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Hard Numbers: North Korea goes ballistic about “puppets”, Iran pardons protesters, Lula sacks soldiers, Freddy ravages Southern Africa

A general view as North Korea fired two missiles from a submarine at an underwater target at an undisclosed location in North Korea March 12, 2023.

A general view as North Korea fired two missiles from a submarine at an underwater target at an undisclosed location in North Korea March 12, 2023.

North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) via REUTERS

2: In response to new military drills by “the US imperialists and the South Korean puppet forces,” North Korea on Monday announced it had tested two new cruise missiles, which it says it plans to fit with nuclear warheads.


22,000: Iran on Monday pardoned 22,000 people arrested for participating in the wave of protests that erupted last fall over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman arrested for not wearing a headscarf. Is this a sign that pressure from the streets is forcing the regime to moderate or, conversely, that the Supreme Leader now feels comfortable enough to show some mercy without risking a fresh wave of protests?

100: Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has ousted more than 100 military men who were serving in key government posts, replacing them with civilians. The move is part of Lula’s efforts — in the wake of the Jan. 8 riots — to establish firmer control over the armed forces, where there is a lot of sympathy for his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

99: Cyclone Freddy, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, continues to cut a path of destruction through Southern Africa, where it has so far killed more than 99 people in Malawi and Mozambique.

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