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Kim Jong-un reaffirms denuclearization pledge, willingness to meet Trump

Moon noted his meeting with the North Korean leader may help revive the Trump-Kim summit but said the fate of the historic summit will largely depend on direct dialogue between the two countries, reports Yonhap News Agency.

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Seoul, May 27 : North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reaffirmed his willingness to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and hold a summit with US President Donald Trump, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday.

“Chairman Kim Jong-un has once again clearly expressed his commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula following his pledge in the Panmunjom Declaration and expressed his willingness to end the history of war and confrontation through the success of the North Korea-US summit,” Moon said of his latest summit with the North Korean leader held on Saturday.

“We both agreed the June 12 North Korea-US summit must be successfully held,” Yonhap News Agency quoted Moon as saying here.

Saturday’s inter-Korean summit was held on the North Korean side of Panmunjom, a border village that sits directly on the Military Demarcation Line that divides the two Koreas.

The first Moon-Kim summit was held on the South Korean side of Panmunjom on April 27.

Trump on Thursday called off his scheduled summit with Kim, citing the North’s tremendous anger and open hostility, only to suggest later the meeting would go ahead as planned.

“While explaining the outcome of my summit with U.S. President Trump held last week, I relayed the message that President Trump is firmly willing to end his country’s hostile relationship with North Korea and enhance economic cooperation should Chairman Kim make a decision on complete denuclearization and implements it,” Moon said.

He said his surprise meeting with Kim came at a suggestion from the North Korean leader, who on Friday expressed hope to meet for candid dialogue.

“Also, as both Chairman Kim and President Trump sincerely wish for the success of the North-US summit, I stressed the need for the two sides to remove any misunderstanding through direct communication and to hold enough dialogue on agenda issues that need to be addressed at their summit,” President Moon said, adding, “Chairman Kim also agreed”.

Moon noted his meeting with the North Korean leader may help revive the Trump-Kim summit but said the fate of the historic summit will largely depend on direct dialogue between the two countries, reports Yonhap News Agency.

“All the efforts I am making now are aimed at improving the South-North Korea relationship on one hand, but on the other hand, they are also aimed at holding the North Korea-US summit that is absolutely needed to improve the South-North ties.

“I believe whether the June 12 North Korea-US summit will be disrupted or succeed depends on how successfully (the North and the US) complete their working-level negotiations,” he said.

Meanwhile, Trump said late Saturday that the June 12 summit was still a possibility.

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United States Employment Rate will fall further: Fed

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Washington, April 16 (IANS) Economic activity “contracted sharply and abruptly” across all regions in the US as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.

“The hardest-hit industries – because of social distancing measures and mandated closures – were leisure and hospitality, and retail aside from essential goods,” the Fed said in its latest survey on economic conditions, known as the Beige Book, based on information collected from its 12 regional reserve banks before April 6, Xinhua reported.

“All Districts reported highly uncertain outlooks among business contacts, with most expecting conditions to worsen in the next several months,” the Fed said.

The survey showed that employment declined in all districts as the COVID-19 pandemic affected firms in many sectors.

“Employment cuts were most severe in the retail and leisure and hospitality sectors, where most Districts reported widespread mandatory closures and steep falloffs in demand,” the survey said, adding severe job cuts were also widespread in the manufacturing and energy sectors.

“Contacts in several Districts noted they were cutting employment via temporary layoffs and furloughs that they hoped to reverse once business activity resumes. The near-term outlook was for more job cuts in coming months,” the survey said.

The survey noted that no district reported upward wage pressures, with most citing “general wage softening and salary cuts” except for high-demand sectors such as grocery stores.

“These trends were seen as reflecting weaker demand for many goods and services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the survey said.

The survey came after the Commerce Department reported earlier on Wednesday that US retail sales plunged in March by the most on record as the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to take a big toll on the US economy.

The US economy is expected to contract by 5.9 per cent this year, according to the World Economic Outlook (WEO) report released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday.

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New York statewide COVID-19 deaths surpass 10,000

Meanwhile, indicators including the rates of ICU admissions and intubations have gone down and the three-day-average rate of hospitalization basically reached a plateau, according to the governor.

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New York Coronavirus Case

New York, April 14 : Governor of the US state of New York Andrew Cuomo said statewide deaths from COVID-19 rose to 10,056, adding “the worst is over if we continue to be smart” in coping with the novel coronavirus.

Cuomo on Monday said at his daily briefing that a total of 671 people passed away on Sunday due to the disease, a number much lower than in the past few days, Xinhua news agency reported.

Meanwhile, indicators including the rates of ICU admissions and intubations have gone down and the three-day-average rate of hospitalization basically reached a plateau, according to the governor.

“We are controlling the spread,” said Cuomo. “I believe the worst is over if we continue to be smart. I believe we can start on the path to normalcy,” he said.

He said he would be joined by several other governors of neighbouring states later on Monday to discuss how to reopening the economy in a coordinated way.

On Twitter, the governor said that any plan to reopen society must be driven by data and experts, not opinion and politics.

He said the objective is to ease isolation and increase economic activity without increasing the infection rate.

“We will learn from the warning signs from other countries. We will take every precaution. We will work together as a region,” he added.

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US now has highest COVID-19 deaths, surpasses Italy: Johns Hopkins

A total of 20,071 people have died of the disease among 519,453 confirmed cases in the country as of 4 p.m. local time (2000 GMT) on Saturday

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Coronavirus Death US

Washington, April 12 : The UnS has surpassed Italy as the country with the highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world as the fatalities as of Sunday reached 20,604, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

As of Sunday morning, Italy has reported 19,648 coronavirus deaths, placing it in the second position after the US, the data published by the university’s enter for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed.

The US also accounts for the highest number of confirmed cases with 529,887. Spain, where the number of confirmed infections stands at 163,027, is a distant second, followed by Italy with 152,271 cases.

New York state, the epicentre of the pandemic in the US, has recorded the most deaths in the country, 8,627, which is followed by New Jersey and Michigan with 2,183 and 1,276, respectively, the CSSE data showed.

A total of 32,001 patients in the country have recovered, it added.

US President Donald Trump’s administration, which earlier estimated that the pandemic would cause anywhere from 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the US, revised its projection downward this week to 60,000, reports Efe news.

Members of the White House coronavirus task force credit the more optimistic forecast to the success of the stay-at-home orders issued by 42 of the 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, covering around 316 million people.

Trump, who has repeatedly decried the economic cost of closing schools and businesses to contain the virus, said late last month that he hoped to re-open the country by Easter Sunday.

During Friday’s news briefing by the task force, Trump sought to reassure Americans that he would guided by medical experts as well as by recommendations from the “Opening Our Country Council” he plans to install next week.

“I want to get it open as soon as possible. The facts are going to determine what I do,” the president said.

“I’m going to have to make a decision, and I only hope to God that it’s the right decision. But I would say, without question, it’s the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make,” Trump said.

As of Sunday, the number of global coronavirus cases stood at 1,777,517, with 108,862 deaths, while 404,236 people have recovered.

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