Category Archives: World

Kenya’s Supreme Court criticises IEBC electoral commission

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The Supreme Court judges annulled the August 8 elections

Kenya’s Supreme Court has blamed the country’s electoral commission (IEBC) for its decision to annul the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The judges said the 8 August poll was “neither transparent or verifiable”.

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu said the IEBC did not verify the presidential results before they were announced.

Mr Kenyatta got 54% of the vote against opposition leader Raila Odinga’s 44%, according to the IEBC’s results.

Mr Odinga went to court alleging that he had been cheated of victory and that the IEBC had not followed the law in the conduct of the election.

The Supreme Court took the unprecedented step of annulling the election on 1 September but it has only now explained why it took that decision.

It was the first time in Africa that a court had agreed with an opposition demand to cancel a presidential election over rigging allegations.

While the judgement was being read out, police fired tear gas outside the Supreme Court to disperse opposition supporters who had gathered to support Mr Odinga.

At one point a swarm of bees attacked some of them.

Was the election hacked?

Ms Mwilu said that the commission had not complied with a court order to allow its electronic voting system to be scrutinised.

She said that the IEBC’s refusal to comply with the order to grant access to its electronic voting system led the court to “accept claims by the opposition that the computer system had been infiltrated and compromised and the data interfered with, or that the IEBC officials interfered with the system themselves”.

The electoral commission has disputed that its system was tampered with.

Opposition coalition Nasa has been pushing for the sacking of IEBC officials whom it blames for bungling the polls, saying that a new team should be in charge of the re-run scheduled for 17 October.

Doubts have however been cast on this date because OT-Morpho, the French company that provided the voting kits, has said that it needs to reconfigure the more than 40,000 kits and that the process would not be complete until at least the end of October.

The judges had ordered the re-run to be held in 60 days.

Four judges voted to annul the election while two dissented. Another judge was taken ill during the hearing of the petition and did not take part in the case.

Key points from majority judges:

  • IEBC could not explain why the results from more than 11,000 polling stations had not been received at tallying stations as required by law
  • IEBC relied on interim reports by election observers to argue their case that the elections were credible
  • The opposition did not prove that the presidential campaign used public funds to pay for their electoral campaign
  • The Chief Justice said that the irregularities would be found unconstitutional by any court “with its right mind”
  • Some ballot forms did not have security features

Key points from dissenting judge:

  • Mr Odinga’s petition was based on generalities and not factual evidence
  • IEBC and President Kenyatta did not contravene any provision of the constitution or any election law
  • IEBC’s voter transmission system was functional and accurate at all points
  • IEBC said that its electronic system was not compromised

Source: BBC

Three people were reported to have been rescued at the Enrique Rébsamen school overnight but many are feared trapped

More than 200 die in huge Mexico quake

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Three people were reported to have been rescued at the Enrique Rébsamen school overnight but many are feared trapped

Three people were reported to have been rescued at the Enrique Rébsamen school overnight but many are feared trapped Photo: GETTY IMAGES

A strong earthquake has struck central Mexico, killing more than 200 people and toppling dozens of buildings in the capital, Mexico City.

President Enrique Peña Nieto said more than 20 children had died and 30 were missing after a school collapsed.

The 7.1 magnitude quake also caused major damage in neighbouring states.

The tremor struck shortly after many people had taken part in an earthquake drill, exactly 32 years after a quake killed thousands in Mexico City.

The country is prone to earthquakes and earlier this month an 8.1 magnitude tremor in the south left at least 90 people dead.

Though it struck a similar region, Tuesday’s earthquake does not appear to be connected with the quake on 7 September, which was more than 30 times more energetic, the BBC’s Jonathan Amos writes.

Where was worst hit?

The epicentre of the latest quake was near Atencingo in Puebla state, about 120km (75 miles) from Mexico City, with a depth of 51km, the US Geological Survey said.

