Prime Minister: government keen on providing all requirements to enhance steadfastness and increase production

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Damascus, SANA – Prime Minister Imad Khamis stressed that the sacrifices of the Syrian army and armed forces have enabled the government to perform its responsibilities and strengthen the steadfastness of the Syrian people who back up the army in its war on terrorism.

Premier Khamis was speaking during the activities of the 9th session of the General Council of the General Federation of Trade Unions.

He noted that having no foreign debts, preserving its foreign exchange reserves, providing support to strategic crops and addressing key economic issues set indicators for Syria’s success in overcoming all difficult circumstances.

Khamis added that the government has offered up to 2000 job opportunities to martyrs’ families over the past 9 months, compared to 340 in the last three years, within the framework of its unremitting care efforts to   provide them with their requirements and needs.

He also underlined efforts exerted to improve services, support production and rehabilitate infrastructure of oil, energy and transport sectors.

For his part, Chairman of the General Federation of Trade Unions, Jamal al-Qadiri, stressed the key role of working class in Syria as an essential partner in the reconstruction stage.

The participants’ demands focused on improving living conditions of working class, grade up the services sector and taking necessary measures to increase production, finance small and medium enterprises and train cadres to supply workforce and have active role in the process of rebuilding the country.

R.Raslan/Mazen

 

Source  :  Syrian Arab News Agency

 

Ambassador Ala: People of occupied Syrian Golan suffer grave and methodical violations of their basic rights by Israeli occupation

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Geneva, SANA – Syria’s Permanent Representative at the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Hussam Eddin Ala, said that the people of the occupied Syrian Golan continue to suffer from grave and methodical violations of their basic rights at the hands of the Israeli occupation which demolishes properties, seizes lands, and steals water and natural resources to serve its colonialist settlement projects.

In a statement delivered on Monday at the 36th session of the Human Rights Council discussing Item 7 on the “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories,” Ala said that the Israeli occupation is giving incentives for more settlers to go to the Golan, while it prevents Syrians from building in their lands, constricts their movements, prevents them from communicating with relatives in the motherland and pursuing education in Syrian universities , deprives them of means to earn a living, and carries out arbitrary arrests for opposing the occupation and documenting its crimes.

He said that as Syria demands the Council condemn these practices and work towards the immediate release of Syrian detainees in Israeli prisons, it warns against the repercussions of the occupation’s decision to hold local councils elections in the occupied Syrian Golan next year since it violates Security Council resolution no. 497 for 1981 that considers the occupation’s decision to force its laws and jurisdiction on the Golan null and void.

Ala said that the Israeli practices and violations require holding those who commit them accountable, calling for UN agencies to monitor the conditions of the Syrians in the occupied Golan as they require more aid and health and services centers, in addition to calling for opening a UN office in the Golan.

He affirmed that Syria reiterates its condemnation of the violations of human rights and international laws in occupied Palestine by the Israeli occupation, particularly the public executions, arbitrary arrests that affect even children, confiscation of lands and properties, stealing natural resources, policies of isolation and blockades, restricting the movement of citizens, and besieging Gaza Strip.

Ala also said that Syria condemns the Israeli attempts to Judaize Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and build the segregation wall and illegal settlements to hinder the Palestinians’ ability to practice their inalienable rights to self-determination and establish an independent state on the entirety of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 with Al-Quds as its capital.

The Ambassador noted that attempts to marginalize or annul Item 7 affirms that political hypocrisy of certain states in dealing with human rights, and that this encourages Israel to act as if it’s beyond reproach, adding that selectivity and double-standards are the cause of the lack of credibility in the Council.

He said that Israel must realize that UN resolutions aren’t farces; rather they are an expression of commitment to international law and the UN Charter that Israeli violates all the time.

Ala said that the fake humane notions promoted by the Israeli occupation’s Prime Minister in New York recently about the occupation treating Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists is a desperate attempt to cover up Israel’s support for terrorist groups, support which includes providing them with funds, equipment, weapons, and communication devices, in addition to attacking Syrian Army positions, all of which are documented and irrefutable facts.

The Ambassador concluded by asserting that those who think that the events in Syria can divert it from its inalienable right to restore the entirety of its occupied lands are delusional.

Hazem Sabbagh

 

Source  :  Syrian Arab News Agency

Army establishes control over several villages in Homs’ eastern countryside

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Homs, SANA – Army and Armed Forces units on Monday established control over the village of Masaada in Jub al-Jarrah area in the eastern countryside of Homs province.

