Samsung acquires permit to test self-driving cars in CA

Four months after i-Phone maker and rival Apple Inc. secured permit to test self-driving cars, Samsung electronics joined the league in California on Thursday. The Samsung group sought permission from the South Korean authorities to test self-driving cars that have the company’s manufactured sensors and software systems.

The South Korean officials have confirmed that the car is being developed using a self-driving algorithm that enables it to safely drive in even adverse weather conditions. The website of California Department of Motor vehicle displayed Samsung’s name in the list along with a dozen other companies with similar permit.

The company which is mainly into manufacturing of electronic equipment such as Television, washing machines and cell-phones told Reuters that the procurement of the permit for this is to facilitate ‘smarter and safer’ transportation.

Samsung’s foray into the United States’ self-driving car market will be a huge step after the company’s  $8 billion purchase of car audio maker Harman International Industries. Other rivals in the market include Waymo, a division of Google parent Alphabet Inc besides Apple Inc.

In the early 1990s, Samsung had tried its hand in the automobile business but huge losses incurred due to Asian financial crisis forced the company to hand over its business to Renault.



Clearing its intention, North Korea tests short-range missiles in Far East

Pyongyang set its intentions straight by launching several short-range missiles off its missile test site at Kittaeryong, on the east coast of North Korea into the sea. The U.S. military’s Pacific Command at Haiti reported within a span of 20 minutes, it had detected three short-range ballistic missiles. Although initially, the Pacific Command had said two of the missiles had failed in flight, it later revised its statement saying two missiles flew about 250 km in a north-easterly direction. According to the Washington Post, “We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment and we will provide a public update if warranted,” Cmdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Command.

This act is widely seen as North Korea’s protest at the annual joint military drills conducted by South Korea and the United States which the former considers as preparation of war. On July 28, North Korea had tested an intercontinental ballistic missile designed to fly 10,000 km targeting some parts of US. This led to rising tension and exchange of heated words as US President Donald Trump warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un of fire and fury if he threatened the United States.

Sources – Wasington Post, Reuters 

North Korea says no to negotiations with United States

Hand of friendship offered by United States towards North Korea in exchange of an end to missile test launches has been responded by a traditional retaliatory stance by North Korean. N.Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho reinforced that his country “will under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets” on the table for negotiations.

In last one month, North Korea has tested two ballistic missiles, with it’s reach being rival countries i.e. South Korea, Japan, and a major part of the United States. This is why United Nations on August 5, 2017 passed sanctions forwarded by United States, as a means of punishment for the nuclear power-armed South Asian nation.

According to reports by the Washington Post, these sanctions will cause a revenue loss worth $1 billion mainly by curb on coal export. Talking about the stringent action against North Korea, US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley said that this is the first time that this amount of “economic sanctions package” has been “leveled against the North Korean regime”.

China, who has been the only ally to North Korea, has also supported the sanctions with it’s Foreign Minister committing to a ‘100 %’ resolution towards the UN sanctions. However, the state-run newspaper People’s Daily has expressed disapproval saying, “Sanctions must avoid causing negative impacts to ordinary people..”.

Sources: Washington Post, NDTV

Americans banned from travelling to North Korea

The U.S. State Department has imposed a ban on the United States’ passport holder to travel to North Korea. According to the statement issued on August 2, the ban will be in effect from September 1.

The officials have asked all the U.S. passport holders currently living in North Korea to return before the restriction begins. The ban will be in effect for next one year. According to a report by CBS, the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, can further extend the ban or revoke it sooner.

According to the statement, “The Secretary has authorized the restriction due to the serious and mounting risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. citizens under North Korea’s system of law enforcement.”

According to a Reuters report, North Korea currently holds one Korean-American missionary and two academics, three South Korean nationals and a Canadian pastor. According to Japan, several dozens of their nationals are also detained by North Korea.

In a public notice, journalists and humanitarian workers are exempted from the ban. The ban has come in amid increasing tensions between the two nations. The upcoming ban will also make North Korea the only country Americans can not fly to.

Sources – Reuters, CBS News

Venezuela election day turns violent, leaves ten dead

In a wave of bloodshed, ten have been killed in the last 24 hours of the Venezuela protests. The protests turned violent during the elections to choose members of the all-powerful new legislative body that is supposed to reform the country’s constitution. According to an Indian Express report, protesters had swarmed the streets and attacked polling stations, which drew fire from the security forces.

The shootings left a 13-year-old and a 17-year-old in the western state of Tachira, as well as a soldier and a 30-year old regional leader of a youth opposition party, taking the total death toll over the last four months to 120, reported Al Jazeera. Many more protesters with bullet wounds were moved to Colombia for treatment. The national guard troops were deployed to disperse the protesters and used armoured vehicles, rubber bullets and tear gas.

AFP quoted senior opposition leader Henrique Capriles saying “We do not recognize this fraudulent process,” at the close of voting on Sunday. The opposition has boycotted the elections, calling it a method to consolidate unpopular president Nicolas Maduro’s power. Since his election in 2013, he has faced months of protests of economic crises and food shortages.

The United States has condemned the violence, calling it a sham and urged neighbouring countries to take action against those who “undermine democracy, deny human rights.”


Sources: Indian Express, Al Jazeera


Tanker crash in Mississippi kills 12

At least 12 people were killed when a US Marina re-fuelling tanker crashed into a soybean field on Monday in Mississippi’s Delta region, said officials to Associated Press.

Leflore County Sheriff Ricky Banks said officials are still looking for others across a debris field more than five hours after the military tanker spiraled to the ground.

Earlier, Mr Banks said he believes Marine KC—130 had 16 people on board but he refused to confirm the information to AP.

In a statement Marine Corps spokeswoman Captain Sarah Burns said  that the tanker “experienced a mishap” but she did not provide any other detail.

WLBT-TV released some aerial pictures which showed the tanker burning strongly, plumes of black smoke of which was visible from a great distance.

Some residents living in the nearby areas claim to have witnessed the burning plane.

Andy Jones, one of the witnesses told the reporters that an explosive sound made him look up. “I looked up and I saw the plane twirling around,” he said. “It was spinning down. It happened around 4 pm.”

Officials still have not released information regarding the cause of the crash.


The Hindu, Times of India

Image Source: AP

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