Since then, the Chinese Communist Party has moved to rein in public protest and contention over women’s rights, and fewer such cases have burst onto the internet.

An exception was in July, when the police detained Kris Wu, a popular Canadian Chinese singer, after an 18-year-old university student in Beijing accused him of offering young women like her help with their careers, and then pressing them to have sex. He has denied the accusations.

Mr. Wu was formally arrested last month on suspicion of rape. His case became one in a number of scandals that have prompted the Chinese government to crack down on youth celebrity culture and warn actors and performers to stick to official rules for propriety.

Ms. Zhou has been barred from Weibo, the popular Chinese social media service where her claims against Mr. Zhu first spread. (His lawsuit against her has still not gone to trial.)

Traditional state-run media outlets were ordered not to cover Ms. Zhou’s claims and lawsuit, according to three journalists who received the instructions and asked for anonymity because of the risk of repercussions. But word of Ms. Zhou’s loss in court rippled across Chinese social media on Wednesday. Many reactions that remained on Weibo were critical of her, some accusing her of making up her claims and acting as a pawn for forces hostile to China. Her supporters said that, despite the setback, she had set a lasting example.

“I was very disappointed, but it didn’t surprise me,” said Zheng Xi, 34, a feminist in Hangzhou, in eastern China. “Her persistence in the last three years has educated and enlightened many people.”

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Centuries-old Indian glasses could sell for millions

Written by Megan C. Hills, CNN

Two pairs of 17th-century glasses are expected to fetch millions of dollars at auction next month. The jewel-encrusted spectacles, which feature lenses made from diamond and emerald rather than glass, are believed to have originally belonged to royals in the Mughal Empire, which once ruled over the Indian subcontinent.

Designed to help the wearer reach enlightenment and ward off evil, they are set to go on public display for the first time ever as they tour New York, Hong Kong and London ahead of the October sale.

The spectacles are an exceptionally rare example of Mughal jewelry craftsmanship, according to chairman of Sotheby’s Middle East and India, Edward Gibbs. “As far as we know, there are no others like them,” he said in a phone interview.

The spectacles are expected to fetch up to $3.5 million each.

The spectacles are expected to fetch up to $3.5 million each. Credit: Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The items’ rarity is also down to the sheer size of their gemstone lenses. The lenses in one pair, known as the “Halo of Light” spectacles, are believed to have been cleaved from a single 200-carat diamond found in Golconda, a region in the present-day Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. (Sotheby’s estimates the original diamond was “possibly the largest ever found.”) The green lenses of the second pair, dubbed the “Gate of Paradise,” are meanwhile believed to have been cut from a Colombian emerald weighing over 300 carats.

The size of the original stones hints at the identity of the spectacles’ first owners, with Gibbs speculating that the glasses “could only have belonged” to an emperor, his inner circle or a high-ranking courtier. He said, “Any gemstone of this size, magnitude or value would have been brought straight to the Mughal court.”

The gemstones were highly prized in Islamic and Indic traditions, where they had strong associations with spirituality. According to Gibbs, diamonds were associated with “celestial light” and “enlightenment” in Indic societies, as the bright stones were believed to be “vehicles for astral forces” that could channel the auspicious intentions of the universe.

The lenses of the "Halo of Light" spectacles are believed to have been cut from a single 200-carat diamond.

The lenses of the “Halo of Light” spectacles are believed to have been cut from a single 200-carat diamond. Credit: Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Green is also a color closely linked to paradise, salvation and eternal life in Islam, the religion practiced by the Mughal rulers. Viewing the world through these emerald-tinted glasses would, therefore, have had special significance, with Gibbs suggesting that the experience may have “led you through the gateway into paradise” by offering “a glimpse of the verdant sea of the green paradise that awaits.”

Royal precedent

The Mughal Empire was renowned for advancing jewelry craftsmanship across South Asia, and these spectacles are an example of its jewelers’ talents. In the 17th century, the Indian subcontinent was the “sole source of diamonds in the world,” according to Gibbs.

The region was, therefore, home to some of the era’s most advanced techniques. Creating these lenses would have required “extraordinary technical skill and scientific mastery,” Gibbs said, as Mughal gemstone cutters would have carved them by hand with no room for error.

