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North Korea reaffirms plan to bolster space reconnaissance capabilities

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Seoul, April 27 (IANS) North Korea on Saturday reiterated its commitment to launching more reconnaissance satellites into orbit this year after putting its first spy satellite into orbit in November.

Pyongyang “will carry out an important mission to enhance its space reconnaissance capabilities as planned to monitor and control the US and other hostile forces’ military movements and aggressive attempts,” an unnamed spokesperson of the North’s National Aerospace Technology Administration (NATA) said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Yonhap news agency reported.

North Korea put its first spy satellite, Malligyong-1, into orbit in November after two failed attempts in May and August and has vowed to launch three more this year. It has yet to disclose any timeline for the launches but has repeatedly reaffirmed the plan through the KCNA.

The North blamed the “US ambitions to militarise space” for its push for space development.

“The US has been building a big space army over the Korean Peninsula and its surrounding area with an ultimate goal to launch a preemptive nuclear attack,” the spokesperson said, accusing Washington of escalating the possibility of an actual war breaking out in the region.

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The North also denounced recent remarks by Stephen Whiting, the commander of the US Space Command, that North Korea’s satellite launch violates UN Security Council resolutions, saying the US is acting based on “double standards.”

North Korea has the right to develop space and use it as a military means for self-defence, the spokesperson said, reiterating the country’s position on space development.

–IANS

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Ukrainian drone attacks threaten safety of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

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Moscow, June 23 (IANS) Recent drone attacks by the Ukrainian armed forces on the city of Energodar, home to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), have raised serious concerns about the safety of the nuclear facility, local authorities said.

ZNPP Director Yuriy Chernichuk said that several divisions of the ZNPP were left without power due to drone strikes on the Raduga substation that occurred on Friday, including the printing house, pump stations supplying drinking water, and production and technical equipment management.

“This is a direct hit on the critical infrastructure essential for the station’s operation. It can be said that this attack impacts the safety of the ZNPP,” Chernichuk told the RIA Novosti news agency on Saturday.

Three more drone strikes on Energodar were recorded on Saturday, leaving one resident injured, Eduard Senovoz, mayor of the city, said on his Telegram channel on Saturday, reports Xinhua news agency.

He added that one of the drones landed near the Raduga substation.

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Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Saturday that Russia would take all necessary measures to prevent Ukraine from carrying out similar drone attacks on Energodar in the future.

–IANS

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South Korean medical professors vow to file constitutional petition for employee status

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Seoul, June 23 (IANS) An association of medical professors across South Korea said on Sunday that it will file a constitutional petition to help them get legal status as hospital employees.

Most medical professors serve as senior doctors at major hospitals, but a court ruling in 2022 refused to acknowledge them as hospital employees, saying that they are classified as faculty members of medical schools under the Private School Act, Yonhap news agency reported.

“There are neither clear legal grounds nor protection measures for medical professors regarding their duty of providing treatment for patients as doctors,” Kim Chang-soo, chief of the National Medical Professors’ Council, said.

“We will file a constitutional petition in the second half of this year to earn employee status,” he said, adding that his organisation will also work to make its labour union more active.

The council is affiliated with medical professors at 40 medicine colleges nationwide.

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–IANS

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4.9-magnitude earthquake jolts Japan

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Tokyo, June 23 (IANS) An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.9 on Sunday struck the northeastern Japanese prefecture of Fukushima, said the country’s weather agency.

The temblor occurred at around 12:12 p.m. local time at a depth of 50 km, measuring 4 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in Fukushima, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said, adding that there was no threat of a tsunami.

The epicentre was located at a latitude of 37.1 degrees north and a longitude of 141.2 degrees east, reports Xinhua news agency.

Tremors were also felt in the prefectures of Miyagi, Ibaraki and Tochigi.

No new abnormalities were reported at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant following the quake, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant’s operator.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.

–IANS

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EAM Jaishankar to visit UAE for high-level talks today

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) External Affairs Minister (EAM), S Jaishankar, will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday, marking a significant diplomatic engagement between the two nations.

During his official visit, EAM Jaishankar will hold a comprehensive meeting with his UAE counterpart, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The two ministers are expected to discuss a wide range of issues pertinent to the India-UAE partnership, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on Sunday.

This high-level dialogue will provide an invaluable opportunity to review the entire spectrum of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries that has been elevating in recent years, as well as to address regional and global developments.

Earlier, the EAM visited Sri Lanka, emphasising India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.

This was his first bilateral visit after the formation of the BJP-led NDA government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

–IANS

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Three killed, 9 injured in car bomb attack in Colombia

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Bogota, June 23 (IANS) Three people were killed and nine others injured in a car bomb attack in the Colombian city of Taminango in the southern department of Narino, local authorities said.

In a statement, Luis Alfonso Escobar, the governor of Narino, confirmed that two citizens and a young police officer were among the killed, expressing his categorical rejection of “this demented act.”

President Gustavo Petro expressed condolences to the bereaved families in a post on his account on X, warning the criminals “who choose the path of war over peace” will “bear the full burden of the law,” reports Xinhua news agency.

The shock wave of the car bomb, detonated near the police station of El Remolino in the rural area of Taminango on Friday, also affected several houses and vehicles.

Fernando Latorre, the mayor of Taminango, told local media that this police station suffered two other attacks in the past year, in addition to various murders, calling for “security to be strengthened to give peace to the local inhabitants.”

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–IANS

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