The prolonged tremor hit at 13:14 local time (18:14 GMT) and sent thousands of residents into the streets.

An earlier death toll of nearly 250 was lowered to 217 by the country’s national co-ordinator for civil protection:

  • Morelos state: 71 dead
  • Puebla state: 43 dead
  • Mexico City: 86 dead
  • Mexico state: 12 dead
  • Guerrero: 4 dead
  • Oaxaca: 1

President Peña Nieto said more than 20 children and two adults had been found dead at the collapsed Enrique Rébsamen elementary school in Mexico City’s southern Coapa district. He said another 30 children and eight adults were missing.

What about survivors?

Emergency workers, aided by military personnel and volunteers, have been working through the night in the search for people trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings.

At the Enrique Rébsamen school, three people were rescued at about midnight, Reuters news agency reports, adding that one child trapped under the debris was saved after oxygen was supplied through a tube.

Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) reported that at least 209 schools had been affected by the quake, 15 of which have suffered severe damage.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told TV network Televisa that buildings at 44 locations had collapsed or were badly damaged. These are said to include a six-storey blocks of flats, a supermarket and a factory.

Rescuers and volunteers remove rubble and debris from a flattened building in search of survivors after a powerful quake in Mexico City on September 19, 2017.

Volunteers worked frantically to find survivors beneath the rubble photo: GETTY IMAGES

About two million people in the capital were left without electricity and phone lines were down. Officials warned residents not to smoke on the streets as gas mains could have been ruptured.

Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission later said that 70% of the electricity supply which had gone down had been restored.

In a televised address, the president said an emergency had been declared for the affected areas and the military had been drafted in to help with the response.

He also urged residents whose properties were structurally sound to remain in their homes where possible to allow emergency services and those helping with rescue efforts to clear the streets.

Across Mexico City, teams of rescue workers and volunteers clawed through the rubble with picks, shovels and their bare hands.

Rescuers and volunteers remove rubble and debris from a flattened building in search of survivors after a powerful quake in Mexico City on September 19, 2017.

Rescuers and volunteers tried to find survivors under the debris of collapsed buildings Photo: AFP

Rescuers use searchlights to remove rubble and debris from a flattened building in search of survivors after a powerful quake in Mexico City on September 19, 2017.

“My wife is there. I haven’t been able to communicate with her,” said Juan Jesus Garcia, 33, choking back tears next to a collapsed building.

“She is not answering and now they are telling us we have to turn off our mobile phones because there is a gas leak.”

The strong quake was felt in the capital, Mexico City

Jennifer Swaddle, a teacher at the British International School in Mexico City, told the BBC that part of her classroom collapsed after the earthquake hit.

“As we were leaving, the outside of my classroom wall fell, so there was a big pile of rubble. Luckily, fantastically, nobody was hurt, but it was incredibly frightening,” she said.


What happened in 1985?

An earthquake drill was being held in Mexico City on Tuesday to mark the 32nd anniversary of a magnitude 8 quake that killed up to 10,000 people and left 30,000 others injured.

The severe tremor caused serious damage to Mexico City and its surrounding areas, with more than 400 buildings collapsed and thousands more damaged.

Correspondents say that residents may have mistaken earthquake alarms for part of the day of drills in the wake of the 1985 quake.

Mexico City is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with more than 20 million people living in the metropolitan area.


Why is Mexico so prone to earthquakes?

Mexico is one of the most seismically active regions in the world, sitting on top of three of the Earth’s largest tectonic plates – the North American, Cocos and Pacific plates.

The latest tremor occurred near the boundary between the North American and Cocos plates, where the latter slides beneath the former.

According to the US Geological Survey, the country has seen 19 earthquakes of at least 6.5 magnitude within 155 miles of the epicentre of Tuesday’s quake over the past century.

A stronger earthquake (8.1) on 8 September is not thought to be linked to Tuesday’s as the epicentres lie about 400 miles apart and it is unusual for an aftershock to appear so long after a major quake.


