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North Korea may have new atom test to boost heir: South

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 6:26 am

 North Korea could conduct a third atomic test next year to boost the credentials of its leader-in-waiting, while prospects for bilateral talks with Seoul are slim, a South Korean foreign ministry report said on Friday.

The regular report from a ministry research institute was published a day after Pyongyang vowed a nuclear “sacred war” after the South vowed to be “merciless” if attacked, and held a major military drill near the border.

A North Korean Scud-B missile (C) and South Korean Hawk surface-to-air missiles are seen at the Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul, December 24, 2010.

The North, which carried out nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, has yet to show it has a deliverable weapon as part of its plutonium arms program, but a third test would raise tensions further on the divided peninsula and rattle global markets.

Nuclear experts have also said they expect a third test soon, while South Korean media reported earlier this month that the North was digging a tunnel in preparation for one.

“There is a possibility of North Korea carrying out its third nuclear test to seek improvement in its nuclear weapons production capability, keep the military tension high and promote Kim Jong-un’s status as the next leader,” the report said, referring to Kim Jong-il’s youngest son.

“Tension between the two Koreas will remain high with chances of additional North Korean attacks on the South staying high. Chances of a summit meeting between leaders of the two sides look slim,” the institute said, according to a summary of the report.

The analysis for 2011 was written by the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, run by the Foreign Ministry.


Hostilities have escalated to their worst levels since the Korean war in the early 1950s, after a deadly naval clash in March and the North’s shelling of a South Korean island last month.

Still, the risk of an all-out war is low, and the North’s threats of destruction are largely rhetorical.

The North’s tactic of boasting about nuclear advances is a ploy aimed at restarting talks between itself, the South, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, from which it hopes to wring concessions, analysts say.

“Some form of meeting between six-party members could be held during 2011 to discuss North Korea’s uranium enrichment, but chances are very low for any meaningful progress being achieved,” the institute said.

Those involved in the six-party process say they want to resume it, but among them are widely differing starting points.

China, the North’s only major ally and vital financial backer, sees the forum as the best place to begin dialogue, but Seoul, Washington and Tokyo say they first need proof that Pyongyang is committed to dismantling its nuclear work.

“North Korea has displayed national strength and diplomatic skills that exceed its actual capacity. Kim Jong’s mental strength must be exhausted, and it is about time that China loses its patience,” Seoul’s Joongang Daily said in a commentary.

“The time has come for Seoul to strategically manipulate the North Korea-China alliance to encourage estrangement.”

Source: SGGP

France to join Japan atom bomb ceremonies

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2010 at 7:21 am

PARIS, Aug 2, 2010 (AFP) – France will join Japan’s commemoration of the World War II atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the first time this year, the French foreign ministry said on Monday.

France will send its Japan embassy’s charge d’affaires to take part in the annual remembrance ceremonies in the two cities on August 6 and 9, a deputy spokesman for the ministry, Christine Fages, told reporters.

“It is the first time France has participated in this event,” she added.

As well as remembering the dead, France aims “to reaffirm its will to achieve a safer international environment allowing all aims of the Non-Proliferation Treaty to be fulfilled, notably in terms of nuclear disarmament.”

On August 6, 1945, a US B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, incinerating the city and killing 140,000 people in the first nuclear attack in history.

Foreign tourists pose for souvenir pictures in front of the altar for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park in western Japan on August 1, 2010. AFP

Three days later, the United States dropped a second bomb on the port city of Nagasaki. About 70,000 of the city’s 240,000 residents died instantly or succumbed to their wounds or sickness.

The bombings led to Japan’s formal surrender in the war on September 2, 1945.

Source: SGGP

US to attend Hiroshima atom bomb memorial for first time

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2010 at 7:19 am

HIROSHIMA, Japan, Aug 3, 2010 (AFP) – Sixty-five years after a mushroom cloud rose over Hiroshima, the United States will for the first time send an envoy this Friday to commemorate the bombing that rang in the nuclear age.

Its World War II allies Britain and France, both declared nuclear powers, will also send their first diplomats to the ceremony in the western Japanese city in a sign of support for the goal of nuclear disarmament.

