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brown sugar

North Korea has demanded the release of its ship detained in Panama with what appear to be missile radar and other weapons loaded in Cuba.

The communist country says its ship was sailing under a legitimate deal and calling the initial suspicion of drugs on board “a fiction.”

“The Panamanian investigation authorities rashly attacked and detained the captain and crewmen of the ship on the plea of ‘drug investigation’ and searched its cargo but did not discover any drug,” North Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

“This cargo is nothing but aging weapons which are to send back to Cuba after overhauling them according to a legitimate contract,” the spokesman was quoted as saying by the official KCNA news agency.

“The Panamanian authorities should take a step to let the apprehended crewmen and ship leave without delay.”

North Korea has demanded the release of its ship detained in Panama

North Korea has demanded the release of its ship detained in Panama

Panamanian authorities seized the North Korean freighter and found what appeared to be components for Soviet-era missile radar system under sacks of brown sugar.

The ship was stopped last week as it headed into the Panama Canal and authorities arrested the crew on Monday after finding undeclared missile-shaped objects, a potential violation of UN sanctions linked to the North’s nuclear and missile programmes.

Panama said on Wednesday that it had asked the UN to determine the legality of the cargo.

Cuba, which has close diplomatic ties with North Korea, said the cargo contained “obsolete defensive weaponry” being sent back to North Korea for repairs and included anti-aircraft missile batteries, disassembled rockets and fighter jet parts.

Security experts said there was a possibility North Korea was trying to import the equipment and the explanation about repairing the items may be a disguise.

Some reports claim the ship appears to have violated U.N. arms embargo on North Korea.

North Korea has been under wide-ranging sanctions under Security Council resolutions since 2006 that ban trade of most types of weapons after conducting missile and nuclear tests in defiance of international condemnation.

It tested a nuclear device for the third time in February that led to the adoption of the latest Security Council resolution that tightened the sanctions regime.

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Caramelized pear upside-down cake


• 75 g (2¾ oz) butter

• 125 g (4½ oz) brown sugar

• 4 pears, about 375 g (13 oz)

• 150 g (5½ oz) plain flour

• 2 tsp ground cinnamon

• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

• ½ tsp salt l 175 g (6 oz) caster sugar

• 4 eggs

• 100 ml (3½ fl oz) sunflower oil

• 1 tsp finely grated orange zest

Caramelized pear upside-down cake

Caramelized pear upside-down cake


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Melt the butter in a 26 cm (10½ in) diameter ovenproof frying pan over a low heat, then sprinkle over the brown sugar.

Grate one pear, including the skin (avoiding the pips and core), and set aside. Peel and core the remaining three pears, slice into quarters and arrange in a spiral pattern in the bottom of the pan, cut side down. Sift the flour, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl and mix in the caster sugar.

Whisk the eggs, sunflower oil, orange zest and grated pear, then add to the dry ingredients, whisking to combine. Pour the batter into the frying pan, then bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then place a plate on top and carefully turn the cake upside down and out onto the plate. Serve warm.