North Korea successfully tests intercontinental ballistic missile 

North Korea on July 4 claimed it had successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile which is capable of hitting the mainland United States.

According to a Reuters report, the launch was ordered and supervised by leader Kim Jong Un according to North Korea’s state media. The rocket covered a trajectory of 933 km (580 miles) reaching an altitude of 2,802 km over a flight time of 39 minutes.

The launch came days before leaders from the Group of 20 nations were due to discuss steps to rein in North Korea’s weapons program, which it has pursued in defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions.

North Korea’s state media said,” The test launch was conducted at the sharpest angle possible and did not have any negative effect on neighboring countries.”

According to the Washington Post, Donald Trump, U.S. President, took to Twitter: “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan said he would ask the presidents of China and Russia to play more constructive roles in efforts to stop Pyongyang’s arms program.

The New York Times reported, North Korea has been trying to build a reliable intermediate-range ballistic missile, which would be able to reach American military bases in the Pacific.

Missile experts say North Korea may still be years away from mastering the technologies needed to build such a missile.

Source links : Reuters, The New York Times, Washington Post

 

 

Hizbul chief Salahuddin admits to conducting terror acts in India

The recently-designated ‘global terrorist’, Hizbul Mujahideen Chief, Syed Salahuddin, has admitted in an interview to Geo News that his terrorist organization has carried out numerous attacks in India with the support Hizbul garners from India.

He made it absolutely clear, that they are a lot of sympathizers in Kashmir who help him carry out planned attacks on Indian soil. “Khud India ke andar hamare bahot saare supporters hai. Jo hamse hamdardi hai. Jo samajh hai Kashmiri maslo mein. Jo hamse hamdardi karte hai”, said Salahuddin.

He also threw light on the international arms market and how he can deliver arms to any customer on either side of the LOC, in exchange of money.

Hours after the Modi-Trump meeting in the United States, Salahuddin was labelled as a global terrorist, a move that was welcomed by India. This only reinforces the commitment that the two countries have promised in the past to tackle terrorism.

In 2016, Salahuddin put up an open resolution that he will not allow any peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue and the valley would be a “graveyard of Indian soldiers”, as Hizbul will continue a train batches of suicide bombers.

 

Sources: India Today, Hindustan Times

Long anticipated Trump-Putin meet to take place during G-20 Summit

U.S. President Donald Trump will be meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit taking place in the first week of July in Germany.

In a press briefing on June 29, White House National Security Advisor, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster said that, “Next Wednesday (July 5), President Trump will first travel to Warsaw, Poland, and later to Hamburg, Germany for the G-20. While in Hamburg, the President will meet with many world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK PM Theresa May, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and others.”

The White House, however, did not assert whether Trump would discuss the alleged Russian meddling in US Presidential Elections last year with Putin in their first ever meet since Trump assumed office. After being asked about Trump’s objective, McMaster replied that there is no specific agenda of these meetings. “It’s really going to be whatever the President wants to talk about,” he said.

Broaching the topic of climate change, Director of National Economic Council, Gary Cohn said that USA will not comply with a deal in which they have to cut down emissions while other countries continue to grow until 2030. “President Trump is going to ask for a fair and level playing field when it comes to Paris Climate Agreement,” he said.

The 12th G-20 Summit will be taking place on 7 and 8 July, 2017 in Hamburg, hosted by Chancellor Merkel.

 

Source: White House National Security Council press, New York Times

North Korean detained Otto Warmbier dies days after release

Otto Warmbier, the 22-year old American student who was detained by North Korean for 17 months died at a Cincinnati Hospital, reported CNN. Warmbier was released from North Korea last week after he was arrested in 2016. He was visiting North Korea for a five-day sightseeing when he was arrested for allegedly trying to steal an item with a propaganda slogan, according to North Korean media.

The family in a statement after Otto’s death said, “Unfortunately, the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today.”

Last Thursday, the physicians at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where Warmbier was died, said that he showed no signs of understanding languages or surroundings and had made no “purposeful movements or behaviours”.

Otto Warmbier was released by North Korea on humanitarian grounds after the U.S. State Department’s special envoy traveled to Pyongyang, reported Reuters.

