U.N. Security Council condemns North Korean rocket launch

皆さん、お元気ですか?旭川時事英語研究会の宮口です。
今日は北朝鮮のミサイル発射の問題を取り上げました・・・さて世界はどう動くのでしょうか?

By Ralph Ellis, K.J. Kwon, Tiffany Ap and Tim Hume, CNN

Updated 2215 GMT (0615 HKT) February 7, 2016 | Video Source: CNN

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Seoul, South Korea (CNN)North Korea launched a satellite into space Sunday, its state media reported, triggering a wave of international condemnation and prompting strong reaction from an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

Though North Korea said the launch was for scientific and “peaceful purposes,” it is being widely viewed by other nations as a front to test a ballistic missile, especially coming on the heels of North Korea’s purported hydrogen bomb test last month.

Pyongyang carried out both acts in defiance of international sanctions.

At an emergency meeting Sunday, members of the U.N. Security Council “strongly condemned” the launch and reaffirmed that “a clear threat to international peace and security continues to exist, especially in the context of the nuclear test.”

Security Council members have previously threatened “further significant measures” if there was another North Korean launch and now will “adopt expeditiously a new Security Council resolution with such measures in response to these dangerous and serious violations,” according to a statement read by Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations after the meeting.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the launch is “deeply deplorable” and in violation of Security Council resolutions “despite the united plea of the international community against such an act.

Warning shots fired

South Korean President Park Geun-hye called the launch a “challenge to world peace,” while her government announced it would begin talks with the U.S. to deploy a defense system called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, which can intercept missiles in flight.

It also planned to reduce the personnel at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a joint economic development zone between the two Koreas, from 650 to 500 “in consideration of safety of our people,” the South Korea Unification Ministry said.

With tensions high, South Korea fired warning shots Monday morning after a North Korean patrol boat crossed the maritime border between North and South Korea, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said.

The North Korean boat withdrew about 20 minutes later, the ministry said.

Such incidents are not uncommon, CNN’s Paula Hancocks reports. But the timing of this one — so soon after North Korea’s rocket launch — will likely bring additional scrutiny to the incident, she said.

Satellite in orbit

The Kwangmyongsong carrier rocket blasted off from the Sohae launch facility at 9 a.m Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday), entering orbit nine minutes and 46 seconds after liftoff, North Korea’s state news agency KCNA reported.

A state TV newsreader said that the launch had been personally ordered and directed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who was pictured smiling in official photographs as he oversaw the launch, and that more satellite launches were planned.

 

Hung jury for cop charged in Freddie Gray’s death: What’s next?

皆さん、お元気ですか?旭川時事英語研究会の宮口です。
今年一年、本当にお世話になりました。いよいよ今年最後の勉強会になりました。来年も全員元気でお会い出来ることを楽しみにしています。

By Aaron Cooper, Greg Botelho and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
Updated 1941 GMT (0341 HKT) December 17, 2015 | Video Source: CNN

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Baltimore (CNN)-What happens next is anyone’s guess, now that a mistrial has been declared in the case against a Baltimore police officer in the death of Freddie Gray.

William Porter was one of six officers charged in connection with the death, which occurred a week after Gray, 25, suffered a spinal injury while in police custody on April 12.

Gray’s death ignited protests as debate surged nationwide over whether police use excessive force, particularly against African-Americans. Riots broke out in Baltimore as officials struggled to balance allowing free speech and keeping order.

Like Gray, Porter is black, as are two of the other Baltimore officers charged. The other three officers are white. All six maintain their innocence in connection with Gray’s death.

Porter was the first to stand trial — putting his fate in the hands of a jury made up of three black men, four black women, three white women and two white men.

Talking to CNN on Wednesday after news of the hung jury, he said simply, “I’m doing well,” but declined to comment further.

Will Porter stand trial again?

Legal analysts described the mistrial as a major setback for the prosecution that could affect its efforts to convict the other five officers set to stand trial. The analysts said Porter — who prosecutors said failed Gray, including by not making sure he wore a seat belt and not calling a medic sooner — could have testified in those other cases or his statements in his own trial could have been used against the other officers.

Now, though, everything is up in the air.

One main order of business is determining when, or if, Porter will stand trial again. A new trial date could be determined at one or more scheduling conferences Judge Barry Williams may hold with the prosecution and defense in his chambers, the court’s communications office said.

