Putin says missile test response to US moves
Russia's test firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday was in response to US steps that have sparked an arms race and undermined world security, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
"Our American partners have left the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treaty. We have warned them then that we will come out with a response to maintain the strategic balance in the world," Putin told a news conference.
"We conducted a test of a new strategic ballistic missile with multiple warheads, and of a new cruise missile, and will continue to improve our resources."
"We are not the initiators of this new round of the arms race," said Putin. "(Our partners) are stuffing eastern Europe with new weapons. A new base in Bulgaria, another in Romania, a site in Poland, radar in the Czech Republic . . . what are we supposed to do? We cannot just observe all this."
Russia test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday featuring multiple warheads that senior officials said could pierce any missile defense system, including the planned US shield in Europe.
Russia says the US missile defense shield is a threat to its security and will change the strategic balance in Europe, but Washington dismisses such fears, saying the shield is intended to counter "rogue states".
Author Salman Rushdie was brutally stabbed by a 24-year-old Muslim man Hadi Matar at the stage of an event in New York City where the writer was about to deliver his speech on the United States as a safe haven for exiled writers. Salman Rushdie's agent said he suffered a grave injury in his abdomen damaging his liver. The writer may lose an eye, his agent said. He was lying in a pool of blood.
North Korea has dropped a face mask mandate and other social distancing rules as leader Kim Jong Un declared victory over COVID-19 this week, state media said on Saturday, three months after its first acknowledgement of the virus outbreak in the isolated country. Kim presided over a COVID meeting on Wednesday and ordered the lifting of maximum anti-epidemic measures imposed in May, adding that North Korea must maintain a "steel-strong anti-epidemic barrier."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a fresh call on Friday for European Union states to ban visas for Russian nationals to keep the bloc from becoming a "supermarket" open to anyone with the means to enter. Zelensky said his proposal did not apply to Russians who needed help for risking their freedom or their lives by resisting Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin's policies. Zelensky's appeal has yet to win support from the EU's major players.
These days, Gul Agha Jalali is studying English and has enrolled in a computer science course in the capital, Kabul. (Also Read Inside Afghanistan's secret schools, where girls defy the Taliban) "When our country was occupied by infidels, we needed bombs, mortars and guns," says an employee at the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, Jalali. Now there is a greater need for education, he told AFP.
World leaders expressed their shock and grief at the attack on Midnight's Children author Salman Rushdie who was brutally stabbed by a man at an event in New York on Friday. The 75-year-old Booker Prize laureate is currently on a ventilator battling for his life. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the incident, calling it an attack on his freedom of expression.