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Moon may join US, North Korean leaders in Singapore

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Seoul, May 28 (IANS) South Korean President Moon Jae-in could make a trip to Singapore for a three-way summit with his US and North Korean counterparts next month, depending on the outcome of ongoing discussions between Washington and Pyongyang, a top official said here on Monday.

The trip, if made, will likely be made around June 12 when US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are scheduled to hold their bilateral summit, the official from Seoul’s presidential office told Yonhap News Agency.

“The discussions are just getting started, so we are still waiting to see how they come out, but depending on their outcome, the president could join President Trump and Chairman Kim in Singapore,” the official said.

A three-way summit was originally proposed by Moon and the North Korean leader when they held their first-ever meeting at the border village of Panmunjom on April 27.

Moon again expressed hope to hold such a meeting on Sunday, one day after he held his second and surprise meeting with Kim.

The presidential office earlier said the Seoul government was already studying the possibility of a three-way summit following a successful US-North Korea summit but that nothing has been decided or even discussed between the countries.

Trump on Sunday night confirmed that an American team, led by former US Ambassador to Seoul Sung Kim, has arrived in North Korea to “make arrangements for the summit between Kim Jong-un and myself”.

The three-way summit, if held, will likely be aimed at providing a security guarantee for North Korea in exchange for its denuclearization.

The North Korean leader has been quoted as saying his country would have no reason to possess nuclear weapons if and when its security and safety are guaranteed.

Following his second and latest talks with Kim, Moon said the North Korean leader continues to remain uncertain of whether the US would hold up its end of a nuclear deal and guarantee his country’s safety.

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France’s Macron urges UN mission to visit China’s Xinjiang region

“This is the reason why … France has requested that an international mission under the aegis of the United Nations go to Xinjiang in order to take into account the concerns that we collectively have on the situation of the Muslim Uighur minority,”

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PARIS : France’s president on Tuesday called for an international mission under the auspices of the United Nations to visit China’s Xinjiang due to concerns over the Muslim Uighur minority.

U.N. experts and activists say at least a million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centres in Xinjiang. China describes them as training centres helping stamp out terrorism and extremism and giving people new skills.

“Fundamental rights are not a Western idea that one could oppose as an interference … these are the principles of our organisation, enshrined in texts that the member states of the United Nations have freely consented to sign and to respect,” Emmanuel Macron said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

“This is the reason why … France has requested that an international mission under the aegis of the United Nations go to Xinjiang in order to take into account the concerns that we collectively have on the situation of the Muslim Uighur minority,” he said.

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Disaster

Israel reports 2,445 new Covid-19 cases; 193,374 in total

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Jerusalem, Sep 23 : Israel’s Ministry of Health reported 2,445 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 193,374.

The total count of deaths from the coronavirus in Israel rose by 12 to 1,285, while the number of patients in serious condition rose from 653 to 668, out of 1,352 patients currently hospitalised, Xinhua news agency reported.

The number of recoveries in the country increased by 3,971 to 140,751, while the number of active Covid-19 cases stood at 51,338.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Israeli government approved a plan to expand the national economic safety net to deal with the pandemic’s impact.

“Expanding the plan will enable immediate economic assistance for businesses and wage-earners who are expected to be hurt by the current Covid-19 nationwide lockdown,” said a joint statement by the Prime Minister’s Office and Finance Ministry.

The expansion includes the lowering of damage threshold for businesses to receive fixed expenditure grants to 25 per cent, providing advances against the fixed expenditure grants, a comprehensive worker retention plan, and deferring the reduction in unemployment benefits.

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Disaster

United States Covid deaths top 200,000 as questions linger over halting virus spread

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Coronavirus Death US

The US death toll from the coronavirus exceeded 200,000, as some guidelines and practices for stopping the disease’s spread have been called into question.

While the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University indicated that 52,000 new cases had been reported on Monday, some 21,800 of those new cases came from the release of backlogged data in Texas.

The US logged 36,695 new cases on Sunday, Johns Hopkins reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caused uncertainty Monday when it removed from its website newly posted guidelines saying the coronavirus could be transmitted by tiny particles that linger in the air.

The agency said a draft version of proposed changes was posted in error.

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