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Hong Kong Ship Seized By South Korea After Being Caught Helping North Koreans

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(Via Zerohedge)

Just days after we showed satellite images which indicated that Chinese ships were trading oil with North Korean ships in a blatant violation of UN Security Council sanctions, South Korea said Friday that it was holding a Hong Kong flagged ship suspected of doing just that.

The Lighthouse Winmore is believed to have “secretly transferred” about 600 tons of refined petroleum products to the North Korean ship, the Sam Jong 2, in international waters in the East China Sea on Oct. 19, according to Bloomberg and the Associated Press.

The Hong Kong vessel had previously visited Yeosu port on Oct. 11 to load up on Japanese oil products and departed the port while claiming its destination was Taiwan. Instead, it transferred the oil to the Sam Jong 2 and three other non-North Korean vessels in international waters

The vessel was chartered by Taiwanese company Billions Bunker Group, which is incorporated in the Marshall Islands. According to Bloomberg, Taiwanese investigators are looking into whether any Taiwanese nationals have ties to the ship that was seized on Friday, Taiwan’s Maritime and Port Bureau says in statement on its website.

Photos from US recon satellites released earlier this week showed at least 30 illegal transactions involving Chinese vessels selling oil to North Korea on the West Sea in October. The images allegedly showed large Chinese and North Korean ships transacting in oil in a part of the West Sea closer to China than South Korea. The satellite pictures were so clear, they even showed the names of the ships.

Amusingly, Beijing on Thursday said there was no illicit trade, with defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang denying everything and claiming that China and its military strictly enforced the UN resolutions on North Korea.

“The situation you have mentioned absolutely does not exist,” Ren said at a regular media briefing, without elaborating.

According to Chinese customs data, the country did not export any oil products to North Korea in November.

South Korean customs authorities boarded the ship and interviewed crew members after they returned to Yeosu on Nov. 24. South Korea formally seized the ship after the UN Security Council on Dec. 22 imposed new sanctions on North Korea that allow member states to seize, inspect and freeze vessels that are suspected of transferring banned goods to or from North Korea, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office rules.

The ship’s 25 crew members – 23 of them Chinese nationals and two from Myanmar – are being held at Yeosu but will be allowed to leave South Korea after authorities are finished investigating them, the official said. South Korea plans to report the results of its inspection to the UN Security Council’s sanctions committee.

Whether the Sam Jong 2 returned to North Korea after receiving the oil could not be confirmed.

The Treasury Department last month sanctioned six North Korean shipping and trading companies and 20 of their vessels. The North Korean ship seen accepting oil transfers in the photos released by the Treasury Department was identified as the Rye Song Gang 1.

Ship-to-ship trade with North Korea at sea is prohibited under the round of UN sanctions adopted on Sept. 11. A subsequent round of sanctions aimed at restricting the North Korean energy trade was passed earlier this month.

President Donald Trump criticized China in a tweet published last night:

Amusingly, Beijing on Thursday said there was no illicit trade, with defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang denying everything and claiming that China and its military strictly enforced the UN resolutions on North Korea.

“The situation you have mentioned absolutely does not exist,” Ren said at a regular media briefing, without elaborating.

According to Chinese customs data, the country did not export any oil products to North Korea in November.

South Korean customs authorities boarded the ship and interviewed crew members after they returned to Yeosu on Nov. 24. South Korea formally seized the ship after the UN Security Council on Dec. 22 imposed new sanctions on North Korea that allow member states to seize, inspect and freeze vessels that are suspected of transferring banned goods to or from North Korea, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office rules.

The ship’s 25 crew members – 23 of them Chinese nationals and two from Myanmar – are being held at Yeosu but will be allowed to leave South Korea after authorities are finished investigating them, the official said. South Korea plans to report the results of its inspection to the UN Security Council’s sanctions committee.

Whether the Sam Jong 2 returned to North Korea after receiving the oil could not be confirmed.

The Treasury Department last month sanctioned six North Korean shipping and trading companies and 20 of their vessels. The North Korean ship seen accepting oil transfers in the photos released by the Treasury Department was identified as the Rye Song Gang 1.

Ship-to-ship trade with North Korea at sea is prohibited under the round of UN sanctions adopted on Sept. 11. A subsequent round of sanctions aimed at restricting the North Korean energy trade was passed earlier this month.

