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UN council to meet on North Korea rights abuses, nuclear program in December

Thompson Reuters

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UNITED NATIONS — United Nations Security Council ministers will meet on December 15 to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missiles programs and the body will also meet separately this month to discuss human rights abuses in the North Asian country, an annual meeting that its ally China has tried to prevent for the past three years.

Japan’s UN Ambassador Koro Bessho, president of the 15-member council for December, said several ministers were confirmed to attend the Dec 15 meeting. He also said the meeting on human rights in North Korea could be held on Dec 11.

China has unsuccessfully tried to stop three previous human rights meetings by calling a procedural vote. A minimum of nine votes are needed to win such a vote and China, Russia, the United States, Britain and France cannot wield their vetoes.

This year’s meeting has the backing of nine members – the United States, France, Britain, Italy, Japan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Last year, the United States angered North Korea by blacklisting its leader Kim Jong Un for human rights abuses.

A landmark 2014 UN report on North Korean human rights concluded that North Korean security chiefs – and possibly Kim himself – should face justice for overseeing a state-controlled system of Nazi-style atrocities.

Michael Kirby, chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry that drew up the report, said at the time that the crimes the team had catalogued were reminiscent of those committed by the Nazis during World War Two. “Some of them are strikingly similar,” he told Reuters.

North Korea has repeatedly rejected accusations of human rights abuses and blames sanctions for a dire humanitarian situation. Pyongyang has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missiles and nuclear programs.

“Despite persistent sanctions and pressure by the US and other hostile forces, my government concentrates all its efforts on improving people’s livelihood and providing them with a better future,” the North Korean Permanent Mission to the United Nations said in a statement on Nov 14.

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Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa narrowly escapes explosion at party rally

Gorkha Post

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HARARE — Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa narrowly escaped injury in an explosion on Saturday which has rocked a stadium where Zimbabwe’s president was addressing a campaign rally, with state media calling it an assassination attempt but saying the president was not hurt.

President Mnangagwa was whisked to a state house in Bulawayo, where he had been speaking ahead of next month’s historic election, the first since longtime leader Robert Mugabe stepped down.

The explosion occurred as the president, accompanied by other politicians, was walking off the stage at the White City stadium after addressing thousands of supporters in advance of next month’s vote.

Mnangagwa, the 75-year-old leader of ZANU-PF, was not hurt and taken to safety, officials said. However, witnesses said several people were injured, including the Vice-President.

Several others including number security personnel, the wife of fellow Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, the environment minister and the deputy speaker of parliament also suffered wounds.

Agencies

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