Donald Tusk wants EU army THIS YEAR ‘to defend borders from migrants and hostile states’

Vincent Wood
The Daily Express

The European Council President called for the 27-nation superstate to introduce Permanent Structured Cooperation on Defence (PESCO) to protect the bloc from the effects of the migrant crisis, hostile bordering states and forces that risk tearing the bloc apart.

He added the EU should be prepared to spend huge amounts on the project, which will come with its own centralised headquarters and ambitious plans for EU military missions abroad.

Critics have repeatedly warned that the new system is a gateway to the creation of an EU army, although Brussels itself denies this and says it is just facilitating better military cooperation.

It goes hand in hand with plans for a centralised European Defence Fund, which is designed to help create an EU defence industry and reduce reliance on foreign powers like the US for military equipment.

Mr Tusk said: “We are a territorial community, which means that we have a common territory and common external borders.

“Our duty is to protect them.

“The migration crisis has made us aware, with full force, of the need to rebuild effective control of our external borders, while the aggressive behaviour of certain third countries, and the destabilisation around Europe, has made us aware of the need to defend our territory.

“For this reason we want to launch PESCO by the end of this year.

“In order to protect our external borders, we must build a model of durable and efficient financing on a bigger scale than ever before.”

Mr Tusk, one of the EU’s top three officials, went on to call on the Parliament to protect Europe’s “heritage”.

He added: “Secondly, We are a cultural community, which doesn’t mean that we are better or worse – we are simply different from the outside world.

“Our openness and tolerance cannot mean walking away from protecting our heritage.

“We have the right and obligation to care for what distinguishes us from other cultures – not in order to be against someone, but to be ourselves.

“Without a feeling of superiority, but with a feeling of justified pride.”

Last month the bloc’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini insisted PESCO should be ready to go in time for January 2018, over a year before the UK is due to leave the union.

British ministers, including Boris Johnson and Michael Fallon, have been signing up to the EU’s military plans on the basis that they will lay down a loose marker for post-Brexit security cooperation.

However, the EU sees the commitments as legally binding, and respected military commander Major-General Julian Thompson has previously warned it will not be easy for the UK to “extricate” itself in the future.

He told express.co.uk: “The UK believes it is approving military structures for the other 27, but the EU is completely clear that agreements, unfortunately, apply to the UK as full participants.”

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London Introduces Carbon “T-Charge” Tax On Diesel And Older Petrol Vehicles

Aaron Kesel
Activist Post

As part of the plan to begin phasing out gas and diesel car sales over the next three decades, drivers of diesel vehicles and older petrol cars in the UK will now face a tax called T-Charge for driving into the financial district and parts of west LondonReuters reported.

Drivers are already charged 11.50 pounds ($15) under a congestion charge. But those driving petrol and diesel vehicles typically before 2006 will now need to pay an additional 10 pounds ($13.19). That means if you have an older vehicle before 2006 or a diesel vehicle you will be paying a total of 21.50 pounds or ($28.19) just to get into the city.

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan expressed that the new T-Charge taxation will help motorists to switch to a greener alternative and in turn save thousands of lives a year.

“The air is bad, but it’s also a killer,” Khan told Reuters. “There are children in London whose lungs are underdeveloped. There are adults who suffer a whole host of conditions caused by the poor quality air from asthma to dementia to suffering strokes.”

The tax will apply on up to 34,000 vehicles every month, a low percentage of the total number of vehicles that come into the area which is 535,000 according to the news publication.

This comes as California in the U.S. announced an outright ban on fossil fuel cars in hopes of reducing carbon emissions. Similar to China and France — all of which plan to phase out gas and diesel car sales over the next three decades as a part of the Paris Agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

 

Britain has also announced that by the year 2040 all new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned from purchase by consumers. So the T-Charge tax is just a step towards pushing that agenda on its citizenry starting first in London. The tax is a part of a larger initiative known as the clean air plan which hopes to establish “clean air zones” (CAZ), The Guardian reported.

The government previously said that any taxation would be a last resort and they would look for local plans first.

“Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and this government is determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible,” a government spokesman said.

“That is why we are providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3bn programme to clean up dirty air around our roads.”

A judge previously ruled the government’s original plans on tackling the issue, which included five CAZs, were illegal. The government was then asked to present a new draft policy to tackle air pollution from diesel traffic that new policy added a potential 27 CAZs. That means that the UK government is proposing taxation on 27 other areas within the country. The UK Treasury has also blocked plans to charge diesel cars to enter towns and cities overwhelmed with air pollution, citing concerns about the political impact of angering motorists.

