N. Korea's Kim inspects rocket unit before talks: report

Kim Jong-Un has reportedly inspected North Korea's rocket command unit in a bid to pressure the US before talks between Pyongyang and Washington on food aid in return for a nuclear moratorium.

Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said late Friday that Kim, who took over as North Korean leader following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in December, inspected the Strategic Rocket Force Command.

KCNA did not give details on the unit's location or the date of the visit. But South Korea's Yonhap news agency said the command was believed to be located in Gangdong County in the northeast of Pyongyang.

Kim told the unit's service personnel to make "thorough-going preparations for battles" and "reduce the citadel of the enemy to a sea in flames by merciless firing strikes if it goes into action," KCNA said.

On Wednesday, Washington and Pyongyang made the surprise announcement that North Korea would freeze its nuclear and missile tests and uranium enrichment, as well as allowing back UN inspectors.

In exchange, the United States said it would provide 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance to the communist state

Baek Seung-Joo of the Korea Institute for Defence Analyses said the inspection appeared timed to heap pressure on the United States as US and North Korean officials prepared to meet in Beijing Wednesday to finalise plans for food aid.

"The message is like this: unless the talks go smoothly, we would test-fire missiles whenever we want," Baek told AFP.

North Korea has up to 300 SCUD missiles with a range of up to 500 km (312.5 miles), some 200 Rodong with a 1,300 km range and an unknown number of Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missiles with a 3,000-km range, according to Yonhap.

  • How a mom stole a car in under 60 seconds 11 hours ago
    How a mom stole a car in under 60 seconds

    “I didn't steal your car but I think my mom may have. It's a long story. I'll explain, but your car is safe and sound," read the flier posted in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a strange tale that began when Cheyrl Thorpe was asked by her daughter Nekisia Davis to dog sit her Pomeranian at her apartment, according to New York Magazine.

  • All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground 13 hours ago
    All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground

    Much of Subaru’s modern day success in America can be attributed to one car: the Outback. Born in 1994 as a response to the growing popularity of SUVs, the Outback established a winning formula of combining a high-riding suspension, butch body cladding and big round fog lights to its comfortable, no-nonsense Legacy wagon. It is the kind of unique product that only a quirky company like Subaru could build, and was one that kept Subaru from slipping into ubiquity even as traditional SUVs and crossovers have taken over the world.

  • Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers 14 hours ago
    Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers

    For the record, it's the year 2014. I mention that in case someone reading this story about a push to replace horses with motorized carriages thinks they've stumbled onto some archival piece by accident. It's been more than 100 years since the first vehicles began to trundle around Manhattan, but the last remaining vestiges of horse-powered transport in the city could be nigh — if the backers of a massive electric wagon get their way.

  • Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers
    Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers

    Singaporeans on social media reacted angrily to news that tissue sellers at hawker centres and street corners are being required to pay for an annual licence.

  • Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry
    Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry

    Heart-wrenching messages of fear, love and despair, sent by high school students from a sinking South Korean ferry, added extra emotional weight Thursday to a tragedy that has stunned the nation. Nearly 300 people -- most of them students on a high school trip to a holiday island -- are still missing after the ferry capsized and sank on Wednesday morning. Mom, I love you," student Shin Young-Jin said in a text to his mother that was widely circulated in the South Korean media.

  • ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says
    ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — The “huge” statues at a Hindu temple in Batu Caves and Buddhist temple in Penang are an affront to Islam as the religion forbids idolatry, a retired Court of Appeals judge...