News in Brief
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.