Here is a round-up of the top developments around the world today.
1. Kim vows to build ‘invincible’ military while slamming US
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reviewed a rare exhibition of weapons systems and vowed to build an “invincible” military, as he accused the United States of creating tensions and not taking action to prove it has no hostile intent toward the North, state media reported Tuesday. In an apparent continued effort to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul, Kim also said his drive to build up his military isn’t targeted at South Korea and that there shouldn’t be another war pitting Korean people against each other.
2. Report concludes UK waited too long for virus lockdown
The British government waited too long to impose a lockdown in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, missing a chance to contain the disease and leading to thousands of unnecessary deaths, a parliamentary report concluded Tuesday. The deadly delay resulted from ministers’ failure to question the recommendations of scientific advisers, resulting in a dangerous level of “groupthink” that caused them to dismiss the more aggressive strategies adopted in East and Southeast Asia, according to the joint report from the House of Commons’ science and health committees.
3. Afghan minister wants more time on girls’ education
Afghanistan’s foreign minister appealed to the world for good relations on Monday but avoided making firm commitments on girls’ education despite international demands to allow all Afghan children to go back to school.
“The international community need to start cooperating with us,” acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said at an event organised by the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. “With this we will be able to stop insecurity and at the same time with this we will be able to engage positively with the world.” But the Taliban have so far refused to give ground on allowing girls to return to high school, one of the key demands of the international community after a decision last month that schools above the sixth grade would only reopen for boys.
4. Iraq says it has arrested top leader in Islamic State group
Iraq said on Monday it has detained a top leader of the Islamic State group and a longtime al-Qaida operative in a cross-border operation. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi tweeted the news, identifying the man as Sami Jasim, who oversees the Islamic State group’s financial operations and served as the deputy leader of IS under the late Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Jasim worked with al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant who was killed in a US airstrike in Iraq in 2006. He assumed various security positions in Iraq, and moved to Syria in 2015, after the Islamic State group, an al-Qaida offshoot, declared its caliphate in 2014 and became the deputy of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the extremist group’s leader.
5. Texas governor bars all COVID-19 vaccine mandates in state
Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott, responding to what he called “bullying” by the Biden Administration, on Monday barred all COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the state by any entity, including private employers. Abbott’s move sets him up for a clash with President Joe Biden, a Democrat who last month called on businesses nationwide to order their workers to be vaccinated or lose their jobs. At least several thousand people have since been fired for refusing to complyseveral thousand people have since been fired for refusing to comply