A carbon tax in Europe was imposed in 2012 which charges airlines emissions fees for all flights that cross the continent.

The finalized version of the UK plans to curb carbon emissions is expected by 2018. Meanwhile, in the U.S. eleven companies are also planning to push for a revenue-neutral carbon tax, as a way of tackling the threat of climate change that “embodies the conservative principles of free markets and limited government,” Financial Times reported.

It is worth noting that a global carbon tax was once seen as a conspiracy theory despite Exxon pushing it as early as 2009. One year later in 2010 UN documents were leaked to Fox News which showed the elite wanted to use global warming as “overpopulation” as a means of dismantling the middle classes while using “global redistribution of wealth.” All by using richer countries through carbon taxes and then using that money to bankroll the construction of a world government.

Then before the Paris Agreement, there were climate talks held in Copenhagen which third world countries walked out of after discovering that developed nations would take on less of a burden than anticipated with the CO2 tax while demanding more from poorer countries. It was also revealed by billionaire George Soros that the poor countries would have to take on “green loans” which would mean they would be in further debt with financial institutions like the IMF.

Seven years later and it looks like the plan is being carried out despite being denied and ridiculed as a “conspiracy theory.”

EU plotting TOTAL DOMINATION: Brussels moves to take control of wages from member states

Jon Rogers
The Daily Express

The report, by Italian left-winger Laura Agea, says the laws already exist for the European Union (EU) to take control over something which national governments have previously assumed is solely their competence.

The EU’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs stops short of guaranteeing a minimum wage but so-called “minimum income schemes” would inevitably mean handing more powers to Brussels bureaucrats in being able to determine wages and social security programmes.

If introduced, the scheme will guarantee a minimum level of income to all citizens.

Even if the EU parliament votes for such a move it has no legislative power and can only make advisory proposals. Member states can still veto such a move.

Also buried in the report is an attempt to extend the tentacles of the EU into other areas that could be of concern for national sovereignty.

EU Parliament minimum income schemes planGetty

The EU Parliament is set to vote on proposals for minimum income schemes

Along with an attempt to “ensure an income that is above the poverty line”, the report says that these moves should be accompanied by “the provision of public services such as health, education and childcare”.

Such a move could give Brussels an open door to start dictating over a country’s domestic policies and start to impose rules and regulations.

The proposal would also bring an end to contributions-based payments where people have to pay in before they can receive any benefit.

The report says there is a “need to create a European minimum income framework” and states that Europe “should make every possible effort to try to achieve the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy which establishes, as a fundamental target, that of enabling people living in poverty and social exclusion to be lifted out of that state”.

It reads: “To date this goal can essentially be achieved through active labour market, training and support policies for individuals in any area in which they are involved.

“New jobs can be created by focusing on those sectors which, as we know today, are the most suitable for substantial investment, such as the circular economy, the green economy and the social economy, ensuring that skills are updated and those already acquired are enhanced.

“A further basic request put forward by this report is to use relevant common indicators that can ensure economic and social cohesion and reduce the risk of different pay levels for the same activities.

“The minimum income scheme should be coupled with a strategic approach aiming at social integration; to that end, it is recommended that effective social protection measures regarding parts of people’s lives such as the guarantee of housing, health care, education and training, should be adopted in parallel with the implementation of the minimum income scheme.”

Any move is likely to be met with strong resistance from some of the East European members of the EU who have so far resisted attempts at closer integration with the likes of the right wing leader of Hungary, Viktor Orban, expected to strongly oppose such a move.

EU Parliament to vote on minimum income schemesWireImage

(L-R) Jean-Claude Juncker, Antonio Tajani and Donald Tusk in Madrid

The EU Parliament vote is likely to be backed by the more integrationist countries such as France and Germany who, under Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, are pushing for greater integration.

Jayne Adye, director of the campaign group Get Britain Out told Express.co.uk: “This is a naked power grab by the EU – stripping even more control over the welfare and work systems of EU Member States. 

“The EU is recklessly ignoring the differences between countries. A liveable minimum income in Germany would be very high in Bulgaria, and these changes would have devastating effects for poorer European countries. Worse still, approving this report would dismantle contributory systems – so what you pay in would have no relation to what you get back – a recipe for ingratitude and indolence, and would prove a disservice to those who’ve paid into their national systems. 

