North Korea ratcheted up tensions with the South after firing an estimated 30 shells into the two countries’ no-sail zone, which may be a precursor to the testing of short-range missiles.
Seoul, South Korea
By Donald Kirk
North Korea raised the stakes Wednesday in the fight-talk contest for advantage in negotiations with live-fire artillery exercises that once again put tensions on edge between the two Koreas.
In a risky game of punch and counterpunch, North Korean gunners opened the episode in the morning by firing off 30 rounds into the Yellow Sea off the Korean west coast, judging from the number of geysers of water reportedly kicked up in the sea where they landed. South Korea responded with as many as 100 warning shots, according to South Korean defense officials, while the South’s Defense Ministry protested in a faxed message to the North.
The contest resumed in the afternoon with the North firing another dozen or so rounds after asserting its right to stage “exercises” in waters long disputed by the two Koreas. This time, however, the South did not fire warning shots – apparently in hopes of tamping down tensions while pursuing talks on issues ranging from the North’s nuclear program to resumption of tourism.
The shootout dramatized the dangers in troubled waters while North Korea pursues a peace treaty to mark a formal ending to the Korean War that broke out nearly 60 years ago.
North Korea earlier declared the area a no-sail zone, telling ships to stay away during test-firing.
The North Korean warning suggested that the North might plan to test short-range missiles, as it has done in the past, but the firing Wednesday was limited to artillery. Unlike in previous tests, however, the shells landed close to the “northern limit line” (NLL) set by the UN Command in 1956 three years after the Korean War, below which North Korean vessels are banned.
The General Staff of the North Korea’s Korean People’s army said the firing was part of an annual drill, that it had every right to stage live-fire exercises – and may go on doing so. South Korea’s defense ministry called the artillery exercise “a grave provocation” and demanded North Korea rescind the no-sail warning.
North Korea has repeatedly repudiated the NLL, and the area was the scene of bloody shootouts in June 1999 and in June 2002 when a number of sailors on both sides were killed. In the most recent previous incident, on November 10, a North Korean vessel retreated in flames after South Korean ships fired on it when it strayed across the line.
This time there were no reports of casualties, but South Korean officials worried that the firing was a sign of a two-track strategy in which North Korea has appeared interested in negotiations but has engaged in harsh rhetoric against South Korea.
North Korea “has been blowing hot and cold,” says Wi Sung Lac, the South’s chief nuclear envoy, back from four days of talks in Washington last weekend.
North Korea accused South Korea of making “an open declaration of war” after South Korea’s defense minister said the South would have to attack first if North Korea appeared likely to stage a nuclear attack. North Korea also responded with outrage, warning of war, after learning that the South was engaged in “contingency planning” in case of the collapse of the North Korean regime.
Mr. Wi says it’s “difficult” to ascertain the North’s intentions but hopes that North Korea would soon return to six-party talks on its nuclear weapons. South Korean officials have hinted that talks on a peace treaty, long sought by North Korea to replace the Korean War armistice, might be held simultaneously with six-party talks rather than after North Korea has done away with its nuclear program.
After months of tension, South Korea has resumed shipments of aid, mostly fertilizer, to North Korea, and North and South have agreed on talks next week on easing restrictions on South Korean companies and personnel at the economic complex at Kaesong, 40 miles north of Seoul, above the line between the two Koreas. North and South Korean negotiators also are expected to open talks soon on resuming tours to the Mount Kumkang region, suspended in July 2008 after a South Korean woman was shot and killed by a North Korean soldier when she wandered outside the tourist area.
A South Korean spokesperson said Wednesday’s shelling did not endanger a South Korean vessel returning with a load of silica through nearby waters from the North Korean port of Haeju on the Yellow Sea.
Secretary of state warns Iran that the United States would extend a “defense umbrella” over its allies in the Persian Gulf if the Islamic Republic obtains a nuclear weapons capability.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Iran Wednesday that the United States would extend a “defense umbrella” over its allies in the Persian Gulf if the Islamic Republic obtains a nuclear weapons capability.
