early in the pandemic — included a higher risk of heart-related inflammation from mRNA shots made by Pfizer Inc, BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc, and an increased risk of a type of blood clot in the brain after immunization with viral-vector vaccines such as the one developed by the University of Oxford and made by AstraZeneca PLC. The viral-vector jabs were
A steam of sweat rose as hundreds of naked men tussled over a bag of wooden talismans, performing a dramatic end to a thousand-year-old ritual in Japan that took place for the last time. Their passionate chants of “jasso, joyasa” (“evil, be gone”) echoed through a ceder forest in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture, where the secluded Kokuseki Temple is ending the popular annual rite. Organizing the event, which draws hundreds of participants and thousands of tourists every year, has become a heavy burden for the aging local faithful, who find it hard to keep up with the rigors of the ritual. The Sominsai festival,
‘PUTIN IS RESPONSIBLE’: Authorities detained more than 100 people in Russia, as mourners remembered the opposition leader outside embassies around the world Floral tributes to Alexei Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest foe who died on Friday in a Russian penal colony, were removed overnight by groups of unidentified people while police watched, videos on Russian social media show. More than 100 people were detained in eight cities across Russia after they came to lay flowers in memory of Navalny, said OVD-Info, a group that monitors political repression in Russia. Yesterday, police blocked access to a memorial in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk and detained several people there as well as in another Siberian city, Surgut, OVD-Info said. Video footage shared on social media
COLLECTIVE ACTION: Over 150 trainee doctors quit over the government’s plan to increase medical school admissions by 2,000 students next school year The South Korean government yesterday warned that trainee doctors were putting public health at risk after more than 150 tendered their resignations to protest a government plan to admit more students to medical schools. The South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare said it had issued a back-to-work order to the 154 doctors at seven hospitals, warning that refusing to comply would result in punishment. The government plans to raise medical school admissions by 2,000 students for the 2025 academic year and to add 10,000 doctors by 2035. Currently, about 3,000 students enter medical schools each year. The plan has drawn intense protests