“It may all sound good in some remote bureaucrat’s head, but in practice it would be devastating.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

“Seizing on such important policy areas is also a brazen assault on national sovereignty, part of the one-way ratchet towards an EU federal superstate. If we were staying inside the EU, we too would be on track to lose control over this vital area. Thank goodness the UK voted to Leave!

“Taking welfare and work policies out of Democratic control – and subjecting them to the Brussels machine – just shows the EU still thinks it can get away with anything. This will only prove to the free peoples of Europe they cannot keep their freedom in the confines of the EU. Such arrogant power grabs are causing Eurosceptics to rise across the continent. Get Britain Out hopes other countries will join us in walking out while they still can.”

Brexit expert Trixy Sanderson said: “The idea of a minimum income scheme is the kind of thing that a country does and the fact that MEPs will inevitably be supporting this idea means they view the future as a country called Europe.

“Whilst we voted to leave the current arrangements still tie us in financially with these kinds of projects and what people haven’t yet seen from this government is that determination to secure a good deal or no deal with the EU which insures that the British taxpayer is not financially burdened by the federalist hopes and dreams of MEPs and people like Juncker.”

China Is Creating a Database of Its Citizens’ Voices to Boost its Surveillance Capability: Report

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Joseph Hincks
TIME

The Chinese government has collected tens of thousands of “voice pattern” samples from targeted citizens and is inputting them into a national voice biometric database, according to a Human Rights Watch report published Monday.

The idea is that an automated system, thought to still be in development, will use the database to pick out individual voices in telephone and other conversations, boosting the government’s already expansive surveillance capabilities.

The system is reportedly being developed by a Chinese voice recognition and artificial intelligence specialist called iFlytech. It adds another spoke to existing biometric information like fingerprints and DNA samples, as well as identification numbers and other personal details.

How long has China been collecting voice data?

Biometric records are a common tool of law enforcement worldwide and some countries, like Japan, even fingerprint foreignerson entry — ostensibly as an anti-terrorism measure. In China, the DNA of some 40 million people, and over one billion faces, are already logged on police databases.

Compared to that, mass scale biometric voice recognition is in its infancy. China’s Ministry of Public Security started piloting the database in 2012 and scaled the program up in 2014. HRW does not give current numbers but by 2015, it says, police had collected 70,000 voice patterns in one of the project’s pilot provinces. In 2016, HRW tracked purchases of voice recognition systems in several other provinces, included in Xinjiang, a restive region with 11 million ethnic minority Uighurs.

Why does China say it needs to collect people’s voices?

Chinese police are allowed to collect voice patterns and other biometric data from anyone suspected of “violating the law or committing crimes.” But HRW says that through 2017 there were multiple instances of police collecting voice samples from ordinary citizens, including at least one instance in which applicants for passports in Xinjiang were required to submit a voice sample. No publicly available official policy documents outline why this is necessary, according to HRW.

Government reports in the media claim that voice recognition software has helped to solve fraud, drug trafficking, kidnapping, and blackmail cases. These reports also state that such systems will serve a counterterrorism function and say they will also be applied for “stability maintenance” purposes.

Why are human rights groups concerned?

For one thing, the terms counterterrorism and “stability maintenance” have broad scope in China and authorities have in the past used them to justify quashing political dissent

For another, it’s unclear who can be targeted for voice sampling and how the samples will be used. “Authorities can easily misuse that data in a country with a long history of unchecked surveillance and retaliation against critics,” Sophie Richardson, HRW’s China director says.

Beijing’s growing surveillance capability coincides with a broader clamp down on dissent. China openly tracks the movements of dissidents, has installed CCTV cameras outside activists’ houses, jailed people who criticize the government on social media, and cracked down on VPN‘s that allow unfettered access to the internet. It has even banned Winnie the Pooh.

“Chinese authorities’ arsenal of surveillance tools just keeps getting bigger while privacy rights lag far behind,” Richardson says. “The Chinese authorities should immediately stop gathering highly sensitive biometric data until legal protections are clear – and clearly reliable.”

World leaders rehearse for a pandemic that will come ‘sooner than we expect’

Lena H. Sun
Washington Post

The government ministers were facing a new infectious disease outbreak. The mysterious virus was sickening and killing people with alarming speed. Some patients had to be placed on ventilators to help them breathe. The new virus seemed resistant to antibiotics and antiviral medicine.

