NKorea's Kim Hails Russia Ties as Putin Reportedly Plans a Visit

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un examine a launch pad of Soyuz rockets during their meeting at the Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Tsiolkovsky, about 200 kilometres from the city of Blagoveshchensk in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un examine a launch pad of Soyuz rockets during their meeting at the Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Tsiolkovsky, about 200 kilometres from the city of Blagoveshchensk in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)
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NKorea's Kim Hails Russia Ties as Putin Reportedly Plans a Visit

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un examine a launch pad of Soyuz rockets during their meeting at the Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Tsiolkovsky, about 200 kilometres from the city of Blagoveshchensk in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un examine a launch pad of Soyuz rockets during their meeting at the Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Tsiolkovsky, about 200 kilometres from the city of Blagoveshchensk in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hailed the country's expanding relationship with Russia on Wednesday, as reports suggest that Russian President Vladimir Putin will soon visit the country for his third meeting with Kim.
Military, economic and other cooperation between North Korea and Russia have sharply increased since Kim visited Russia last September for a meeting with Putin. The US, South Korea and their partners believe North Korea has supplied artillery, missiles and other conventional weapons to Russia to support its war in Ukraine in return for advanced military technologies and economic aid.
Kim has been pushing to boost partnerships with Russia and China in a bid to strength his regional footing and launch a united front against the United States, The Associated Press reported.
During their September meeting at Russia’s main space launch site, Kim invited the Russian president to visit North Korea at “a convenient time,” and Putin accepted.
On Wednesday, Kim sent Putin a congratulatory message commemorating Russia's National Day, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency.
“Thanks to the significant meeting between us at the Vostochney Spaceport in September last year, (North Korea)-Russia friendly and cooperative relations developed into an unbreakable relationship of comrades-in-arms,” Kim said in the message.
Kim's comments came as media reports said Putin is expected to visit North Korea as early as next week. If realized, it would their third summit meeting. Their first summit happened in Vladivostok in April 2019.
Japanese public broadcaster NHK, citing unidentified diplomatic sources including high-ranking Russian officials, reported Wednesday that Putin is preparing to visit North Korea and Vietnam next week.
NHK said Putin is expected to seek stronger military ties with North Korea as Russia faces a shortage of weapons in its war with Ukraine, while North Korea is believed to want help with space technology in the wake of its recent failure to put a second spy satellite in orbit in late May.
Earlier this week, Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper carried a similar report.
Neither Russia nor North Korea have confirmed reports of a planned trip. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a briefing in late May that “the visit is in the pipeline, and we will make an announcement in due time,” according to Russian news agency Tass.



Despite Curfew, Deaths Mount in Bangladesh Student Protests

Commuters move along the road as Bangladesh soldiers stand guard following a curfew and the deployment of military forces in Dhaka on July 20, 2024. (Photo by Munir UZ ZAMAN / AFP)
Commuters move along the road as Bangladesh soldiers stand guard following a curfew and the deployment of military forces in Dhaka on July 20, 2024. (Photo by Munir UZ ZAMAN / AFP)
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Despite Curfew, Deaths Mount in Bangladesh Student Protests

Commuters move along the road as Bangladesh soldiers stand guard following a curfew and the deployment of military forces in Dhaka on July 20, 2024. (Photo by Munir UZ ZAMAN / AFP)
Commuters move along the road as Bangladesh soldiers stand guard following a curfew and the deployment of military forces in Dhaka on July 20, 2024. (Photo by Munir UZ ZAMAN / AFP)

Police imposed a strict curfew across Bangladesh and military forces patrolled parts of the capital Saturday to quell further violence after days of clashes over the allocation of government jobs left several people dead and hundreds injured.
The curfew follows the deadliest day yet in the weeks of protests despite a ban on public gatherings. Reports vary on the number of people killed Friday, with Somoy TV reporting 43. An Associated Press reporter saw 23 bodies at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, but it was not immediately clear whether they all died on Friday.
Another 22 people died Thursday as protesting students attempted to impose a “complete shutdown” of the country. Several people were also killed Tuesday and Wednesday.
The protests, which began weeks ago but escalated sharply when violence erupted Tuesday, represent the biggest challenge to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina since she won a fourth consecutive term in office after elections in January that were boycotted by the main opposition groups.
Police and protesters clashed in the streets and at university campuses in Dhaka and other cities across the south Asian country. Authorities moved to block online communications by banning mobile and internet services. Some television news channels also went off the air, and the websites of most Bangladesh newspapers were not loading or were being updated.
The curfew began at midnight and is set to relax from noon to 2 p.m. to allow people to buy essentials before being put back in place until 10 a.m. Sunday. A “shoot-at-sight” order was also in place, giving security forces the authority to fire on mobs in extreme cases, said lawmaker Obaidul Quader, the general secretary of the ruling Awami League party.

The protesters are demanding an end to a quota system that reserves up to 30% of government jobs for relatives of veterans who fought in Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971 against Pakistan. They argue the system is discriminatory and benefits supporters of Hasina, whose Awami League party led the independence movement, and they want it replaced with a merit-based system.

Hasina has defended the quota system, saying that veterans deserve the highest respect for their contributions to the war, regardless of their political affiliation.

Representatives from the both sides met late Friday to find a resolution. At least three student leaders were part of the meeting in which they demanded a reform in the quota system, an opening of student dormitories across the country and the stepping down of university officials for failing to prevent violence on the campuses.
Law Minister Anisul Huq said the government was open to discussing the student leaders’ demands.

The protests are also backed by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party that has vowed to organize its own demonstrations with many of its supporters joining in the students’ protests.