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North Korea fires ballistic missiles after protesting US exercises


North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast after protesting joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea, according to the South Korean military.

South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said Monday that the missiles were fired from North Korea’s Hwanghae province shortly before 8 a.m. local time (11:00 GMT Sunday).

Japan’s defense ministry said the projectiles are believed to have fallen outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

The launches are the latest weapons tests conducted by North Korea in apparent response to ongoing joint military exercises between Washington and Seoul, which Pyongyang says are rehearsals for invasion and occupation.

Pyongyang said Friday it has tested a new nuclear-capable underwater attack drone capable of unleashing a “radioactive tsunami” that would destroy enemy naval ships and ports.

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Japan wants 85% of male employees to take paternity leave. But Dads Are Too Afraid To Take It | CNN


A child sitting on his father’s shoulders smiles as they walk through a park lined with yellow autumn leaves – that’s the typical image of a Japanese “ikumen”.

The term connects the Japanese words ikuji, meaning caring for children, and ikemen, referring to cool-looking men.

The term has been widely promoted by Japanese authorities over the past decade to combat the country’s notoriously long working hours, which have not only robbed workaholic fathers of family time and stay-at-home mothers of their careers, but have contributed to the birth rate has risen to one of the lowest in the world. the world.

To seize the “last chance to turn the situation around,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida unveiled a series of policies last week, including child benefit increases and a pledge to increase the number of male workers taking paternity leave from the current 14% to 50 % by 2025 and 85% by 2030.

But some in the world’s third-largest economy — which has long struggled with a falling fertility rate and an aging population — are skeptical that the plan can really move the needle.

Makoto Iwahashi, a member of POSSE, a labor union that advocates for younger workers, said that while the government’s plan was well-intentioned, many Japanese men were simply too afraid to take paternity leave because of possible repercussions from their employers.

Japanese men are entitled to four weeks of flexible paternity leave, up to 80% of their salary, under a bill passed by Japan’s parliament in 2021.

Japanese rural communities are dying out. The problem is, like the cities

But despite the law, men remained “afraid” that taking leave could negatively affect their chances of promotion or be transferred to another position with fewer responsibilities, Iwahashi said.

While it is illegal to discriminate against workers taking maternity and paternity leave in Japan, Iwahashi said workers on temporary contracts were particularly vulnerable.

In any case, “A small adjustment to paternity leave will not materially change a declining birth rate,” he added.

Hisakazu Kato, an economics professor at Tokyo’s Meiji University, said while large companies have become more accepting of parental leave over the years, smaller companies still had reservations.

“Small businesses are concerned that they will face (labor shortages) as a result of parental leave, and this puts pressure on young fathers who want to take parental leave in the future,” he said.

At a press conference last week, the prime minister acknowledged the concerns and pledged to consider providing allowances to small and medium-sized enterprises, with details set to be announced in June in his annual policy blueprint.

He also unveiled a plan to boost paternity leave take-up by encouraging companies to disclose their achievements.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

In 2022, new births in Japan fell below 800,000 for the first time since records began in 1899, the latest milestone in a trend the government sees as increasingly alarming.

Last week, Kishida went so far as to warn that “the next six to seven years will be the last chance to reverse the declining birth rate trend.”

But Stuart Gietel-Basten, a professor of public policy and social sciences at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, warned that a low birth rate was often a sign of entrenched cultural factors likely to resist policy changes. Such factors can range from work culture to gender attitudes, he added.

“Increasing paternity leave is undoubtedly a good policy. It will certainly bring a positive result to many men (and women). But unless prevailing cultural norms and attitudes change, the macro-level impact may be limited,” the scholar said.

Riki Khorana, 26, who plans to tie the knot with his girlfriend in June, said the high cost of living was one of his biggest concerns when starting a family.

He worked as an engineer at one of Japan’s largest conglomerates in the heart of Tokyo, the country’s capital, and identified himself as a relatively high earner, but said he currently lives with his parents in Yokohama, the second largest Japan’s largest city south of Tokyo.

After his marriage, he will move out of his parents’ house, but will still have to stay in Yokohama due to the high rents in Tokyo.

Tokyo ranks ninth most expensive cities for expatriates to live in, according to the Cost of Living Survey by US consultancy Mercer.

Khorana said he planned to have two children, but if there were more effective government policies, he would consider more.

