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Seoul: N. Korea may conduct underwater-launched missile test

 

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea may soon conduct its first underwater-launched ballistic missile test in about a year, a top South Korean military official said Wednesday, amid long-stalled nuclear talks between the North and the United States.

 

In written remarks to lawmakers ahead of a confirmation hearing, Won In-choul, the nominee for chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said North Korea has been repairing recent typhoon damage at its northeastern Sinpo shipyard, a place where it builds submarines.

 

Shortly after the repairs are complete, there is a chance it will carry out a submarine-launched ballistic missile test, Won said. He said South Korea’s military is keeping a close watch on developments there, according to a copy of his remarks provided by a lawmaker, Kang Dae-sik.

 

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North Korean troops 'killed South Korean official and then BURNED his body after he tried to defect' in world's harshest COVID quarantine protocol

 

The South Korean fisheries official disappeared from a government ship that was checking on potential unauthorized fishing in an area south of the boundary on Monday, a day before he was found in North Korean waters. 

 

North Korea sent officials wearing gas masks aboard a boat near the man to learn why he was there on Tuesday afternoon. Later in the day, a North Korean navy boat came and opened fire at him, South Korea's Defense Ministry said. 

 

Sailors from the boat, putting on gas masks and protective suits, poured gasoline on his body and set it aflame, the Defense Ministry said, citing intelligence gathered by surveillance equipment and other assets. The ministry said that it wasn't clear what caused his death and whether he died after being shot. 

 

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North Korea’s nuke power plant could spark Fukushima-style disaster threatening lives of 100million people, experts warn

 

NORTH Korea's nuclear reactor could be another Fukushima-style disaster waiting to happen after the plant was damaged by storms, experts have warned.

 

Satellite pictures show Kim Jong-un's mysterious nuke site took a battering and it has previously been warned shoddy safety could cause a catastrophe impacting 100 million people.

 

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The Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Centre appears to have been damaged after a dam which regulates water for the reactor's cooling system was breached.

 

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North Korea watchdog group 38North revealed satellite pictures of the damage as they noted "serious concerns" over whether Kim's reactors are safe.

 

Kim's two reactors at the site were luckily switched off amid the flooding as part of ongoing talks with the US and the regime's great rivals South Korea.

 

One is a Soviet Union-style reactor, which has been operating intermittently since 1986.

 

And the other is an experimental reactor, which has not yet been fully switched on since construction started in 2009.

 

But damage caused by typhoons battering North Korea's west coast show the potentially devastating vulnerability of the site, experts say.

 

They compared the risk to the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

North Korean detainees are treated as 'less than animals,' report alleges

 

Systematic torture, sexual abuse and dangerous health conditions are rife within North Korea's pretrial detention system, according to a detailed new report released Monday.

 

The document shines a light on an often opaque criminal justice system, in which suspects are considered to be "worth less than an animal."


Based on interviews with dozens of detainees and former officials, the extensive 88-page report by US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) focuses on the country's allegedly inhuman conditions at pretrial detention facilities.

 

"North Korea's pretrial detention and investigation system is arbitrary, violent, cruel, and degrading," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, in a news release. "North Koreans say they live in constant fear of being caught in a system where official procedures are usually irrelevant, guilt is presumed, and the only way out is through bribes and connections."


The report highlights what it describes as North Korea's "weak legal and institutional framework," as well as the highly political nature of its courts and law enforcement agencies under the country's ruling Party.


Human rights abuses within the secretive state have been well documented over the years, including by a United Nations Commission of Inquiry in 2014, but little is known about the pretrial system.

 

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Kim Jong-un in bizarre plot to smuggle black market Danish bull semen into North Korea

 

Kim Jong-un is trying to boost North Korea's cattle stocks by procuring bull semen on the black market from Denmark.

 

The North Korean dictator wanted to find the exotic product and sneak it into the hermit state, according to Danish filmmaker Mads Brugger.

 

Mads has produced a documentary called The Mole in which he goes undercover to investigate who North Korea tries to flout trade sanctions.

 

He claims a North Korean diplomat in Sweden, named only as Mr Ri, asked spies to help him obtain a variety back of bovine sperm.

 

Mads said: "Mr Ri, the secretary of the embassy in Stockholm, wants the mole to acquire samples of Danish beef cattle semen from various breeds, the right containers for transportation and then get it to the embassy in Stockholm (so he could) take care of getting it to Pyongyang.

