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North Korea test-launched a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile and two shorter-range weapons into the sea Wednesday, South Korea said, hours after President Joe Biden ended a trip to Asia where he reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to defend its allies in the face of the North’s nuclear threat.
If confirmed, it would be North Korea’s first ICBM launch in about two months amid stalled nuclear diplomacy with the United States. Breaking its 2018 moratorium on long-distance launches, North Korea in March claimed to have test-launched its longest-range missile as part of its development of functioning nuclear-armed missiles that can reach the American homeland.
The launches took place as North Korea made a much-disputed claim that its first domestic COVID-19 outbreak was weakening.
After an emergency national security council meeting, the South Korean government said North Korea fired a suspected ICBM and two short-range ballistic missiles.
“North Korea’s sustained provocations can only result in stronger and faster South Korea-U.S. combined deterrence and can only deepen North Korea’s international isolation,” the South Korean government statement said. “(Our) government is maintaining constant readiness to strongly and effectively respond to any kind of North Korean provocation.”
South Korea’s military said the suspected ICBM reached a maximum height of 335 miles while traveling 223 miles east after being fired from the North’s capital region. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North apparently lost the second missile 12 miles into flight, while the third missile flew 472 miles on an apogee of 37 miles.
A JCS statement said the U.S. and South Korean militaries fired two surface-to-surface missiles in response to demonstrate the allies’ striking capabilities. It said the allies had detected North Korea’s preparations for the launches in advance. It said South Korea’s air force on Tuesday conducted an “elephant walk” involving 30, fully armed F-15K fighter jets parading along a runway in formation.
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command earlier said the missile launches highlight “the destabilizing impact of (North Korea’s) illicit weapons program” though they didn’t pose an immediate threat to U.S. territory and its allies. A command statement said the U.S. commitment to the defense of the South Korea and Japan “remains ironclad.”
The White House said Biden has been briefed on the North Korean missile launches and will continue to be briefed as information develops.
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the launches were “an act of provocation and absolutely impermissible.” He accused North Korea of pressing ahead with its weapons development program while “ignoring the people’s suffering amid the spread of the coronavirus in the country.”
The launches were North Korea’s 17th round of missile firings this year. Experts have said the launches show North Korea’s determination to move ahead with its push to modernize its weapons arsenals despite the COVID-19 outbreak and apply more pressure on its rivals to wrest sanctions relief and other concessions amid dormant nuclear diplomacy.
U.S., South Korean and Japanese officials have said North Korea could soon conduct its first nuclear test in nearly five years as well.
“If omicron is raging in the country, it is not the best time for Kim to take domestic political credit for a nuclear test,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul. “So declaring victory against COVID, at least in state propaganda, will probably come first. But North Korea is likely to conduct its seventh nuclear test before reengaging in diplomacy.”
North Korea’s unusual pace in weapons tests this year included an ICBM launch in March that was its first since 2017. North Korea described that launch as a demonstration of its biggest missile, the Hwasong-17. However, South Korea’s military said the North instead may have fired a smaller ICBM. Whichever it was, the missile flew longer and higher than any other weapon the North has ever tested and had the potential range to reach the entire U.S. mainland, experts say.
After their summit in Seoul on Saturday, Biden and Yoon said they would consider expanded military exercises to deter North Korean nuclear threats.
Biden brushed aside questions about any possible provocation by North Korea during his trip, saying, “We are prepared for anything North Korea does.” Asked if he had a message for the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un, Biden offered a clipped response: “Hello. Period.”
Biden later met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, and they vowed to work closely to address security challenges, including North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic programs and what they called China’s “increasingly coercive” behavior in the region.
Before Wednesday, North Korea’s most recent missile tests were May 12, hours after the country acknowledged a COVID-19 outbreak and ended a widely disputed claim to have been coronavirus-free for more than two years.
The country in the past few days has said there has been “a positive sign” in its anti-virus campaign. Since admitting to the outbreak, North Korea has identified about 3 million cases of an unidentified fever, and saying just a small fraction were COVID-19.
On Wednesday, state media for the second straight day reported no additional fatality from the fever. The 68 deaths it has reported is an extremely low toll for COVID-19. Experts doubt the figures given North Korea has limited health resources and may be underreporting mortalities to prevent possible political damage on Kim.
North Korea has so far ignored South Korean and U.S. offers to send vaccines, medicines and other support items. Much of North Korea’s 26 million people remain unvaccinated and the country’s once-free socialist public health care system has been in shambles for decades.
“At a time when North Korean people are suffering the pain of a COVID-19 spread, North Korea is using its crucial resources to develop nuclear weapons and missiles instead of measures to fight the virus and improve livelihoods, which is very regrettable,” South Korean Foreign Minster Park Jin said.
By: Ny Post
Taxi passenger’s arm shattered by gunfire
Now taking a cab doesn’t even keep you safe from gunfire!
Two young men enjoying an evening out in the Big Apple became the latest unintended victims of gunfire, when they were hit by bullets while sitting in a taxi early Saturday.
The pair were with a group of friends at about 3:50 a.m., in the cab heading from Brooklyn to Manhattan, when shots that were intended for others hit them, sources said.
The bullets flew as the cab drove down West 36th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, near Vito’s Slices and Ices pizza shop, which was closed at the time.
Investigators believe three shooters were aiming at a couple wearing a lot of jewelry outside the shop, sources said.
Police recovered three bullet casings.
“It’s getting out of hand,” said Alexander Franklyn of Staten Island, whose 24-year-old son, Nicalus, was hit in the arm. “You don’t seem to be safe anywhere.”
Franklyn said his son was in the back seat of the cab and the bullet shattered a bone in his arm. He was heading into surgery at Bellevue Hospital on Saturday afternoon.
