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Russia unveils new nuclear arsenal

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MOSCOW — Russia has developed a number of advanced weapons systems, including a nuclear-powered cruise missile, which make all US capabilities aimed at undermining the Russian nuclear deterrent obsolete, President Vladimir Putin has announced.

Putin, on Thursday speaking ahead of an election on March 18 that polls, said he could hit any target around the globe with little chance of interception.

Mr Putin also claimed he should win easily saying further that a nuclear attack on any of Moscow’s allies would be regarded as an attack on Russia itself and draw an immediate response.

Putin warned during his annual state of the nation speech that an attack on Russia or any of its allies would elicit an immediate response from Moscow.

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It was unclear if he had a particular Russian ally, such as Syria, in mind, but his comments looked like a warning to Washington not to use tactical battlefield nuclear weapons.

Russia and the West are at odds in several conflicts including Syria, where Russia supports President Bashar al-Assad – and Ukraine.

The latest advances in Russian strategic deterrence have made America’s anti-missile systems obsolete, so Washington should stop trying to diminish Russia’s security and start talking to Moscow as an equal partner, not the dominant military power it seeks to be, Putin said.

Video footage of the new weapons was projected behind him at a conference hall in the Russian capital, where Putin spoke with legislators.

Agencies

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32 Chinese nationals killed in North Korea bus accident

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BEIJING — 32 Chinese tourists and four North Koreans died in a major bus accident in North Korea, China’s foreign ministry said on Monday.

Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said two Chinese nationals seriously injured and left in critical condition in the accident, which occurred in North Hwanghae province.

Chinese visitors make up about 80 percent of all foreign tourists to North Korea, says a South Korean think-tank, the Korea Maritime Institute, which estimates that tourism generates revenue of about $44 million each year for the isolated country.

China’s state-run broadcaster CCTV broadcast footage of an upside-down, mangled bus in the dark amid rainfall and a patient being treated at a hospital.

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North Hwanghae province, the North Korean border region just north of Seoul, includes Kaesong, the capital of Korea’s Koryo Dynasty (918-1392).

As the home for historic monuments and sites, the ancient capital has become North Korea’s second World Heritage site after the Complex of Koguryo Tombs in Pyongyang.

Chinese diplomats have rushed to the scene of Sunday’s accident in North Hwanghae province, the foreign ministry said.

In a Twitter message earlier on Monday, Chinese state television’s English-language channel said a tour bus had fallen off a bridge, killing more than 30 people, but later deleted the message.

State television’s main Chinese-language news channel showed images of a crashed blue bus with its wheels in the air, in footage taken in pouring rain in the dark.

It showed at least one person being treated in hospital, but gave no details of casualties.

Agencies

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