 

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Kim Jong-un demands 'loyalty tax' from workers to repair North Korea's finances

 

Reports are emerging from North Korea that leader Kim Jong-un is imposing a new tax on workers stationed in China in a bid to bolster the hermit kingdom’s ailing economy.

 

The border between North Korea and China was closed in January – leaving North Korea completely cut off from its main trading partner.

 

So Pyongyang has issued a demand that North Korean workers based in China pay so called “loyalty funds” to help make up the shortfall.

 

The North Korean government has ordered each trade worker stationed in China to contribute 12,000 yuan (about £1,400) if they’re single, and 24,000 yuan if they’re married.

 

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Kim Jong-un's 'love triangle' with pop star leaves wife and sister frozen out

 

Neither Kim Jong-un's wife, Ri Sol-ju, nor his trusted sister Kim Yo-jong have been seen in a while – instead Kim is increasingly seen with the glamorous leader of 'Pyongyang's Spice Girls'

 

The ongoing drama of North Korea’s ruling dynasty has taken another twist with reports of a mystery power shift in the supreme leader's Kim Jong-un inner circle.

 

It appears his wife and ambitious sister have been pushed out by a former lover - one of the country's leading pop stars.

 

The two other women in Kim’s life, his wife, Ri Sol-ju and his sister Kim Yo-jong, seem to have been sidelined as the glamorous Hyon Song-wol is increasingly seen at his side.

 

Ri Sol-ju, 31, has not been seen in public since the new year. Kim Yo-jong has disappeared from public view before, raising speculation that there might have been a falling-out between the pair, but she has bounced back without any acknowledgement of her absence.

 

“The positive theory is that the leader grew up and is becoming more independent than before,” South Korean journalist, Wang Son-taek, writes on the NK News website.

 

“This would mean that Kim Yo-jong is now on the right track towards her own leadership-building path and is strongly supported by her brother.

 

Hyon Song-wol is the leader of The Moranbong Band – also known as Moran Hill Orchestra.

 

The all-female group’ members were all personally selected by Kim Jong-un and they’ve been described as "North Korea's version of the Spice Girls”.

 

A year after the band burst on to the public stage, a South Korean newspaper reported that Hyon Song-wol had been machine-gunned to death for selling sex tapes featuring herself and her band members.

 

The fact that seven years later she’s sharing a stage with the supreme leader is an example of how confusion and misinformation have become a hallmark off the Pyongyang soap opera.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Kim Jong-un’s rich nephew Kim Han-sol goes missing ‘after meeting with CIA’

 

North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-un’s rich nephew has reportedly been taken into protective custody by the CIA.

 

Kim Han-sol is the son of Kim’s half brother Kim Jong-nam — who was allegedly murdered on orders of the dictator using a nerve agent in 2017.

 

It has been claimed that the exiled 25-year-old — who is said to live a life of lavish luxury — is now in hiding after surrendering to American intelligence services.

 

North Korean dissident great Free Joseon have claimed to have assisted in helping Kim’s nephew escape following the death of his dad, reports the New Yorker.

 

And all this wealth, along with help from the CIA, is reported to have allowed Han-sol to disappear after his dad was murdered almost four years ago.

 

Mr Hong claims his dissident group extracted him from his home in Macau, a territory of China.

 

He is claimed to have been introduced to the Free Joseon movement in 2013, and expressed an interest in exposing human rights abuses in North Korea.

 

Han-sol is claimed to have called Mr Hong after he noticed the “police who typically guarded his house had disappeared”.

 

Fearing for his life, he contacted the group and told them he needed to “get out of Macau as soon as possible”.

 

He is said to have met members of the group in Tapei, Taiwan, two days after his dad was killed.

 

There he is claimed to have boarded a plane to seek asylum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

 

Han-sol is claimed to have never arrived at his destination.

 

It is alleged that two CIA agents attempted to intercept him at Tapei and he was later taken into protective custody and remains hidden.

 

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North Korean gymnast defects by vaulting fences

 

A North Korean gymnast has escaped to South Korea by swinging himself over the border barricades without triggering sensors, according to reports.

 

The man, reported to be in his 20s, surrendered after a manhunt by the South Korean military discovered a breach.

 

The troops had engaged in an operation near the heavily fortified border in Goseong, after detecting "unidentified personnel" there, the South's military said on November 4.

 

The unnamed man was detained without incident and asked for asylum, prompting an investigation into his claims and the breach.

 

Officials were so taken aback by his feat that they asked him to demonstrate twice how he was able to jump over the three-metre fence, according to the BBC's Seoul correspondent.

 

Authorities vowed to investigate why hi-tech security systems did not work.

 

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