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You’ll pay the most horrible price in history, N’Korea warns US, S’Korea, after firing missiles into Ulleungdo



North Korea fired more than 10 missiles Wednesday, including one that landed close to South Korea’s waters in what President Yoon Suk-yeol said was “effectively a territorial invasion”.

It also fired an artillery barrage into a maritime “buffer zone”, in what experts said was part of an “aggressive and threatening” response by Pyongyang to the large-scale joint air drills the United States and South Korea are currently conducting.

One short-range ballistic missile crossed the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border between the two countries, prompting a rare warning for residents on the island of Ulleungdo to seek shelter in bunkers.

The military said it was the “first time since the peninsula was divided” at the end of Korean War hostilities in 1953 that a North Korean missile had landed so close to the South’s territorial waters.

“President Yoon pointed out today that North Korea’s provocation is an effective territorial invasion by a missile that crossed the Northern Limit Line for the first time since the division,” his office said in a statement.

The missile closest to South Korea landed in waters just 57 kilometres (35 miles) east of the mainland, the military said, adding it was a “very rare and intolerable” incident.

Soon after, the South Korean military said it had fired three air-to-ground missiles into the sea towards the north of the two countries’ maritime boundary.

An air raid warning was issued for Ulleungdo after the North Korean missile launch. The alert was flashed on national television and told residents to “evacuate to the nearest underground shelter”.

The South Korean military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff initially said it detected the launch of three short-range ballistic missiles.

But it later announced North Korea had fired more than 10 missiles “of various types today towards the east and west”.

President Yoon called a meeting of the National Security Council, ordering “swift and stern measures so that North Korea’s provocations pay a clear price”.

South Korea closed some air routes over the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, advising local airlines to detour to “ensure passenger safety in the routes to the United States and Japan”.

– Vigilant Storm –

Pyongyang’s latest test-firing came as Seoul and Washington staged their largest-ever joint air drills, dubbed “Vigilant Storm”, which involve hundreds of warplanes from both sides.

Pak Jong Chon, a high-ranking North Korean official, said the drills were aggressive and provocative, according to a report in state media Wednesday.

Pak said the name of the exercises harked back to Operation Desert Storm, the US-led military assault on Iraq in 1990-1991 after it invaded Kuwait.

“If the US and South Korea attempt to use armed forces against the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) without any fear, the special means of the DPRK’s armed forces will carry out their strategic mission without delay,” he said.

“The US and South Korea will have to … pay the most horrible price in history.”

North Korea’s missile launches on Wednesday appeared to be “the most aggressive and threatening armed demonstration against the South since 2010,” Cheong Seong-chang, a researcher at the Sejong Institute, told AFP.

“It is now a dangerous and unstable situation that could lead to armed conflict,” he added.

In March 2010, a North Korean submarine torpedoed the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan, killing 46 sailors, including 16 who were on their mandatory military service.

In November of the same year, the North shelled a South Korean border island, killing two marines — both of them young conscripts.

Wednesday’s missile tests follow a recent blitz of launches, including what the North said were tactical nuclear drills.

Washington and Seoul have repeatedly warned the launches could culminate in another nuclear test — which would be Pyongyang’s seventh.

“Pyongyang seems to have completed its most powerful deterrent. This is a serious threat,” Park Won-gon, a professor at Ewha University, told AFP.

“The North also seems confident in their nuclear capabilities,” Park added.

The North’s latest launches came with South Korea in a period of national mourning after more than 150 people — mostly young women in their 20s — were killed in a crowd crush in Seoul on Saturday.

It shows “North Korea’s clear priorities,” Yang Moo-jin, professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, told AFP.

“Pyongyang probably thinks it has no reason to take the Itaewon tragedy into its consideration, as Seoul and Washington’s largest-ever joint air drills are also happening anyway,” he added.