Nicalus, a case worker for a social services agency, and had been with three other friends, all pals from playing rugby, and was going to the Manhattan apartment of one of them when he was shot, his dad said.
“I’m not sure what the future’s going to hold,” Franklyn said of his son’s ability to continue playing.
The other victim, 22-year-old Samy Shelbaya, was grazed in the arm by a bullet, Franklyn said.
An Instagram page for Shelbaya says he’s a medical school student who played rugby at Michigan State University.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission said it was investigating the shooting but would not release information on who owned the cab.
A neighborhood resident who gave her name as Jazzy said she was out with friends and came across the crime scene Saturday.
“The violence is overwhelming. The violence is totally out of control. At one time we can attribute it to drugs. Now it’s unexplainable violence,” she said.
By: Ny Post
20-year NYPD veteran retires by giving the department the finger
A 20-year decorated veteran of the NYPD celebrated Independence Day a little early by retiring and giving the department the finger — literally.
Thomas J. Gambardella, 41, of Staten Island, posted a photo on Facebook of himself flipping the bird at a memorial inside NYPD headquarters, while wearing a T-shirt reading “Let’s Go Brandon,” following his official retirement from the force two weeks ago.
The statue Gambardella took aim at depicts a police officer watching over the child of a slain cop.
“I’m officially retired today!” he wrote in a post at the time. “From this sorry excuse of a s–t job. Thank God, I’m free at last!… I loved everyone I worked with and ‘some’ of the people I’ve worked for. But this job is no one’s friend. Time to live free. I’ll see you all out there!”
Gambardella, who was most recently a detective sergeant, told The Post on Saturday that he loved his job when he started out — but the gig turned “s–t” due to the city’s increasingly soft-on-crime policies.
“I was a true believer,” Gambardella, who comes from a police family, said of his early years on the beat. “I wasn’t a bag of s–t. I worked some intricate details. I gave a lot of my blood, sweat and tears. But no more.”
A combination of increasingly liberal policies and what he said was the NYPD’s stranglehold over every aspect of his life led him to sour on the gig.
“It’s the worst f–king job in the world,” Gambardella said. “They own you. They’re not your friends. All that talk about the ‘big blue family.’ They don’t care. If I die tomorrow they wouldn’t give a sh-t. If I needed something it ain’t gonna happen. I’m better off just saying a prayer.”
The potty-mouthed former officer said he was disgusted by the increased hostility toward police, calls to defund the NYPD and crackdowns on what cops could or could not do.
“Crime is soaring and cops are leaving in droves,” Gambardella said. “Anybody can see that. All this liberalism is obviously a failure. But this is what they wanted. It’s a stupid experiment and it’s the people who will pay in the end.”
Gambardella said he has gotten some backlash to his posts and photos, though not much.
“I have a disease,” he said. “It’s called diarrhea of the mouth. People who know me know I’m like this. I don’t cower down.”
Gambardella, who is divorced with three kids, said cops were treated well under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former police commissioner Ray Kelly, and that the public was better off with them, too.
“The minute they stopped the quality of life enforcement that was the beginning of the end,” he said. “Just having people know they could get a response from a noise complaint was a big deal. But that’s all long gone.”
Gambardella, who said he was named Officer of the Year in 2006 when he worked in the 68th precinct in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, joined the force in July 2002. He was most recently in the detective squad at the 70th precinct in Kensington.
According to city records, he made $164,000 last year.
More than 2,119 NYPD officers have either resigned or retired so far this year – on pace to be the biggest exodus of officers since the statistics have been available.
Some 524 cops have resigned and 1,072 have retired as of May 31, NYPD pension stats obtained by The Post last month showed. In June alone, 523 officers left, with 400 retiring and 123 resigning, the most resignations in a single month in at least a decade.
Of the 2,119 who are leaving, 1,472 are retiring and 647 are resigning, a 38% spike over the previous record of 1,535 for the first six months of 2020, the attrition numbers show.
“The majority of officers who are retire are proud of their careers and their service with the NYPD,” a high-ranking police source told The Post when asked about Gambardella.
Several current and retired NYPD detectives said they were stung and angered by seeing the photo of Gambardella giving the finger to the memorial statue at One Police Plaza.
One retired NYPD detective said that officers will often buy miniature versions of the statue for families of slain police officers with the officer’s shield number on it.
By: Ny Post
Cristiano Ronaldo tells Manchester United he wants to leave
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United return could prove to be short-lived.
Just 11 months after Ronaldo was triumphantly announced at Old Trafford, the Portuguese superstar has told the club he would like to leave if they receive a strong enough offer, per multiple reports, after United failed to qualify for the Champions League last season.
Ronaldo scored 24 goals in all competitions to lead United, but the campaign was largely a disaster, as the club was sixth in the Premier League — tied for its second-worst finish of the Premier League Era — and lost in the Champions League Round of 16, failing to secure any trophies. Ronaldo, who came to United at the last minute after being linked to Manchester City, struggled to fit within Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s system before Solsjkaer was replaced by the polarizing Ralf Ragnick.
According to The Athletic, newly minted Chelsea owner Todd Boehly met with Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, last week to discuss the idea of him playing in London. The website also named Bayern Munich and Napoli as potential suitors, while Paris Saint-Germain is not considered interested.
Ronaldo reportedly has a year left on his deal with United, which does not view him as being for sale, according to The Athletic.
A five-time Ballon D’Or winner, Ronaldo’s 141 Champions League goals are the most of any player. If he is with United next season, it will be the first year in which he won’t take part in the top European competition since 2002-03, when he was 17 years old and playing for Portugal’s Sporting Lisbon.
By: Ny Post
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