Lawyers from the defense and prosecution were in court Thursday morning, but they appeared to finish their business within about half an hour, while Judge Williams moved on to preside over an unrelated trial.

No new court date for Porter had been set of midday Thursday, according to court spokeswoman Terri Charles. She said additional conferences may be held in the coming days.

Next steps

A defense attorney wouldn’t comment about the mistrial, saying he was subject to a court gag order. Prosecutors have not talked to reporters either since leaving court.

In a brief conversation Wednesday evening with The Baltimore Sun, Porter alluded to why: “It’s not over yet.”

Bill Murphy, an attorney for Gray’s family, gave a similar assessment to reporters.

“This hung jury does not mean it’s the end of Officer Porter’s case,” he said.

Reading from a statement, Richard Shipley, Gray’s stepfather, thanked “this hard-working jury” and said, “We are not at all upset with them, neither should the public be upset. They did the best they could.”

Shipley told CNN he is hopeful Porter will be retried “as soon as possible and that his next jury will reach a verdict.” In the the meantime, he urged the public to be “calm and patient.”

“We are confident there will be another trial with a different jury,” he said. “We are calm; you should be calm, too.”

The police union said Porter and his attorneys will continue to press for his acquittal.

“Seven months later, Officer Porter is no closer to a resolution than he was at that time,” Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3
President Gene Ryan said.

“Our legal system, however, allows for outcomes of this nature, and we must respect the decision of the jury, despite the fact that it is obviously frustrating to everyone involved.”

‘A game changer’

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby was in court when the mistrial was declared and looked visibly upset. Prosecutors, who had planned to use testimony from Porter in their cases against the other officers, appeared exasperated.

Prosecutors now have major strategic decisions to make. One is whether to put Porter on trial again, which prosecutors sometimes are reluctant to do because the defense has had access to the whole case, CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin said.

Another question is whether Porter is offered immunity to testify in the trials of the five other officers. The prosecution could ask to put Porter back on the stand anyway as a witness, even if his own legal case is in limbo — though Hostin noted “they can’t force him to testify against these other officers.”

“All of these issues will have to be debated,” said CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who characterized the hung jury as “a defeat for the prosecution.”

“The prosecution here is in serious trouble,” Toobin said.

‘A bump on the road to justice’

Porter was picked to be the first to stand trial at least in part because prosecutors wanted to use him as a witness in other cases, Baltimore defense attorney and former prosecutor Andrew Alperstein said.

Had he been convicted, the state could have tried to “flip” him to testify against the other officers, according to Alperstein. Had he been acquitted, he could have been “forced to testify” as what’s called “a compellable witness.”

“This hung jury is … a major setback for the state because they have neither option available,” Alperstein said.

Yet Murphy, the Gray family’s attorney, stressed that the hung jury doesn’t mean Porter’s own case is closed.

“I don’t buy the nonsense that this is somehow a victory for either side. It’s not,” he told reporters. “It’s just a bump on the road to justice, and you know, the road to justice has lot of bumps.”

City heeds calls for calm

As they did in the immediate aftermath of Gray’s death, protesters marched in several parts of Baltimore on Wednesday night.

One group repeated the “Serenity Prayer” as demonstrators moved through the streets. Another group called police officers racist, chanting, “No justice, no peace” and, “All night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray.”

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued a statement calling for calm after the mistrial.

“We will not — and cannot — be defined by the unrest of last spring,” she told reporters Wednesday. “As a community, as a city, we are stronger, and we are united to be better than what some displayed to the world last spring.”

Involuntary manslaughter among charges officer faces

Gray’s injury happened as he was being transported following his arrest.Prosecutors said Porter was summoned by the police van’s driver to check on Gray during stops on the way to a police station.

Prosecutors said he should have called a medic for Gray sooner than one was eventually called and also should have ensured that Gray was wearing a seat belt.

Porter was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Jurors said Wednesday that they couldn’t reach a unanimous decision on any of the charges against Porter.

For convictions on some or all of the first three charges, he would face no more than 10 years in prison combined. There is no statutory maximum sentence for the fourth charge, misconduct.

All six officers have been suspended. Porter remains suspended without pay, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Wednesday.

Asked for his response to a mistrial being declared, Davis said it was “part of the process.”