President Donald Trump criticized China in a tweet published last night:

Caught RED HANDED – very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!

China is responsible for more than 90% of North Korea’s foreign trade and oil supplies.

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Europe

Mass Migration ‘Dangerous Failure’ Says Hungary Official

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Mass migration is dangerous not only regarding terrorism, public security, culture and social security, but also the whole healthcare system, State Secretary Bence Retvari told Hungarian daily Magyar Hirlap.

According to Retvari, European epidemiological organisations have recorded a significant rise of communicable diseases, including those which had already disappeared from Europe thanks to vaccinations. Such cases have been documented in Malta, Italy and even Germany. According to the German Robert Koch Institute, since 2015 there’s a 300% rise in Hepatitis B and measles, and a 200% in malaria and syphilis cases. The frequency of diseases of unknown origin has grown from 14 to 26%.

According to Retvari, by supporting the “migrant visa” (humanitarian visa), the European Parliament “gave green light to millions of illegal and economic migrants, bringing even more dangers to Europe.”

“If we compare how much would Brussels spend on integrating one immigrant in Europe, – which is clearly a failed attempt based on the experiences of the recent decades -, and how much it costs to restore a home in a crisis zone, it’s clear that with the same amount of money we can help a lot more people in their areas than in Europe,” Retvari stressed.

He reminded that with the Hungary Helps programme the government was able to help thousands of people to restart their lives in Iraq. “So this solution is better considering effectiveness, social peace and the actually persecuted people too,” he added. According to the politician, this is the solution chosen by those who really want to help, unlike the “hypocritical Brussels elite.”

(Read Article Here)

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Military

WATCH: Israel Blows Up Hamas TV Station

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(Via Zerohedge)

The escalation in violence began when earlier in the day Monday thousands of mourners in the Gaza Strip buried seven militants killed during the Israeli commando raid and accompanying aircraft cover fire that resulted in strikes on the strip, which further led to sporadic rocket fire from Hamas.

One Israeli soldier was reported killed during the high risk operation which reportedly involved the commandos entering Gaza by civilian car in order to take out a gathering of Hamas military leaders.

During the Gaza funeral the crowd chanted “revenge” amidst masked gunmen in camouflage.

Apparently that “revenge” came in the form of a mortar shell fired from Gaza which scored a direct hit on a bus in southern Israel, severely wounding a 19-year-old Israeli. According to multiple regional reports this was followed by a barrage of over 100 rockets fired from Gaza toward Israel within only an hour’s time. Israeli sources have reported multiple injuries and extensive damage from the rockets, many of which may have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

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World

South Africa Testing “Confiscation” Of White Land To Build Affordable Housing

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The debate about land redistribution in South Africa has been a passionate one, as many South African cities face a housing crunch that has left hundreds of thousands of people living in informal settlements. Just as this debate is starting to reach a fever pitch, one South African city, Ekurhuleni, is about to embark on what mayor Mzwandile Masina calls “a test case” for the nation: the government is going to seize hundreds of acres of land, from white citizens without paying for it, to build low-cost housing.

Last month, the city voted in favor of pushing forward with “expropriation without compensation”. According to ABC News, this was cited by the African National Congress as a legal rule that is necessary in order to distribute land equitably and correct “historic injustices” that took place in the country.

The mayor of Ekurhuleni stated the same thing, saying that landowners in South Africa should not be scared. Mayor Masina told AP: “Our policy is not to take the land by force. Our policy is to make sure the land is shared amongst those that need it.” It was unclear what those whom the land is taken from thought about this policy.

The total amount of land that’s going to be expropriated amounts to about 865 acres. The land is both private and government owned, and some of it has been vacant for decades. Masina, who heads the local ANC-led coalition, did not specify which landowners will be hit be the measure.

The internationally debated land reform was approved by South Africa’s ruling party to address the historic injustices of apartheid, and distribute land among the population more equitably. According to the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, over 77 percent of South African farms and agricultural holdings are owned by white citizens with only four percent of lands belonging to black South Africans. White citizens make up just nine percent of the country’s population, while black citizens account for 76 percent. This, to the ruling regime, is a green light to repossess land that has been owned by white citizens, in many cases for generations.

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