What has the reaction been?

Alfredo del Mazo Maza, governor of the State of Mexico, said schools would be closed on Wednesday. He also ordered all public transport to operate services for free so that people could travel home.

Foreign leaders sent messages of support to Mexico as the scale of the disaster became clear.

People stand at a building which collapsed after a quake rattled Mexico City

It is feared the death toll will rise further Photo: AFP

US President Donald Trump, who has courted controversy with his plans for a border wall with Mexico, tweeted: “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also tweeted his support following the “devastating news”.

Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis, in New York for the UN General Assembly, expressed his “solidarity” with the Mexican people.

Pope Francis later said that his thoughts and prayers were with the families of those who had lost loved ones in the “devastating” quake.

“In this moment of pain I want to express my closeness and my prayer to all of the beloved Mexican population,” the pontiff said while addressing an audience at the Vatican.

The UK Foreign Office has said that those travelling to Mexico should follow the advice of the local authorities.

The Mexican government earlier issued the following guidance on what to do if a quake strikes in the country:

  • stay calm
  • find the evacuation route and meeting point
  • stay away from windows and objects that may fall
  • in case of emergency call 911
  • do not use lifts

Source: BBC

Hundreds sentenced in Egypt mass trial

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Clashes between police and demonstrators in 2013 ended in hundreds of deaths

Forty-three people have been sentenced to life in prison after a mass trial in Egypt that also saw years-long sentences given to hundreds of others.

Almost 500 people were charged with crimes over the violence which erupted following the removal of President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

Three hundred of those on trial received sentences ranging from five to 15 years.

Fifty-four people were acquitted, including Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa.

Mr Halawa was aged 17 when he was arrested and says he was tortured during his more than four-year imprisonment.

A US citizen, Ahmed Etiwy, was among those sentenced to five years in prison.

The mass trial was held in a courtroom at Wadi al-Natroun prison north of Cairo, human rights group Amnesty International says.

The defendants faced a range of charges, including killing 44 people, breaking into a mosque, and possessing firearms, following rallies in support of the ousted Mr Morsi in August 2013.

Hundreds of protesters and dozens of security personnel died when security forces broke up pro-Morsi gatherings.

In the months that followed, there was a crackdown on the former president’s supporters, and on the Muslim Brotherhood group to which he belongs, which Egypt later declared a “terrorist organisation”.

Thousands of people have been arrested since.

In the latest mass trial, all defendants had faced a possible death penalty, but instead:

  • 43 were sentenced to life imprisonment (25 years)
  • 17 were sentenced to 15 years
  • 67 were given 10-year sentences
  • 216 were given five years
  • 52 were acquitted

It remains unclear exactly what sentences the others received.

Amnesty International labelled the mass trial “utterly disgraceful” and accused the court of “sham proceedings”.

It claimed that out of 330 defendants who had been imprisoned for more than four years, there was only evidence against two of them.

“These proceedings expose the deep flaws in Egypt’s notorious criminal justice system,” the group’s North Africa campaign spokesperson, Najia Bounaim, said.

Source BBC

Kenya election: System ‘cannot be ready’ for October poll

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The company providing the voting system for the re-run of Kenya’s presidential election says the equipment will not be ready in time, putting the planned date in jeopardy.

The Supreme Court annulled last month’s vote, citing irregularities. It was won by the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta.

French firm OT-Morpho says it needs to reinstall the complex voting system for the scheduled re-run on 17 October.

But it said the “significant amount of work” cannot be finished in time.

Details of the potential delay for October’s re-run emerged in a letter from OT-Morpho to the electoral commission, obtained by Reuters news agency. An election official also confirmed the potential delay to the BBC.

The letter, dated 18 September, said two different electronic systems used in the vote would have to be reinstalled for a re-run.

More than 45,000 computer tablets were provided to Kenyan officials to identify voters – using fingerprints and photos – before allowing them to vote.

