Tag Archives: Seoul

North & South Korea exchange artillery fire across sea border

U.S. and South Korean marines participate in a U.S.-South Korea joint landing operation drill in Pohang March 31, 2014

North Korean shells have landed in South Korean waters, prompting Seoul to open fire across a disputed border zone. North Korea announced plans early on Monday morning to conduct military exercises along the western maritime boundary.

The North fired several artillery shells in territory north of the North Limit Line in the Yellow Sea at 12:15pm local time (03:15 GMT), reports South Korean news agency Yohap. After several shells landed south of the border, South Korean military opened fire with K-9 self-propelled howitzers.

“Some of the shells fired by North Korea dropped in our area and our side responded with fire,” a military spokesman told AFP news agency, adding that for the moment both sides were firing into the sea.

Earlier on Monday, the North Korean People’s Army warned their southern counterparts that military drills would be conducted in seven border regions.

“North Korea demanded South Korea control its vessels in seven regions north of the NLL before it holds the live-fire drills,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) of South Korea said in a statement. “We have banned vessels from entering the training zone for the safety of residents and sailors.”

The North has drawn international condemnation over the last couple of weeks over its ballistic missile tests. Last week the UN Security Council warned Pyongyang that there would be consequences if it continued testing its missile technology. The Security Council passed a resolution in 2006 that prohibits the testing of ballistic missile technology by Pyongyang.

Pyongyang regards its missile tests as an act of protest against South Korea’s ongoing joint military drills with the US, which it calls a rehearsal for an invasion.

‘New form’ of nuclear test

Pyongyang stepped up its bellicose rhetoric on Sunday and threatened to carry out a “new form” of nuclear test. Giving no further information as to the nature of the new tests, the North Korean Foreign Ministry issued a statement, decrying the UN’s condemnation of its ballistic missile tests which it considers as purely “defensive.”

In response, Pyongyang said it will employ “more diversified nuclear deterrence,” which would be used for hitting medium- and long-range targets “with a variety of striking power.”

“We would not rule out a new form of nuclear test for bolstering up our nuclear deterrence,” said the Foreign Ministry in an official statement published on the KNCA news agency website.

North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in February of last year, prompting Washington to ratchet up the economic sanctions on the Asian nation. Pyongyang also carried out nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 allegedly using a small stockpile of plutonium. The North also claims to be running a uranium enrichment program, fueling fears in the region that it will be able to produce fuel for atomic bombs.

RT News.

 

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Earth Hour : Millions switch off lights around the globe to raise funds for green projects

A combination picture shows St. Basil's Cathedral before (R) and during Earth Hour in Moscow March 29, 2014.

A combination picture shows St. Basil’s Cathedral before (R) and during Earth Hour in Moscow March 29, 2014.

Millions of people from at least 150 countries all over the world are switching off their lights to celebrate a symbolic holiday, known as Earth Hour, which this year aims to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for environmental projects.

The lights dim on Saturday between 1630 GMT and 1730 GMT under the slogan “Use your Power” in some 7,000 cities all over the world.

“It’s a brilliant reminder that together we can make change happen. …It’s a moment to say you’ll do your bit to protect our planet – not just for one hour, but every day,” said a statement on the official website of the Earth Hour that leads countdown.

 This combo of pictures shows the Bulgarian National Theatre with the lights on (L) and with the lights off (R), as part of the Earth Hour in Sofia on March 23, 20

 

The United States will see the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Times Square and the Empire State building in New York switching off their lights to commemorate a symbolic holiday. Even some of the hotels and casinos in Las Vegas will be turning off their displays.

Almost 4,000 candles will spell “Lights out for the Reef” at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia as the activists are trying to attract the world attention to the problem of the Great Barrier Reef, which is highly affected by climate change.

“For us the symbolism or turning your lights off will always be important,” says Earth Hour’s CEO and co-founder, Andy Ridley, “That’s the holy grail for us – building a global collective movement, far beyond the event, where the event becomes a kind of inspiration but the movement is really the essence of it.”

The United Nations is among the organizations which will participate in the symbolic action according to the UN official website, it “is going the extra mile and turning off all non- essential lights within the UN complex in New York for three hours.” The HQs in Geneva, Switzerland and other locations will also become dark.

“I look forward to joining you on March 29 as we switch off our lights for one hour – and switch on to a cleaner, greener future, “ UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday in a video message for the opening of the WWF office in Seoul, South Korea.

Meanwhile, Ridley says that the Earth Hour is not about going back to the dark ages. The whole event shows “an idea that you as an individual can do something.”

“It is an excuse to lean over the garden fence and talk to your neighbor or a reason for people to talk to each other at a restaurant, so I never underestimate the power of that symbolism,” he said.

Earth Hour was first launched in Australia in 2007 and since then has grown to become the world’s biggest environmental event encouraging people to rethink the issues from deforestation to energy efficiency.

According to WWF, which supports the campaign, Earth Hour helped several countries to introduce new legislations. Thanks to Earth Hour campaign Argentina passed a senate bill to create a new 3.4 million-hectare marine reserve in 2013 while Uganda planted half a million trees in an “Earth Hour forest” to stop deforestation.

RT News.

 

 

 

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