US lashes out at Russia, China for silence on North Korea
The US lashed out at Russia and China on Friday for remaining silent in the face of North Korea’s growing weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.
It came at a UN Security Council meeting that discussed Pyongyang’s failed launch of a military spy satellite. The meeting was requested by the US.
On Wednesday, North Korea launched its new type of satellite carrier rocket, Chollima-1, which crashed into the West Sea of Korea.
”This launch may have failed, but it was launched in brazen violation of multiple Security Council resolutions, raised tensions, and risked destabilizing the already sensitive security situation in the region and beyond,” said US deputy envoy to the UN Robert Wood.
”The DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with the support of its two staunch defenders on the Council, are trying to normalize these unlawful launches and assert they are justified,” he said. ”In the face of the growing DPRK WMD and ballistic missile threat and the Council’s silence, it is unbelievable that the two members of this Council expect the United States and our allies to stand idly.”
He urged the Security Council to condemn North Korea’s unlawful launches and for Pyongyang not to conduct another launch.
At least 28 dead, 300 hurt in India rail crash: officials
NEW DELHI – At least 28 people have died, more than 300 were injured and many are feared trapped in a multiple train collision in eastern India’s Odisha state, a medical officer said Friday.
Witnesses and officials told local media that the Coromandel Express passenger train and a goods train collided near Balasore, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the state capital Bhubaneswar.
A second passenger train was also involved in the incident, according to Odisha’s chief secretary Pradeep Jena, but the order of events was still unclear. The Press Trust of India reported that around 50 people were “feared dead,” citing unnamed officials. Many passengers were believed to be trapped under rail cars at the scene. “At least 28 people are confirmed dead and around 300 are injured,” Anil Kumar Mohanty, a medical officer in Balasore, told AFP. “We have rushed doctors and medical staff to the accident site,” he added.
A police official in Balasore told AFP that many of the injured were in a serious condition, but the details were “not too clear yet as teams are on the ground and everyone is busy in the rescue work”. Local news channels said that the number of injured passengers had surpassed 300. SK Panda, a spokesperson in Jena’s office in Odisha state, told AFP that the casualties as well as the situation on the ground was “not yet clear as it is a heavy accident”.
Violent clashes renew in Sudan’s capital despite cease-fire
Violent clashes renewed on Wednesday between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group in the capital Khartoum, according to eyewitnesses.
The violence comes despite a cease-fire agreement brokered by Saudi Arabia and the United States between the two rivals.
Clashes and heavy shelling were reported in several neighborhoods in southern Khartoum, witnesses said.
The sound of artillery shelling was also heard in Karari, north of Omdurman city.
According to witnesses, the Sudanese army closed Al-Fatihab Bridge on the White Nile, which connects Khartoum and Omdurman.
In a statement, the army said its forces repelled an attack by RSF fighters in El-Obeid city, the capital of North Kordofan state.
The military statement said RSF forces had sustained heavy losses in the attack.
There was no comment from the RSF on the report.
At least 863 civilians have been killed and thousands injured in clashes between the army and the RSF since April 15, according to local medics.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that more than one million people have been internally displaced by the conflict.
A disagreement had been fomenting in recent months between the army and the RSF over the paramilitary group’s integration into the armed forces, a key condition of Sudan’s transition agreement with political groups.
Sudan has been without a functioning government since October 2021 when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government and declared a state of emergency in a move decried by political forces as a “coup.”
Sudan’s transitional period, which started in August 2019 after the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir, had been scheduled to end with elections in early 2024.
Dialogue important but not sans principles: China tells Pentagon
China’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday acknowledged the importance of maintaining communication with its US counterpart but said the “principles” guiding bilateral relations could not be ignored.
“China attaches great importance to the development of Sino-US military relations and communication at all levels,” said Tan Kefei, spokesman of China’s Defense Ministry.
Tan said in a statement that dialogue “cannot be without principles, and communication cannot be without a bottom line.”
“The current difficulties in the exchanges between the two militaries are entirely on the US side.
“On the one hand, the US keeps saying that it wants to strengthen communication, but on the other hand, it ignores China’s concerns and artificially creates obstacles, seriously undermining the mutual trust between the two militaries,” said the Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman.
The Defense Ministry statement came after the Pentagon requested a meeting of the defense chiefs of the two countries on the sidelines of an annual security forum in Singapore. Beijing declined the request.
Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Gen. Li Shangfu is attending the 20th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore from May 31 to June 4.