The tablets were also responsible for the secure transmission of election results, the company said in an April press release.

Irregularities in the transmission of results was one of the problems referenced by the Supreme Court when it annulled the August poll’s results. But more precise details have yet to be released ahead of the court’s full report, due on Thursday.

In addition to the technology problems, opposition candidate Raila Odinga – set to contest the election against Mr Kenyatta – has said he will not take part in the re-run unless members of the country’s electoral commission are replaced.

The commission has reportedly arranged a meeting with both candidates on Wednesday to discuss potential problems ahead of the poll.

Source: BBC

Sanctions won’t stop us, warns N Korea

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North Korea has warned that more sanctions and pressure will only make it accelerate its nuclear programme.

In a strongly worded statement, Pyongyang called new UN sanctions “the most vicious, unethical and inhumane act of hostility”.

Meanwhile, the presidents of the US and China committed to “maximising pressure” on the North through vigorous enforcement of UN resolutions.

Earlier, the US and South Korea carried out joint military exercises.

North Korea fired its latest missile over Japan on Friday. It travelled 3,700km (2,299 miles), putting the US Pacific territory of Guam, which North Korea says it has a plan to target, within reach.

The launch followed a fresh round of UN sanctions and was unanimously condemned by the UN Security Council as “highly provocative”.

What has North Korea said?

The foreign ministry statement, carried by the country’s official news agency KCNA, said: “The increased moves of the US and its vassal forces to impose sanctions and pressure on the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] will only increase our pace towards the ultimate completion of the state nuclear force.”

It also said that the goal of the new UN sanctions, approved on 11 September, was to “physically exterminate” the country’s people, system and government.

The sanctions are an attempt to starve North Korea of fuel and income for its weapons programmes, and restrict oil imports and ban textile exports.

The fresh measures followed the sixth and most powerful nuclear test conducted by Pyongyang earlier this month.

But some critics have raised questions over the effectiveness of the restrictions, as North Korea is still able to trade internationally.

The country’s commerce with China was partially responsible for an estimated economic growth of 3.9% last year, Bloomberg news agency reports.

How is the world responding?

The issue of North Korea’s weapons programme is expected to dominate US President Donald Trump’s address at the UN General Assembly and his meetings with the leaders of South Korea and Japan.

Mr Trump previously warned that “all options” were on the table and that North Korea would face “fire and fury” if it continued to threaten the US.

In a phone call on Monday, Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping committed to “maximising pressure on North Korea through vigorous enforcement” of UN Security Council resolutions, the White House said.

Washington has repeatedly urged Beijing to take more direct action to rein in Pyongyang, while China – North Korea’s main ally – says the US should refrain from issuing more threats.

Russia has also criticised what it describes as “aggressive rhetoric” from the US.

China and Russia only agreed to the new UN sanctions after they were softened by the US. Both countries have repeatedly called for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

What about US-South Korea military drills?

The US military carried out an aerial military drill on Monday with South Korea near the border between the Koreas, the defence ministry in Seoul said.

The drill was to “demonstrate the deterrence capability of the US-South Korea alliance against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats”, it added.

Defence Minister Song Young-moo told a parliamentary hearing that the exercises were being conducted “two to three times a month these days”, Reuters news agency reports.

Separately, China and Russia began a joint naval exercise east of the Korean peninsula but it is unclear if it is linked to current tensions in the region.

Source: BBC

Deaths, displacement as battle for CAR continues

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At least 25 people have been killed in a series of clashes between armed groups over one week in escalating violence in the Central African Republic (CAR).

The UN said on Tuesday that thousands of people continue to be uprooted and forced to flee for their lives in resurgent fighting between rival factions in various parts of the country.

In its weekly report released on Tuesday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that preliminary estimates indicate at least 10 people were killed and 50 others wounded in fighting between rival factions in the central town of Bria between September 7-8.

