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North Korea: ‘Only option left to counter nuclear with nuclear’

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Only option left to counter
This picture taken on March 20, 2020, and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 21 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) inspecting an artillery fire competition between large combined units of the Korean People's Army (KPA) on the western front. (Photo via AFP)

North Korea says Washington has left Pyongyang with no choice but to “counter nuclear with nuclear” in a bid to confront hostile US policies against the Asian country.

“In order to eliminate the nuclear threats from the US, the DPRK government made all possible efforts either through dialogue or in resort to the international law, but all ended in vain,” North Korean state news wrote in an essay, using an abbreviation for the country’s official name.

“The option left was only one, and that was to counter nuclear with nuclear,” it added.

The 5,000-word article documented the history of North Korea’s grievances with the US, South Korea and its allies and came a day after all of these countries marked the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War.

It also came just days after the North said it was suspending “military action plans” against the South after it had blown up a liaison office used for talks between the two countries in a North Korean border city.

The two Koreas were on a path of rapprochement beginning in January 2018 before US intransigence to relieve any of the sanctions on the North effectively killed diplomacy.

North Korea has been under harsh US sanctions for years over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

US President Donald Trump has attempted to court Pyongyang, and although he has met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un three times, he has refused to relieve any of the sanctions on the North. That has in turn hampered efforts to demilitarize the Korean Peninsula.

Kim outlined last month a plan to further boost his country’s nuclear deterrence capabilities.

The Washington-Pyongyang nuclear talks have made little progress since late last year, particularly after the global fight to curb the pandemic, which has so far infected nearly 10 million people and killed over 496,000 others around the world.  

North Korea’s hardening of stance comes amid reports that the US is preparing to conduct its first full-fledged nuclear test since 1992.  

Last December, Kim ended a moratorium on the country’s missile tests and said North Korea would soon develop a “new strategic weapon.”

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Top US general slams Confederate leaders as traitors, backs renaming bases

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Top US general slams

A top US general has censured American Confederate leaders as traitors and withdrawn his support for naming military bases and statues after those who fought in the Civil War era, a viewpoint that puts him on a collision course with US President Donald Trump.

Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed the topic of military bases and statues named after Confederate leaders and said on Thursday that the US military needs “to take a hard look at the symbology” of the 1861-65 Civil War.

“The American Civil War… was an act of treason at the time against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the US Constitution — and those officers turned their backs on their oath. Now, some have a different view of that. Some think it’s heritage. Others think it’s hate,” Milley said.

“The way we should do it matters as much as that we should do it. So we need to have, I’ve recommended, a commission of folks to take a hard look at the bases, the statues, the names, all of this stuff, to see if we can have a rational, mature discussion,” he added.

Milley estimated that minorities account for 43 percent of the US military and at least 20 percent of soldiers in the army are African Americans.

“We’ve also got to take a hard look at the symbology, the symbols, things like the Confederate flags and statues and bases,” Milley underlined.

Top US general slams Confederate leaders as traitors

This comes as Trump has made clear that he intends to block any plans to rename the bases and has made exploiting racial and cultural divisions a key tenet of his re-election strategy.

Trump said in a tweet last month that, “These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage… Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”

The US president also threatened to veto a military spending bill if it contains an amendment that demands the removal of the names of Confederate leaders from military assets.

The US army has been pressured in recent weeks to rename 10 military bases named after Confederate leaders in the wake of the brutal murder of unarmed African American George Floyd in Minnesota.

Top US general slams Confederate leaders as traitors

Milley made the comments at a House Armed Services Committee hearing, which had been called to discuss the Pentagon’s response to nationwide protests over racial injustice following the killing of Floyd while in US police custody and the growing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The death of Floyd on May 25 was captured on video while a white police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes in Minneapolis.

Moreover, monuments honoring certain historical figures, most of them racism and slavery era icons, have been removed in the United States and around the world following Floyd’s death.