Appearing on a Thai TV program, Clinton said the U.S. would also take steps to “upgrade the defense” of America’s Gulf allies in such an event, a reference to stepped-up military aid to those countries.
Clinton’s reference to a U.S. “defense umbrella” over the Persian Gulf represented a potentially significant evolution in America’s global defense posture. Washington already explicitly maintains a “nuclear umbrella” over Asian allies like Japan and South Korea, but seldom, if ever, has any senior U.S. official publicly discussed the concept in relation to the Gulf.
The secretary’s remarks also suggested the course the Obama administration might pursue if, as many analysts predict, an unchecked Iran succeeds in obtaining a nuclear weapons capability before President Obama’s term expires — in effect, how the United States might live with a nuclear-armed Iran. Clinton’s comments evoked a vision of the U.S. countering such a threat by bolstering regional defenses and reminding Iran of the dangers of mutually assured destruction — but not by seeking regime change in Iran or by taking military action to destroy the country’s nuclear apparatus.
“We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment that if the United States extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it’s unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer because they won’t be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon,” Clinton said.
A senior aide to Clinton, speaking to reporters on background while the secretary’s traveling party flew from Bangkok to Phuket, said Clinton’s comments did not reflect her acceptance of a nuclear-armed Iran nor a literal accounting of what the U.S. would do if Tehran did acquire nuclear weapons.
Rather, the aide said, the secretary was only articulating what arguments the Obama administration makes to influence Iran’s calculus. The aide also said Clinton’s use of the term “defense umbrella” was not synonymous with the term “nuclear umbrella,” even though the context of her comments centered on Iran’s potential acquisition of nuclear weapons.
In Jerusalem, though, Dan Meridor, Israel’s Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy, told Army Radio: “I was not thrilled to hear the American statement from yesterday that they will protect their allies with a nuclear umbrella, as if they have already come to terms with a nuclear Iran. I think that’s a mistake.”
Asked about the Obama administration’s attempts to engage Iran, Clinton said she “had hoped we would get a positive response … but then their elections happened.” Clinton told her Thai TV interviewers there was “no doubt” that “irregularities” occurred in Iran’s disputed presidential election and that the regime then “brutally repressed” those citizens that protested the announced outcome.
Because of these events, the secretary said, the Iranian regime has been “preoccupied” and thus not responded to American overtures. “The nuclear clock is ticking,” she said, noting that Tehran has continued to pursue its nuclear programs and adding that the U.S. and its allies in the nuclear diplomacy surrounding Iran “will not keep the window open forever.” She repeated previous pledges to work to impose “crippling” sanctions if Iran does not halt its enrichment of uranium.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Telltale signs are everywhere -from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest.Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F. Although that figure is at best an estimate, it is supported by other convincing data. When Climatologist George J. Kukla of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory and his wife Helena analyzed satellite weather data for the Northern Hemisphere, they found that the area of the ice and snow cover had suddenly increased by 12% in 1971 and the increase has persisted ever since. Areas of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, were once totally free of any snow in summer; now they are covered year round.
Scientists have found other indications of global cooling. For one thing there has been a noticeable expansion of the great belt of dry, high-altitude polar winds -the so-called circumpolar vortex-that sweep from west to east around the top and bottom of the world. Indeed it is the widening of this cap of cold air that is the immediate cause of Africa’s drought. By blocking moisture-bearing equatorial winds and preventing them from bringing rainfall to the parched sub-Sahara region, as well as other drought-ridden areas stretching all the way from Central America to the Middle East and India, the polar winds have in effect caused the Sahara and other deserts to reach farther to the south. Paradoxically, the same vortex has created quite different weather quirks in the U.S. and other temperate zones. As the winds swirl around the globe, their southerly portions undulate like the bottom of a skirt. Cold air is pulled down across the Western U.S. and warm air is swept up to the Northeast. The collision of air masses of widely differing temperatures and humidity can create violent storms-the Midwest’s recent rash of disastrous tornadoes, for example.
