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South Korea’s President Promises Changes Amid Poor Showing At Polls

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South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has promised changes to his conservative administration after opposition parties romped to victory in Wednesday’s elections for the National Assembly.
With 99 percent of the votes counted, the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) and its satellite party appear to have won a combined 175 seats in the 300-seat parliament. The Rebuilding Korea party, considered allied with the DP, was expected to take about 12 seats, projections showed.
Yoon’s ruling People Power Party (PPP) and its satellite party were expected to have won 109 seats.
Turnout was 67 percent, the highest ever recorded for a parliamentary election. The National Elections Commission is expected to confirm the final results later on Thursday.
“When voters chose me, it was your judgement against the Yoon Suk-yeol administration and you are giving the Democratic Party the duty to take responsibility for the livelihood of the people and create a better society,” DP leader Lee Jae-myung said.
Lee defeated a conservative candidate considered a major Yoon ally to win his seat in the city of Incheon to the west of the capital, Seoul.
Wednesday’s election was widely seen as a mid-term confidence vote on Yoon, a former top prosecutor who narrowly beat Lee to take office in 2022 for a single five-year term.
Speaking after the scale of his party’s loss became clear, Yoon promised reform.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and other senior aides all offered their resignations. The PPP leader Han Dong-hoon also quit.
Yoon has suffered low approval ratings for months amid a failure to deliver on his policy agenda and voter upset over rising prices and a series of corruption scandals.
The election setback is likely to further tie his hands domestically.
“Given his likely lame duck status, the temptation for Yoon will be to focus on foreign policy where he will still have statutory power,” said Mason Richey, a professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.

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Nigerian Police Emerge Best At US Training Programme In Jordan

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Officers of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) have excelled and emerged the best at the just-concluded United Stated Special Programme for Embassy Augmentation Response (SPEAR) team mission at Amman, Jordan.
The training, which commenced on March 10, 2024, and concluded on April 3, 2024, was designed to enhance the team’s skills in responding to various emergencies and tactical situations.
The programme was conducted by the US Navy Seals and covered a wide range of topics, including several tactical drills and assessments, ensuring a well-rounded and thorough learning experience.
Speaking at the end of the training, the Nigeria team lead, Squadron Commander 23PMF, ACP Itse Daniel Amah,.
“Today marks a significant milestone in the journey of our 20 brave Mobile Police officers attached to the US Consulate General, Lagos, who have completed a course offered by the SPEAR on protection of national leadership tactical support team (PNLTST), here in Jordan International Policing Training “, he said
Officers of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have excelled and emerged the best at the just-concluded US Special Program for Embassy Augmentation Response (SPEAR) team mission at Amman, Jordan.
The training, which commenced on March 10, 2024, and concluded on April 3, 2024, was designed to enhance the team’s skills in responding to various emergencies and tactical situations.
The programme was conducted by the US Navy Seals and covered a wide range of topics, including several tactical drills and assessments, ensuring a well-rounded and thorough learning experience.
“This feat is not just a demonstration of their commitment and hard work but also a reflection of the solid and enduring partnership between Nigeria and the United States.
“On behalf of the IGP Kayode Egbetokun, I want to extend our deepest gratitude to the United States government and, in particular, the US Consulate General, Lagos, for their unwavering support and dedication to this program. The SPEAR initiative is a shining example of how collaboration between nations can enhance peace and security, not just for our respective countries but for the global community.
“The training our officers have received is invaluable and will undoubtedly play a crucial role in their mission to protect diplomatic personnel and ensure the safety of our leaders. As they return to their duties, I am confident that they will apply the skills and knowledge gained here to make a positive impact and continues to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and excellence.”
Also, Force PRO, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said: “the NPF is incredibly proud of these gallant men for their commitment and hard work throughout the training program as they were lauded as the best set to ever be trained.
“This achievement not only demonstrates their dedication to professional growth but also strengthens the capabilities of the Nigeria Police Force towards improved service delivery and sustainable national security and safety.”
“This feat is not just a demonstration of their commitment and hard work but also a reflection of the solid and enduring partnership between Nigeria and the United States.
“On behalf of the IGP Kayode Egbetokun, I want to extend our deepest gratitude to the United States government and, in particular, the US Consulate General, Lagos, for their unwavering support and dedication to this program. The SPEAR initiative is a shining example of how collaboration between nations can enhance peace and security, not just for our respective countries but for the global community.
“The training our officers have received is invaluable and will undoubtedly play a crucial role in their mission to protect diplomatic personnel and ensure the safety of our leaders. As they return to their duties, I am confident that they will apply the skills and knowledge gained here to make a positive impact and continues to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and excellence.”
“This achievement not only demonstrates their dedication to professional growth but also strengthens the capabilities of the Nigeria Police Force towards improved service delivery and sustainable national security and safety”.