In Yokapi, a village in the country’s east, around 15 people were killed and some 80 houses torched in a violent confrontation between two communities, OCHA added.

OCHA’s reported death toll is in addition to at least six people killed since last Thursday in Batangafo, a northwestern town where more than 28,000 are without aid, according to several humanitarian sources.

If tensions continue to escalate, the UN warns, the country could fall into larger-scale conflict.

The UN’s comments come days after human rights group Amnesty International warned that civilians in central areas of the country were enduring “a horrifying surge in torture, pillage and forced displacement”.

On Wednesday, Lewis Mudge, a researcher with the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera that “armed groups are more emboldened than ever to kill civilians, rape women and girls and destroy property. Displacement camps, places that are usually protected, are under attack”.

“There are two main reasons for this uptick in violence: impunity for past crimes and a peacekeeping mission that is overstretched,” Lewis said.

The CAR, a former French colony, fell into a protracted political crisis in 2013 after President Francois Bozize was overthrown by a coalition of Muslim-majority rebel groups called the Seleka, who in turn were driven from power.

Seleka’s abuses against the Christian population led to the emergence of self-defence groups – the Anti-balaka – which embarked on their own campaign of violence.

Muslims were shunned, forced to flee into enclaves and displaced persons camps or neighbouring countries.

Amnesty International warned of “a Muslim exodus of historic proportions”.

Number of IDPs swells

In June 2016, President Faustin-Archange Touadera was voted in.

Though a semblance of security has returned to the capital, Bangui, the countryside remains under the control of armed groups while UN peacekeepers battle to protect civilians caught in the middle.

At least half of the country’s population currently depends on humanitarian aid.

Since January 2017, the number of displaced people has grown from 400,000 to 600,000 according to the country’s international NGO coordination committee.

Humanitarian organisations have struggled to cope amid the spread of violence. During the first half of 2017, NGO workers suffered more than 200 attacks.

“UN Security Council should ensure that [the UN peacekeeping mission] has all the resources required to stem rising violence across the country,” said Mudge of HRW.

Source: Al Jazeera

Second man held over Tube bombing

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A second man has been arrested in connection with Friday’s attack on a London Tube train, police said.

The 21-year-old man was arrested in Hounslow, west London, on Saturday night on suspicion of a terror offence and is in custody in south London.

An 18-year-old man is also being held on suspicion of a terror offence over the Parsons Green explosion.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the BBC that the second arrest suggests the attacker was not “a lone wolf”.

Speaking to the Andrew Marr Show, Ms Rudd said there was “no evidence” to suggest so-called Islamic State were behind the attack.

“But as this unfolds and as we do our investigations, we will make sure we find out how he was radicalised if we can,” she said.

The UK terror threat level remains ‘critical’, meaning an attack is expected ‘imminently’.

Police are continuing to search a house in Sunbury-on-Thames in Surrey.

It is thought the 18-year old, who was arrested in the port of Dover on Saturday morning, lives there.

The house belongs to an elderly couple known for fostering hundreds of children, including refugees.

Ronald Jones, 88, and Penelope Jones, 71 were rewarded for their service to children when they were made MBEs in 2010.

The couple are said to be staying with friends following the police raid, during which surrounding houses were evacuated.

Friend Alison Griffiths said the couple had an 18-year-old and a 22-year-old staying with them recently.

She described Mr and Mrs Jones as “great pillars of the community”, adding: “They do a job that not many people do.”

Source: BBC

Man arrested over London Tube bombing

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An 18-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of a terror offence in connection with Friday’s attack on a London Tube train.

The man was held in Dover on Saturday and taken to a Kent police station – he will be moved to south London later.

The arrest is “significant” but the terror threat level remains at “critical”, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said.

Armed police are now at an address in Sunbury, Surrey, the BBC understands.

Thirty people were injured after the explosion on a train at Parsons Green.

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick described the attack as “cowardly and indiscriminate”.

