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Kim Jong Un has overseen the test-firing of what North Korea has called a “newly developed super-large multiple rocket launcher”.

The weapons test was successful and the leader said the launcher was “indeed a great weapon”, according to the country’s Central News Agency.

Photos released by state media showed rockets launching from large tubes mounted on the back of an eight-wheel vehicle.

Rocket launcher test
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South Korea’s military said the North fired two suspected short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast
Rocket launcher test

South Korea’s military said the North fired two suspected short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast and they flew for 236 miles (380km) at a maximum height of 60 miles (97km).

It was the seventh known weapons test in about a month.

And analysts said it appeared to be at least the fourth new missile system unveiled by Pyongyang since denuclearisation talks stalled at a February summit in Vietnam between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump.

The head of the secretive state said on Saturday his country must step up the development of new strategic and tactical weapons to combat “ever-mounting military threats and pressure offensive of the hostile forces”.

The “hostile forces” are thought to refer to the US and South Korea – two countries which recently carried out annual military drills that infuriated Pyongyang.

The North has called the drills a rehearsal for an invasion and has hit back by conducting a number of missile and rocket tests.

Mr Kim also claimed the country’s young defence scientists who developed the missiles are a “precious treasure and wealth of the country which cannot be bartered for anything”.

Kim Jong Un
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Kim Jong Un oversaw the military test
Kim Jong Un
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The leader said the launcher was “a great weapon”

Experts have said North Korea is showing off its weapons to try to get an upper hand before a possible restart of negotiations with the US over Pyongyang’s controversial nuclear weapons programme.

Mr Kim and Mr Trump met at the Korean border in late June and agreed to resume talks.

The president played down the latest launch, saying: “Kim Jong Un has been, you know, pretty straight with me… He likes testing missiles but we never restricted short-range missiles. We’ll see what happens.”









June 2019: Trump and Kim meet at Korean border

Meanwhile, South Korea’s military has begun two days of drills around a group of islets that are also claimed by Japan.

The action sparked a protest from Tokyo just days after Seoul scrapped an intelligence-sharing pact with its neighbour amid worsening relations.

The two countries have long argued over the sovereignty of the islets, called Takeshima in Japanese and Dokdo in Korean, which are located halfway between the countries in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.

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New York: Mum whose baby was ripped from her arms by police wins $625k settlement | US News

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A woman whose one-year-old child was wrenched from her arms by officers in New York City is to receive a cash settlement from the city.

A video showing Ms Headley lying on the floor as officers attempt to wrestle the child from her arms went viral in December 2018, prompting a police investigation.

Jazmine Headley is set to receive £470,000 ($625,000) after filing a lawsuit in federal court in August over the incident last year, according to TV station WNBC.

New York officers yank child from mother's arms in shocking video. Credit: Nyashia Ferguson
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Authorities admit Ms Headley wasn’t treated with dignity and respect. Credit: Nyashia Ferguson

Ms Headley was holding her child while at a social services office in Brooklyn on 7 December last year, while inquiring about her child care benefits, her lawsuit says.

She was sitting on the floor in a crowded waiting room, the suit says, when officers at the agency demanded she leave. She responded that she wanted to see a supervisor.

Video of the incident taken by a bystander and posted on social media shows Ms Headley on the floor on her back with several officers surrounding her as one tried to rip her child from her arms.

She can be heard saying: “They’re hurting my son! They’re hurting my son.”

The scene quickly escalated as bystanders surrounded the chaos and shouted over each other. One person is heard saying, “Oh my God! Look what they’re doing to her.”

At one point, an officer pulls out a yellow stun gun and points it at people in the angry crowd.

Officers for the city’s social services agency were the first to respond to Ms Headley, the New York Police Department said shortly after the incident. NYPD officers acted in support.

New York officers yank child from mother's arms in shocking video. Credit: Nyashia Ferguson
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Authorities admit Ms Headley wasn’t treated with dignity and respect. Credit: Nyashia Ferguson

Immediately after the altercation, Ms Headley faced possible charges for resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, obstructing governmental administration and criminal trespass – but all charges were eventually dropped.

“Headley had been humiliated, assaulted, physically injured, threatened with a Taser, brutally separated from her son, handcuffed, arrested, and jailed-all by employees of the City of New York,” her lawsuit claims.

Her son, who was still breastfeeding at the time, “had been brutally wrenched from his mother’s arms, taken by strangers to a police precinct, and released to spend the night without his mother for the first time in his life”, according to the lawsuit.

Days after the incident, Mayor Bill de Blasio apologised to her publicly.

De Blasio’s spokeswoman, Olivia Lapeyrolerie, said in a statement on Friday that the city failed to treat Ms Headley with dignity and respect, WNBC reported.

