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North Korean leaders ‘used fake Brazilian passports to apply for visas’

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Kim Jong Un and his father Kim Jong Il – who died in 2011 – used fraudulently obtained Brazilian passports to apply for visas to visit countries in the West in the 1990s, according to five senior European security sources.

The current North Korean leader was issued a passport under the name “Josef Pwag” and his father under the name “Ijong Tchoi”. The passports were used to apply for visas in at least two countries.

Although the ruling family is known to have used travel documents obtained under false pretences, the photocopies of the Brazilian passports have not been published before.

One senior Western security source, speaking anonymously, said: “They used these Brazilian passports, which clearly show the photographs of Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Il, to attempt to obtain visas from foreign embassies.

“This shows the desire for travel and points to the ruling family’s attempts to build a possible escape route.”

Kim Jong Un watches a military parade in Pyongyang
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The true date of birth of Kim Jong Un is disputed
Kim Jong Un's false passport was issued under the name Josef Pwag
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Kim Jong Un’s false passport was issued under the name Josef Pwag

The North Korean embassy in Brazil declined news agency requests for comment and the Brazilian foreign ministry said it was investigating.

An anonymous source in Brazil confirmed the authenticity of the documents.

The four other senior European security sources confirmed the two passports were used to apply for visas in at least two countries. It is unclear if any visas were in fact issued.

The officials said the passports may have been used to travel to Brazil, Japan and Hong Kong.

In 2011, Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported Kim Jong Un had visited Tokyo in 1991 as a child using a Brazilian passport – before the issue date on the two passports found.

The 10-year travel documents carry a stamp which reads: “Embassy of Brazil in Prague.”

They have an issue date of 26 February 1996.

Kim Jong Il's false passport
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Kim Jong Il’s false passport
Kim Jong Il  used the name Itong Tchoi
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Kim Jong Il used the name Itong Tchoi

The security officials said facial recognition technology confirmed the photographs were of Kim Jong Un and his father.

The North Korean leader’s date of birth is widely disputed but on the passport with his photograph, the date of birth is 1 February 1983. He would have been between 12 and 14-years-old when the documents were issued.

Kim Jong Un is known to have attended an international school in Switzerland where he pretended to be the son of an embassy chauffeur.

Kim Jong Il was the leader of North Korea until his death in 2011
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Kim Jong Il was the leader of North Korea until his death in 2011

The passport with his father’s photograph has the date of birth 4 April 1940. Kim Jong Il was actually born in 1941.

Their birthplace is Sao Paulo, according to the documents.

The security officials declined to reveal how they got hold of the passport copies – the original passports have not been obtained.

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Tokyo Olympics: Opening ceremony was ‘respectful, hopeful but sombre night’ | World News

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Olympic opening ceremonies are something of a unique art form. Playing to a global audience but with the host nation wanting to make the night their own.

Japan chose sombre. It was a respectful, hopeful but above all sombre night. They didn’t want to show off when everyone has lived through such hardship – and while so many people continue to do so.

Their display using 1,824 flying drones combining like a swarm of giant worker bees to create a giant globe stood out.

Naomi Osaka of Japan holds the Olympic torch after lighting the Olympic cauldron
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Naomi Osaka of Japan holds the Olympic torch after lighting the cauldron

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There were no Team GB fans at the 2021 summer olympic opening ceremony in Tokyo due to COVID-19 but Japan put on a stunning visual show regardless

So too Japanese tennis superstar Naomi Osaka who was given the honour of firing up the hydrogen-fuelled Olympic cauldron.

But it was their courteous bow towards the pain of the pandemic that defined the evening.

Video montages of empty cities during lockdowns, and athletes cobbling together training regimes in their back gardens – it all made for an understated opening ceremony.

Outside, the protests in the streets continued among those still vehemently against the Games taking place while Tokyo remains in a state of COVID emergency.

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There were also people outside who just felt drawn to the Olympic stadium – to come and wave to the very select numbers of VIPs and media going inside. It was as close as they could get to the Games that they had waited almost a decade for.

While these Olympics will feel unusual there were reminders too of the magic they can create.