Ms Dick, who travelled by Tube to Waterloo station before joining Met officers patrolling the South Bank, said: “London has not stopped after other terrible attacks and it will not stop after this one.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd chaired a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency committee and it concluded the UK terrorist threat level should remain at “critical”.

It had been raised to that level – which is the highest and means an attack may be imminent – on Friday evening.

The public should remain vigilant, Mr Basu said, as the force was not changing its “protective security measures” and extra armed officers were still being deployed.

Operation Temperer, which involves the use of the military and was put in place after the threat level was raised, is being stepped up gradually.

Home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said it is focused on London and the south-east of England and is being described as “light-touch”, and not on the same scale as what was seen after the Manchester Arena attack.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said “significant” police activity would continue over the weekend and thanked police, adding: “They are there to keep us safe”.

More armed police officers will be present at London Underground stations, as well as at stations across England, Scotland and Wales, British Transport Police Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith told the BBC.

Most people caught in the blast were treated for minor injuries and have been released, NHS England said, but three people remain in Chelsea and Westminster hospital in central London.

Source: BBC

Audit shows no hacking of Kenya vote system: French firm

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An audit of the electronic system used to tally votes in Kenya’s cancelled presidential poll showed no manipulation of data, the French biometrics firm that supplied the system told AFP Friday.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has accused the company, OT-Morpho, of being complicit in alleged rigging of the election, which was declared null and void by the country’s Supreme Court due to “irregularities and illegalities” in the transmission of results.

While the court has yet to deliver its final judgement detailing what went wrong, OT-Morpho said an “in-depth audit” of the system showed the opposition’s claims about hacking to be untrue.

RESULTS

In a letter to the French government, Odinga accused OT-Morpho of allowing unauthorised access to its servers and manipulating the transmission of results.

The company’s chief operating officer Frederic Beylier told AFP the audit, undertaken with help from external experts from security software companies, had shown the system “in no way suffered manipulation of data, attacks, attempts to penetrate the system or anything of that kind.”

OT-Morpho supplied the 45,000 tablets used to identify voters biometrically and an associated system used to transmit the results of votes counted by electoral officials as well as a photograph of the paper form 34A on which votes were tallied.

Delays in the scanning of these forms — which OT-Morpho put down to lack of 3G coverage in some parts of Kenya — were among the problems raised by the opposition.

The opposition had also claimed an algorithm was introduced into the system to manipulate the results as they streamed in.

MANIPULATION

“We obviously checked if there could have been questionable manipulations by any authorised or unauthorised persons and can confirm there was no manipulation of data that could raise questions,” said Beylier.

The company said it had transmitted all its logs to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), and was willing to participate in another external audit under the IEBC’s authority.

In court, the opposition argued that many forms 34A, once received, were unsigned, lacked the requisite security features or contained irregularities.

However without the full ruling from the court, it is unclear to what extent this influenced the outcome of the election.

VICTORY

Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta was ascribed 54 per cent of the vote before being stripped of his victory.

It also remains unclear whether the results could have been manipulated before being entered into the electronic transmissions system, analysts said.

Beylier slammed a campaign of threats and intimidation against the company and its employees, insisting it had carried out its job in “complete political neutrality”.

“Some people are trying to make us the scapegoat of the political situation in Kenya and we don’t intend to play that role,” he said.

He referred questions on whether the company’s systems would be used in fresh elections planned for October 17 to the IEBC.

Source: Daily Nation

North Korea vows to complete nuclear plan

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North Korea says it has developed and tested a hydrogen bomb

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has vowed to reach the country’s nuclear goals, according to state media.

The aim was to establish “equilibrium” of military force with the US, the KCNA news agency quoted him as saying.

Mr Kim’s comments come after North Korea fired its latest missile over Japan – in what is being described as the country’s farthest-reaching test.

The move split world powers who united behind new UN sanctions against North Korea just days ago.

