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North Korea conducted third nuclear test

The UN Security Council likely to impose fresh sanctions.

North Korea has conducted its third test of a nuclear weapon on Monday as an earthquake of magnitude 4.9 hit the region where the explosion was carried out.

The country, which is not prone to natural earthquakes, conducted its first and second nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 respectively. These tests had a blast force of less than 1kT and 4.6kT respectively, according to Sig Hecker of Stanford University.

The fresh testing comes soon after the UN Security Council’s extension of sanctions against the country in response to its satellite launch in December 2012.

Yonhap, the South Korean official news agency, citing an undisclosed official, reported that the country had informed the US and China about the test.

International observers have found that the country has been preparing for nuclear test through satellite photography in recent times.

The country, however, has found ways to tackle existing stringent sanctions like cutting the usage of international banking system by the UN Security Council. Meanwhile, China has consistently resisted pressure from the US for tougher measures.

North Korea has made significant progress towards developing intercontinental ballistic missiles, citing the threat of US military action against it.

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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.