SANA’s correspondent in Homs said that army units, in cooperation with supporting forces, established full control over the village following concentrated operations targeting ISIS hideouts, which resulted in killing many terrorists while the remaining ones fled, leaving their weapons and ammo behind.

The correspondent added that as army units continued to pursue the fleeing terrorists in the area, engineering units combed the village fully, dismantling many landmines and IEDs planted by the terrorists in it.

Later, a military source said that army units established control over villages of Umm al-Reesh, Rasm al-Naqa, al-Zaiba, and the hills overlooking them in the eastern countryside of the province.

The source said that this was achieved following concentrated operations which resulted in killing many ISIS terrorists, adding that the overall areas that was secured during the past few hours is around 35 square kilometers, all of which is now secure after combing it and clearing it of the IEDs and landmines planted by ISIS.

Hazem Sabbagh

 

Source : Syrian Arab National Agency

[ITU 2017] Global leaders vow united efforts to address ICT issues

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BUSAN — ITU Telecom World 2017, one of the largest UN-backed information and communication technology events, kicked off in Korea’s southern port city of Busan on Monday.

Hundreds of ministers, government officials, and business leaders from ITU’s 193 member states packed the auditorium of Bexco, an exhibition center and the main event venue for the conference, to celebrate the opening of the quadrennial event.

The conference, which is being held under the theme “Better Sooner,” gives participants the opportunity to discuss how to accelerate the innovation of the ICT segment and the expansion of smart technology across the globe.

Organizers, South Korean government and municipal chiefs, along with other visitors look at an autonomous vehicle that recently succeeded in its first expressway test drive on the first day of the ITU Telecom World 2017 in Busan on Monday. (Yonhap)

“The looming ‘fourth industrial revolution,’ driven by cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, not only creates opportunities, but also poses challenges for humanity,” said Korean President Moon Jae-in in a video message played during the opening ceremony, citing autonomous vehicles and AI-powered robots — which are often described as a double-edged sword for humans.

“I hope the Telecom World conference becomes a chance for all the participants to work together to come up with response measures to handle those challenges,” he added.

Around 5,300 government officials, policymakers, and entrepreneurs in the global ICT sector and 40,000 spectators are anticipated to join the four-day conference organized by the International Telecommunication Union, a UN agency responsible for global ICT issues, according to the preparatory committee of the event.

Companies in the telecom sector, including mobile carrier KT, a main sponsor for the ITU event, Chinese tech firm Huawei, will showcase their ICT products and solutions during the conference while small and medium-sized firms will seek future partnerships with global investors and businesses.

KT, which will display its AI-based network solutions during the event, also participated in establishing the standards of the 5G tech for an ITU declaration adopted by Korean and Central and South American ICT ministers on Sunday. The ministers called for united efforts to improve the network infrastructure in Central South America where nearly 50 percent of the entire population are not online.

“The Telecom World conference will become a platform to facilitate the contact and partnerships among all participants in the ICT sector,” said Haoulin Zhao, the secretary-general of the ITU, in his welcoming speech, adding the UN agency will continue to work to leave nobody behind in the ever-more connected world.

Delivering a keynote speech, Korea’s Science and ICT Minister Yoo Young-min vowed that the ministry will make the utmost effort to beef up the nation’s competitiveness in the emerging technologies and to close the so-called digital divide.

“The government will further invest in emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things, and the related infrastructure,” ICT Minister Yoo said.

The city with a 3.6 million population was also the host city of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, a meeting among ITU members to set and revise the UN’s ICT policies, and ITU Telecom Asia, a regional ICT forum, in 2014 and 2004, respectively.

Korea, which topped the global ICT rankings in 2017 for the second straight year and is scheduled to host the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, will see a pilot service of the 5G mobile network technology up and running next year for the first time in the world.

By Kim Young-won and Sohn Ji-young (wone0102@heraldcorp.com), (jys@heraldcorp.com

 

 

Source  :  The Korea Herald

‘Seoul not as vulnerable as it seems’

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For most South Koreans, war with North Korea is something unfathomable. Regardless of its outcome, they are convinced any armed conflict here would end with millions of casualties and the complete devastation of the South’s flourishing economy.

Such worries are shaped by the notion that Seoul and its surrounding provinces, home to some 25 million Koreans and well within the range of the communist North’s artillery and ballistic missiles, would be reduced to ashes if attacked.