“For me, I feel like I can’t afford more than two kids,” he said. “There are less financially secure people who think they can’t have more than one child.”

The country’s fertility rate — the average number of children born to women during their childbearing years — has fallen to 1.3, well below the 2.1 needed to maintain a stable population.

Over the years, experts have also pointed to a feeling of prevailing pessimism among young people who have little confidence in the future due to work pressure and economic stagnation.

Businessmen in front of a convenience store in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, on March 16, 2023.

Last week, the prime minister said he was planning market reforms that would boost wages and economic support for young workers. He also promised to introduce benefits that could support freelancers or the self-employed and talked about extra allowances for child support, education and housing.

The economics professor Kato believed that the new policies would probably not be enough to solve the country’s demographic problems.

But he saw a silver lining in encouraging paternity leave.

“I think this is a good proposal because it not only improves family policies, but also improves gender equality,” he said.

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Eurovision 2023: Mae Muller and other hopefuls kick off pre-parties across Europe

In addition to live performances, events were held in the Spanish city over three days, Eurovision seminars were held, a walking tour of the city was organized and, of course, fans could dance to music from Eurovision 67 in clubs until the early hours.

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Twitter’s source code has been leaked online, court documents show

Elon Musk Twitter account seen on mobile with Elon Musk in the background on the screen, seen in this photo illustration. On February 19, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium.

Jonathan Raa | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Pieces of the computer code used to run Twitter have been leaked online, according to court documents, marking the social media site’s latest hurdle since Elon Musk’s tumultuous $44 billion takeover of the company late last year.

Twitter issued a subpoena on March 24 to the software collaboration platform GitHub, where a user identified as “FreeSpeechEnthusiast” shared excerpts of Twitter’s source code without permission, according to the documents. The purpose of the subpoena is to identify the person responsible for sharing the code, Twitter’s attorney said in the documents.

The documents have been filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

GitHub complied with Twitter’s request and removed the code that same day, the company confirmed to CNBC. A spokesperson said the company publicly shares all DMCA takedowns, which occur when content is removed from a website at the request of a copyright holder, in the interest of transparency.

Twitter did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Musk has previously claimed that Twitter will open source the code used to recommend tweets on March 31. He said he expects people to find “silly” problems, and that providing code transparency will be “incredibly embarrassing” at first.

According to the DMCA request shared by GitHub, the company has removed “proprietary source code for the Twitter platform and internal tools.” It’s unclear if the source code used to recommend tweets is part of the leak.

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Eyes on abstinence as Cubans vote for National Assembly


HAVANA — Cubans voted in the National Assembly elections on Sunday, focusing on voter turnout amid a deep economic and migration crisis.

With 470 candidates running for the legislature’s 470 seats, and no opposition challengers, the outcome of the election is a foregone conclusion. Voters will essentially do no more than approve a list of candidates vetted by Communist Party officials, critics say.

What observers will be watching on Sunday is whether a trend of declining voter participation continues as Cuba’s government struggles to reverse deteriorating economic conditions.

Participation in elections in Cuba is high, but has been declining for a decade.

The National Electoral Commission said that in last November’s municipal elections, about 31% of eligible voters abstained. considered a national duty. The abstention rate for national elections was 14% in 2018 and only 6% in 2013.

Michael Shifter, a senior fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank, said the trend of not participating in Cuban elections reflected growing discontent over the deteriorating economy and migration crisis.

“There could be several reasons explaining the increase in abstentions, but one important factor is undoubtedly the growing distaste for the government’s poor performance,” he said.

Cuba’s government says the system is inclusive and builds unity while avoiding the divisions of partisan politics or the ill effects of big money donors.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel voted on Sunday in the province of Villa Clara where he was born. He acknowledged the economic difficulties, power cuts and fuel shortages during the election.

“Some may put the economic situation first, but most people know that we are working together despite the difficult economic situation,” he said. “If we were a colony of the United States again, the problems would only get worse.”

Julio Antonio Martínez Estrada, a lawyer, professor and fellow at Harvard University, said he believes participation will continue to decline, due in part to the economy.

“It’s a response to the political and socio-economic problems of recent years,” Estrada said.

The vote is taking place as hundreds of thousands of people migrate, including 300,000 to the United States alone in recent months. The migrants are still on electoral rolls but cannot vote because they are abroad.