“There’s a huge risk involved with the cutting of the stone and the size,” he added. “If it goes wrong, you lose the stone.”

Related video: How do art auctions really work?

Gemologists visiting the Mughal court from Europe most likely influenced the glasses’ design, said Gibbs, who described the items as a “meeting of European and Indian technology and ideas.” The arrival of Jesuit missionaries, some of whom wore pince-nez glasses (which balance on the nose and have no arms), may also have influenced the spectacles’ original frames. In the late 19th century, however, both sets of frames were replaced with the current ones, which feature numerous rose-cut diamonds along the lens rims and bridge.

Colored lenses had been favored by the likes of Emperor Nero, who wore green gemstone spectacles to “soothe his eyes from the sight of the blood” at Roman gladiator games, Gibbs said. France’s King Charles V, meanwhile, is thought to have worn beryl spectacles in the 14th century. According to Sotheby’s, a similar story surrounds Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who is said to have used emeralds to soothe his tired eyes after weeping for days following the death of his wife Mumtaz Mahal (for whom he built the Taj Mahal as a tomb).

The "Gate of Paradise" glasses are thought to have been cut from a Colombian emerald.

The “Gate of Paradise” glasses are thought to have been cut from a Colombian emerald. Credit: Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s estimates the two pairs of spectacles will sell for between £1.5 million and £2.5 million ($2.1 million to $3.5 million) each. And though they may be centuries old, their sparkling frames and narrow silhouettes appear remarkably on-trend. Members of hip-hop group Migos are known for their diamond-studded Cartier spectacles, while Kylie Jenner has been seen wearing opaque bejeweled glasses to the Met Gala and on social media.

“The attraction of jewelry, of bright stones and of shiny things persists through all ages, doesn’t it?” Gibbs said. “The current pop and celebrity embracing of these fashions is a testament to the enduring style and sophistication of Indian jewelry.”

The spectacles will be on display at Sotheby’s New York showroom Sept. 17-19.

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Highlights from New York Fashion Week

Written by CNN Staff

New York Fashion Week is back, with designers Christian Siriano, Brandon Maxwell and Gabriela Hearst among those showcasing their Spring-Summer 2022 collections.

Covid-19 restrictions forced recent editions online, but the majority of this season’s shows will take place in-person. Attendees will, however, be required to show proof of vaccination, according to organizers.

Although several labels have nonetheless stuck with virtual showcases, others are opting for the grandest of real-world locations: Ulla Johnson is taking over the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and LaQuan Smith is hosting his show at an American landmark, the Empire State Building.

Famous models are also making a welcome return to the catwalk, with Gigi Hadid walking for Proenza Schouler and plus-size models Precious Lee and Candice Huffine starring in Christian Siriano’s body-positive show. And New York Fashion Week naturally enjoys a slew of celebrity-studded front rows, with the likes of Katie Holmes, Alicia Silverstone and Lil Kim already pictured in attendance.

The week-long schedule runs through Sunday, September 12, closing out with a show by American designer Tom Ford. The following evening then heralds the return of one of fashion’s biggest nights: the Met Gala, which promises a star-studded red carpet filled with meticulously planned ensembles.

Scroll through the gallery above to see highlights from New York Fashion Week. The gallery will updated throughout the event.

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See the best celebrity style from the Met Gala

Written by Allyssia Alleyne, CNNOscar Holland, CNNNick Remsen, CNNNew York City

Pop culture’s most famous faces descended on the The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday evening to celebrate the fashion industry’s party of the year: the Met Gala.
Postponed last time around due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the star-studded annual fundraiser for the Met’s Costume Institute returned to mark the opening of its banner fashion exhibition, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” A-list actors, supermodels,TV drag queens, musicians and athletes all walked the red carpet — or cream carpet, to be precise — offering their own unique take on the all-American theme.