“The process is ongoing,” he said. “It’s not the last time we’ll talk about it. And I think we just have to be consistent, measured and thoughtful as we go forward.”

CNN’s Aaron Cooper and Carolyn Sung reported from Baltimore; CNN’s Greg Botelho, Ed Payne and Catherine E. Shoichet wrote in Atlanta. CNN’s Miguel Marquez, Jason Hanna, Dana Ford and Keith Allen contributed to this report.

French jets bomb Syria in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa

皆さん、お元気ですか?旭川時事英語研究会の宮口です。
フランスにおけるISISによる無差別同時多発テロの犠牲者に哀悼の意を捧げます。

By Tim Lister, Nick Paton Walsh and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
Updated 0449 GMT (1249 HKT) November 16, 2015 | Video Source: CNN

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(CNN)French fighter jets bombed a series of ISIS sites in Raqqa, Syria, on Sunday in what officials described as a major bombardment.

The airstrikes came two days after a series of terrorist attacks in Paris. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which France’s President described as “an act of war.”

ISIS claims Raqqa as the capital of its so-called caliphate. The targets in Sunday’s airstrikes included a command center, a recruitment center, an ammunition storage base and a training camp for the terror group, said Mickael Soria, press adviser for France’s defense minister.

Paris attacks: Authorities hunt for a French national

Twelve aircraft, including 10 fighter jets, were involved in the airstrikes, Soria said. Twenty bombs were dropped, he said, and all of the targets were destroyed.

An ISIS media wing claimed the sites had been abandoned before they were hit and said there were no casualties.

Military analyst: Strikes are ‘symbolic’

 France has been conducting airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria since September as part of a U.S.-led coalition.

But the timing of Sunday’s airstrikes likely was no coincidence, analysts said.

“Clearly, it’s a military activity, but it really sends a very strong political message, and it’s all for internal consumption within France,” said retired Maj. Gen. James “Spider” Marks, a CNN military analyst. “This is very visceral. The types of targets they strike right now really are symbolic. From the French perspective, something has to be done.”

Terror in Paris: What we know so far

But it’s difficult to know what’s going on inside the ISIS stronghold, said Janine di Giovanni, Newsweek’s Middle East editor. And it’s also hard, she said, to gauge the best strategy for fighting back.

“I think that it’s very complicated, launching airstrikes like this as a retribution, but also as a way of wiping out ISIS,” she said. “Because, the other thing is, that you can’t wipe out an ideology. You might be able to suppress them militarily, or you might be able to cut off some of their lines, but you can’t suppress the key message they’re spreading.”

ISIS moving into the realm of international terrorism?

What impact did airstrikes have?

 The planes involved in the French airstrikes took off from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan in a mission carried out in coordination with U.S. forces, the French defense ministry said in a statement late Sunday.

The sites targeted inside Raqqa were identified in previous French reconnaissance missions, the statement said.

But what impact did the airstrikes have?

It’s hard to know what’s happening on the ground inside Raqqa. Since ISIS took over, the city has become increasingly isolated — with an activist group known as Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently providing outsiders with a harrowing glimpse of the city’s transformation.

On Sunday, the activist collective said that the city appeared to be bracing for an attack even before the French airstrikes began.

ISIS fighters in Raqqa had expected retaliatory airstrikes and evacuated key facilities, including their headquarters, operation and security buildings, a member of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently said.

Streets were empty, the activists said, markets were less crowded than usual and sheikhs in mosques said they expected the city to be struck.

The airstrikes hit several key ISIS facilities, including the city’s stadium, activists said, used by ISIS as both its headquarters and a jail. It was not immediately clear what the damage was. So far, according to Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, there have been no reports of civilian casualties.

The ISIS media wing Amaaq also said the sites hit by airstrikes had been abandoned and that no one had been killed in the airstrikes. CNN has not independently confirmed the groups’ reports.

ISIS in Raqqa was previously the target of retaliatory airstrikes in February. Two days after news emerged that the group had burned a captive Jordanian pilot to death, the Middle Eastern nation hit back. At the time, ISIS posted photos of the destruction from the Jordanian airstrikes and the activist Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 10 militants were killed.

Inside Syrian town living under reign of fear

CNN’s Sandrine Amiel, Raja Razek, Pierre Meilhan, Mohammed Tawfeeq and journalist Mohammad Eyad Kourdi contributed to this report.