There was a towering Tongan taekwondo player who strode into the stadium with his bare oiled chest puffed out as he carried his island nation’s flag like a warrior on a mission.

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Protests held outside Olympic stadium

The Olympics can still produce special moments like that and there will be plenty more over the coming weeks.

There will be more COVID-19 disruption too but the Games of 2020 are finally open, just one year late.

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Business leaders have ‘obligation to speak up’, ex-Unilever boss says amid Ben & Jerry’s row | Business News

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Unilever’s ex-boss has said business leaders have an “obligation to speak up” after his former company became embroiled in a row with Israel over its Ben & Jerry’s business.

Paul Polman mounted a defence of the need to “fight for what is right” in remarks to Sky News after the ice cream brand said it would stop selling its products in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Ben & Jerry’s is owned by consumer goods giant Unilever – whose array of brands ranges from Marmite spread to Dove soap – but has an independent board to take such decisions.

Alan Jope, Unilever chief executive
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Current boss Alan Jope has spoken to Israel’s prime minister about the matter

Its announcement is one of the strongest steps taken by a well-known company over Israel’s settlements, which are widely seen as illegal by the international community.

The move drew condemnation from the Israeli government, whose new prime minister Naftali Bennett said this week that Israel would “use the tools at its disposal – including legal – on this issue” and that those taking such action “need to know that there will be a price to pay”.

Mr Polman, speaking to Sky’s Ian King Live, said it would be inappropriate to say how he would have handled the issue had he still been in charge of Unilever.

But he added: “What is very important is if we want humanity to function for the long term we need to be sure that we fight for the basic values, the basic values of dignity, respect, equity, compassion.

“If we see these values being violated anywhere in the world I think we have an obligation to speak up.

“What we’ve seen in the US in the last few years – too few people, also from the business side, spoke up against things that then bit by bit moved the boundaries and put us in a very difficult situation.

Naftali Bennett will serve as prime minister for two years
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Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett said there would be a “price to pay”

“So, fight for what is right and one of the few things we should fight for always is, these basic human rights.”

Mr Polman was speaking a day after current Unilever boss Alan Jope, in a conference call to discuss latest results, said the company remains “fully committed” to doing business in Israel but gave no indication that Unilever would press Ben & Jerry’s to reverse the decision.

Mr Jope, who has spoken to Mr Bennett on the phone to discuss the matter, said that it was a “complex and sensitive matter”.

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Tokyo Olympics 2020: Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine withdraws to avoid facing Israeli competitor Tohar Butbul | World News

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An Algerian judo competitor has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics after learning he could have faced an Israeli opponent.

Fethi Nourine said his political support for the Palestinian cause made it impossible to compete against Tohar Butbul.

He told Algerian TV he would not “get his hands dirty” and his “decision was final”.

“We worked a lot to reach the Olympics, and the news came as a shock, a thunder”, he added.

Tohar Butbul of Israel
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Tohar Butbul of Israel

The 30-year-old was drawn against Sudan’s Mohamed Asdalrasool on Monday for his first match in the men’s 73kg class. If he had won that match, he would have faced Butbul, who has a first-round bye, in the next round.

Nourine also withdrew from the world championships in 2019 for the same reason.

At the time, his coach Amar Ben Yaklif was quoted in Algerian media saying: “We were unlucky with the draw. We got an Israeli opponent and that’s why we had to retire. We made the right decision.”

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Tensions between Israel and Palestinians flared in Jerusalem earlier this year causing the worst violence in the region since 2014.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Judo - Training Sessions - Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan - July 22, 2021. Technicians work on the mat in Nippon Budokan Arena, during training sessions. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
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Judo training sessions take place at the Tokyo Games

The conflict between the two sides has been going on for decades and has seen athletes from Iran and Egypt also previously refuse to compete against Israeli opponents.

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The opening ceremony for this year’s Olympic games took place on Friday, with fans not allowed in the national stadium for the event due to COVID-19 concerns.

Instead, around 1,000 dignitaries and members of the media were allowed the witness the spectacular event.

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