“While this injustice should have never happened, it forced a reckoning with how we treat our most vulnerable,” Lapeyrolerie said.

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Lesbian kiss row: Wedding-planning site hits out at Hallmark for pulling adverts | Ents & Arts News

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A wedding planning website has refused to advertise on the Hallmark Channel again after it scrapped commercials featuring two brides kissing at the altar.

The network removed the adverts following a complaint by One Million Moms – a conservative group linked with the American Family Association.

Zola had submitted six adverts, four of which featured a lesbian couple.

After Hallmark axed those, but not the two featuring only opposite-sex couples, Zola pulled its remaining adverts.

“The only difference between the commercials that were flagged and the ones that were approved was that the commercials that did not meet Hallmark’s standards included a lesbian couple kissing,” said Mike Chi, Zola’s chief marketing officer.

“All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark,” he said.

The decision was also met with anger by a number of US celebrities.

Ellen DeGeneres asked Hallmark: “Isn’t it almost 2020? What are you thinking? Please explain. We’re all ears.”

Ellen DeGeneres also defended the royal couple
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Ellen DeGeneres questioned the decision

Actress Sandra Bernhard, who played one of the first openly bisexual characters on network TV in Roseanne also criticised Hallmark’s decision.

“All the groovy gay ladies i know won’t be watching your Christmas schlock,” she wrote on Twitter, addressing Hallmark.

“They’ll be out celebrating with their “families”, wives, children, friends on & on & getting married in chic ensembles. Didn’t you all get the memo? Family is all inclusive.”

In one of the adverts for Zola, two brides stand at the altar and discuss whether their wedding would go more smoothly if they had used a planning site before sharing a kiss.

Molly Biwer, senior vice president for public affairs and communications at Hallmark, said: “The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value.

“The Hallmark brand is never going to be divisive. We don’t want to generate controversy, we’ve tried very hard to stay out of it… we just felt it was in the best interest of the brand to pull them and not continue to generate controversy.”

Ms Biwer said One Million Moms had complained about the adverts to Bill Abbott, CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, Hallmark’s parent company.

A post on the group’s website said that Mr Abbott “reported the advertisement aired in error”.

The group also wrote: “The call to our office gave us the opportunity to confirm the Hallmark Channel will continue to be a safe and family-friendly network.”

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White Island volcano death toll rises to 16 as victim dies in Australia hospital | World News

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The death toll from the volcanic eruption on White Island has reached 16 after another victim died in hospital in Australia.

At least 19 other people remain in hospital following Monday’s eruption on the New Zealand island, also known as Whakaari.

It comes as recovery teams failed in their latest efforts to locate two remaining bodies.

The divers were unable to locate the two missing bodies and returned to the mainland where they underwent decontamination
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They returned to the mainland where they underwent decontamination

Authorities said eight police search and rescue staff were deployed for 75 minutes to an area where reports suggested one body could be.

“I can say we have found no further bodies in that area,” Deputy Police Commissioner Mike Clement told reporters.

On Friday, six bodies were successfully retrieved from the island by a New Zealand military team and taken to the mainland for disaster victim identification.

Aerial view of the White Island volcano erupting, in New Zealand. Pic: Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust
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Aerial view of the White Island volcano erupting, in New Zealand. Pic: Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust

Police have said they remained committed to recovering the two bodies and that police and military divers were continuing to scour the waters around the island.

“Everyone went out there absolutely desperate to find bodies and return them to loved ones,” Mr Clement said.

The volcano, a popular destination for day-trippers, erupted on Monday, spewing ash, steam and gases over the island.

Among the 47 people on the island at the time were Australian, US, German, Chinese, British and Malaysian tourists.

Police have begun formally releasing the names and nationalities of those killed, with 21-year-old Australian Krystal Browitt the first person identified.

On Sunday, police also released the names of New Zealander Tipene Maangi and Australians Zoe Hosking, Gavin Dallow and Anthony Langford.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called on New Zealanders to observe a minute’s silence in memory of victims of the disaster at 2.11pm on Monday – exactly one week on from the eruption.

Ms Ardern and her cabinet will pause in silence during their regular meeting at parliament in Wellington.

Krystal Eve Browitt was a 21-year-old veterinary nurse from Melbourne. Pic: Facebook/Krystal Eve Browitt
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Krystal Eve Browitt was a 21-year-old veterinary nurse from Melbourne. Pic: Facebook/Krystal Eve Browitt

“Wherever you are in New Zealand or around the world, this is a moment we can stand alongside those who have lost loved ones in this extraordinary tragedy,” she said.

“Together we can express our sorrow for those who have died and been hurt and our support for their grieving families and friends.”

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