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North Korea tests another nuclear-capable underwater attack drone

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North Korea has conducted another test of a nuclear-capable underwater attack drone, according to state media.

The country tested the so-called Haeil-2 more than a week after it disclosed a new underwater drone system dubbed Haeil-1, which translates to “tsunami” in Korean, and is designed to undertake sneak attacks in enemy waters.

Analysts are sceptical about whether the underwater vehicle is ready for deployment but say North Korea is eager to display its diverse weaponry against the United States and South Korea, which have been conducting large-scale military exercises in recent weeks.

The latest test took place from April 4 to April 7, state media KCNA reported on Saturday.

“The underwater nuclear attack drone Haeil-2 … cruised 1,000km [621 miles] of simulated underwater distance,” the agency said, adding that the test warhead was also detonated. 

“The test perfectly proved the reliability of the underwater strategic weapon system and its fatal attack ability,” the report said.

North Korea carried out a record number of weapons tests in 2022 and has maintained its military momentum this year, claiming it needs to bolster its defences because the US-South Korean drills, which this week included at least one US nuclear-capable B-52 strategic bomber, are rehearsals for invasion.

On March 23, North Korea claimed it tested an underwater nuclear attack drone able to unleash a “radioactive tsunami“. On that occasion, state media said the drone cruised underwater for 59 hours and 12 minutes before detonation.

Satellite imagery has also indicated a high level of activity at North Korea’s main nuclear complex after leader Kim Jong Un ordered the production of weapons-grade nuclear material be ramped up.

Last year, North Korea declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power, while Kim has told the North Korean military to intensify drills in preparation for a “real war“.

Denuclearisation talks have been stalled since the second high-profile summit between Kim and then-US President Donald Trump collapsed in 2019.

Pyongyang is banned from testing ballistic missiles under United Nations resolutions and is also subject to international sanctions over its weapons programmes.

(Al Jazeera)

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Brawl in Italian Parliament ahead of G7 Summit 

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Lawmakers at the Italian Parliament clashed over a bill on Wednesday (12 June), as Italy began to host world leaders for the annual Group of Seven (G7) Summit in Puglia.

A video of the clash was widely shared on the internet. 

The row began when Five Star Movement (MS5) MP Leonardo Dono tried to tie an Italian flag around the neck of Regional Affairs Minister Roberto Calderoli of the pro-autonomy Northern League. 

MPs from Calderoli’s League party cornered Dono in response, turning the debate into a free-for-all fight involving about 20 men. Donno, injured in the clashes, had to be evacuated in a wheelchair and taken to hospital.

Media reports state the bill sought to grant certain regions further autonomy. Opponents of the bill state it would further deepen the north-south divide in the country and bring more hardship to the impoverished south. 

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Kuwait residential building fire kills 50

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At least 40 Indians are among 50 people killed in a fire at a residential building in the Kuwaiti city of Mangaf.

A fire broke out on Wednesday (12 June) in a building where many foreign workers resided.

Most of the casualties are from the southern Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Around 50 Indians have also been injured.

Three Filipinos have also been killed, media reports quoted Philippines officials as saying. Filipino and Nepali workers are also among the injured.

Local media reports said the building housed 196 workers and there are suggestions that it may have been overcrowded.

Two-thirds of the Kuwaiti population is made up of foreign workers, especially in the construction and domestic sectors, and the country is highly dependent on migrant labour.

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The G7 Summit begins today

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Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries are meeting for a three-day summit, starting today (13 June) to discuss global affairs in the southern region of Puglia (Apulia), Italy.  

Heads of state of the seven members – the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and the United Kingdom – as well as the chiefs of the European Council and the European Commission will be present at the event.

Italy, the host of this year’s event, has extended an invitation to more than 10 other countries for sideline discussions. These include UAE’s Mohamed bin Zayed, Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Notable absentees are Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who it  is reported, had been invited.

Support for Ukraine is top of the agenda. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to arrive on the summit’s first day for two sessions dedicated to the war-torn country. The G7’s most anticipated outcome is an agreement over a $50bn loan for Ukraine backed by profits accrued on Russian assets frozen in the West. 

The war on Gaza is also expected to dominate talks. 

Pope Francis will also be among the guests – the first time a pontiff has been invited to the summit – for a session dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI). Other specific sessions will be on migration, financial issues and the situation in the Asia Pacific. 

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