Cartwheels, costume changes and political statements take stage at the Met Gala

Ahead of the event, longstanding gala chair Anna Wintour said via email that American fashion in 2021 has become “a patchwork, reflecting the world we’re all living in, as seen through many different lenses.” Adding to this patchwork, the Vogue editor-in-chief eschewed her usual Chanel and turned up in a floral Oscar de la Renta gown — a tribute to the late designer, who was a close friend of hers and an avid gardener.
One of Wintour’s celebrity co-chairs, inaugural poet Amanda Gorman, offered her thoughts on the theme as she arrived at the Met, telling CNN Style that American fashion was “diverse, vibrant, beautiful and intersectional.”
Co-chair Amanda Gorman's outfit made multiple references to the Statue of Liberty.Co-chair Amanda Gorman’s outfit made multiple references to the Statue of Liberty. Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Making her way up the steps in an embellished indigo Vera Wang gown and silver laurel crown, she said: “I think American fashion really is at the crossroads of the world.” Representing a reimagined Statue of Liberty, Gorman held an Edie Parker clutch that said “Give Me Your Tired,” a reference to the poem inscribed at the statue’s base.

The poet was one of several stars to don deep shades of blue at the glitzy event. Tracee Ellis Ross wowed in a Balenciaga Couture coat dress with a popped collar, while gymnast Nia Dennis made an acrobatic entrance in a blue Stella McCartney catsuit.

Timothee ChalametTimothée Chalamet in Haider Ackerman. Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Another of the evening’s co-chairs, Timothée Chalamet, was among a handful of attendees to pick white, arriving with typical nonchalance in a shrunken white satin suit jacket and billowing white Haider Ackerman pants tucked into a pair of crisp Converse sneakers.

But of those looking to the stars and stripes of the American flag for inspiration, the ones drawn to red came out in greatest force.

Megan Fox turned heads with pinup-style bangs and a daring Dundas dress featuring a plunging v-neck and high slit, while Karlie Kloss wore a scarlet Carolina Herrera gown with striking structural details.

Megan Fox was one of the many stars wearing either red, white or blue at the 2021 Met Gala.Megan Fox was one of the many stars wearing either red, white or blue at the 2021 Met Gala. Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Model Ella Emhoff, the stepdaughter of Vice President Kamala Harris, sported an all-red Adidas outfit by Stella McCartney, joining a long list of celebrities to wear the color, including Jennifer Hudson, Rosalia, Emily Ratajkowski and Maluma.

On a night dedicated to American fashion, it is unsurprising that many opted for old Hollywood glamour.

Wearing Oscar de la Renta, co-chair Billie Eilish channeled Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly in her décolleté-bearing peach gown, which came with a fitted bodice and lengthy tulle train that required the support of four helpers. Megan Thee Stallion also glittered in an elegant pink Coach gown featuring hand-embroidered crystal detailing and an asymmetrical hem.

13 met gala red carpet 2021 billie eilish

Billie Eilish opted for classic glamour with her luxurious Oscar de la Renta gown. Credit: Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

MJ Rodriguez looked to the past for inspiration, too, stunning onlookers in a Thom Browne creation she described as a “Victorian look.” Yet the outfit also alluded to something altogether more contemporary. Speaking to CNN Style on her way in, the “Pose” star said the outfit had been designed to “show what it looks like to be America now in 2021 and be a Black, Latina trans woman who can show that she can take her roots all the way back to American roots.”

Rodriguez was among a number of attendees to interpret the theme through the lens of diversity. Rapper Saweetie wore a figure-hugging, crystal-embellished dress with a lengthy train by Christian Cowan that incorporated the colors of the Black American Heritage flag and a Filipino flag — a reference to her mixed heritage.

Similarly, co-chair Naomi Osaka brought her Japanese and Haitian background together in an ensemble by Louis Vuitton. The ruffled sleeves evoked carnival, while the red obi across her tulip skirt recalled the traditional kimono tie.

46 met gala red carpet 2021 naomi osakaNaomi Osaka attends the Met Gala in Louis Vuitton. Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
There were strong social and political messages on the red carpet, too — many of which were expressed through the language of American values. New York Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney didn’t mince words in a bold look emblazoned with “equal rights for women” on trailing shoulder panels. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez meanwhile arrived in a white off-the-shoulder gown by Brooklyn-based brand Brother Vellies bearing the phrase “Tax the Rich.”
Carolyn B. Maloney sent a clear message. Carolyn B. Maloney sent a clear message. Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
But while there were plenty of serious statements — and more of a pared-down approach than 2019’s event, which saw stars embrace the extravagant “camp” theme — it wouldn’t be the Met Gala without some dramatic entrances.
Lil Nas X made one of the evening's most dramatic entrances, revealing a gold suit of armor and, later, a gold jumpsuit.