Climatic Balance. Some scientists like Donald Oilman, chief of the National Weather Service’s long-range-prediction group, think that the cooling trend may be only temporary. But all agree that vastly more information is needed about the major influences on the earth’s climate. Indeed, it is to gain such knowledge that 38 ships and 13 aircraft, carrying scientists from almost 70 nations, are now assembling in the Atlantic and elsewhere for a massive 100-day study of the effects of the tropical seas and atmosphere on worldwide weather. The study itself is only part of an international scientific effort known acronymically as GARP (for Global Atmospheric Research Program).
Whatever the cause of the cooling trend, its effects could be extremely serious, if not catastrophic. Scientists figure that only a 1% decrease in the amount of sunlight hitting the earth’s surface could tip the climatic balance, and cool the planet enough to send it sliding down the road to another ice age within only a few hundred years.
The earth’s current climate is something of an anomaly; in the past 700,000 years, there have been at least seven major episodes of glaciers spreading over much of the planet. Temperatures have been as high as they are now only about 5% of the time. But there is a peril more immediate than the prospect of another ice age. Even if temperature and rainfall patterns change only slightly in the near future in one or more of the three major grain-exporting countries-the U.S., Canada and Australia -global food stores would be sharply reduced. University of Toronto Climatologist Kenneth Hare, a former president of the Royal Meteorological Society, believes that the continuing drought and the recent failure of the Russian harvest gave the world a grim premonition of what might happen. Warns Hare: “I don’t believe that the world’s present population is sustainable if there are more than three years like 1972 in a row.”
With the two most populous nations of the world sparring for influence in South Asia, the effect of China’s recently renewed efforts to contain India is simmering at a low boil, and an eruption could have worldwide implications, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
China has renewed its claim over a swath of land called Arunachal Pradesh in China’s southern Tibet region, prompting India to move troops and deploy its SU-30 fighter aircraft to the disputed border.
For China, India’s advancement of its military along the border is part and parcel of a strategic plan it calls India’s Look East policy, which apparently aims to extend influence in areas China regards as within its sphere. In particular, China is concerned about India’s outreach in the Western Pacific to the Malacca straits in cooperation with Japan.
Keep in touch with the most important breaking news stories about critical developments around the globe with Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence news source edited and published by the founder of WND.
At the same time, China sees India bolstered in its efforts due to Japan’s alliance with the U.S. and India’s strengthening of military relations with a number of Beijing’s neighbors. From Beijing’s perspective, such an effort is designed to “contain” China.
An official Chinese military paper, “China Strategy,” which represents the views of the Chinese government, states that India believes its power has already exceeded China’s. New Delhi perceives that the international situation has benefited it due to its support from the U.S. and Europe in pressuring Pakistan and in turn in “restricting” China’s military.
For that reason, India is attempting to change the Sino-Indian border status quo while accusing Chinese troops of carrying out incursions into the border area.
China has seen India dispatch to Arunachal Pradesh near China’s southern Tibet two additional divisions of more than 6,000 troops and two squadrons of SU-30 MK1 fighter aircraft, for a total of some 36 aircraft. To observers, this preoccupation makes the “China factor” more critical in overall Indian strategic thinking.
In response, the Chinese believe the Indians are no match for their troops, especially at the higher altitudes of the Tibetan plateau where the border dispute is simmering.
“India will not be in a position to conduct any border clash or any small or middle-scale war in the border,” a Chinese military specialist said.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army, or PLA, has deployed some 13 border defense regiments in eastern and western sectors of the Sino-Indian border, the 52nd Mountain Infantry Brigade to protect the southern Qinghai-Tibet region, the 53rd Mountain Infantry Brigade to protect the high plateau in the western sector, the 149th Division of the 13th Group Army in the eastern sector and the 61st Division of the 21st Group Army in the western sector.