Within a week, officials had closed a major hospital and schools and quarantined thousands of people. Fear and panic spread quickly as people in neighboring countries became infected and died.

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YOU’RE TERMINATED Vladimir Putin warns of future sci-fi super-human soldiers more ‘destructive than nuclear bombs’ who feel no fear or pain

Mark Hodge
UK Sun

VLADIMIR Putin has claimed genetically-modified super soldiers “worse than a nuclear bomb” could soon become a reality.

The strongman Russian President spoke to a crowd of students about the prospect of an army of trained killers incapable of feeling “pain or fear” much like the characters in 1992 action movie Universal Soldier.

He revealed that scientists are close to breaking the genetic code which would enable them to create “a human with pre-designed characteristics”.

Speaking at a youth festival in Sochi, Putin warned of the consequences of playing God with man’s genetic code, reports The Express.

He said: “A man has the opportunity to get into the genetic code created by either nature, or as religious people would say, by the God.

“All kinds of practical consequences may follow. One may imagine that a man can create a man not only theoretically but also practically.

“He can be a genius mathematician, a brilliant musician or a soldier, a man who can fight without fear, compassion, regret or pain.

“As you understand, humanity can enter, and most likely it will in the near future, a very difficult and very responsible period of its existence.

“What I have just described might be worse than a nuclear bomb.”

The autocrat warned that world leaders must agree on regulations to control the creation of mass-killing super soldiers.

He said: “When we do something, whatever we do, I want to reiterate it again – we must never forget about the ethical foundations of our work.”

Last month, Putin revealed he is afraid humans in the future will be hunted and EATEN alive by flesh-munching robots.

The infamously icy-veined Russian leader showed his more anxious side while discussing artificial intelligence (AI) at an event in Moscow.

Former KGB spy Putin asked Arkady Volozh, chief of internet firm Yandex, when the technology will “eat us”, reports RT.

Volozh, who was giving Putin a tour of the company’s headquarters, appeared to be taken aback by the question.

At first he replied: “I hope never.”

But after a pause, he used the analogy of excavators and explained that they are better at digging than people.

The computer boffin then said: “But we don’t get eaten by excavators.”

Yet Putin dismissed this comment by adding: “They don’t think.”

Earlier this month, the election-hacking autocrat said that AI was “the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind.”

While saying the burgeoning technology had “colossal opportunities”, Putin added “whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”

And keen to avoid a Cold War-style arms race, the Russian President claimed he would share his country’s “know-how” with other nations.

Pope: Market, State, Society Should Cooperate

Zenit

Address to Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

Pope Francis said there is “a need of great current relevance, such as that of developing new models of cooperation between the market, the State and civil society, in relation to the challenges of our time.”

His comments came October 20, 2017, in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, where he received the participants in the meeting organized by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

The Holy Father focused on two key points:

  • The endemic and systemic increase of inequality and the exploitation of the planet, which is greater than the increase in income and wealth.
  • The other cause of exclusion is work that is not worthy of the human person.

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China to build giant facial recognition database to identify any citizen within seconds

Project aims to achieve an accuracy rate of 90 per cent but faces formidable technological hurdles and concerns about security

South China Morning Post

The goal is for the system to able to match someone’s face to their ID photo with about 90 per cent accuracy.

The project, launched by the Ministry of Public Security in 2015, is under development in conjunction with a security company based in Shanghai.

The system can be connected to surveillance camera networks and will use cloud facilities to connect with data storage and processing centres distributed across the country, according to people familiar with the project.

However, some researchers said it was unclear when the system would be completed, as the development was encountering many difficulties due to the technical limits of facial recognition technology and the large population base.

At present, similar systems operate on a smaller level, including police databases and city or provincial ID pools.

But these operate separately and are on a much smaller scale.

There is also a national database of police suspects and people of interest to the government.

These may continue to be used independently after the national system is established.

The core data set for the national system, containing the portrait information of each Chinese citizen, amounts to 13 terabytes.

The size of the full database with detailed personal information does not exceed 90 terabytes, according to technical documents on the ministry’s website and a paper written by police researchers.

Chen Jiansheng, an associate professor at the department of electrical engineering at Tsinghua University and a member of the ministry’s Committee of Standardisation overseeing technical developments in police forces, said the system would have to be built on an unprecedented scale because no country had a population as big as China’s.

The system was being developed for security and government uses such as tracking wanted suspects and public administration, he said.

