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North Korea

North Korea Confirms Arrest Of U.S. Citizen

Also signs of additional facilities that could produce weapons-grade uranium.



PYONYANG – North Korean state media has confirmed that a U.S. citizen has been arrested after entering the reclusive Communist country as a tourist.

In a short dispatch, The Korean Central News Agency said the man, identified as Bae Jun Ho, was detained on Nov. 3 after confessing to unspecified crimes against the state. Although it did not elaborate, North Korea’s state news agency said the crimes were “proven through evidence," adding that "Legal actions are being taken against Bae in line with the criminal procedure law."

The arrest was first reported earlier this month by the South Korean newspaper Kookmin Ilbo, which had identified the detainee as a 44-year-old Korean-American tour operator, according to AP.

Meanwhile, South Korea's defense ministry has revealed that intelligence satellites have detected additional facilities in North Korea that the defense ministry believes could be used to produce weapons-grade uranium, Voice Of America reports.

The news comes hardly as a surprise for analysts and nuclear watchdogs. Uranium enrichment gives North Korea an alternative to its plutonium-based program to make nuclear bombs -- the country is already believed to have 40 kilograms of plutonium, enough for several weapons.

The U.N. Security Council is expected soon to impose additional sanctions on North Korea for conducting a Dec. 12 launch of a three-stage rocket which deployed, for the first time, an object into orbit.

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Turkey: The Blind Spot Between Racial And Religious Discrimination

Before the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel war, a social media campaign in Turkey aimed to take on anti-Arab and anti-refugee sentiment. But the campaign ultimately just swapped one type of discrimination for another.

photo of inside Istanbul's Eminonu New Mosque

Muslims and tourists visiting Istanbul's Eminonu New Mosque.

Levent Gültekin


ISTANBUL — In late September, several pro-government journalists in Turkey promoted a social media campaign centered around a video against those in the country who are considered anti-Arab. The campaign was built around the idea of being “siblings in religion,” and the “union of the ummah,” or global Muslim community.

(In a very different context, such sentiments were repeated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the Israel-Hamas war erupted.)

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While the goal is understandable, these themes are highly disconnected from reality.

First, let's look at the goal of the campaign. Our country has a serious problem of irregular migrants and refugees, and the administration isn’t paying adequate attention to this. On the contrary, they encourage the flow of refugees with policies such as selling citizenship.

Worries about irregular migrants and refugees naturally create tension in the society. The anger that targets not the government but the refugees has come to a point which both threatens the social peace and brought the issue to hostility towards the Arabs, even the tourists. The actual goal of this campaign by the pro-government journalists is obvious if you consider how an anti-tourist movement would hurt Turkey’s economy.

However, as mentioned above, while the goal is understandable, the themes of the “union of the ummah” and “siblings in religion” are problematic. The campaign offers the idea of being siblings in religion as an argument against the rising racism towards irregular migrants and refugees; a different form of racism or discrimination.

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