The US President Donald Trump condemned Otto’s death and issued a statement saying, “The brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim.”

Trump drew a lot of flak in May when he said that he would be “honored” to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. In an interview with Bloomberg news he said, “If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it… If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that.”

Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State also offered his condolence and said that Otto’s parents have entered a time of grief which no parents should ever know. Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations said Otto’s death “touches the American heart like no other.”

Sources : Reuters, CNN

Premium processing of H-1B visas no more

The United States of America has suspended the fast processing of the H-1B visas temporarily. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the suspension might last up to six months after it will be under effect on April 3.

This decision has created uncertainty in the information technology (IT) sector of India. The US has cited a backlog of applications. This move will not affect Indian software exporters like Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) but also the multinational firms who send their engineers for different projects to the US.

Currently, a company can apply for H-1B visas for their potential employees by paying extra known as premium processing. This premium processing costs an additional $1,1225. In this case, the UNCIS revert in 15 days and if fails to do so the fee is refundable.

After April 3, the IT companies will not be able to send the employees on urgent basis for the projects in the US. From now on they have to plan their applications at least three months in advance.

The US president, Donald Trump, who recently banned the entry of people from seven Muslim countries, has planned to revamp the H-1B program in order to keep a check on the misuse of work visas.

SOURCES-

1. CNN- http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/04/us/h1b-visa-premium-processing-suspended/

2. BUSINESS STANDARD- http://www.business-standard.com/article/international/it-firms-in-a-fix-as-us-halts-premium-h1b-visa-processing-117030400297_1.html

IMAGE SOURCE- Twiiter

China to increases military spending by 7 per cent

China’s 2017 military spending will extend by around 7 percent, a representative for the annual session of the nation’s top council said Saturday.

Fu Ying, representative for the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) annual session, said the expansion is in accordance with China’s financial advancement and defense needs.

The new increment could be the nation’s slowest defense budget rise in no less than 10 years, denoting the second time for the defense budget increment to slip into the single digits since 2010. In 2009, the figure was around 15 percent.

Addressing the press conference, Fu Ying said, “China’s military capacity building will be continued. This is the requirement for safeguarding our national sovereignty and security.”

Premier Li Keqiang will present the administration’s 2017 GDP focus on Sunday. The correct figure during the current year’s defence budget plan is likely to come out on Sunday.

As indicated by the last year’s Budget report, China’s defense spending in 2016 was set to grow 7.6 percent to 954 billion yuan (around 138 billion U.S. dollars).

A month ago, U.S. President Donald Trump promised to additionally reinforce his nation’s military development.

In his first deliver to Congress in the wake of taking office, Trump proposed an enormous 54-billion-U.S. dollar surge in the nation’s military spending, up 10 percent from last year.

SOURCES-

  1. XINHUA- http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-03/04/c_136101947.htm
  2.  THE NEW YORK TIMES- https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/04/world/asia/china-to-raise-military-spending-but-less-than-in-recent-years.html?_r=0

IMAGE SOURCE- Andy Wong/Associated Press

Wilbur Ross to be the Commerce Secretary of the United States

Winning a vote of 72 to 27 , Wilbur Ross became the Commerce Secretary of U. S. President Donald Trump’s Government on February 27, 2017. He is set to be worn in on February 28, 2017 at the White House.  Ross, who is a former Democrat, was already advising Trump on economic policy and rewriting tax codes for the country. The current profile for the Commerce Secretary will entail him to to overhaul trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement.

With Ross’ entry, Trump’s economic team is now in place for the upcoming discussions on health and tax legislation. The billionaire investor formerly served as the Vice-Chairman for the Bank of Cyprus. In the wake of his being nominated, Ross was asked to provide details of his relations with Russian investors in the bank, which includes Victor Vekselberg, a long time ally of the Russian President. According to the New York Times, Ross said, “I am pro-trade, but I am pro-sensible trade”, trying to temper Trump’s view on trade relations.

The appointment out Ross rises questions on Trump choosing Plutocrats over populists for the cabinet. Ryan Zinke is next in line for a cloture vote for the position of the Interior Secretary.

Now, 15 out of 22 seats are confirmed in Trump’s cabinet.

Sources: New York Times, The Guardian

Image Source: The New York Times