North Korea Declares ‘Quasi State of War’ With South Korea


Originally posted on TIME:

(PYONGYANG, North Korea) — North Korea on Friday declared its frontline troops in a “a quasi-state of war” and warned of military operations a day after the rival Koreas exchanged fire across the world’s most heavily armed border.

The North has made similar bombastic claims before and the huge numbers of soldiers and military equipment stationed along the Koreas’ tense border mean the area is always essentially in a “quasi-state of war.” Still, the declaration, following South Korea’s firing of dozens of shells across the border after the North lobbed several rounds at a South Korean town, signals a worrying development.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported Friday that leader Kim Jong Un ordered at an emergency military meeting that his troops “be fully ready for any military operations at any time from 5 p.m. (0730 GMT) Friday.”

The report said that “military commanders were urgently dispatched for…

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North Korea and South Korea are exchanging gunfire over a set of loudspeakers


Originally posted on Quartz:

North Korea has reportedly fired shots at South Korea, according to state-run South Korean media, KBS. The shelling, which happened at 4pm local time, is believed to be aimed at loudspeakers on the South Korean side of the border that have been airing anti-Pyongyang propaganda. South Korea fired shots back at the north. “Our side staged a counter-attack with dozens of 155mm shells,” a ministry spokesman told AFP.

Tensions between the two Koreas, still technically at war after agreeing to an armistice and not a peace treaty in the 1950s, have been higher than normal recently. Seoul accused North Korea of planting a land mine that killed two South Korean soldiers earlier this month. In response to the land mine incident, South Korea took up a tactic last used over a decade ago, and began blaring anti-North Korea broadcasts over the border. (The speakers have also been used to blast K-pop into the…

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North and South Korea Trade Fire on Their Border


Originally posted on TIME:

(SEOUL, South Korea) — South Korea’s military fired dozens of shells Thursday at rival North Korea after the North lobbed a single artillery round at a South Korean border town, the South’s Defense Ministry said.

The ministry said in a statement that its artillery landed at the place where North Korea had fired its shell. There were no other immediate details from the military, but it appeared that North Korea did not respond to South Korea’s returned fire.

About 80 residents in the South Korean town where the shell fell, Yeoncheon, were evacuated to underground bunkers, and authorities urged other residents to evacuate, a Yeoncheon official said, requesting anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media. He said there were no reports of injuries or damage in Yeoncheon.

In the nearby border city of Paju, residents were asked to stay home, officials said.

North Korea had previously threatened…

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Searchers Have Spotted the Wreckage of the Missing Indonesian Plane


Originally posted on TIME:

(JAYAPURA, Indonesia) — A search plane has spotted the wreckage of an Indonesian passenger plane that went missing with 54 people on board, smoke still billowing from it in a rugged area in eastern Papua province, rescue officials said Monday.

There was no immediate word if there were any survivors from Sunday’s crash, which happened in bad weather over Indonesia’s mountainous easternmost province.

The Trigana Air Service plane was flying from Papua’s provincial capital, Jayapura, to the Papua city of Oksibil when it lost contact with Oksibil’s airport. Transportation Ministry spokesman Julius Barata said there was no indication that the pilot had made a distress call.

Officials said the wreckage was spotted about 12 kilometers (7 miles) from Oksibil. Henry Bambang Soelistyo, the chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency, said search and rescue teams were preparing to try to reach the crash site by air and foot.

The…

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Indonesian Plane Carrying 54 Goes Missing


Originally posted on TIME:

(JAKARTA, Indonesia) — An Indonesian airliner carrying 54 people went missing Sunday after losing contact with ground control during a short flight in bad weather in the country’s mountainous easternmost province of Papua, officials said.

Local villagers told authorities that they saw a plane crash into a mountain, and scores of rescuers were heading to the remote area and will begin searching there at daybreak Monday. An air search for the missing plane was suspended and will resume Monday as well.

The Trigana Air Service plane was flying from Papua’s provincial capital, Jayapura, to the Papua city of Oksibil when it lost contact with Oksibil’s airport, said Transportation Ministry spokesman Julius Barata. There was no indication that the pilot had made a distress call, he said.

The ATR42-300 twin turboprop plane was carrying 49 passengers and five crew members on the scheduled 42-minute journey, Barata said. Five children, including three…

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China Explosion Death Toll Rises to 112 as Investigation Begins


Originally posted on TIME:

(TIANJIN, China) — Authorities pulled more bodies from a massive blast site at China’s Tianjin port, pushing the death toll to 112 on Sunday as teams rushed to clear dangerous chemicals and prosecutors prepared an investigation into those responsible for the disaster.

More than 700 people were injured and 95 people, including dozens of firefighters, are missing after a fire and rapid succession of blasts late Wednesday hit a warehouse for hazardous chemicals in a mostly industrial area of Tianjin, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Beijing.

By Sunday, authorities confirmed there were “several hundred” tons of the toxic chemical sodium cyanide on the site at the time of the blasts, although they said there have not been any substantial leaks.

Sodium cyanide is a toxic chemical that can form a flammable gas upon contact with water, and several hundred tons would be a clear violation of rules cited by…

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