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Biden Vows ‘Ironclad’ Support For Israel Amid Iran Attack

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United States President Joe Biden has promised Israel “ironclad” United States support amid fears that Tehran could launch reprisals for an attack that killed senior Iranians.
Mr Biden warned that Iran is threatening to launch a “significant attack” after Israel struck the Iranian consulate in Syria 10 days ago.
“We’re going to do all we can to protect Israel’s security,” he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, Iran’s leader said the Israeli attack in Damascus was equivalent to an attack on Iran itself.
“When they attacked our consulate area, it was like they attacked our territory,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech.
“The evil regime must be punished, and it will be punished.” It is not yet clear what form any reprisal attack would take.
For Iran to strike Israel directly would risk an even greater escalation in the conflict, and analysts have said Iran does not have the military capability for a significant confrontation.
A possible alternative is an attack via an Iranian proxy like Hezbollah, which frequently carries out smaller strikes on Israel from neighbouring Lebanon.
Yesterday an Iranian official warned Israel’s embassies were “no longer safe”, suggesting a consulate building could be a possible target.
Experts have also suggested Iran could target Israel with a cyber attack.
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Biden pressure on Israel not enough, say dissenting US officials
Thirteen people were killed in the 1 April attack on the Iranian consulate building, including senior Iranian military leaders.
Israel has not claimed responsibility for the attack, but is widely considered to have been behind it.
United States and Israeli forces in the region have been put on high alert in the days since.
Mr Biden’s remarks came as he was speaking to journalists at the White House last Wednesday alongside Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
“As I told Prime Minister Netanyahu, our commitment to Israel’s security against these threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad — let me say it again, ironclad,” Mr Biden said.
His comments come one day after Mr Biden, in an interview, called for a ceasefire in Gaza and said he disagreed with Mr Netanyahu’s war strategy.
“I think what he’s doing is a mistake. I don’t agree with his approach,” he said in an interview with Univision that was recorded a week ago.
It also comes nearly a week after a tense phone call between Mr Biden and Mr Netanyahu in the wake of the Israeli killing of seven humanitarian aid workers in Gaza.
Mr Biden has sharpened his rhetoric over Israel’s conduct in the nearly six-month-old war sparked by Hamas’s 7 October attack, and voiced his growing frustration with Mr Netanyahu.
US officials have been attempting to send a message to the Iranians that, despite differences of opinion between Mr Biden and Mr Netanyahu, any attack on Israel will met with an aggressive US response.
In an effort to ease tensions, the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Iraq spoke to their Iranian counterpart this week, according to Axios.
The Ministers were asked to convey a message from Mr Biden’s senior Middle East advisor, Brett McGurk, about the need to de-escalate.
According to Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry, more than 33,000 people – mostly women and children – have been killed in the Israeli incursion.
The conflict was sparked by Hamas’s killing of more than 1,200 people in Israel and the taking of 253 hostages in its October attack.

By: Compiled by King Onunwor

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Breathtaking New Paintings Found At Ancient Roman City

