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Kim, Putin exchange greetings on Korea’s Liberation Day

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Kim Jong Un

Seoul/Pyongyang, Aug 15 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanged greetings on Thursday to mark the 74th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan, Pyongyang’s state media reported.

In their messages, they expressed their desire to further deepen bilateral ties based on the agreement for cooperation reached during their first summit in the Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok in April, Yonhap News Agency quoted North Korean state-run KCNA as saying .

“(Kim’s message) said that the two peoples have inherited from one century into the next the feelings of comrades-in-arms which was formed in the joint struggle of the grim great anti-Japanese war,” the news agency said.

“And that the (North Korean) people are always remembering the noble internationalist feats of the heroic officers and men of the Red Army who laid down their precious lives for the sacred cause of Korea’s liberation,” it added.

Kim also expressed his belief that the bilateral relations that have entered “a new high stage” would steadily expand in several fields, including politics, economy and culture, in the future based on traditions from the countries’ preceding leaders, the KCNA said.

Putin said the relations between Pyongyang and Moscow were “of friendly and constructive character” and that the Vladivostok summit “clearly proves it”, the North’s media said.

“(Putin’s message) expressed the belief that to implement the agreements reached at the summit talks would contribute to further strengthening the bilateral cooperation in several fields and ensuring the stability and security in the Korean Peninsula,” the KCNA reported.

Liberation Day marks the end of the Japanese colonial era (1910-1945) with the surrender of Japan in World War II.

Both South and North Korea will hold commemorative events on Thursday.

In Japan, as every year, the fallen will be honoured in a memorial organized in Tokyo in which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Emperor Naruhito will participate.

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Hong Kong would have been obliterated in 14 minutes: Trump

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New Delhi, Nov 22 : US President Donald Trump made a sensational claim on Friday, saying “Hong Kong would have been obliterated in 14 minutes” had he not intervened with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump’s comment sent global shockwaves as there have been apprehensions about China implementing a Tiananmen Square kind of brute force in Hong Kong where protests have been raging for months now.

In a media interview, Trump said President Xi Jinping did not send Chinese troops against pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong only because of his intervention.

“If it weren’t for me, Hong Kong would have been obliterated in 14 minutes,” Trump said.

“Xi has a million soldiers standing outside of Hong Kong, who are not going in only because I asked him, ‘Please don’t do that. You will be making a big mistake. It will have a tremendous negative impact on the trade deal’,” Trump said in the interview.

Hong Kong’s protests started in June this year against a proposal to allow extradition to mainland China. Protests began as there were apprehensions that this could undermine judicial independence and endanger dissidents.

Till 1997, Hong Kong was ruled by Britain as a colony before it was returned to China. Under the “one country, two systems” arrangement, it has more autonomy and rights than the mainland.

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Trump thanks Pak PM for helping in hostages’ release

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Donald Trump

Islamabad: US President Donald Trump has thanked the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for facilitating the release of two Western hostages by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“In a telephonic conversation on Thursday, bilateral and regional issues were discussed,” a statement issued by the Pakistan Prime Minister’s Office said, reported by Dawn news.

During the phone call, Imran Khan termed the release of two Western hostages by the Taliban in Afghanistan as a “positive development”, saying Pakistan was happy that the duo was safe and free.

“President Trump thanked the prime minister for Pakistan’s efforts in facilitating this positive outcome,” the statement said.

Imran Khan reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the advancement of the Afghan peace and reconciliation process aimed at achieving a stable Afghanistan. Both leaders agreed to continue to work together for the promotion of this shared objective, according to the press release.

The Taliban insurgents had released two hostages — Kevin King from the US and Timothy Weeks from Australia — on Tuesday in a prisoner exchange deal with the Afghan government.

The American and Australian were exchanged with three Taliban leaders, including key militant figure Anas Haqqani.

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Facebook may finally take some action on political ads

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San Francisco: Sense seems to be prevailing at Facebook and the social networking giant is willing to make some changes in its political ad policies to stop misinformation on its platform during elections.

Facebook is mulling a ban on political ads that target small audiences or microtargeted ads.

It would increase the minimum target size for a political ad from 100 people to a “few thousand,” according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Facebook has reportedly asked Democrat and Republican ad buyers for inputs.

A company spokesperson said Facebook was “looking at different ways [it] might refine” its viewpoint on allowing political ads.

Tech giants are under pressure to take action on the spread of misinformation via political ads. Facebook recently allowed US President Donald Trump’s campaign office to post a fake ad about Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden on its platform.

Google has announced new limits on political advertisers globally from micro-targeting users via election ads based on their political affiliation.

“We’ve never allowed granular microtargeting of political ads on our platforms. In many countries, the targeting of political advertising is regulated and we comply with those laws,” it said.

Even Snapchat has said it fact-checks all political ads and does not allow misinformation to sneak through its platform. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said the company subjects all advertising to review, including political advertising.

Twitter on November 15 officially banned all kinds of political ads from its platform. No political content will be promoted from candidates, parties, governments or officials, public accounts committees (PACs) and certain political non-profit groups, said the micro-blogging platform.


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