Lil Nas X made one of the evening’s most dramatic entrances, revealing a gold suit of armor and, later, a gold jumpsuit. Credit: John Shearer/WireImage/Getty Images

Lil Nas X went for a succession of rapid costume changes, removing a gigantic velvet robe to reveal a suit of golden armor before unveiling a sparkling golden jumpsuit. Elsewhere, musician Grimes arrived clutching a sword forged from a melted-down gun, which was created by art collective MSCHF, and supermodel Iman wowed in an oversized feathered headdress, gold corset and feathered, wire-framed ball skirt.

With so many takes on what American fashion means in 2021, one thing is clear: The Met Gala brought it out in all its diversity.

Scroll through the gallery above for more highlights from this year’s Met Gala red carpet.

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A Million Afghan Children Could Die in ‘Most Perilous Hour,’ U.N. Warns

Millions of Afghans could run out of food before the arrival of winter and one million children are at risk of starvation and death if their immediate needs are not met, top United Nations officials warned on Monday, putting the country’s plight into stark relief.

Secretary General António Guterres, speaking at a high-level U.N. conference in Geneva convened to address the crisis, said that since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan last month, the nation’s poverty rate has soared and basic public services have neared collapse and, in the past year, hundreds of thousands of people have been made homeless after being forced to flee fighting.

“After decades of war, suffering and insecurity, they face perhaps their most perilous hour,” Mr. Guterres said, adding that one in three Afghans do not know where they will get their next meal.

The deepening humanitarian crisis tops a dizzying array of challenges confronting the new Taliban regime as it navigates governing a country propped up for decades by aid from international donors.

face potential collapse. At a local hospital in Chak-e Wardak, administrators have been unable to pay salaries or purchase new medicines with banks still closed, according to Faridullah, the facility’s resident doctor.

as drought enveloped the nation.

On Monday, in his first public remarks to Congress, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken defended the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying there was no reason to believe the country would have stabilized had the United States remained.

“There’s no evidence that staying longer would have made the Afghan security forces or the Afghan government any more resilient or self-sustaining,” Mr. Blinken told the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in a live teleconference call. “If 20 years and hundreds of billions of dollars in support, equipment, and training did not suffice, why would another year, or five, or 10, make a difference?”

international aid workers having fled the country out of safety concerns. Those who remain are unsure if they will be able to continue their work.

During the conference on Monday, the U.N. said it needed $606 million in emergency funding to address the immediate crisis, while acknowledging that money alone will not be enough. The organization has pressed the Taliban to provide assurances that aid workers can go about their business safely. By the end of the gathering, international pledges had surpassed the amount requested.

But even as the Taliban sought to make that pledge, the U.N.’s human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, also speaking in Geneva, said Afghanistan was in a “new and perilous phase” since the militant Islamist group seized power.

“In contradiction to assurances that the Taliban would uphold women’s rights, over the past three weeks, women have instead been progressively excluded from the public sphere,” she said, a warning that the Taliban would need to use more than words to demonstrate their commitment to aid workers’ safety.

Monday’s conference was also intended to drive home the enormousness of the crisis and offer some reassurance to Western governments hesitant to provide assistance that could legitimize the authority of a Taliban government that includes leaders identified by the U.N. as international terrorists with links to Al Qaeda.

their origin story and their record as rulers.

On Sunday, Taliban authorities sent assurances that they would facilitate humanitarian aid deliveries by road, he said.

some $12 billion in assistance to Afghanistan over four years.

While the Taliban did not have a representative in Geneva for the meeting, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s deputy information and culture minister, said the government welcomed all humanitarian efforts by any nation, including the United States.

He also acknowledged that not even the Taliban expected to be in control of the country so quickly.

“It was a surprise for us how the former administration abandoned the government,” he said. “We were not fully prepared for that and are still trying to figure things out to manage the crisis and try to help people in any way possible.”

More than half a million Afghans were driven from their homes by fighting and insecurity this year, bringing the total number of people displaced within the country to 3.5 million, Filippo Grandi, the U.N. refugee chief said.