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Stunning artworks have been uncovered in a new excavation at Pompeii, the ancient Roman city buried in an eruption from Mount Vesuvius in AD79.
Archaeologists say the frescos are among the finest to be found in the ruins of the ancient site.
Mythical Greek figures such as Helen of Troy are depicted on the high black walls of a large banqueting hall.
The room’s near-complete mosaic floor incorporates more than a million individual white tiles.
The black room has only emerged in the last few weeks. Its white mosaic floor is almost complete
A third of the lost city has still to be cleared of volcanic debris. The current dig, the biggest in a generation, is underlining Pompeii’s position as the world’s premier window on the people and culture of the Roman Empire.
Park director Dr Gabriel Zuchtriegel presented the “black room” exclusively to the BBC on Thursday.
It was likely the walls’ stark colour was chosen to hide the smoke deposits from lamps used during entertaining after sunset.
“In the shimmering light, the paintings would have almost come to life,” he said.
In one, the god Apollo is seen trying to seduce the priestess Cassandra. Her rejection of him, according to legend, resulted in her prophecies being ignored.
The tragic consequence is told in the second painting, in which Prince Paris meets the beautiful Helen – a union Cassandra knows will doom them all in the resulting Trojan War.
A plaster glue must be injected behind a fresco or it is likely to come away from the wall
The black room is the latest treasure to emerge from the excavation, which started 12 months ago – an investigation that will feature in a documentary series from the BBC and Lion TV to be broadcast later in April.
A wide residential and commercial block, known as “Region 9”, is being cleared of several metres of overlying pumice and ash thrown out by Vesuvius almost 2,000 years ago.
Staff are having to move quickly to protect new finds, removing what they can to a storeroom.
For the frescos that must stay in position, a plaster glue is injected to their rear to prevent them coming away from the walls. Masonry is being shored up with scaffolding and temporary roofing is going over the top.
Chief restorer Dr Roberta Prisco spent Tuesday this week trying to stop an arch from collapsing.
“The responsibility is enormous; look at me,” she said, as if to suggest the stress was taking a visible toll on her.
“We have a passion and a deep love for what we’re doing, because what we’re uncovering and protecting is for the joy also of the generations that come after us.”
In the reception hall, rubble in the far right corner is from renovation at the time of the eruption
Region 9 has thrown up a detective story for archaeologists.
Excavations in the late 19th Century uncovered a laundry in one corner. The latest work has now revealed a wholesale bakery next door, as well as the grand residence with its black room.
The team is confident the three areas can be connected, physically via the plumbing and by particular passageways, but also in terms of their ownership.
The identity of this individual is hinted at in numerous inscriptions with the initials “ARV”. The letters appear on walls and even on the bakery’s millstones.
“We know who ARV is: he’s Aulus Rustius Verus,” explained park archaeologist Dr Sophie Hay. “We know him from other political propaganda in Pompeii. He’s a politician. He’s super-rich. We think he may be the one who owns the posh house behind the bakery and the laundry.”
Dr Lia Trapani catalogues everything from the dig. She reaches for one of the thousand or more boxes of artefacts in her storeroom and pulls out a squat, turquoise cone. “It’s the lead weight from a plumb line.” Just like today’s builders, the Roman workers would have used it to align vertical surfaces.
She holds the cone between her fingers: “If you look closely you can see a little piece of Roman string is still attached.”
It’s possible to see a remnant piece of string around the neck of the plumb line
Dr Alessandro Russo has been the other co-lead archaeologist on the dig. He wants to show us a ceiling fresco recovered from one room. Smashed during the eruption, its recovered pieces have been laid out, jigsaw-style, on a large table.
He’s sprayed the chunks of plaster with a mist of water, which makes the detail and vivid colours jump out.
You can see landscapes with Egyptian characters; foods and flowers; and some imposing theatrical masks.
“This is my favourite discovery in this excavation because it is complex and rare. It is high-quality for a high-status individual,” he explained.
The archaeologists have had to piece together a ceiling fresco that was shattered during the volcanic eruption
But if the grand property’s ceiling fresco can be described as exquisite, some of what’s being learned about the bakery speaks to an altogether more brutal aspect of Roman life – slavery.
It’s obvious the people who worked in the business were kept locked away in appalling conditions, living side by side with the donkeys that turned the millstones. It seems there was one window and it had iron bars to prevent escape.
It’s in the bakery also that the only skeletons from the dig have been discovered. Two adults and a child were crushed by falling stones. The suggestion is they may have been slaves who were trapped and could not flee the eruption. But it’s guesswork.
“When we excavate, we wonder what we’re looking at,” explained co-lead archaeologist Dr Gennaro Iovino.
“Much like a theatre stage, you have the scenery, the backdrop, and the culprit, which is Mount Vesuvius. The archaeologist has to be good at filling in the gaps – telling the story of the missing cast, the families and children, the people who are not there anymore”,

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