International news brief: UN ponders rapid armed force to help end Haiti's crisis and more
Washington, Oct 10: UN Secretary-General António Guterres submitted a letter to the Security Council on Sunday proposing the immediate activation of a rapid action force following a plea for help from Haiti as gangs and protesters paralyse the country.
The letter, which was seen by The Associated Press but has not been made public, said the rapid action force would be deployed by one or several member states to help Haiti's National Police.
That force would "remove the threat posed by armed gangs and provide immediate protection to critical infrastructure and services," as well as secure the "free movement of water, fuel, food and medical supplies from main ports and airports to communities and health care facilities." The letter also states the secretary-general may deploy "additional UN capacities to support a ceasefire or humanitarian arrangements."
N Korea confirms nuke missiles tests to 'wipe out' enemies
North Korea said Monday its recent barrage of missile launches were tests of its tactical nuclear weapons to "hit and wipe out" potential South Korean and U.S. targets, state media reported Monday. Leader Kim Jong Un signaled he would conduct more provocative tests in coming weeks.
The North's statement, released on the 77th birthday of its ruling Workers' Party, is seen as an attempt to buttress a public unity behind Kim as he faces pandemic-related economic hardships, a security threat posed by the boosted U.S.-South Korean military alliance and other difficulties.
"Through seven times of launching drills of the tactical nuclear operation units, the actual war capabilities ... of the nuclear combat forces ready to hit and wipe out the set objects at any location and any time were displayed to the full,"," the North's official Korean Central News Agency said.
Rain-fuelled landslide sweeps through Venezuela town; 22 dead
A landslide fuelled by flooding and days of torrential rain swept through a town in central Venezuela, leaving at least 22 people dead as it dragged mud, rocks and trees through neighbourhoods, authorities said Sunday. Dozens of people are missing. Residents of Las Tejerías in Santos Michelena, an agro-industrial town in Aragua state 87 kilometers southwest of Caracas, had just seconds to reach safety late Saturday as debris swept down a mountainside onto them. The official death toll rose to 22 after the recovery of 20 bodies on Sunday, Vice President Delcy Rodríguez told state-owned Venezolana de Televisión.
"There was a large landslide in the central area of Las Tejerías" where five streams overflowed, she said from the scene of the disaster. "We have already found 22 dead people; there are more than 52 missing." "There are still people walled in,'' Rodríguez said. ''We are trying to rescue them, to rescue them alive." She said shelters will be set up for people who lost their homes.
Ukraine nuclear plant reconnected to grid after line was cut
An external power line to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant - the biggest in Europe - was repaired on Sunday after shelling disconnected the facility from the grid and forced it to resort to emergency diesel generators, the UN nuclear watchdog said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said the 750-kilovolt line was reconnected to the plant on Sunday evening following repair work by Ukrainian engineers. That enabled the plant to start switching off the generators that had kicked in to provide it with power after the line - its last connection to the grid - was cut early Saturday.
(with PTI inputs)