The danger of economic collapse raised the possibility of stoking an outflow of refugees to neighboring countries.

Said, 33, lived in Kunduz before fleeing to Kabul, where he now lives in a tent in a park. He has been there with his wife and three children for a month.

“It’s cold here, we have no food, no shelter, and we can’t find a job in this city,” he said, adding that he had not received any aid. “We all have children and they need food and shelter, and it’s not easy to live here.”

Jim Huylebroek contributed reporting from Chak-e Wardak, Afghanistan. Sami Sahak also contributed reporting.

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Gold mask among 3,000-year-old relics unearthed from sacrificial pits

Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

Contributors Shawn Deng, CNN

A gold mask dating back over 3,000 years is among hundreds of relics uncovered from a series of sacrificial pits in southwest China, according to the Sichuan Provincial Cultural Heritage Administration.

The finds were made at Sanxingdui, a 4.6-square-mile archeological site outside Chengdu that has yielded thousands of ancient artifacts since a local farmer stumbled across it in the 1920s.

The golden mask, which was discovered in June but first unveiled earlier this month, weighs about 100 grams (0.22 pounds) and would have been part of a larger bronze head rather than a standalone object, according to state-run press agency, Xinhua. It is thought to hail from the late Shang dynasty, which came to an end in 1046 BC.
A bronze animal sculpture recently unearthed at Sanxingdui.

A bronze animal sculpture recently unearthed at Sanxingdui. Credit: VCG/Getty Images

The artifact is one of around 500 items uncovered from the pits in recent months, according to Chinese state media. Ivory relics were also among the discoveries, as was a jade knife, a ceremonial vessel known as a “zun” and several bronze figurines.

Archaeologists made a breakthrough at Sanxingdui in the mid-1980s, when they found two ceremonial pits containing over 1,000 items, including elaborate and well-preserved bronze masks.

After a long pause in excavations, a third pit was found in late 2019, leading to the discovery of five more in 2020. In March of this year, an earlier cache of over 500 items was unveiled by authorities, including another gold mask and a bronze vessel with owl-shaped patterning.
An archaeologist at work in one of the sacrificial pits.

An archaeologist at work in one of the sacrificial pits. Credit: CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Shutterstock

Many of the objects appear to have been ritually burned before being buried, leading experts to believe that the pits were used for sacrificial purposes.

Sanxingdui is thought to have sat at the heart of the Shu state, a kingdom that ruled in the western Sichuan basin until it was conquered in 316 BC. Findings at the site have offered evidence of a unique Shu culture, suggesting that the kingdom developed independently of other societies in the Yellow River Valley, which is traditionally considered to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. Silk fibers and the remains of textiles have also been found in the pits.

“The new discoveries demonstrate once again that imagination and creativity of the ancient Chinese far surpassed what people today had expected,” Tang Fei, chief of the Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute, told Xinhua.
A bronze mask discovered in one of the eight sacrificial pits discovered at the Sanxingdui ruins site.

A bronze mask discovered in one of the eight sacrificial pits discovered at the Sanxingdui ruins site. Credit: CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Shutterstock

Many of the items unearthed at Sanxingdui are now on display at an on-site museum, though excavation of two of the pits is still ongoing.

Though not yet recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sanxingdui is on the organization’s “tentative list” for future consideration. It is, along with other Shu archaeological sites, described by the UN agency as “an outstanding representative of the Bronze Age Civilization of China, East Asia and even the world.”

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Australia to trial vaccine passports over coming days as post-Covid opening preparation begins

(CNN) — Australians have been told to “dust off (their) passports” after the federal government announced it would begin a trial of vaccine passports with some countries this week — the latest step in Australia’s reopening to the world.

Australia closed its borders almost 18 months ago in a bid to contain Covid-19. But now, with vaccination rates rising, the country is possibly just months away from relaxing restrictions on international travel.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that once 80% of Australia’s adult population has received both shots, people will again be allowed to travel overseas.

In preparation for reopening, Minister for Trade and Tourism Dan Tehan said Sunday that the government would be trying vaccine passports with a number of major travel destinations through Australia’s diplomatic missions overseas.