Japan, the only country that has ever been attacked with atomic bombs — first on August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima, and three days later in Nagasaki — has pushed for the abolition of the weapons of mass destruction ever since.

A Japanese couple prays before the altar for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park in western Japan on August 1, 2010. AFP

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who arrives in Japan on Tuesday, will be the first UN chief to attend the ceremony.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirsky said Ban wanted to draw attention to “the urgent need to achieve global nuclear disarmament”.

In Japan, a pacifist nation since its WWII surrender six days after the Nagasaki bombing, memories of the nuclear horror still run deep.

“Little Boy”, the four-tonne uranium bomb detonated over Hiroshima at 8:15 am, caused a blinding flash and a fireball hot enough to melt sand into glass and vaporise every human within a one mile (1.6 kilometre) radius.

An estimated 140,000 people died instantly as the white-hot blast turned the city centre into rubble and ash, and in the days and weeks afterwards from burns and radiation sickness caused by the fallout dubbed the “black rain”.

The death toll from the second bomb, the plutonium weapon dubbed “Fat Man” that hit Nagasaki on August 9, has been estimated at 70,000.

Japan surrendered on August 15, ending World War II in the Pacific.

The United States has never apologised for the twin attacks which, surveys show, most Americans believe were necessary to bring a quick end to the war and avoid a land invasion that could have been more costly.

Others see the attacks as unnecessary and perhaps experimental atrocities.

The US ambassador to Japan, John Roos, is due to attend and lay a wreath “to express respect for all of the victims of World War II”, the US State Department said.

Since the end of the Cold War, worries have grown about the nuclear ambitions of states such as North Korea and Iran, and the threat of “non-state actors” such as militant groups getting the bomb.

US President Barack Obama outlined his long-term goal of a world free of nuclear weapons in an April 2009 speech in Prague that was cited as a key factor in his winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

“The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War,” Obama said, stressing that “generations lived with the knowledge that their world could be erased in a single flash of light”.

Pointing to the danger of terrorist groups acquiring the deadly technology, Obama said that “in a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up”.

A year later, in April this year, Obama signed a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia and hosted a 47-nation summit that pledged to stop militant groups from acquiring fissile materials.

Many in Japan expect Obama to become the first US president in office to visit Hiroshima when he travels to Japan in October for an Asia-Pacific summit, after he earlier signalled an intention to do so.

The group Mayors for Peace, which now counts 4,069 local governments worldwide, last week reiterated its call on nations to immediately start talks for an international treaty to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020.

Two decades after the Cold War ended, the United States and Russia still have more than 22,000 nuclear warheads between them, and France, Britain, China, India, Pakistan and Israel have a combined total of about 1,000, says the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.

The global stockpile has a blast capacity of 150,000 Hiroshima bombs.

Source: SGGP

Quark by quark, atom smasher closing in on ‘God particle’

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2010 at 7:17 am

The world’s biggest atom smasher has scaled up in power even faster than hoped for and may soon unlock some of the universe’s deepest secrets, scientists said Monday at a top physics conference.

After a shaky start and a 14-month delay, experiments at Europe’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have in a few months replicated discoveries it took decades to complete at the rival Tevatron accelerator in the United States.

At this pace, the more powerful LHC could begin to deliver new insights into the fundamental nature of the cosmos within months, they said.

It may even put researchers on a discovery fast track for the elusive Higgs Boson, or ‘God particle’.

German particle physicist and the Director General of CERN, Rolf-Dieter Heuer poses during a press conference in Paris, during the 35th International Conference on High Energy Physics (Ichep).

Already in March, the 27-kilometre (16.8-mile) circular accelerator buried under the French-Swiss border set records for smashing protons fired in beams approaching the speed of light.

“It is barely four months since the first collisions with this machine at high energy levels, and we have increased the collision rates by more than a factor of 1,000,” said Rolf Heur, director of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), which operates the LHC.

Scientists sift through the wreckage of the sub-atomic crashes for new particles.

“The experiments show that the LHC is ready to see new physics — if there is a new physics,” he told AFP at a International Conference on High Energy Physics in Paris running to July 28.

