World breaking news today (May 21): Women in military becomes gender battleground in South Korea

World breaking news today (May 21): Women in military becomes gender battleground in South Korea. Meanwhile, China is testing a beastly 20-barrel naval gatling gun, Biden says US will replenish Israel's Iron Dome Air Defense Systems and gold price also make headlines today.
May 21, 2021 | 14:58
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World breaking news today (May 21): Women in military becomes gender battleground in South Korea
(Photo: SCMP)

Women in military becomes gender battleground in South Korea

A heated debate in South Korea about mandatory military service for women is inflaming divisions between the sexes rather than narrowing social gaps, the country’s gender equality minister said.

Chung Young-ai, who leads the Gender Equality and Family Ministry, was responding to a question in a Bloomberg interview about whether young women should be made to join their male counterparts in serving in the armed forces. The issue has been the subject of wide discussion since April, when ruling party lawmaker and 2022 presidential hopeful Park Yong-jin reacted to local election defeats by suggesting mandatory military service for women would promote gender equality.

Chung said Monday the direction of the argument was “problematic.” “The debate on women serving in the military didn’t come from trying to achieve gender equality, but from voices who are asking women to experience the same disadvantages that men did,” she said.

Park’s proposal touched on a divisive issue that in some way affects almost every family in South Korea, which is technically still at war with North Korea and shares one of the world’s most militarized borders. An online petition to the office of President Moon Jae-in demanding female conscription received almost 300,000 signatures as of Tuesday, surpassing a threshold that requires a response.

Moon’s progressive government has seen support among women erode ahead of a presidential election just 10 months away and is trying to win back the crucial voting block to keep the top office when Moon’s single, five-year terms ends. The trend contributed to the Democratic Party’s defeat last month in mayoral races in Seoul and Busan, South Korea’s two largest cities.

Conscription has fostered employment perks that can benefit men when they complete their military service -- and put women at a disadvantage as they start their careers. The wage gap between the sexes ranks among the largest in the developed world and clouds the country’s long-term economic prospects.

China is testing a beastly 20-barrel naval gatling gun

As China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) continues to expand the size and capabilities of its surface fleets, including with the addition of larger, more advanced vessels, including multiple aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, the demand for more capable CIWSs is only likely to grow. This has already been evidenced by the addition of the new Type 1130 to the Liaoning. Though the discussion is more commonly framed around the increasing threat that advanced Chinese, as well as Russian, anti-ship missiles, including longer-range and faster-flying hypersonic and ballistic types, present to other navies, the PLAN faces the same realities.

World breaking news today (May 21): Women in military becomes gender battleground in South Korea
(Photo: Dutiful News)

A CIWS with a 20-barrel Gatling-type cannon with a very high rate of fire would, by definition, be able to put out more rounds, faster. This would be particularly valuable for engaging existing and future advanced anti-ship missiles, which are increasingly faster and stealthier, features that could shrink the available engagement window for close-in defenses. At the same time, unless the magazine capacity is similarly increased, this weapon might only be capable of firing a small number of total bursts before needing to be reloaded.

So, while it remains to be seen if this particular 20-barrel design will make its way into operational service, it’s hardly surprising that the PLAN is looking at bigger and badder CIWSs that can spew out shells at even more blistering rates of fire as new threats continue to emerge, according to Dutiful News.

Biden says US will replenish Israel's Iron Dome Air Defense Systems

US President Joe Biden on Thursday (local time) announced that Washington will replenish Israel's Iron Dome air defense systems that were depleted during the recent conflict with the Palestinian group in Gaza.

Israel has relied heavily on the Iron Dome batteries to intercept thousands of rockets fired on its territory from Gaza and other places.

"The Prime Minister [of Israel, Benyamin Netanyahu]... shared with me his appreciation for the Iron Dome system, which our nations developed together and which has saved lives of countless Israeli citizens, both Arabs and Jews. I assured him of my full support to replenish Israel's Iron Dome system to ensure its defenses and security in the future," Biden said in a statement.

World breaking news today (May 21): Women in military becomes gender battleground in South Korea

US President Joe Biden speaks at an event. (Bloomberg photo)

Biden's remarks come after the Israeli security cabinet unanimously adopted Egypt's initiative for a bilateral unconditional ceasefire, which would take effect at 23:00 GMT on Thursday. According to an official statement, the Israeli security cabinet unanimously adopted Egypt's initiative for a bilateral ceasefire.

He also promised to provide rapid humanitarian aid and reconstruction assistance to the Palestinians in Gaza after the conflict between Hamas and Israel, as reported by Business Standard.

Secretary of State to meet with Israeli, Palestinian leaders following cease-fire

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the region after the Israeli Security Cabinet signed a cease-fire with Hamas on Thursday.

The State Department spokesperson Ned Price released a statement Thursday night detailing communication between Blinken and Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. Price said that Blinken and Ashkenazi had been in discussions Thursday morning and afternoon regarding the cease-fire and Blinken’s trip to the region.

The news comes after the Israeli Security Cabinet approved plans for a cease-fire with Hamas, ending an 11-day conflict that has killed civilians and destroyed areas in both Israel and the Gaza Strip.

World breaking news today (May 21): Women in military becomes gender battleground in South Korea
(Photo: Bloomberg)

The cease-fire was negotiated by Egypt, which was in talks with both Israel and Hamas, the militant group. Hamas confirmed to Reuters that it will abide by the truce.

The cease-fire will end some of the most brutal fighting that the region has seen since 2014. Hamas has fired thousands of rockets at Israel, striking cities in the north and south. Israel responded to the attacks with a campaign that leveled buildings and other infrastructure in Gaza.

A dozen people, including a child, were killed in Israel, while the Palestinian Health Ministry said Thursday that 232 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip, including 65 children, the Hill reported.

Gold price forecast – gold markets continue pressure to upside

The gold markets have rallied slightly during the course of the trading session on Thursday as we continue to see upward pressure. As long as the US dollar suffers, gold should continue to rise.

Gold markets have pulled back slightly in the beginning of the session on Thursday but then turned around to show signs of strength again. We have recently broken above the significant $1850 level, and that should kick off a bigger move, perhaps all the way to the $1950 level if we can continue to see resiliency. Pay attention to the US dollar, because if it continues to fall that could also have an effect on this market, according to FX Empire.

World breaking news today (May 21): Women in military becomes gender battleground in South Korea
(Photo: Market Watch)
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Jasmine Le

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