‘This listing has been removed or is no longer available’
By Chelsea Schilling
A dozen eBay auctions for a Japanese computer game where players must rape women and force them to have abortions abruptly were pulled from the massive site after WND reported on their availability.
The eBay auctions, however, had remained, and there was no immediate response from the company to WND’s request for a comment.
Then today the auctions disappeared, being replaced with pages stating: “This listing has been removed or is no longer available. If the listing was removed by eBay, consider it canceled. Note: Listings that have ended more than 90 days ago will no longer appear on eBay.”
And at the same time, eBay’s response arrived at a WND e-mail inbox.
“We will carefully review the information that you have provided, and take appropriate action based on the results of our investigation,” the response from the company’s customer service division read.
“To protect the privacy of all members, however, we’re unable to share information about another member’s account or the actions we’ve taken. I hope that this assures you that your personal information will also remain private,” eBay said.
eBay notice about cancelled auctions
On the first level of the “rape simulator game,” gamers stalk a young mother at a subway station and violently assault her, according to the London’s Independent reports. After finishing with the woman, they rape her two virgin daughters.
According to descriptions, gamers may invite other male characters to join a gang-rape scenario. Pregnancy and abortion are “key features,” and characters are punished if they decide to keep a baby.
“If she does become pregnant you’re supposed to force her to get an abortion, otherwise she gets more and more visibly pregnant each time you have sex,” one reviewer revealed. “If you allow the child to be born then the woman will throw you in front of a train.”
The person continued, “Take that pro-life movement!”
Another gamer reported “tears glistening in the young girl’s eyes” as characters rape her in one graphic scene.
Illusion, a Japanese company, released the 3-D Hentai game on April, 26, 2006. The company is based in Yokohama and also sells a game series called Battle Raper and Battle Raper 2. While the series features sexual assault, there are no abortions involved.
“Unfortunately, under the company’s regulation, our softwares are only available for domestic customers over 18 and not for sale in foreign countries,” the company website states.
A random check by WND of the auction numbers that just one day earlier had revealed the violent game all revealed the same statement today, that the item no longer was available.
Ebay’s offensive material policy states, “Sellers may not list items that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial or religious intolerance, or items that promote organizations with such views. … Under this policy, eBay may in its discretion, remove items when the item or description graphically portrays violence or victims of violence, and lacks substantial social, artistic or political value.”
RapeLay is an offshoot of the Illusion series, Interact Play. You, like in previous installments, play as a public nuisance that gets away from captivity and starts scouting for new targets. This time around you find a family of a single mother and her two daughters. You quickly begin your hunt and capture each woman one by one. The gameplay involves an amusing training/disposition system with which to break each respective target to your liking. Watch where you b–w your l–d, or you might get them pregnant!
One Amazon customer review stated, “I am saddened and appalled by the mere idea of this game. Is this for real?”
The blood-spattered cover of RapeLay features an illustration of a schoolgirl named Aoi who is attempting to shield her crying little sister from a male character’s threatening hands. The male is named Kimura Masaya and escapes from prison to violate the women.
Gamers summon wind to blow women’s skirts up and fondle them until they are sexually aroused, as indicated by a meter. Players force anal and oral sex upon their victims while the women respond, “Sniff … sniff … I w-w-want to die. …”
Male characters take pictures of their victims after they have been assaulted and abort their unborn babies. The game also includes depictions of lesbian and group sex.
UK Parliament member Keith Vaz recently spoke out against Amazon’s sale of RapeLay.
“It is intolerable that anyone would purchase a game that simulates the criminal offense of rape,” Vaz told the Belfast Telegraph. “To know that this widely available through a major online retailer is utterly shocking, I do not see how this can be allowed. I will be raising this matter in Parliament and hope that action is taken to prevent the game from being sold.”