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United States tells North Korea to dismantle political detention camps.

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Source: Reuters

The United States called on North Korea on Thursday to dismantle camps estimated to be holding tens of thousands of political prisoners, while Pyongyang hit back at Washington’s sanctions.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have met twice in the last year, with Washington seeking curbs on Pyongyang’s nuclear program and North Korea pursuing sanctions relief – but the rapprochement appears to be in limbo.

“The human rights situation in North Korea is deplorable and has no parallel in the modern world,” senior U.S. diplomat Mark Cassayre told the United Nations Human Rights Council during a five-year review of North Korea’s record.

U.N. rights investigators have estimated between 80,000 to 120,000 people are in political detention camps in North Korea where torture and other violations are taking place that they say may amount to crimes against humanity.

As well as urging those camps to be closed and their inmates released, charge d’affaires Cassayre exhorted authorities to allow aid workers unrestricted movement and access to people in need, and to tolerate possession of religious texts.

North Korea, which also came under criticism from Britain and Canada at Thursday’s meeting, denies the existence of political prisoners and says it is the victim of propaganda.

“People’s rights to life and fundamental freedoms are fully ensured,” North Korean ambassador Han Tae Song told the 47-member forum. However, U.S. sanctions were hampering North Koreans’ enjoyment of life, he said.

“Such anachronistic acts are very dangerous,” Han said, noting that Kim’s summits both with Trump and South Korea augured a new era of peace on the Korean peninsula.

Despite that, North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range missiles on Thursday, the South’s military said, less than a week after Kim oversaw the test-firing of multiple rockets and a missile.

Also at the rights forum, North Korea’s most powerful ally China urged it to continue to promote economic, social and sustainable development.


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24 Hours Across Africa

Barcelona appoints ‘Valdes’ to coach their youth team

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The Spanish giant ‘Barcelona’ has appointed their legendary star victor Valdes to coach U19A team.

The Spaniard picked up UEFA A and B coaching licences after retiring from football last year and has now reunited with the Blaugrana

The 37-year-old racked up 539 appearances for Barca across all competitions over the course of 12 seasons between 2002 and 2014, winning 21 major titles in total.

Valdes picked up three Champions Leagues, six La Liga titles and won the Copa del Rey twice, earning legendary status at the club while also establishing himself as one of the finest shot-stoppers in Europe.

Barcelona released the following statement on their official website: “Victor Valdes is back at FC Barcelona after signing a contract on Friday morning to become the new head coach of the U19A team. The agreement binds him to the club until June 2020, with the option for an extension by one additional season.

The Spanish born has been enjoying with ED Moratalaz role in the fifth tier of Spanish football before Barcelona reach an agreement with him.

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24 Hours Across Africa

BMW and Tencent to team-up in developing self-driving cars

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(Reuters) – German automaker BMW (BMWG.DE) and Chinese online gaming giant Tencent Holdings (0700.HK) are teaming up to launch a computing center in China that will help develop self-driving cars in the world’s biggest auto market, the companies said on Friday.

The computing center, which will start operations by the end of the year, will provide cars with data-crunching capabilities to help them drive semi-autonomously and, eventually, autonomously.

The two companies did not disclose the investment in the center. Sources familiar with the deal said the center will be built in the eastern city of Tianjin.

The establishment of the center “will support BMW’s autonomous driving development and innovation in China,” Jochen Goller, head of BMW’s China operations, said in a statement.

“BMW can, therefore, develop autonomous driving solutions that fit better with the specific driving conditions in China.”

BMW said the new computing center will leverage Tencent’s cloud computing and big data, and provide the automaker with infrastructure needed to develop the autonomous cars.

The Munich-headquartered automaker says it will likely introduce semi-autonomous, or L3 classification, cars in China in 2021 which would need massive computing power to analyze real-time flow of digital information on road and traffic conditions.

Driverless cars need sophisticated data-crunching capabilities as they rely on so-called artificial-intelligence, or neuro-network technology, to help them “learn” from experience and could eventually drive themselves without human intervention.

BMW’s planned Chinese computing center follows the opening earlier this year of a similar computing center in Munich.

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