Although Seoul is within the North’s striking range, it is not as vulnerable as many seem to believe, said Shin Won-shik, a retired Army three-star general who has overseen numerous computerized military exercises simulating all-out war with North Korea. The North will not have “unlimited freedom” in attacking the South, he added.

“Exaggerating North Korea’s threat or minimizing it — both harm our national security,” Shin, who served as commander of the Capital Defense Command and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before leaving the Army in 2016, said in an interview with The Korea Herald.

“It seems like all South Korean people are treating North Korea as if they are facing their own death. Since they are so afraid to face death, they choose to turn away from it. It’s time for a reality check on what we are really facing.”

Shin Won-shik, a retired army three-star general who served as a top operational strategist at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, poses during an interview with The Korea Herald. Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald

The defense of South Korea and US forces stationed here focus on denying the North the chance to launch those rockets and other weapons, he continued.

“Usually, one TEL (transporter erector launcher) carries one missile, and others are placed in storage sites. If we destroy the storage, we only have to deal with the weapons mounted on TELs. And if we take out the communication centers, the TEL becomes useless because it can’t receive an order for launch,” he said.

Then the question comes down to taking out the TELs and those weapons already mounted on them. If they are not destroyed near storage sites, they could be at launch sites or on their way to them.

“The route is a fixed target like a tunnel or a bridge. So we can detect and destroy it,” Shin said. “Then the TELs will end up at exposed launch sites. By concentrating on reconnaissance and airstrike assets, we can neutralize the remaining TELs.”

However, if some TELs manage to survive and launch missiles, the missile shield should shoot down incoming missiles, which is more difficult than eliminating them before their launch. But the chance of interception will be dramatically increased if South Korea completes the building of a multilayered missile defense system by 2020 as planned, Shin said.

North Korea released a computerized footage of Hwasong-14 missile launches in August. Yonhap

Similar tactics — destroying operational links to the weapon system before the launch — can be applied to North Korea’s artillery cannons and rocket launchers, Shin said.

North Korea has a massive artillery force deployed along the border, which it claims could turn Seoul into a “sea of fire.” The North’s 240-mm multiple rocket launchers are considered to be capable of raining up to 10,000 rounds during the first hour of such a conflict.

But Shin said the North’s artillery shells are not powerful enough to penetrate the concrete structures of Seoul, and South Korea can minimize its civilian casualties by taking precautionary measures before the shells hit the ground.

Evidence of this can be found in the North’s shelling of Yeonpyeongdo in 2010. Pyongyang launched an artillery barrage at the island, but it only scratched houses and facilities there. Four people died, but they were outside and without cover. Those who stayed indoors survived.

“Our counterfire radar will detect incoming artillery shells and can figure out where they would come down. As long as people can find shelter in concrete structures and underground shelters when the siren goes off, they will survive,” he said.

Of course, there is no “100 percent guarantee.” Unlike simulation exercises, in a real wartime situation, things can go wrong in unanticipated ways. He also warned against the growing asymmetry between the two Koreas, as the North develops nuclear weapons.

Still, Shin believes that South Koreans are overly pessimistic about their chances of surviving a North Korean attack and this could make North Korean leader Kim Jong-un think that he has a trump card in that the South would never risk a war.

“South Korea’s insensitivity to national security takes on a very negative form. It is built upon extreme fear, not self-confidence. We have to constantly signal to Kim Jong-un that any provocation would cost his life,” he stressed.

“The military has been reluctant to share such information due to operational security. But that is the very reason why we are left to do nothing and turn North Korea into an invincible monster that we can never defeat.”

North Korea stages a massive rally at Pyongyang to support the regime`s missile and nuclear program. Yonhap

Shin said one of the most efficient ways to boost deterrence against North Korea is the development of a “decapitation plan,” a clandestine operation designed to assassinate Kim, possibly with bunker-busting cruise missiles or the dispatch of special warfare elite units.

It is crucial to restore the “balance of terror” with the nuclear-armed North, as the North is likely to place more value on the life of its supreme leader Kim than the millions living in Pyongyang.

“The balance of terror between the two Koreas can be better achieved by putting Kim Jong-un’s life at risk,” said Shin.

“The South having the ability to take out the North’s leadership at any time would be extremely stressful not only to Kim, but his inner circle. It definitely can make them reluctant to use a nuclear weapon.”