Among the countries flagged were Singapore, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the US, as well as Australia’s neighboring Pacific islands. Tehan said it would take the form of a QR code linked to real passports to prove vaccination records for outgoing and inbound travelers.

“So when that international border opens we want to make sure we’re ready for people to be able to travel again and, you know, it’s incredibly important that we’re doing that preparatory work,” Tehan said on Sunday.

Any inbound travelers vaccinated overseas must have received shots approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which to date only includes Pfizer, AstraZenica, Moderna and Janssen Cilag, Tehan added.

No Russian or Chinese-developed vaccines have been approved by Australia’s TGA.

The move to relax Australia’s international borders comes as the country struggles to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant, which has spread to the major population centers of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, leading to lengthy lockdowns.

Australia is forecast to hit the 80% double vaccination target for the adult population in late November. As of September 12, 42.3% of Australia’s adult population was fully vaccinated.

Morrison said he hoped travelers arriving in Australia after borders reopened would be able to quarantine at home, instead of the existing hotel quarantine system.

However, a bigger problem could be a lack of available seats on international airlines. Australia’s airport sector has warned that airlines needed more guidance and preparation to be ready to reestablish flight routes with the country, according to local media.
On Sunday, Tehan said the Australian government had been “working with airlines.” Australian carrier Qantas has already said it will resume international flights next month, although with fewer planes available on each international route.
Speaking to CNN affiliate 7 News, Singapore Airlines spokesman Karl Schubert said he hadn’t had the engagement with the Australian government he’d been hoping for.

“Governments, stakeholders, airports and airlines all need to get around a table, sit down and discuss what … the reopening of Australia’s borders is actually going to look like,” he said.

CNN’s Angus Watson contributed to this article.

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North Korea Reports Test of New Cruise Missile as Arms Race Intensifies

SEOUL — North Korea said on Monday it​ had successfully launched newly developed long-range cruise missiles, its first missile test in six months and a new indication that an arms race between North and South Korea was heating up on the Korean Peninsula.

​In the tests that took place on Saturday and Sunday, the North Korean missiles hit targets 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) away after flying more than two hours, said the North’s official Korean Central News Agency. The missiles changed their trajectories and made circles before hitting their targets, it said.

A series of resolutions from the United Nations Security Council banned North Korea from developing or testing ballistic missiles, but not cruise missiles. A cruise missile test by the North usually does not raise as much alarm as its ballistic missile tests. The country’s state-run media also indicated that the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, had not attended the weekend tests, though he has usually supervised all major weapons tests in recent years.

The latest tests showed that North Korea continued to improve its arsenal of missiles while nuclear disarmament talks with the United States remained stalled. North Korea said on Monday that the long-range cruise missile was “a strategic weapon of great significance” and part of an arms development goal announced by Mr. Kim during the party congress in January.

ramping up its own arms buildup.

Dosan Ahn Changho-class attack submarine. North Korea began testing its submarine-launched ballistic missiles in 2015, reporting the “greatest success” the following year.

As international negotiations have made little progress in stopping North Korea from growing its weapons arsenal, South Korea has embarked on building more powerful missiles and missile-defense systems of its own to counter North Korean threats.

launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile in 2017, Donald J. Trump, then president, lifted the payload limit on South Korean ballistic missiles. During the summit meeting in May between President Biden and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, the allies agreed to terminate the missile guidelines, leaving South Korea free to develop longer-range missiles.

North Korea reacted angrily to the removal of the missile restrictions, ​calling it “a stark reminder of the U.S. hostile policy.”

The removal of the limits allows South Korea to build ballistic missiles with larger warheads that hold destructive power and that can target underground bunkers where North Korea keeps its nuclear arsenal and where its leadership would hide at war, military analysts said.

When Mr. Moon visited his Defense Ministry’s Agency for Defense Development last year, he said South Korea had “developed a short-range ballistic missile with one of the largest warheads in the world,” an apparent reference to the Hyunmoo-4, which missile experts say can cover all of North Korea with a two-ton payload.

When North Korea last conducted a missile test, on March 25, it said it had launched a new ballistic missile that carried a 2.5-ton warhead. This month, reports emerged in South Korean news media that the South was developing an even more powerful weapon: a short-range ballistic missile with a payload of up to three tons.