National Assembly elections are held every five years and are technically nonpartisan. But they are under the indirect control of the ruling Communist Party.

Half of the 470 candidates come from municipal councils elected in local elections last November. The other half is nominated by groups representing broad segments of society, such as a women’s group and trade unions. All are vetted by election commissions linked to the party.

The National Assembly is nominally the country’s highest governmental branch. It passes laws and votes for the president and executive officers from among its members.

In practice, the chamber typically endorses initiatives and leadership favored by the Communist Party, the only political party allowed on the island.

The new National Assembly is expected to convene on April 19 when it will vote on the executive leadership, with current President Miguel Díaz-Canel expected to be re-elected.

Candidates include major Cuban leaders such as Díaz-Canel, semi-retired former Communist Party leader Raúl Castro and Economy Minister Alejandro Gil. Candidates also include musician Eduardo Sosa, LGBT community representative Mariela Castro and Elián González, who as a child in 2000 became the center of a diplomatic custody battle between Cuba and the United States.

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“Imran Khan has turned politics into enmity”: Pakistani minister

“Imran Khan or we will be killed,” said Rana Sanaullah (File)


In a surprising remark, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has called ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan an “enemy” of the ruling PML-N.

The remarks made by the Supreme Leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N), who is very close to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, sparked outrage in political circles, particularly in Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf .

Imran Khan, after surviving a gun attack on him at a rally in Wazirabad, Punjab in November last year, named Rana Sanaullah behind the assassination attempt against him. Imran Khan, 70, also named Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and a senior ISI officer in an application to FIR for their role in the assassination plot.

In an interview with a number of private TV channels on Sunday, Sanaullah said, “Imran Khan or we will be killed. He has now brought the politics of the country to the point where only one of the two can remain – PTI or PMLN. of PMLN is in danger and we will go against him in any degree to settle an account with him Imran Khan has turned politics into enmity Imran Khan is now our enemy and he will become so treated,” Sanaullah stated.

When asked if such comments could lead to anarchy in Pakistan, the minister said: “Anarchy is already rampant in Pakistan.” PTI leader and former Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry reacted strongly to Rana Sanaullah’s statement, saying, “This is an immediate life threat to Imran Khan of the PMLN coalition government.” “Is Sanaullah leading a gang or a government? The Supreme Court had rightly declared the Sharif-led PMLN a Sicilian mafia and his statement is proof of that,” he said.

The PTI has also urged the SC to take note of this as it openly threatens Imran Khan’s life.

“If anyone has any doubts about Rana Sanaullah’s murderous intentions towards Imran Khan. This is a direct threat from the home minister from the scammers. The judiciary should take note,” said PTI senior leader and former minister Shireen Mazari in a tweet.

The PTI said it has never seen a ruling party openly declare to eliminate a popular leader of Pakistan.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)

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Video: Protests erupt in Israel after Netanyahu fires defense minister

Israelis demonstrated after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired a member of his cabinet who had called for a halt to the government’s planned judicial overhaul.

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Global South Solidarity Key to Uplifting Central America – Not Washington’s Monroe Doctrine

The US is angry at Latin American countries coming close to China, but the only alternative offered is imperialist exploitation

Honduran President Xiomara Castro caused a sensation in the media when she remarked on March 14 that she had instructed her foreign minister to restore diplomatic relations with China.

This was received with strong approval in Beijing This was repeated by Honduran Foreign Minister Enrique Reina that his people seek “all the mechanisms by which the international relationship serves the interests of the people” and that his nation must “work with the greatest nations in the world.”

But the move naturally met with horror in Washington, which sees itself as the overlord of Latin America through its dated “Monroe Doctrine,” which firmly places the Western Hemisphere in the U.S.’s sphere of influence. For example, That’s what US Senator Bill Cassidy said on Twitter that Honduras was getting closer to China “while the world ends” and that “The Honduran people will suffer [Castro’s] failed leadership.”

To be fair, the US certainly knows a thing or two about the suffering of Hondurans and other Central Americans, trapping them and their children in cages as they flee poverty to the US. Washington has also orchestrated numerous coups that have devastated the region. At the same time, China has a track record of helping Central American countries, including Nicaragua, which has recently re-established ties with Beijing.

