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U.S. responds to North Korea missile tests



The White House says it is still willing to engage with Pyongyang, despite recent missile tests

North Korea describes the new “long-range cruise missiles” it tested over the weekend as a “strategic weapon of great significance”.

North Korea state-run media claims the missiles give the country “another effective deterrence means” against “hostile forces”.

Analysts say that the North Koreans often use the term ‘strategic’ as a euphemism for nuclear-capable.

However it is unclear if the nation is able to develop warheads small enough to be carried on these missiles. 

A leading arms expert, Jeffrey Lewis, says an intermediate-range land-attack cruise missile is a pretty serious capability for North Korea.

According to state run media, the missiles flew 1500 kilometres, before hitting their targets and falling into the country’s territorial waters.

The tests took place just days after the reclusive nation celebrated the 73rd anniversary of its founding with a late night military parade.

Japan says it is “extremely concerned”

If the missiles are capable of flying 1500 kilometres, they would be able to hit targets in South Korea and most of Japan.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary says such missiles would pose a “serious threat to the peace and safety of Japan and its surrounding areas.”

The U.S. military has also condemned the tests, saying they pose a threat to not only North Korea’s neighbours but the international community.

The White House, though, says it’s still willing to engage when it comes to the critical issue of denuclearisation.

“Our position has not changed when it comes to North Korea, we remain prepared to engage.”

White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 

Nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea have been stalled for two years.

The U.S. Special envoy for North Korea was already scheduled to hold three way talks with counterparts from Japan and South Korea this week.

There is little doubt about what will be top of the agenda.

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Victoria’s Secret criticized for trans woman’s apology



Victoria’s Secret is facing backlash after issuing an apology to a transgender woman who had a negative experience while trying on bras at one of their stores.

The incident has ignited a debate about inclusivity and sensitivity in the fashion industry.

The controversy began when the trans woman, who remains anonymous, visited a Victoria’s Secret store to shop for bras. She reported feeling uncomfortable and discriminated against by store staff.

In response to her complaint, Victoria’s Secret issued an apology, acknowledging the incident and expressing their commitment to diversity and inclusion.

However, the apology itself has come under fire from both supporters and critics.

Some argue that the brand’s apology is insincere and merely an attempt to save face, while others believe it is a step in the right direction towards a more inclusive shopping experience for all customers.

The incident raises important questions about how brands should handle situations involving discrimination and whether their apologies are genuine or performative.

It also highlights the ongoing challenges faced by transgender individuals when accessing spaces traditionally designed for cisgender customers.

As the fashion industry continues to evolve, many are calling for a deeper examination of inclusivity and sensitivity, not just in policies but in practice.

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Has the Australian Defence Force become top heavy?



Despite a decrease in overall personnel numbers, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has seen a notable increase in senior officers, leading to concerns about its top-heavy structure.

In recent years, the ADF has undergone significant downsizing efforts, resulting in a reduced total workforce.

However, a closer look at the numbers reveals a surprising trend – a growing number of senior officers within the organization.

The rise in senior officers has raised questions about the efficiency and effectiveness of the ADF’s hierarchy.

Critics argue that a top-heavy structure may hinder decision-making and resource allocation, potentially impacting the ADF’s operational capabilities.

Is the increase in senior officers a deliberate strategy, or is it the result of unintended consequences from downsizing efforts?

What implications does a top-heavy structure have on the ADF’s ability to respond to evolving security challenges?

Are there plans to rebalance the officer-to-enlisted personnel ratio within the ADF?

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India’s shift to coal amid declining hydro generation



India has been grappling with a significant challenge in its energy sector as hydroelectric power generation has experienced a sharp decline.

This shift in the energy landscape has forced the nation to increasingly turn to coal as an alternative source of power.

The dwindling water resources and changing weather patterns have led to a decrease in hydro generation, posing a pressing dilemma for the country’s energy sustainability.

With India’s growing population and expanding industries, a steady and reliable power supply is crucial.

However, the drop in hydroelectric power output due to factors like reduced rainfall and glacial melting has strained the nation’s electricity grid.

As a result, coal-fired power plants have become a more prevalent choice to bridge the energy gap, despite concerns about environmental impact and carbon emissions.

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