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Afghanistan commercial flights resume following Taliban takeover

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The first international flight from Kabul has taken off for the first time since the recent rule of the Taliban

Kabul on Thursday saw the departure of its first international commercial flight since last month’s chaotic Western airlift, but hopes for a return to order were offset by U.N. reports of rising restrictions on women and a looming humanitarian disaster.

The flight marked an important step in the Taliban’s efforts to bring a degree of normality back to the country after they seized power last month. But U.N. Special Envoy on Afghanistan Deborah Lyons told the Security Council the country was in danger of “a total breakdown of the economy and social order” without an infusion of money.

She also said there were rising reports of the Taliban imposing curbs on women similar to those when they ruled from 1996 to 2001, despite a promise by leaders to respect women’s rights in accordance with sharia, or Islamic law.

Visiting Islamabad, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani thanked Taliban leaders for helping reopen the airport.

About 113 people were aboard the flight to Doha operated by state-owned Qatar Airways, officials said. The passengers included U.S., Canadian, Ukrainian, German and British citizens, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

Declining to give a number for the American contingent aboard, the United States said 30 U.S. citizens and permanent residents were invited to join the flight but not all had accepted.

A source said the passengers were taken to Kabul airport in a Qatari convoy after safe passage was agreed. In Doha, they will initially stay in a compound hosting Afghan and other evacuees.

Although international flights have flown in and out with officials, technicians and aid in recent days, this was the first such civilian flight since the hectic evacuation of 124,000 foreigners and at-risk Afghans that followed the Taliban’s capture of the capital on Aug. 15.

Qatari special envoy Mutlaq bin Majed al-Qahtani described Thursday’s flight as a regular one and not an evacuation. There would also be a flight on Friday, he said.

“Hopefully, life is becoming normal in Afghanistan,” al-Qahtani said from the tarmac, quoted by Al Jazeera.

World

President Joe Biden surveys catastrophic damage left by Hurricane Ian

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Many homes and businesses lay in ruins amid debris in southwestern Florida

On Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill visited Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian making a direct hit to the state last week.

As many homes and businesses lay in ruins amid debris, the President promised to use the power of the federal government to help the community rebuild throughout the sunshine state.

The President comforted residents alongside Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis—a possible competitor in 2024— as well as joining GOP members of Congress for a tour of some of the hardest hit areas in southwestern Florida.

However, both men agreed to put politics aside for now, instead focusing on helping the community.

Speaking in Fort Meyers, which took the brunt of Ian, Biden said, “Today we have one job and only one job, and that’s to make sure the people in Florida get everything they need to fully, thoroughly recover.”

Hurricane Ian is considered one of the post powerful storms to ever hit the United States.

So far, officials have confirmed that at least 84 people died, including 75 in Florida.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands are still wait for power to be restored.

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World

North Korea’s five biggest missiles

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North Korea has flown a missile over Japan for the first time in five years

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris did not mince her words when she paid a visit to the demilitarised zone last week.

“In the North, we see a brutal dictatorship, rampant human rights violations and an unlawful weapons program that threatens peace and stability,” she said.

North Korea’s latest missile launch is the latest in a string of tests following Harris’ visit.

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida following Tuesday’s long-range missile. The pair condemned the test in the “strongest terms,” as they described it as a danger to the Japanese people.

Associate Professor Tilman Ruff from the University of Melbourne believes the threat of nuclear war has increased.

“This is clearly the time of greatest danger of nuclear war since the at least the Cuban missile crisis.”

North Korea has carried out over 30 missile tests this year, as authorities brace themselves for bigger weapon, which could reach the U.S. east coast.

in response to Tuesday’s test, South Korea and the U.S. fired a string of missiles into the East Sea.

5. The Musudan

The Musudan, or the Hwasong-10 is a medium-range ballistic missile, which has an estimated range of more than 4,000km.

The missile was first tested in October 2016 and is believed to be capable of reaching South Korea and Japan.

4. The KN-08

The KN-08 is a long-range ballistic missile, which boasts an estimated range of more than 6,000km.

While North Korea had two unsuccessful tests of this weapon in 2016, it was successfully tested in 2017.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un inspects his weaponry.

3. The Pukguksong-2

The Pukguksong-2 is a medium-range ballistic missile, which has an estimated range of more than 2,000km.

This is a land-based variant of the Pukguksong-1 weapon, which is submarine-launched.

The missile was first tested in February of 2017 and is believed to be capable of reaching South Korea and Japan.

2. The Hwasong-14

The Hwasong-14 is North Korea’s first intercontinental ballistic missile. It is also one of their most powerful missiles, with an estimated range of more than 8,000km.

The missile was first tested in July 2017 and is believed to be capable of reaching New York.

1. The Hwasong-12

The latest missile test over Japanese territory is understood to be an intermediate-range Hwasong-12.

This ballistic missile has an estimated range of more than 4,500km, and is believed to be capable of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam in the Pacific.

The long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12.

North Korea’s missile tests have risen under the rule of its current leader, Kim Jong-Un. In fact, there have been more test launches this year, than in the previous decade alone.

“If anybody thought that the risk of nuclear war went away with the end of the Cold War, then these current concerns should put an end to any such complacency.”

Associate Professor Tilman Ruff, the University of Melbourne

There are also a range of other weapons in the North Korean inventory, including a nuclear bomb, which is believed to be six times bigger than what the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

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Business

Rolls Royce CEO slams aviation for failing on climate targets

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Aviation needs to act on net-zero targets, that’s according to the CEO of Rolls Royce

Warren East says the sector needs to move towards bio-fuels like hydrogen and electric aircraft.

Travellers can even look forward to flying on planes that has a gas turbine that’s burning hydrogen.

Speaking at a conference in London, East says transitional technology is the answer that plane-makers are searching for.

Some companies are already looking at sustainable fuels that can offer 80 per cent off carbon emissions across their lifetime.

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