The tit-for-tat weapons buildup signaled that the rival militaries were arming themselves with increasingly powerful missiles that can fly farther and carry more destructive power, and that are harder to intercept.

said this month.

last October and in January, North Korea unveiled what appeared to be newly developed intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said last month that the country appeared to have restarted a reactor in its main nuclear complex​.

But North Korea has refrained from​ testing an I.C.B.M. or a nuclear device since 2017. Its most recent military parade, held Thursday to mark the government’s 73rd anniversary, did not feature new weapons.

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Reporters in Afghanistan Face an Intolerant Regime: ‘Everything Changed Overnight’

Beloved shows removed from the airwaves. A television station cutting from a news report a story about a pregnant police officer who was reportedly fatally shot by the Taliban. A radio editor telling his colleagues to edit out anti-Taliban cheers from coverage of demonstrations in the capital.

Afghanistan’s vibrant free press and media industry, once celebrated as a success story and labeled one of the country’s most important achievements of the past two decades, has abruptly been transformed after the Taliban takeover of the country. Now, its survival is threatened by physical assaults, self-censorship and a dwindling journalist population less than a month after the Taliban seized control of Kabul, the capital, and began enforcing their hard-line Islamist policies.

The Taliban’s crackdown on the free press was even more evident on Wednesday after two Afghan journalists were detained and violently assaulted for covering a protest in Kabul. Photos showed the backsides of both reporters covered with bruises and gashes from being whipped repeatedly with cables, sparking an international outcry.

“The situation of free media is very critical,” said Neda, an anchor for a local television station in Kabul, identified by her nickname to protect her identity. “No one dares to ask the Taliban about their past wrongdoings and the atrocities they have committed.”

the Taliban rounded up scores of demonstrators around Kabul and journalists covering the protests, subjecting them to abuse in overcrowded jails, according to journalists who were present. The crackdown on the demonstrations and the ensuing coverage followed a Taliban announcement Tuesday that protests would not be allowed without government approval. At least 19 journalists were detained on Tuesday and Wednesday, the United Nations said.

“You’re lucky you have not been beheaded,” Taliban guards told one detained journalist as they kicked him in the head, Ravina Shamdasdani, a spokeswoman for the United Nations human rights office in Geneva, told reporters.

Reporters with Etilaat e Roz described being detained at the protests, then brought to a nearby police station where they were tied up and beaten with cables.

Taqi Daryabi, one of the reporters, said about a half-dozen Taliban members handcuffed him behind his back when he was on the ground on his stomach, then began kicking and hitting him until he lost consciousness.

“They beat so much that I couldn’t resist or move,” he said. “They forced me to the ground on my stomach, flogging me on my buttocks and back, and the ones who were in the front were kicking me in the face.”

Reporters working for Tolo News, Ariana News, Pajhwok News Agency and several freelance journalists have also been detained and beaten by the Taliban in the past three weeks, according to local media reports.

“The Taliban is quickly proving that earlier promises to allow Afghanistan’s independent media to continue operating freely and safely are worthless,” Steven Butler, Asia program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in a statement Wednesday. “We urge the Taliban to live up to those earlier promises, to stop beating and detaining reporters doing their job.”

On top of the dangerous environment, the flow of information from the government has slowed and become very limited. There used to be dozens of government spokesmen; now there are only a handful speaking for the new Taliban government, and they are less responsive than during the group’s insurgency.

In the late 1990s, the Taliban imposed strict restrictions on the media, banning television and using the state-owned radio and newspapers as propaganda platforms. But the group promised greater openness toward freedom of expression once it seized power last month.

“We will respect freedom of the press, because media reporting will be useful to society and will be able to help correct the leaders’ errors,” Zabihullah Mujahid, the acting deputy information and culture minister, told Reporters Without Borders last week. “We declare to the world that we recognize the importance of the role of the media.”

Many Afghan journalists said those promises are just “words” by Taliban’s leaders, citing recent assaults on reporters in Kabul and elsewhere.

“Press freedom is dead in Afghanistan,” said Mr. Quraishi, the media advocate. “And the society without a free press dies.”

Jim Huylebroek contributed reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan. Nick Bruce contributed from Geneva.

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