Commercial application using information sourced from the database will not be allowed under current regulations.

“[But] a policy can change due to the development of the economy and increasing demand from society,” Chen said.

Giving commercial sectors access to the database under proper regulation would create new business opportunities by helping to improve customer service, he said.

Chinese companies are already taking the commercial application of facial recognition technology to new heights.

With a smile or blink of the eyes to a camera, students can now enter their university halls, travellers can board planes without using a boarding pass and diners can pay for a meal at KFC.

Some other restaurants have even offered discounts to customers based on a machine that ranks their looks according to an algorithm. Customers with “beautiful” characteristics – such as symmetrical features – get better scores than those with noses that are “too big” or “too small” and those that get better scores will get cheaper meals.

Some public lavatories in Beijing also use facial recognition so that the automatic dispensing machines will deny toilet paper to people who ask for it more than once within a given period.

Facial recognition could supersede other personal identification methods that are used to make payments such as scanning fingerprints or QR codes on a mobile phone.

But the government project has prompted controversy among artificial intelligence experts.

Cheng Mingming, a professor of computer science at Nankai University in Tianjin, said that despite the scale of the project, technological advances meant that all the information could be stored in small, portable drives – which raised the risk of data theft.

He said a palm-sized commercial hard drive nowadays could store 10 terabytes or more of data and you could “pack it in a suitcase and board a flight”.

“If the facial data and related personal information is stolen and put on the internet, it will cause big problems,” Cheng said.

For instance, due to the rapid advance of facial recognition technology, a person or organisation could take a photo and identify strangers at a party or on the street without their knowledge, Cheng said.

But a network security vendor for the Ministry of Public Security dismissed the possibility.

“To download the whole data set is as difficult as launching a missile with a nuclear warhead. It requires several high-ranking officials to insert and turn their keys at the same time,” the vendor said.

The 1.3 billion-person facial recognition system is being developed by Isvision, a security company based in Shanghai.

Isvision confirmed to the South China Morning Post that it had won the contract last year but declined to provide details.

“The progress of development is confidential. At present we have no information for public disclosure,” a company spokesperson said.

Isvision security cameras with facial recognition capabilities were first deployed in Tiananmen Square as early as 2003, according to the company’s website.

The system was connected to the police database of suspects, capable of recognising and tracking potential targets in a large crowd.

The company has also set up similar systems for law enforcement authorities in Xinjiang and Tibet, where riots have broken out from time to time because of serious ethnic conflicts.

According to Fan Ying, a researcher at the ministry’s population management research centre in Beijing, the project team has encountered “unprecedented challenges” due to the government’s high demands for speed and accuracy.

When a photo, gender and age range are inputted, the system is required to find a match within three seconds with an accuracy level higher than 88 per cent.

Fan and colleagues tested the facial recognition algorithm developed by Tsinghua University, a world-leading institute in this field of research, and they were disappointed with the results.

They found that the accuracy of the photo that most closely matched the face being searched for was below 60 per cent. With the top 20 matches the accuracy rate remained below 70 per cent, Fan and collaborators reported in a paper published in the domestic journal Electronic Science and Technology in May.

“It cannot solve problems with real-life applications,” they added.

The system developed by Isvision will use an algorithm developed by SeetaTech, a start-up established by several researchers from the Institute of Computing Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

SeetaTech confirmed to the SCMP its involvement in the national facial recognition project but declined to comment further.

A researcher at the Institute of Computing Technology familiar with the project said some huge technical hurdles remained.

“Among 1.3 billion people, some totally unrelated people have faces so alike even their parents cannot tell them apart,” the researcher said.

“Currently the access to the database is limited to a few security companies with very close ties with the Ministry of Public Security.

“More access will definitely lead to higher risk of [data] leakage.”

The researcher warned that the cost of the convenience facial recognition could bring to everyday life was “sacrificing security”.

North Korea threat prompts Japan evacuation preparations

Nikkei Asian Review

TOKYO — As tensions on the Korean Peninsula reach new heights with Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test, Japan is planning for a possible mass evacuation of the nearly 60,000 Japanese citizens currently living in or visiting South Korea.

“There is a possibility of further provocations,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a Monday meeting with ruling coalition lawmakers. “We need to remain extremely vigilant and do everything we can to ensure the safety of our people.”

In response to North Korea‘s sixth nuclear test, Japan and the U.S. seek to ratchet up economic pressure on the rogue state through an oil embargo and other measures. But U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis on Sunday also said any threat to the U.S. or its allies “will be met with a massive military response — a response both effective and overwhelming.”