The US National Guard has been deployed to protect Confederate monuments in some states across the country as anti-racism demonstrators have gone as far as taking up arms to make their voices heard. 

A group of heavily armed protesters marched through Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta on Saturday, calling for removal of the giant Confederate rock carving at the site that civil rights activists consider a monument to racism.

The protesters all carried rifles, including military-type assault rifles, and some wore ammunition belts slung over their shoulders. African Americans appeared to account for the bulk of the marchers, but protesters of various races, men and women alike, were also among the group.

Top US general slams Confederate leaders as traitors

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US Satanic Temple threatens to sue Mississippi over God reference

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US Satanic Temple threatens
Members of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Honor Guard retire the state flag outside the Mississippi State Capitol building in Jackson, Mississippi on July 1, 2020.

The US Satanic Temple has threatened to sue the state of Mississippi over using the word “God” on its new design of flag.

An attorney writing on behalf of the Satanic Temple made the warning in a letter sent to Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch.

The US state has decided to change its flag over the Confederate emblem on it in the wake of the latest wave of the nation’s struggle to end police brutality and racial injustice, triggered by the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer.

US Satanic Temple threatens

The letter suggested that if the state “is going to place a religious phrase on its flag, it should include reference to Satan,” instead of “In God we trust” as it is more consistent with the state’s values.

“On the other hand, we can imagine that there would be some Mississippians who would be a bit put off by the words ‘In Satan we Trust’ on the state flag,” the letter continues. “If you can imagine that, then you might imagine how atheists, Satanists, and other people of nontheistic faiths could feel excluded by the addition of ‘In God we Trust’ to the state flag.”

Earlier this month, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed a bill into law to replace the current state flag bearing a confederate emblem.

“We trust that you will take our request under advisement,” the group said. “However, should the state of Mississippi insist on placing  this  exclusionary  religious  phrase  on  its  flag, we do intend to  file suit and seek  injunctive  relief  against  this  act.”

The new design is expected to include the words “In God We Trust” and no Confederate symbols.

Due to their racist origins, Confederate symbols have been a target of the Black Lives Matter activists.

The protesters are destroying the oldest traces of racism and slavery in America after the police brutal killing of Floyd, an African American.

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US first lady Melania Trump statue set on fire in Slovenia

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US first lady Melania
US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visit the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, to lay a ceremonial wreath and observe a moment of remembrance under the Statue of Saint John Paul II on June 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

A wooden sculpture of US first lady Melania Trump was torched near her hometown of  Sevnica, Slovenia, on the night of July Fourth, as Americans celebrated US Independence Day, said the artist who commissioned the sculpture.

Brad Downey, a Berlin-based American artist, told Reuters he had the life-sized blackened, disfigured sculpture removed as soon as police informed him on July 5th of the incident.

“I want to know why they did it,” said Downey, who had hoped the statue would foster a dialogue about the political situation in the United States, highlighting Melania Trump’s status as an immigrant married to a president sworn to reduce immigration.

US first lady Melania

In Washington, the office of Melania Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has pledged to take a hard line on anyone destroying or vandalizing US historical monuments, as political activism against racial injustice has swept across the country.

Downey, 39, said he had filed a police report and would like to interview the culprits, if found, for a film he is preparing ahead of his exhibition due to open in Slovenia in September.

“The investigation in this case has not been completed yet so we cannot reveal details due to the interest of further procedures,” police spokeswoman Alenka Drenik told Reuters.

Although the statue’s face was rough-hewn and unrecognizable prior to the fire, the figure was painted with a pale blue wraparound coat resembling the one Melania Trump wore at the swearing in of her husband US President Donald Trump.

The figure was carved with a chainsaw by local folk artist Ales Zupevc from the trunk of a living linden tree.

In January, a large wooden statue resembling Donald Trump, designed by a local artist last year, was burnt in Slovenia’s city of Moravce, east of the capital Ljubljana.

US first lady Melania

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