Lloyd Austin, the US defense secretary, is also attending the dialogue, where global leaders and policymakers will come together to discuss important issues.
On Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry asked the US to create a “necessary atmosphere” for bilateral dialogue.
Patrick Ryder, Pentagon spokesman had told Anadolu, that China “informed the US that they have declined our invitation” for Austin to meet with Li Shangfu in Singapore this week.
Ryder, however, stressed the importance of maintaining open channels of communication between the militaries of the two countries to ensure that competition does not turn into conflict.
Li was promoted as China’s chief defense official earlier this year in March. He faces US sanctions for promoting China-Russia defense dealings.
China’s “unwillingness to engage in meaningful military-to-military discussions” will not diminish the US Defense Department’s commitment to seek open lines of communication with the People’s Liberation Army at multiple levels as part of responsibly managing the relationship, said Ryder.
Li’s sanctions designation under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act does not prevent Austin from meeting with him in the process of conducting official United States government business, said Ryder.
US issues first tranche of Sudan sanctions after talks collapse
The US announced on Thursday an initial wave of sanctions targeting actors in Sudan after talks between the Sudanese military and a rival paramilitary force collapsed.
The penalties come less than a month after President Joe Biden announced expanded authorities that opened the door to the US imposing sanctions on entities in Sudan in what marked a warning to the warring parties there.
“Today, we are following through by levying economic sanctions, imposing visa restrictions against actors who are perpetuating the violence, and releasing an updated Business Advisory on Sudan,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement.
“The ongoing fighting in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces is a tragedy that has already stolen far too many lives—it must end,” he added.
The penalties include both economic and visa sanctions, and are being imposed in response to ongoing violations of obligations made by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group during US and Saudi-mediated negotiations in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The State Department is blacklisting individuals associated with the SAF, RSF and former leaders under longtime strongman Omar al-Bashir’s administration, denying them the ability to attain US visas. As a matter of policy, the department does not publicly discuss individual visa matters.
A seven-day cease-fire brokered by Saudi Arabia and the US between the two sides expired Monday. The conflicting rivals agreed to extend the agreement for five more days, but peace talks broke down Wednesday when the SAF announced its withdrawal, claiming the RSF failed to implement “any of the terms of the agreement and its continuous violation of the cease-fire.”
The decision came as fierce clashes erupted between the military and RSF fighters in the national capital of Khartoum and El-Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan state.
The Treasury Department is separately sanctioning four Sudanese companies alleged to be aiding the SAF and RSF. They include Defense Industries System (DIS), Sudan’s largest military enterprise with an estimated $2 billion in revenue, and Sudan Master Technology, an arms company with shares in multiple DIS subsidiaries.
Pleas against SC practice and procedure law fixed for hearing
An eight-member larger bench of Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial will hear the petitions against the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 on June 8.
The apex court will resume the hearing after it adjourned the case on Thursday.
Earlier, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had submitted a reply to the Supreme Court in the case challenging the practice and procedure law. The PTI had requested the apex court to declare the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Law 2023 null and void.
Islamabad police martyrs college gets approval
Federal Minister for Education Rana Tanvir on Saturday approved the construction of Islamabad police martyrs model college.
The Islamabad police spokesperson said that the children of police personnel would now be able to get quality education at low cost adding the standard of education would be maintained till the intermediate levels.
After the establishment of this college, it will be given the status of a cadet college mentioning the basic reason behind this step was to pay homage to the sacrifices of police personnel.
After the approval of Capital police hospital, this would be the biggest Initiative for the welfare of Islamabad police with the first college providing skills education along with traditional education to police personnel families.
PPP eyes comeback in next elections
Pakistani People’s Party (PPP) leader and former Punjab governor Makhdoom Syed Ahmad Mehmood on Saturday said that the PPP would comeback and win the next elections with clear majority.
Speaking to the media, the PPP leader said that Bilawal Bhutto and Asif Zardari had never resorted to personal attacks in politics, and PPP always practiced unrealistic politics. He added that PPP would again win the elections.
Makhdoom Mehmood also asserted that there was no attempt to form a kings party, and democracy suffered losses in the past few years.
“Political space is open, and there are 60 seats of Southern Punjab in the National Assembly. The voters of Southern Punjab will vote for the PPP,” he added.
Regarding seat adjustment, Makhdoom Mehmood said that there was a committee comprising the PPP and the PML-N for seat adjustment in the upcoming elections. He believes that PPP would win the next elections.