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N.Korea calls U.S. sanctions ‘provocation,’ warns of strong reaction

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(Last Updated On: January 14, 2022)

North Korea defended its missile tests as its legitimate right to self-defence and said the United States is intentionally escalating the situation by imposing new sanctions, state media reported on Friday, citing the foreign ministry, Reuters reported.

North Korea’s recent development of a “new-type weapon” was just part of its efforts to modernize its national defence capability, and did not target any specific country or harm the security of neighbouring countries, a spokesperson for North Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA.

“The U.S. accusation of the DPRK’s legitimate exercise of the right to self-defence is an evident provocation and a gangster-like logic,” the statement said. DPRK are the initials of North Korea’s official name.

The statement warned of an unspecified “stronger and certain reaction” if the United States adopts a confrontational stance.

According to the report the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday imposed its first sanctions over North Korea’s weapons programs following a series of North Korean missile launches, including two since last week.

It also called on the United Nations Security Council to take action against several North Korean individuals and entities accused of violating security council resolutions that ban North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons development, read the report.

North Korea has said the recent weapons were “hypersonic missiles” that would boost its strategic military forces.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States had made clear it has no hostile intent toward North Korea and is willing to engage in talks without preconditions, but that the tests are “profoundly destabilising.”

According to Reuters the North Korean foreign ministry said that while Washington may talk of diplomacy and dialogue, its actions show “it is still engrossed in its policy for isolating and stifling” North Korea.

“The U.S. is intentionally escalating the situation even with the activation of independent sanctions, not content with referring the DPRK’s just activity to the UN Security Council,” the statement said.

North Koreans call this the “anti-American season”, said Jean Lee, a North Korea analyst with the Washington-based Wilson Center, Reuters reported.

“Pyongyang raises tensions with an illicit test; when Washington responds with sanctions, North Korea rallies the people around a manufactured threat,” she said in a post on Twitter. “That gives the regime justification to pour resources into its nuclear program.”

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Saudi-led coalition denies targeting detention center in Yemen

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(Last Updated On: January 22, 2022)

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen denied targeting a detention centre in Yemen’s Saada province, saying the facility hit was not a site restricted from strikes, the Saudi official news agency SPA reported on Saturday.

A Reuters witness said several people, including African migrants, died in the Friday attack that reportedly killed at least 60 people.

“The coalition will inform the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen (OCHA) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the facts and details,” the state news agency said, citing a coalition spokesman.

He said the target in Saada was not on no-targeting lists agreed upon with the OCHA, was not reported by the ICRC and did not meet the standards stipulated by the Third Geneva Convention for Prisoners of War, Reuters reported.

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Bomb blast kills 3 people in eastern Pakistan

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2022)

A bomb blast ripped through a crowded market in eastern Pakistan on Thursday (January 20), killing three people and wounding over 20, police said, Reuters reported.

A police spokesman, Arif Rana, told Reuters it was a bomb, saying a time device rigged to a motorcycle exploded outside a shop in the market.

A nine-year-old boy is among the three dead, he said.

“I was around 12 feet or so away from the place, but the blast was so severe that we didn’t know what had happened. Then the fronts of some shop caught fire, and a couple of the shop assistants were injured. A man in the house over there died. A child was passing by, both his legs were blown off. I picked him up, but he was dead. It was a very severe blast,” said a resident who witnessed the explosion.

According to Reuters a newly formed separatist group based in southwestern Balochistan province claimed responsibility in a text message sent to a Reuters reporter.

It said a bank was the target of the attack. Police said they were investigating, saying it was premature to link this to Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 cricket tournament scheduled to start in a week or so.

Baloch separatists have been fighting a low-key insurgency against the Pakistani government to demand a greater share in the local mineral rich resources, Reuters reported.

They usually attack government interests or Chinese projects in the province bordering Afghanistan and Iran, but an attack in a city like Lahore is rare.

China is involved in the development of the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea and other projects in the province as part of a $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is itself part of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative, read the report.

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Russia’s Putin hosts Iranian counterpart in Kremlin

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted on Wednesday (January 19) his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi for talks in Moscow as Russia tries to help salvage a nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran, Reuters reported.

Putin and Iranian Raisi held discussions on the issues of bilateral cooperation Kremlin said, Reuters reported.

Raisi said that a visit to Russia could be a turning point in political, trade and economic relations between the two countries, Russian News Agency RIA Novosti reports.

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