Government declares three days of mourning after Islamic militants wipe out 49 civilians



At least 49 civilians have been reported killed by Islamist militants, after an attack on a river boat in north-eastern Mali, the interim government says, after another attack on an army camp, where 15 soldiers, were also killed in an exchange that also saw to the death of more than 50 of the militants.

The military government in the country, who declared three days of national mourning, said on social media that the boat had been attacked around 1100 GMT by “armed terrorist groups,” while the boat operator, Comanav, was quoted as saying that the vessel had been targeted by at least three rockets aimed at its engines, while an official reportedly said that the vessel was immobilised on the river and the army went in to evacuate passengers.

Despite the huge popular support for the junta when it seized power after mass protests against then-President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, following the buildup of palpable anger over economic uncertainty, a disputed election and chronic insecurity, the new military government had made little progress in its fightback against Islamists who control parts of the country.

The insurgency groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP), which has been on campaign in West African country, have since spread its operations from the North, where they initially camped in 2012 to other locations in the country and the entire Sahel region to coastal West African nations.

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Humanity in danger, Hinton, AI ‘godfather’ warns *Resigns from Google



To underscore the danger humanity faces in future, Geoffrey Hinton, regarded as the godfather of Artificial Intelligence (AI), has resigned his position with Google, citing fears that further work into the new trend in technological development, could get out of hand and lead to calamity.

Hinton, who reportedly handed over his resignation to the global hi-tech organisation, was quoted by The New York Times Monday, to have said in a statement that he now regretted his work after 11 years of huge inroads since donning his research suits alongside two of his graduate students at the University of Toronto in 2012 to create the technology that became the intellectual foundation for AI systems.

Hinton, who in recent comments on the advancements in the field, informed of how tech companies were racing toward danger with their aggressive campaign to create products based on generative AI, the technology that powers popular chatbots like ChatGPT.

“I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have. It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things,” the Times quoted him as saying.

Elaborating on his latest position, he told the BBC in a a separate interview on Tuesday, that the situation was a nightmare, adding: “This is just a kind of worst-case scenario, kind of a nightmare scenario. You can imagine, for example, some bad actor like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin decided to give robots the ability to create their own sub-goals.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that the kind of intelligence we’re developing is very different from the intelligence we have. We’re biological systems and these are digital systems. And the big difference is that with digital systems, you have many copies of the same set of weights, the same model of the world.

“And all these copies can learn separately but share their knowledge instantly. So it’s as if you had 10,000 people and whenever one person learnt something, everybody automatically knew it. And that’s how these chatbots can know so much more than any one person.”

Expressing fears that AI systems could soon become more intelligent than humans and warned that there was a need to worry, he was quoted as saying: “Right now, they’re not more intelligent than us, as far as I can tell. But I think they soon may be. Right now, what we’re seeing is things like GPT-4 eclipses a person in the amount of general knowledge it has and it eclipses them by a long way. In terms of reasoning, it’s not as good, but it does already do simple reasoning.

“And given the rate of progress, we expect things to get better quite fast. So we need to worry about that.”

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World News

The world must do everything to avoid another cold war – IMF boss



The twin issues of growing global trade fragmentation, evolving second Cold War, have become a source of worry to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF).

Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director said Thursday, urged that the two phenomenon must be checked on time so that the world would not have to grapple with their consequences in the coming year.

She told reporters during a press conference at the official start of the World Bank and IMF’s spring meetings: “I am among those who know what are the consequences of a Cold War: it is loss of talent and contribution to the world. I don’t want to see that repeating.”

“The world should rationally accept there will be some cost, there will be some fragmentation, but keep these costs low,” Georgieva was born and raised in Bulgaria, a former Soviet satellite state, added, stressing that multilateral institutions like the World Bank and IMF had an important role to play in preventing the world from splintering into different blocs with severe economic consequences.

“If we fail to be more rational, then people everywhere will be worse off,” she said against the backdrop of an IMF report earlier this week, which predicted that growing trade fragmentation resulting from events like Brexit, the US-China trade war and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, could make the global economy as much as seven percent smaller than it otherwise would have been.

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