News in Brief

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - World Wide -

Kim tar­get ‘to match US nu­clear power’

North Korea’s dic­ta­tor Kim Jong-un said his coun­try is near­ing its goal of “equi­lib­rium” in mil­i­tary force with the US, as the UN con­demned Fri­day’s “highly provoca­tive” mis­sile launch over Ja­pan.

The North’s of­fi­cial news agency car­ried Kim’s com­ments yes­ter­day. Kim said his coun­try, de­spite “lim­it­less” in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions, has nearly com­pleted the build­ing of its nu­clear weapons force. He called for “all-state ef­forts” to ob­tain a “ca­pac­ity for nu­clear counter-at­tack the US can­not cope with”.

Kim said the coun­try’s fi­nal goal “is to es­tab­lish the equi­lib­rium of real force with the US and make their rulers dare not talk about mil­i­tary op­tion for the DPRK”.

Rus­sia at­tacks US-backed Syria mili­tia

US-backed mili­tias said they came un­der at­tack yes­ter­day from Rus­sian jets and Syr­ian gov­ern­ment forces in Deir al-Zor prov­ince, a flash­point in an in­creas­ingly com­plex bat­tle­field.

The Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces (SDF), an al­liance of Kur­dish and Arab fight­ers on the side of the Amer­i­can­led coali­tion, said the strikes wounded six sol­diers.

Wash­ing­ton and Moscow are back­ing sep­a­rate of­fen­sives in the Syr­ian con­flict — with both sides ad­vanc­ing against Isil in the re­gion that bor­ders Iraq.

The assaults by the Rus­sian-backed Syr­ian army and the US-backed SDF have at times raised fears of clashes that could stoke ten­sions between the world pow­ers.

Out­rage over US deaf sign­ing mis­takes

There was out­rage among the deaf com­mu­nity when it emerged yes­ter­day that a US sign lan­guage in­ter­preter, who warned about “bears and mon­sters” ahead of Hur­ri­cane Irma, was an am­a­teur un­suit­able for the role.

Of­fi­cials in Florida’s Mana­tee County had called the public con­fer­ence to give in­for­ma­tion about pos­si­ble evac­u­a­tions ahead of the storm that ripped through the state. But rather than hire a paid ex­pert or use cap­tions, they brought in county life­guard Marshall Greene — be­cause they knew “he had a deaf brother”.

At the brief­ing, Mr Greene signed phrases in­clud­ing: “Help you at that time to use bear big”, and words such as “pizza” and “mon­ster” in­stead of vi­tal storm in­for­ma­tion.

Nar­cos TV scout found dead in Mex­ico

A lo­ca­tion scout for the Net­flix crime drama Nar­cos has been shot dead while work­ing in cen­tral Mex­ico.

The bul­let-rid­dled body of Car­los Munoz Por­tal, 37, was found in his car in a ru­ral area in Mex­ico state, one of the coun­try’s most vi­o­lent.

Nar­cos is a hit se­ries about the rise and fall of Colom­bian drug lord Pablo Es­co­bar, and Munoz was work­ing as a free­lancer for its fourth sea­son, which will fo­cus on the no­to­ri­ous Juarez drug car­tel in Mex­ico.

Mex­i­can of­fi­cials were re­port­edly hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case given a lack of wit­nesses.

Cata­lan may­ors take ref­er­en­dum stand

More than 700 may­ors from Cat­alo­nia met in Barcelona yes­ter­day in a show of strength amid pres­sure from Spain’s cen­tral gov­ern­ment not to hold an in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum deemed il­le­gal by the courts.

Po­lit­i­cal ten­sions in Spain are in­creas­ing as the pro­posed plebiscite on Oc­to­ber 1 nears.

The Cata­lan gov­ern­ment is scram­bling to press ahead with the vote — de­spite the Span­ish gov­ern­ment’s warn­ings that lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are not al­lowed to use public build­ings and may­ors can be pros­e­cuted for it.

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