One goal of the massive 3.9-billion-euro (5.2-billion-dollar) machine is to affirm or disprove the so-called Standard Model.

Experiments at the Tevatron’s Fermilab in the US have found most of the tiny and ephemeral matter predicted to exist by the theory, including a family of particles called quarks.

The heaviest among them, known as the “top quark,” is so fleeting that it only exists for a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second before turning into something else.

In its brief period of operation, the LHC has already zeroed in on the top quark, isolating a handful of candidate particles.

“The scientific community thought it would take one, maybe two years to get to this level, but it happened in three months,” said Guy Wormser, a top French physicist and chairman of the conference.

The only fundamental particle predicted by the Model yet to be observed is the Higgs Boson, but only the LHC may be powerful enough to detect it, scientists say.

So far, CERN has cranked the cathedral-sized machine up to energy levels of 7.0 trillion (tera) electronvolts (TeV), more than three times the level attained by any other accelerator.

It is aiming to trigger collisions at 14 TeV — equivalent to 99.99 percent of the speed of light — in the cryogenically-cooled machine after 2011.

At full throttle, the collisions should create powerful but microscopic bursts of energy that mimic conditions close to the Big Bang.

“The LHC should give us results on the Higgs Boson in 2014 or 2015,” Wormser told AFP. “If it has a big mass, it could be at the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012.”

If the European collider does uncover the God particle, physicists would be confronted with another problem, he said.

“We’ll need a new tool to study it in detail. We should think ahead, because it will take 20 years to build and cost 10 billion euros,” he Wormser told AFP.

But even if validated, the Standard Model only accounts for about five percent of energy and matter in the Universe.

Dark matter and dark energy are thought to make up the rest, but have yet to be detected.

“In a few months, LHC will search for dark matter particles, which make up about 25 percent of the mass of the galaxies,” said Wormser.

Source: SGGP

Japanese atom bomb survivors arrive in VN

In Uncategorized on September 15, 2008 at 10:54 am

A Japansese delegation, which included 104 survivors of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, arrived at the central port of Da Nang on Saturday. — VNA/VNS Photo Vu Cong Dien

Da Nang – One hundred and four Japanese survivors of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki arrived in a “Peace Boat” at the central port of Da Nang on Saturday.

Their visit marked the 35th anniversary of the two nations’ diplomatic ties.

The Japanese met with Vietnamese Agent Orange/Dioxin victims in the presence of former vice State president Nguyen Thi Binh, who is Honorary President of the Viet Nam Association of the Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin.

Shortly after disembarking, survivors Sakai said: “Hello Viet Nam! Hello Da Nang! I would like to convey a message to protest war. I hope you will share our hopes and join hands for world peace.”

84-year-old Nakamura Kykoyo, the oldest atom bomb survivor in the Japanese mission, shed tears as she saw Vietnamese dioxin victims.

“Before the visit we used to think that we – the victims of atomic bombs – suffered the greatest misery. Now that we have met Vietnamese dioxin victims, we have learned that you have suffered misery as we have,” said Nakamura.

Omori Takaki, 77, who was exposed directly to toxic chemicals, expressed hopes that future generations would do everything possible to ensure peace across the world.

Katsuys Omori, who represented the Japanese victims, said, “Our two nations have both experienced miseries caused by wars. We should unite to promote a peaceful world.”

Mme. Nguyen Thi Binh, agreed with Japanese victims’ statements, saying the message of peace would yield success.

Later, the Japanese survivors joined the celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Viet Nam-Japan diplomatic ties at the municipal Trung Vuong theatre.

They also met and presented gifts to Agent Orange victims and poor students.

Also, during their two-day stay in the city, Peace Boat passengers organised an exhibition of 40 photos taken by veteran Japanese reporter Ishikawa Bunyo, who spent years in the South of Viet Nam during the American War. Bunyo earlier held a photo exhibition entitled “War and Peace” at the Museum of War Remnants in HCM City.

Upon leaving, the Peace Boat will take three Vietnamese Agent Orange victims from Da Nang on a trip to promote world peace. However, due to health conditions, the selected Vietnamese will only reach Singapore before flying home on Thursday. This is the Peace Boat’s 39th journey to Viet Nam. —