Japan: Chinese Missiles Fired Into Japanese Territory

By Douglas F. Roberts, The Chicago Times

August 5, 2022

TOKYO – Japanese officials protested the incursion of five ballistic missiles, launched by China, that landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone on Thursday.

Japanese defense minister Nobuo Kishi said that China launched a large-scale military exercise on Thursday that included the firing of live ammunition in areas surrounding Taiwan.

“To have five Chinese missiles fall within Japan’s EEZ like this is a first.  We have protested strongly through diplomatic channels.  This is a serious problem that concerns Japan’s security and the safety of our citizens.  We strongly condemn this action,” Kishi said at a news conference.

The Japanese EEZ spans some 200 nautical miles from the outer limits of Japan’s territorial seas.

The military exercise comes two days after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit in 25 years.

According to Chinese state controlled media, the military exercises are being conducted to simulate an air and sea blockade of Taiwan.

In response, Taiwan’s defense ministry said in a statement that its military was remaining at “normal” readiness and called the live-fire drills “irrational” and Taiwan forces “. . . will act appropriately,” when responding to any challenge.

Mexican Miners Trapped In Coal Mine

By R. M. Vargas, The Chicago Times

August 4, 2022

MEXICO CITY – Ten coal miners are trapped in a flooded coal mine after an inner wall collapsed Wednesday.

Mexican authorities and first responders are working fervently to save the ten miners.  According to the Security and Citizen Protection Ministry, three miners have been rescued and sent to an area hospital.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said via Twitter “At 1:35 p.m. there was a landslide in a coal mine in the municipality of Sabinas, Coahuila, which caused a sinkhole to be flooded . . . I hope we find them safe.”

Russia Strikes Port Of Odessa Port One Day After Ukraine Grain Deal

By H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

July 23, 2022

ODESSA — Russian missiles strike Ukraine’s port of Odessa just one day after Russia and Ukraine signed a deal to reopen Black Sea ports.

According to Ukraine military officials, Russia attacked the Odessa sea trade port with Kalibr cruise missiles.  Two of the missiles were shot down by air defense forces while two missiles struck infrastructure of the port.

The landmark grain deal signed on Friday, which was brokered by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, includes the port of Odessa as well as the ports of Yuzhne and Chornomorsk, was hoped to ease the looming food crisis.  Odessa has been under Russian blockade since the start of hostilities.

According to the grain deal, a coalition of Turkish, Ukrainian, and the United Station will oversee the loading of grain into cargo ships before they transit a preplanned route through the heavily mined Black Sea.  Some critics have argued that Russia agreed to the deal so they can access information on unmined areas.

According to Ukraine officials, there are about 20 million tons grain waiting to be exported.  It is feared that a global food crisis is eminent as hostilities between Russia and Ukraine continue.

Communist North Korea Conducts Artillery Fire Drills

By Douglas F. Roberts, The Chicago Times

July 11, 2022

SEOUL – South Korea claims communist North Korea may have conducted artillery firing drills in response to the deployment of an advanced fighter jet by the United States to South Korea in a joint training exercise.

According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, defense forces detected “multiple trajectories” presumed to be North Korean artillery on Sunday afternoon.

“Our military spotted flight trajectories that are suspected to be North Korea’s multiple rocket launchers from around 18:21 to 18:37 pm today.  Our military has strengthened surveillance and vigilance and maintained a thorough readiness posture while keeping close US-South Korea cooperation,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

South Korea’s defense forces said the suspected artillery fire occurred off the communist North’s west coast.  Kim Sung-han, South Korea’s National Security Advisor said his office monitors launches by the communist North on a regular basis.

Currently, communist North Korea has conducted massive weapons test and is suspected of preparing to resume underground nuclear weapons tests after a 5-year hiatus.  Even more alarming is communist North Korea’s test launch of a nuclear-capable missile that can reach the US mainland and allies.

The US and South Korean governments have repeatedly said they have no intention of invading or attacking communist North Korea, which invaded South Korea in June of 1950 along with help from communist China.  By 1953, communist aggression had caused the death 170,927 allied troops with 32,585 declared missing in action.  Since an armistice was signed in June of 1953 without a formal peace treaty, communist North Korea is technically still at war with South Korea and allied forces.

Photo: KCNA via REUTERS

President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka To Resign

By S. E. Flynn, The Chicago Times

July 10, 2022

COLOMBO — Sri Lanka’s president and prime minister agreed to resign Saturday after protesters stormed the presidential residence and set fire to the private residence of the prime minister.

According to the Parliament, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe agreed to leave office once a new government is formed and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will leave office Wednesday.  The resignations come after massive protests over the nation’s economic collapse and shortages of goods and energy.

Government security forces attempted to impose a curfew to prevent protests, however the curfew was later lifted as opposition leaders and legal experts exposed it as illegal.  Over the next day, thousands of protestors stormed the capital, Colombo, and forced their way into the presidential residence.  Protesters later made their way to the prime minister’s private residence and set it a blaze.  It is unclear if the president or the prime minister were in their homes at the time.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena later issued a statement that parliamentary leaders had met and formally requested that President Rajapaksa leave office.  Rajapaksa agreed to leave after a new government is safely in place.

“He asked me to inform the country that he will make his resignation on Wednesday the 13th, because there is a need to hand over power peacefully.  Therefore there is no need for further disturbances in the country, and I urge everyone for the sake of the country to maintain peace to enable a smooth transition,” Abeywardena said in a statement.

Rauff Hakeem, opposition leader, announced that parliament had agreed that the speaker of Parliament would become the temporary president in the interim government.

Wickremesinghe announced his resignation but said he would not step down until a new government is formed.

“Today in this country we have a fuel crisis, a food shortage, we have the head of the World Food Program coming here and we have several matters to discuss with the IMF.  Therefore, if this government leaves there should be another government.” Wickremesinghe said in a statement.

Sri Lanka: Government Orders Crackdown On Protesters

By S. E. Flynn, The Chicago Times

July 9, 2022

COLOMBO – Government police imposed a curfew in Sri Lanka’s capital and surrounding areas on Friday as planned protests for the resignation of the country’s president and prime minister grow louder as a result of the economic crisis and severe shortages of goods.

According to interviews, protesters believe President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickremesinghe are responsible for the economic crisis.  Sri Lanka has been experiencing severe shortages of goods and energy.  Many opposition activists announced that thousands will continue to protest on Saturday despite the curfew.  Many believe the curfew is illegal and a violation of human rights.

“Get on to the streets tomorrow. Defy the dictatorship and join with the people to make democracy victorious.” Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said on Twitter.

Sri Lanka is the midst of an economic crisis that includes massive shortages of goods and fuel to operate power stations and transportation.  There have been reports of daily rationing  of electrical power and citizens waiting hours to purchase gasoline and other goods.  In addition, Sri Lanka has suspended repayments of $7 billion in foreign debt due this year.  Without the ability to repay debts, Sri Lanka will be unable to import fuel, food, and medicine.

President Rajapaksa admitted he did not take steps to prevent the economic collapse and bluntly stated he will not leave office and ordered police to tear gas protestors.