Four-step plan

There are currently about 38,000 long-term Japanese residents in South Korea, as well as another 19,000 or so tourists and other short-term travelers. “If the U.S. decided on a military strike against the North, the Japanese government would start moving toward an evacuation on its own accord regardless of whether the American plans are public,” a Japanese government source said.

Tokyo is working on a four-tier emergency plan based on the severity of the situation: discouraging unessential travel to South Korea, discouraging all travel to South Korea, urging Japanese citizens there to evacuate, and finally, urging them to shelter in place.

Should skirmishes erupt between the two Koreas, for example, the Japanese government would discourage all new travel to South Korea. At the same time, it would urge citizens already there to evacuate using commercial flights. Although the Japanese Embassy would help secure airline reservations, the government’s role under this scenario would mainly be to provide information.

But Japan would need to coordinate with South Korean authorities under a shelter-in-place scenario. If Pyongyang launched a major military attack that leads to the closure of South Korean airports, the Japanese embassy would urge citizens still in the country to stay at home, or move to a safer area within the South.

Seoul has agreed to give Japanese citizens access to safe zones, such as designated subway stations, churches and shopping malls, according to a Japanese source. The Japanese government has already provided its citizens in South Korea with information on over 900 such facilities.

Bringing them home

In the event of airport closures, the best option for Japanese citizens to return home would be by sea from the southeastern port city of Busan. The Japanese government is working to obtain cooperation from U.S. forces stationed in South Korea to transport evacuees across the country from Seoul to Busan.

The Japanese Self-Defense Forces would need permission from South Korea’s government to operate inside the country. Approval has not been forthcoming and could provoke a backlash from a South Korean public harboring historical grievances at the former colonial power. But SDF vessels could help in ferrying Japanese citizens home from Busan.

Such a crises could make it easier for terrorists and other dangerous individuals to enter Japan disguised as returning citizens. The Japanese government aims to work with the U.S. to prevent such unlawful entry. One proposal would create a temporary holding area for returnees in Busan or Japan.

“We are looking at a range of responses” to a crisis on the Korean Peninsula, from securing evacuees and processing their entry to creating and operating holding facilities, as well as determining whether Japan is responsible for their protection, Abe had said at a parliamentary session in April.

 

North Korea claims its ‘hydrogen bomb’ can ‘wipe out the whole US territory’

Bombastic claim made by state-run media a week after declaring a successful test detonation of a hydrogen bomb.

The Telegraph

North Korea has declared that its recent nuclear test has given it the capability to “wipe out the whole territory of the US all at once”.

The bombastic claim was made in a commentary released by state-run media on Tuesday, six days after what North Korea claims was a successful test detonation of a hydrogen bomb.

The statement repeated the regime’s insistence that the blast was of a miniaturised hydrogen bomb and that the nation’s scientists had achieved a “new high state” in the development of defensive nuclear weapons.

“The test was neither to ‘threaten’ anyone, not to ‘provoke’ someone for a certain purpose”, KCNA said in the article, adding that the purpose of the test was to provide a “sure guarantee” that hostile outside forces would not attack the North.

The US is traditionally painted as Pyongyang’s biggest foe and state propaganda claims on a nearly daily basis that Washington is conniving with South Korea in preparation for an invasion of the North.

 

To prevent that, the North’s nuclear scientists are “in high spirits to detonate H-bombs of hundreds of kilotons and megatons, capable of wiping out the whole territory of the US all at once”, it added.

Experts are still gathering data and air samples that will permit them to determine precisely what happened at the Punggye-ri proving grounds on Jan. 6, but seismic evidence indicates the device had a yield of around 6 kilotons.

That would mean it fell well short of a thermonuclear device – which could be expected to have a yield around 100 times more powerful. The assumption among analysts is that it was a conventional nuclear bomb that was enhanced with fusion fuels, such as deuterium or lithium.

Undeterred, Kim Jong-un has been pictured congratulating the nuclear scientists who carried out the test. The North Korean leader expressed anticipation they will go on to “achieve greater successes in scientific research for bolstering the nuclear deterrent for self-defence”, the KCNA news agency reported.

Mr Kim is milking the public adulation for the test, with slogans and posters across Pyongyang acclaiming the young dictator for overseeing the success of the North’s latest advance in nuclear weapons.

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