In February, China and Nicaragua agreed to step up their negotiations for a mutually beneficial free trade agreement and to promote the development of bilateral relations. At the time, to get a sense of this importance, I spoke with acclaimed American journalist Benjamin Norton, who lives in Nicaragua and covers extensively on China-Nicaragua relations. He told me that “The trade talks between Nicaragua and China are an important step in deepening South-South cooperation and building a multipolar world.”

According to Norton, “Historically, the United States has treated Latin America in general, and Central America in particular, as a colonial asset. The US has militarily occupied Nicaragua three times and for decades supported a brutal right-wing military dictatorship that imposed austerity on the population and sent all exports to the US for pennies on the dollar.

Norton noticed that again in the US in 2018 sponsored a violent coup attempt against the democratically elected Sandinista government of Nicaragua. When the coup failed, Washington responded with economic warfare, imposing several rounds of aggressive unilateral sanctions, such as the devastating NICA Act, while pushing for a financial blockade. He noted that these sanctions are illegal under international law and “have caused significant damage to the Nicaraguan economy and working-class Nicaraguans.”

“At the same time, while the US sanctions Nicaragua, Washington still expects the Central American country to export its products to the US, especially beef and other foods. Negotiating new trade deals with China will allow Nicaragua to defend its economic sovereignty while strengthening South-South solidarity.”

For the entire Central American region, closer trade relations with China could help. “Forging mutually beneficial economic partnerships with China instead of sending all of its exports to the United States will allow Central America to embark on the path to true independence and sovereignty.” Norton said.

US pressures Latin American nation over ties with China - Reuters

This is of particular importance because the US government, and especially the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, is obsessed with the issue of undocumented immigrants. A majority of these people come to the US from places like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras – all once under US imperialist rule and still victims of North American imperialism to this day.

There is also a significant number of people fleeing Cuba and Venezuela, the former under a decades-long embargo and the latter under extremely brutal unilateral Washington sanctions.

While Republicans paint these people as violent criminals, they are in fact victims of extreme exploitation and deliberate underdevelopment. If the US does not want people to seek asylum in their country or otherwise illegally enter the country to seek better job opportunities, they had better end their imperialist practices in Latin America.

China’s trade relations in the region, particularly in Central America, could help improve the earlier causes of Washington’s immigration problem. Of course, US officials are clamoring for China’s activities to be reversed in “their” hemisphere and have drawn up a series of offers to these countries that are nowhere near as lucrative as the opportunities offered by China.

Beijing’s trade opportunities, and South-South solidarity as a principle, may well be the key to turning the fate of Latin America, and Central America in particular.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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Is the David porn? See for yourself, ask Italy Fla. parents


ROME — The museum in Florence that houses Michelangelo’s Renaissance masterpiece, the David on Sunday, invited parents and students from a Florida charter school to visit after complaints about a lesson featuring the statue forced the director to resign .

Florence Mayor Dario Nardella also tweeted an invitation for the director to visit her so he can honor her in person. Confusing art with pornography was “ridiculous,” Nardella said.

The Tallahassee Classical School board pressured principal Hope Carrasquilla to resign last week after an image of the David was shown to a sixth grade art class. The school has a policy that requires parents to be informed in advance of ‘controversial’ subjects being taught.

The incredulous Italian response highlighted how the American culture wars are often seen in Europe, where despite an increase in right-wing sentiment and governance, the Renaissance and its masterpieces, even the naked ones, are generally free of controversy. Sunday’s front page of Italy’s daily Corriere della Sera featured a cartoon by the leading satirist that depicted David with his genitals covered by an image of Uncle Sam and the word “Shame.”

Carrasquilla believes the board targeted her after three parents complained about a lesson featuring a picture of the David, a 5-meter-tall (17-foot) nude marble statue from 1504. The work, which reflects the height of the Italian Renaissance, shows the Biblical David going to fight Goliath, armed only with his faith in God.

Carrasquilla has said two parents complained because they were not notified in advance that a nude photo would be shown, while a third called the iconic image pornographic.

Carrasquilla said in a telephone interview on Sunday that she is “very honored” by the invitations to Italy and may accept them.

“I’m totally, like, wow,” Carasquilla said. “I’ve been to Florence before and seen the David up close and personal, but I’d like to be a guest of the mayor.”

Cecilie Hollberg, director of the Galleria dell’Accademia, where David lives, expressed surprise at the controversy.

