World & Canada News - Nov 30, 2017 issue

In The World . . . 

North Korea latest missile launch a global threat 

BBC News/Nov. 28, 2017

North Korea has fired its highest-ever intercontinental ballistic missile and poses a worldwide threat, US Secretary of Defence James Mattis has said.

Earlier the Pentagon said the missile had flown for about 1,000km (620 miles) before falling into the Sea of Japan.

The launch, early on Wednesday, is the latest in a series that have raised international tensions.

North Korea's last ballistic missile launch was in September and came days after its sixth nuclear test.

Mr Mattis was speaking at the White House as he briefed US President Donald Trump and senior officials on the missile launch.

"It went higher, frankly, than any previous shots they have taken," he said, adding that the North was building "ballistic missiles that threaten everywhere in the world".

South Korean news agency Yonhap said that the missile was launched from Pyongsong, in South Pyongan province.

Japanese government officials said the missile travelled for about 50 minutes but did not fly over Japan, as some have done in the past.

President Trump was briefed while the missile was still in the air, the White House said. Afterwards he said: "We will take care of it."

South Korean President Moon Jae-in later spoke to President Trump as they reaffirmed their "strong condemnation of North Korea's reckless campaign", the White House said in a statement.

The two leaders said the North's latest missile test "underscores the grave threat" posed "not only to the US, but to the entire world," the statement added. u

A problem without a solution

(Jonathan Marcus, BBC Defence and Diplomatic Correspondent)

This missile test, the first for some two months, suggests that the lull in firings was not due to North Korea being cowed by Mr Trump's rhetoric or even by Chinese pressure. Experts have indeed pointed to similar seasonal slowdowns in testing in the past.

President Trump, responding to the test, says that his administration will handle it. But handle it how ? The US has called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council. And Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has spoken of stepping up the pressure on Pyongyang.

But North Korea is already one of the most isolated and heavily sanctioned states in the world. There are few new levers to pull.

North Korea is seemingly a problem without a solution and its nuclear and missile programmes are now, once again, back at the top of the Trump administration's security agenda.

South Korea's military said it had responded with a missile exercise of its own.

Condemnation of the launch was swift: 

The Japanese government said they would "never accept North Korea's continuous provocative behaviour" and PM Shinzo Abe called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council

South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged the international community to continue applying sanctions against Pyongyang

The EU called the launch a "further unacceptable violation" of North Korea's international obligations

Britain's ambassador to the UN called it "a reckless act"

The North is thought to be focusing efforts on building long-range missiles with the potential of reaching the mainland continental US.

Officials in Pyongyang said the first of the longer-range missiles it tested in July could hit "any part of the world", but the US military called it an intermediate-range missile instead.

Its last nuclear test reportedly involved a miniaturised hydrogen bomb that could be loaded onto a long-range missile, raising tensions with the US even further.

Last week, President Trump announced that the US was re-designating North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism because of its missile and nuclear programme.

The US imposed fresh sanctions against Pyongyang. The measures targeted North Korean shipping operations and Chinese companies that traded with the North.

North Korean defectors returned home despite father's plea

BBC News/Nov. 28, 2017

China has sent back a group of North Korean defectors, including a child, despite a desperate plea by one of their relatives, the BBC understands.

The group of 10 was detained in China in early November after secretly crossing the border.

One man already himself in exile, whose wife and four-year-old son were among those held, had said they could be killed if made to return.

He now says the group's claim for asylum was not considered by China.

He has learned they were then sent to a detention centre in North Korea, where, according to a spokesman for the charity Human Rights Watch (HRW), "they are doomed".

Neither China nor South Korea has commented on the group's fate.

The man whose wife and son are detained asked to be identified only as Lee. He fled to South Korea in 2015 and had hoped his family could join him.

"At the moment I believe they are in a detention centre," he told BBC Korean. "I heard that if you spent a month there you become extremely frail due to the lack of food. You lose all your weight because there's nothing to eat. You get 20 kernels of corn at best a day.

"I really can't express how I feel. The world feels like hell to me right now."

Earlier this month, Lee had pleaded with China's Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump to intervene and prevent his family being repatriated.

The defectors were arrested in a raid on a safe house in Shenyang in Liaoning province, north-east China, on 4 November.

The arrests came amid a crackdown by China on North Korean defectors. Chinese security services apprehended at least 49 North Koreans in the three months between July and September, according to HRW - a significant jump from the 51 people recorded as having been detained over the entire previous 12 months.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for HRW, said that by returning the group, China was "complicit in the torture, forced labour, imprisonment and other abuses they will suffer".

"They are doomed and Beijing's refusal to protect them and treat them as refugees fleeing persecution is precisely the reason why."

China's foreign ministry had earlier said it was unaware of the details of the case but that it followed domestic and international law in all such matters.

China forcibly repatriates North Koreans despite being a party to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, which obliges signatories not to return refugees if it may put them at risk of persecution or torture.

It regards the defectors as illegal migrants rather than refugees.

In 2014, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights said North Korea was responsible for "systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations" and "crimes against humanity".

"People say Kim Jong-un is a nasty person," Lee told BBC Korean. "But it's equally bad to repatriate people to North Korea knowing that they will be sent to political camps and face their death. It's almost worse to be an accomplice, knowing what you're doing is a bad thing." 

And in Canada . . .

Two charged in Toronto in international human trafficking case: police

The Canadian Press/Nov. 28, 2017

Toronto police say a man and woman are facing 15 charges in an international human trafficking investigation that began in February.

It's alleged that a woman arrived in Toronto in May 2016 for a job as a receptionist, but was offered a job as a masseuse in a massage parlour because the receptionist job was no longer available.

Investigators allege she was then coerced into selling sexual services while performing massages, her passport was taken from her and the accused convinced her to turn over all the money she earned to them for safekeeping.

They allege she was violently choked and assaulted when she confronted the accused.

The woman's passport was discovered on Oct. 19 when police executed search warrants at several locations in Toronto.

A man and a woman, both 40 years old and from Toronto, face charges that include trafficking in persons and laundering proceeds of crime.   u


Fewer hate crimes targeting Muslims, but others increased in 2016: StatsCan Staff /Nov. 28, 2017

Hate crimes against Muslims and Catholics declined, while other identifiable groups were more frequently targeted in 2016, according to latest Statistics Canada data.

According to a StatsCan report published Tuesday, police reported 1,409 hate crimes in Canada in 2016, 47 more than in 2015.

The three per cent increase in hate crimes was a result of “more incidents targeting South Asians and Arabs or West Asians, the Jewish population, and people based on their sexual orientation,” StatsCan said.

However, police reported 20 fewer hate crimes against Muslims in 2016, for a total of 139.

Most of that decline was in Quebec, with16 fewer reported anti-Muslim hate crimes in the province that year.

StatsCan says the decline follows “a notable increase in hate crimes against the Muslim population” in 2015. That year, there was a 61 per cent increase in hate crimes targeting Muslims, with 159 reported incidents.

The latest StatsCan report also notes:

In 2016, 48 per cent of all police-reported hate crimes were motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity.

The increase was largely due to 24 more hate crimes targeting South Asians and 20 more incidents targeting Arabs or West Asians.

Hate crimes targeting sexual orientation accounted for 13 per cent of all police-reported hate crimes in 2016.

In 2016, 43 per cent of hate crimes were violent, compared with 38 per cent in 2015.

Hate crimes represented fewer than 0.1 per cent of the nearly 1.9 million crimes reported by police services across the country in 2016.