“We should clearly show the big power chauvinists how our state attain the goal of completing its nuclear force despite their limitless sanctions and blockade,” Mr Kim was quoted as saying by the KCNA.

He also said North Korea’s goal was “to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK [North Korea]”.

Mr Kim personally watched the launch of a Hwasong-12 ballistic missile on Friday.

Kim Jong-un (second right) and North Korea's top military and political leaders celebrate the latest launch

Kim Jong-un and North Korea’s top military officials celebrated the launch photo: REUTERS

The missile reached an altitude of about 770km (478 miles), travelling 3,700km past the northernmost island of Hokkaido before landing in the sea, South Korea’s military said.

The missile had the capacity to reach the US territory of Guam and experts say it is the furthest any North Korean ballistic missile has ever travelled above ground.

How the world reacted to the test?

“I don’t know when I might be killed” – reaction to the latest missile launch

The UN Security Council convened an emergency meeting, in which members unanimously condemned the launch as “highly provocative” – coming as it did after Pyongyang’s nuclear bomb test on 3 September.

US President Donald Trump said North Korea had “once again shown its utter contempt for its neighbours, and the entire world community”, but that he felt more confident than ever that the US was ready should a military option be needed.

But Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasiliy Nebenzia, urged caution, saying: “We think that threats, tests, launches, and mutual threats in fact should be stopped, and that we should engage in meaningful negotiations.”

Graphic: North Korean Missiles

China accused the US of shirking its responsibilities.

“Honestly, I think the United States should be doing… much more than now, so that there’s real effective international co-operation on this issue”, China’s ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

“They should refrain from issuing more threats. They should do more to find effective ways to resume dialogue and negotiation,” he said.


Chinese irritation

Analysis by BBC’s Carrie Gracie in Beijing

United Nations sanctions – no more no less.

From a Chinese ambassador, that is blunt language and signals Beijing’s irritation over American pressure.

China feels it deserves more credit for the hard work and economic pain involved in enforcing two new rounds of UN sanctions within a matter of weeks. It also doubts that sanctions alone, however tough, will deter Pyongyang.

So Ambassador Cui Tiankai had his own advice for Washington, saying it should avoid making threats and instead resume dialogue.

The only satisfied party today is North Korea.

But China has insisted time and again that it will never accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state, and it can’t avoid the obvious and urgent question: how does China intend to stop it?


No new sanctions have been announced at the Council’s meeting.

Why does this new test matter?

The launch took place from the Sunan district of the capital Pyongyang just before 07:00 local time on Friday (22:00 GMT on Thursday), South Korea’s military says. Sunan is home to Pyongyang International Airport.

As with the last test on 29 August, the missile flew over Japan’s Hokkaido island before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.

Sirens sounded across the region and text message alerts were sent out warning people to take cover.

Comparison of missile launches over Japan
15 September 29 August
Distance travelled 3,700km (2,299 miles) 2,700km
Maximum altitude 770km 550km
Landing distance from Japan 2,200km 1,180km
Flight duration 19 minutes 32 minutes
Missile type Thought to be intermediate range Hwasong-12 Thought to be intermediate range Hwasong-12

What is so alarming about the new launch is that the US Pacific territory of Guam, which North Korea says it has a plan to target, is 3,400km from Pyongyang, putting it within range of the latest missile.

The North’s sixth nuclear test reportedly involved a miniaturised hydrogen bomb that could be loaded on to a long-range missile.

Map

North Korea’s missile programme

  • Pyongyang has been developing weapons, initially based on the Soviet-developed Scud, for decades
  • Conducted short and medium-range missile tests on many occasions, sometimes to mark domestic events or periods of regional tension
  • Pace of tests has increased in recent months; experts say North Korea appears to be making significant advances towards building a reliable long-range nuclear-capable weapon
  • On 3 September, North Korea said it tested a hydrogen bomb that could be miniaturised and loaded on a long-range missile

Source: BBC