Despite Kim’s relentless pursuit of nuclear capabilities and his bellicose rhetoric for nuclear warfare, Shin said it is extremely unlikely for him to use a nuclear weapon as a pre-emptive strike because he has no death wish.

“North Korea develops nuclear weapons for survival. I don’t think they will use it. … If they drop a nuclear weapon on US territory — or even Seoul, they know they will be wiped off the map,” he said

By Yeo Jun-suk (jasonyeo@heraldcorp.com)

 

Source  :  The Korea Herald

 

[Newsmaker] ‘Farewell ceremony’ held for two recovered Sewol victims

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Three years and six months since the Sewol ferry sank in waters off Jindo, the bereaved families of two Danwon High School victims held a farewell ceremony on Monday.

Bereaved families of Danwon High school students Cho Eun-hwa (left) and Huh Da-yoon hold a farewell ceremony at Seoul Plaza on Monday. Yonhap

Attended by victims’ grieving families, officials in charge of the salvage operation and some 30 other people, the ceremony was held following the wishes of the mothers of Cho Eun-hwa and Heo Da-yoon.

“It would have been better to hold funerals for our children with other passengers still missing from the disaster. That’s why we want to call (today’s function) a farewell ceremony,” the families said. The bodies of five passengers are still unaccounted for.

In April, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries began a search of the recovered wreckage and discovered from inside the ferry the remains of Danwon High School teacher Go Chang-suk and student Heo Da-yoon. In the following month, the remains of Danwon High School student Cho Eun-hwa and passenger Lee Young-sook were discovered.

Marking the start of a long-awaited end, families held Saturday a send-off ceremony for two girls at Mokpo Port in South Jeolla Province, where the 6,825-ton ferry that had been lying at a depth of 44 meters since 2014 April was raised on March 23. Since then, the search operation for five unrecovered passengers’ remains has been underway.

Two victims’ portraits were then moved to a multipurpose hall at Seoul City Hall as part of the families’ efforts to express gratitude to the people who had prayed for them and shed tears alongside them. Over the weekend, hundreds of people visited and laid flowers in front of the portraits of Cho and Huh.

Monday’s farewell ceremony was brief. Many watched the two mothers thanking those who wished for the return of their daughters.

“I want to look at her face again,” said Lee Keum-hui, mother of Cho Eun-hwa, approaching the portrait of her smiling daughter. “Thanks to all your prayers, I am now ready to send my daughter to a peaceful place, taken out from the cold freezer which her body was kept for so long.”

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon also attended the ceremony, and could be seen consoling the mothers.

“Knowing no end to the endless sorrow of this tragedy, the entire nation cried and suffered together. Suffering like this should never be repeated,” Park said.

While the families decided not to hold a formal funeral ceremony, portraits were shortly placed at a classroom in Danwon High School, which the two first-year students had attended prior to the tragic sinking. Their bodies will lie at Seoho Funeral Park in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, where other Sewol victims have been laid in state.

The search team has yet to find the remains of five of the 304 victims, including two other Danwon High School students, a teacher and a father and son.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)

 

Source  :  The Korea Herald

Iran urges France to join Astana talks on Syria

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September 25, 2017

TEHRAN – Kamal Kharrazi, head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, said on Monday that Iran will be happy if France joins the Astana talks on settling the long-running Syrian conflict.

During a meeting with Michel Duclos, the director general of France’s Académie Diplomatique Internationale, Kharrazi said France has been enjoying influence in the region and Iran welcomes use of such influence to help bring the warring sides together in Syria.

Commenting on the U.S. position on the region, he said, “The U.S. position is contrary to the realities in the region.”

He asked, “How is possible that Iran not play a role in settling regional crises while the country plays an important role in the region and fights against the terrorists?”

Kharrazi who was foreign minister from 1997 to 2005, said that the U.S. opposition to Iran’s participation in the process of settling the Syrian crisis is a “dangerous” and “conspiratorial” policy which proves the U.S. is not sincere in the war on terrorism.

For his part, Duclos said that France is well aware that no solution can be found to the regional crises without Iran’s active involvement.

Iran, Turkey and Russia brokered the Astana dialogue on Syria and the first five rounds of the talks were held on January 23-24, February 15-16, March 14-15, May 3-4 and July 4-5.

The sixth round of talks were held on September 13-15.

NA/PA

 

Source  :  Tehran Times