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North Korea moves forward with rocket launch plans

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North Korea is  preparing to fire a long range rocket between February 8 to 25 while South Korea  has warned Pyongyang  to shoot down any rocket parts flying above its territory .

Japan put its military on alert on Wednesday to shoot down any North Korean rocket that threatens it, while South Korea warned the North it would pay a “severe price” if it goes ahead with a satellite launch that the South considers a missile test while China expressed “serious concerns”over North Korea’s plans to put a satellite into orbit.

South Korea said the North should immediately call off the launch, which is a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, the South’s presidential Blue House said in a statement.

“We express serious concerns about that,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing.

“We believe that the DPRK has the right to the peaceful use of space but at the moment its relevant right should be subject to the restrictions of the UN Security Council resolutions,” he added, using the North’s official name.

UN resolutions forbid the North from any use of ballistic missile technology, and yesterday’s announcement saw Pyongyang doubling down against an international community already struggling to come up with a united response to last month’s nuclear test.

China is the North’s main diplomatic protector and provider of trade and aid, and while ties have become strained over Pyongyang’s insistence on pursuing its atomic weapons programme, Beijing has not announced any concrete moves to rein in its neighbour.

“We don’t want to see any escalation of tension, but if relevant countries insist on doing so, then we are not able to stop them,” Lu said.

Asked whether the announcement was a slap in the face for Beijing, Lu pointed instead to Washington.

“In response to some countries’ outcry for pressure and sanctions, the DPRK conducted one nuclear test after another,” he said.

“In this sense, the DPRK did slap some country across the face. As for whose face the DPRK did slap, I think the country itself knows well.

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COVID-19 cases in Turkey rise to 27,069

Turkey’s total number of recoveries from the coronavirus reached 1,042, while 1,381 patients are still in intensive care units.

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COVID-19 cases in Turkey

Ankara, April 6 : Turkey’s total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 climbed to 27,069, with 3,135 new patients reported in last 24 hours, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

The death toll from the novel coronavirus in Turkey reached 574 after 73 more lost their lives over the past 24 hours, Koca tweeted on Sunday, reported Xinhua news agency.

Turkey’s total number of recoveries from the coronavirus reached 1,042, while 1,381 patients are still in intensive care units.

On March 11, Turkey reported its first COVID-19 case.

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Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Germany approach 90,000

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Berlin, April 5 More than 89,300 COVID-19 cases and at least 1,250 deaths have been registered as of Saturday afternoon across Germany, according to evaluations of a local media outlet which took into account the latest figures from all federal states.

The confirmed cases increased by 5,600 from the previous day, and the deaths by 147, Xinhua reported.

Helge Braun, head of the Federal Chancellery, told the Saturday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine that the peak of the COVID-19 crisis in Germany has not yet been reached, and “the time with the highest infection numbers is still ahead of us.”

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Iran urges EU to defy US sanctions amid COVID-19 pandemic

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday censured US for maintaining its sanctions against Iran despite the outbreak of COVID-19 across the country.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Tehran, April 5 : Iran’s envoy to Belgium on Saturday asked the European Union to oppose US sanctions on Iran amid the surge of COVID-19 pandemic, state TV reported.

The “unilateral and illegal sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran under the guise of its maximum pressure campaign undermine the country’s ability to effectively battle the virus without any international support in the long run,” Gholam Hossein Dehqani said in a letter to Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Xinhua reported.

Dehqani urged the European Union to defy “the inhumane” US sanctions as they infringe on the ordinary citizens’ rights to meet their basic needs.

On Friday, Iran’s envoy to the UN office in Geneva Esmaeil Baqaei Hamaneh said that the US “cruel and illegal” sanctions against Iran have resulted in difficulties for ordinary Iranians’ access to medicine and medical equipment and services as the country is engaged in the combat with the novel coronavirus.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday censured US for maintaining its sanctions against Iran despite the outbreak of COVID-19 across the country.

Iran’s health ministry on Saturday announced 55,743 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country and a total of 3,452 deaths.

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