“To think that David could be pornographic really means not understanding the contents of the Bible, not understanding Western culture and not understanding Renaissance art,” Hollberg said in a telephone interview.

She invited the principal, school board, parents and students to view the “purity” of the image.

Tallahassee Classical is a charter school. Although it is taxpayer-funded and tuition-free, it operates almost entirely independently of the local school district and is sought after by parents seeking an alternative to the public school curriculum.

About 400 students from kindergarten through 12th grade attend the three-year-old institution, which is now on its third principal. It follows a curriculum designed by Hillsdale College, a conservative Christian school in Michigan that is regularly consulted by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on education issues.

Barney Bishop, president of the Tallahassee Classical school board, has told reporters that while the photo of the statue played a role in Carrasquilla’s impeachment, it was not the only factor. He has refused to elaborate, defending the decision.

“Parents have a right to know when their child is taught a controversial subject and picture,” Bishop said in an interview with Slate online magazine.

Several parents and teachers plan to protest Carrasquilla’s departure at Monday night’s school board meeting, but Carrasquilla said she’s not sure she’d take the job back, even if it were offered.

“There’s been such controversy and such uproar,” she said. “I should really consider, ‘Is this really what’s best?'”

Marla Stone, head of humanities at the American Academy in Rome, said the Florida incident was another episode in the escalating American culture wars and questioned how the image could be considered so controversial that it warranted advance warning.

“What we have here is a moral crusade against the body, sexuality and gender expression and an ignorance of history,” Stone said in an email. “The incident is about fear, fear of beauty, of difference and of the possibilities embedded in art.”

Michelangelo Buonarroti sculpted the David between 1501-1504 for the Cathedral of Florence. The statue is the showpiece of the Accademia and attracts 1.7 million visitors to the museum every year.

“It’s incredibly sought after by Americans who want to take selfies and enjoy the beauty of this image,” said director Hollberg.

The museum, like many in Europe, is free for groups of students. There was no indication that a trip would be subsidized by the city or museum. ___

Spencer reported from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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Yoav Gallant’s opposition to the Prime Minister’s controversial overhaul plan led to his ousting

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, on Sunday, less than a day after Gallant tried to put the brakes on the prime minister’s controversial effort to overhaul the country’s justice system. Mass protests soon broke out condemning the move.

Gallant was the first in Netanyahu’s cabinet to break ranks with the prime minister over his proposal to gain greater control over the selection of Supreme Court judges and limit the court’s power over the Knesset. The plan has been condemned both internationally and domestically, driving a wedge between the Prime Minister’s office and the military.

The defense minister warned that the unrest over the prime minister’s planned power grab endangered Israel’s national security, and therefore he could not support it. “The divide within our society is widening and extending to the Israeli armed forces,” cause “a clear and immediate and tangible danger to the security of the state”, Gallant stated in a televised address on Saturday. “I will not be a party to this.”

Netanyahu announced his resignation less than 24 hours later in a one-line statement on Sunday, sparking a storm of protest. Thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets of Jerusalem to denounce what is widely seen as the prime minister’s unscrupulous superiority. Protesters blocked Tel Aviv’s Ayalon highway in both directions, while others gathered outside the homes of Likud party members and other senior officials.

A group of universities announced a general strike, while the Director General of the Department of Defense interrupted his trip to the US to return home. The Israeli Consul General in New York, Asaf Zamir, announced his resignation via Twitter and promised to do so “Join the fight for Israel’s future to ensure it remains a beacon of democracy and freedom in the world.”

Gallant, a former naval commando, had repeatedly warned his boss that many in the IDF had threatened to quit their jobs temporarily or permanently if his proposal became law. While the Army has not released exact statistics on how many fewer reservists reported for duty this month compared to previous months, it confirmed it received a letter from 200 reserve pilots announcing that they would be serving duty for the next two weeks in protest of Netanyahu’s judicial review.

IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi had even admitted that reservists were so thin they would have to roll back certain operations, government officials told the New York Times earlier this week — a possibility the belligerent prime minister would have thought unthinkable.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak spoke out against his successor on Sunday, predicting protests would intensify within the ranks of IDF reservists and calling on Netanyahu to resign. Shoot gallantly “shows that he has lost his judgment and his ability to judge reality”, said Barak.

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