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UNSC unanimously approves new sanctions on N. Korea

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North-Korea missile test

United Nations, Aug 6: The United Nations Security Council on Saturday unanimously adopted a US-drafted resolution that aims to slash by a third North Korea’s $3 billion annual export revenue over Pyongyang’s two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests in July.

The resolution would ban Pyongyang’s exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. It would also prohibit countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korea’s labourers working abroad, ban new joint ventures with Pyongyang and any new investment in current joint ventures.

Resolution 2371 (2017), adopted unanimously by the Security Council on Saturday, strengthens UN sanctions on the Pyongyang in response to its two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests conducted on July 3 and July 28, respectively.

As such, this resolution “sends a clear message” to Pyongyang that the Security Council is united in condemning its violations and demanding the country give up its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Resolution 2371 (2017) includes the strongest sanctions ever imposed in response to a ballistic missile test. These measures target Pyongyang’s principal exports, imposing a total ban on all exports of coal (North Korea’s largest source of external revenue), iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood.

Banning these exports will prevent Pyongyang from earning over $1 billion per year of hard currency that would be redirected to its illicit programs, according to the resolution.

North Korea earns approximately $3 billion per year from its exports. Additional sanctions target North Korea’s arms smuggling, joint ventures with foreign companies, banks, and other sources of revenue.

A resolution needs nine votes in favour, and no vetoes by the US, China, Russia, France or Britain, to be adopted.

The measures would be the seventh set of UN sanctions imposed on North Korea since it first carried out a nuclear test in 2006.

IANS

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South Korean former PM Kim Jong-pil dies at 92

Before becoming Prime Minister for the first time, the retired military leader and father of two created and ran the Korean Intelligence Agency and later headed the then ruling Democratic Republican Party.

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PM Kim Jong-pil

Seoul, June 23 (IANS) Former South Korean Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil died here on Saturday at the age of 92 while being taken to a hospital.

Kim, considered among the most influential politicians in the country in previous decades, served as Prime Minister on two occasions, between 1971 and 1975, and between 1998 and 2000, Yonhap agency reported.

Born in 1926, Kim graduated from the Korea Military Academy and played an important role in the 1961 military coup led by former President Park Chung-hee, who ruled the country with an iron fist until his assassination in 1979.

Before becoming Prime Minister for the first time, the retired military leader and father of two created and ran the Korean Intelligence Agency and later headed the then ruling Democratic Republican Party.

Besides holding government posts, the influential and conservative politician served as lawmaker on nine occasions until his retirement in 2004.

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Grenade blast at Ethiopian PM rally kills 1, injures 154

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Grenade blast at Ethiopian PM rally

Addis Ababa, June 23 (IANS) A grenade blast at a crowded rally in support of Ethiopia’s new reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Saturday killed at least one person and injured over 154 others.

The explosion took place at the rally attended by thousands, shortly after Ahmed finished a speech at the capital’s Meskel Square. He soon took to public television to inform that the attack had killed people, though he did not specify the number, the BBC reported.

Ethiopia’s Health Minister Amir Aman tweeted that one person had died and 154 were injured, 10 of them critically.

Ahmed described it as an “unsuccessful attempt by forces who do not want to see Ethiopia united” and said attacks would not stop his ruling coalition from carrying out its reformist programme that seeks to increase democracy in the country.

He was whisked away immediately after the blast. According to local media, two women and a man were arrested from the scene.

Ahmed became Prime Minister after his predecessor Hailemariam Desalegn unexpectedly resigned in February. He is also the country’s first leader from the ethnic Oromo group, which has been at the centre of nearly three years of anti-government protests that have left hundreds dead.

The government has been accused of human rights violations including torture and extrajudicial killing of political dissidents.

Since taking office, Ahmed has passed a series of reforms, including unblocking hundreds of websites and TV channels. He has also said he is ready to implement in full a peace deal with Eritrea that was signed in 2000 after a two-year war.

In a Twitter post, the EU mission to Ethiopia, expressed “heartfelt condolences” to the Ethiopian people and the government for the victims of the “cowardly attack”.

The US Embassy in Addis Ababa also condemned the blast, tweeting: “Violence has no place as Ethiopia pursues meaningful political and economic reforms.”

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Nawaz Sharif’s daughter to contest from two seats in Pakistan elections

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Maryam-Nawaz-Sharif

Islamabad, June 23: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz will contest from two seats in the upcoming general elections in the country on July 25.

Maryam has filed her candidature from the National Assembly (NA)-127 in Lahore and from Punjab assembly constituency PP-173 respectively for contesting in Pakistan general elections.

The returning officers (ROs) approved Maryam’s candidacies. However, she would be now contesting the polls from NA-127 and PP-173 seats.

Earlier, Maryam announced that she would contest elections from NA-120, which is considered as the bastion of the Sharif family and was represented by Nawaz himself, and later by his wife, Kulsoom Nawaz.

Nawaz’s brother Shahbaz Sharif formally took charge of the PML-N after an earlier court ruling banned the former premier from heading the party.Pakistan’s supreme court had in April banned former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from participating in elections for life.

Supreme Court Justice Umar Ata Bandial described the ban on Sharif as “permanent” in a judgement read to the court, clarifying the length of an earlier ruling that disqualified the former premier from office.

Sharifs and their supporters have repeatedly denied allegations of corruption, suggesting the former prime minister is the victim of a conspiracy by Pakistan’s powerful military establishment.

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