2020-03-31: News Headlines

RT (2020-03-31). Thousands of S. Korean workers go on unpaid leave as Seoul, Washington fail to agree on military costs. rt.com Seoul on Tuesday criticized the US military's decision to place thousands of South Korean workers on unpaid leave this week, after the two allies failed to sign a new cost-sharing agreement. Washington and Seoul are embroiled in a dispute dating back almost two years, over how much each should pay to support the roughly 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea. | With no new pact months after the last agreement expired at the end of 2019, about half of the nearly 9,000 South Koreans employed by the US military command will be placed on unpaid leave starting on Wednesday, Reuters said. US officials have said t…

RT (2020-03-31). France, Germany & Britain send medical goods to Iran, test new trade mechanism. rt.com Germany, France and Britain have exported medical goods to Iran in the first transaction conducted under a new trade mechanism, Instex, Berlin said on Tuesday. The mechanism was set up to facilitate trade in humanitarian goods and food after the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal. | The German Foreign Ministry said the medical goods were now in Iran, adding that the trade mechanism and Tehran would now work on more transactions and on enhancing the system. | The three European states said earlier this month they had offered a $5.5 million package to Iran to help fight coronavirus there and are also sendi…

Patrick Cockburn (2020-03-31). Trump's Chernobyl Moment: the US May Lose Its Status as World Superpower and Not Recover. counterpunch.org The US may be reaching its "Chernobyl moment" as it fails to lead in combating the coronavirus epidemic. As with the nuclear accident in the Soviet Union in 1986, a cataclysm is exposing systemic failings that have already weakened US hegemony in the world. Whatever the outcome of the pandemic, nobody is today looking to

RT (2020-03-30). North Korea says it used 'super-large multiple rocket launcher' in latest missile test. rt.com Pyongyang has confirmed it conducted yet another test of a new "super-large multiple rocket launcher" a day after Seoul reported that North Korea had fired two short-range missiles towards the Sea of Japan amid ongoing drills. | The launch, carried out early on Sunday morning, went off without a hitch, North Korean state media reported, saying that it was conducted to "verify strategic and technical characteristics" of the novel launcher, which has featured in a series of recent tests by the reclusive country. | It's unclear whether North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended the drill to oversee the launch in pe…

RT (2020-03-30). 'We'll go our own way': North Korea says it 'dropped interest' in talks with US after Pompeo's call for more pressure. rt.com North Korea said it has lost faith in dialogue with Washington after "reckless" US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for more pressure on Pyongyang. | In statement published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Monday, an unnamed North Korean diplomat in charge of the talks with the US warned that the country will continue working on "our important planned projects aimed to repay the US with actual horror and unrest for the sufferings it has inflicted upon our people." | "We will go our own way. We want the US not to bother us," the official said. | Hearing Pompeo's reckless remarks, we dropped t…

teleSUR (2020-03-30). US to be Included on Foreign Entry Ban in Japan. telesurenglish.net Japan plans to extend its ban on foreign entrants to cover those who have recently been to the United States, China and South Korea and most parts of Europe in bid to curb the import and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, state sources said on Monday. | RE;LATED: | The entry ban will be applicable to foreigners who have stayed in the countries within two weeks of arriving in Japan, the sources said, adding that both J…

yenisafak (2020-03-30). N.Korea claims 'successful' rocket launchers test. yenisafak.com North Korea on Monday claimed to have test-fired what it called "super-large multiple rocket launchers," state media reported. | The state-run Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said the tests were carried out "successfully" by the Academy of Defense Science of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on Sunday. | However, the state media acknowledged that there were "problems arising in delivering the weapon system to the units of the People's Army". | Meanwhile, South Korea's military said the rocket launchers tested by Pyongyang were "similar to its large-caliber multiple launch guided rocket system unveiled la…

Antoine Flahault (2020-03-28). [Correspondence] COVID-19 cacophony: is there any orchestra conductor? thelancet.com The first wave of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is currently invading the world, and several countries are now struggling to fight it or trying to delay its start to help smooth its peak size for the purpose of lowering morbidity and mortality, and thereby reduce the overall tension on their health-care system. China's first major outbreaks of COVID-19 happened in January, 2020. Then South Korea, Iran, and Italy entered into this Ravel's Bolero-like epidemic in late February and early March, 2020, and many other countries are preparing to play the same rhythmic pattern in the coming days and weeks.

The Lancet (2020-03-28). [Editorial] Learning the lessons of Chernobyl: time is running out. thelancet.com Unit number 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded on April 26, 1986, causing radiation injuries to hundreds of people within a couple of weeks. High levels of radiation affected clean-up workers (liquidators) involved in the emergency response, more than 500‚Äà000 liquidators involved in later decontamination and containment, and the general population in the surrounding Soviet states. 116‚Äà000 people were evacuated, 220‚Äà000 were permanently relocated, and a 30 km exclusion zone still exists around the plant.

Staff (2020-03-19). Joseph Stiglitz: Trump's "Trickle-Down" Economic Plans Are Not Enough to Meet Coronavirus Challenge. democracynow.org The coronavirus relief package signed by President Trump Wednesday provides unemployment benefits and free coronavirus testing to millions of Americans suddenly out of a job, but guarantees paid sick leave to less than 20% of American workers. Earlier this month, Trump signed into law an $8 billion coronavirus response package and has laid out the first details of a third, $1 trillion economic package and invoked the Korean War-era Defense Production Act to allow the government to direct industrial production. For more on those bailouts and who benefits, we speak with Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economis…

Evgenia Ostroumova, Joachim Schàºz, Ausrele Kesminiene (2020-03-18). [Correspondence] Future of Chernobyl research: the urgency for consolidated action. thelancet.com The Chernobyl nuclear disaster on April 26, 1986, continues to create fears and myths about its health consequences, as shown by the large response to a top-rated HBO miniseries devoted to the tragic event. Risk assessments range from recognising an increase in thyroid cancer incidence in exposed children and adolescents (becoming one of the single most established long-term health effects of the Chernobyl disaster on the general population), to claims of hundreds of thousands of deaths due to the accident.