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Noth Korea threatens to cancel Trump summit

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Pyongyang, May 16: North Korea on Wednesday said it may reconsider attending a summit with US President Donald Trump if Washington unilaterally insists Pyongyang gives up nuclear weapons, according to media reports. 

North Korean news agency KCNA quoted Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan as saying that if the US “corners us and unilaterally demands we give up nuclear weapons we will no longer have an interest in talks and will have to reconsider whether we will accept the upcoming North Korea-US summit”.

Earlier in the day, in a sign of growing difficulties, the Kim Jong-un regime pulled out of talks scheduled with Seoul for Wednesday, mentioning the South Korea-US military drills, the BBC said.

The highly anticipated meeting between Trump and Kim is due to take place on June 12.

It came about after North Korea said it was committed to denuclearising the Korean Peninsula.

Delicate preparations were taking place for the Trump-Kim meeting, but this would throw it into doubt, the BBC reported.

Kim said North Korea “had high hopes that the summit would lead to the easing of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and count as a big step to build a great future.

“However, it is very unfortunate that the US is provoking us ahead of the summit by spitting out ludicrous statements.”

Korean officials from both sides were due to meet in the demilitarised zone between the two countries on Wednesday to discuss further details of the agreements they had made at the historic summit on April 27.

However, the North withdrew, angered by the start of large South Korea-US military drills.

The drills — called Max Thunder — had been due to take place around the time of the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February-March, but were postponed because of an unexpected thaw in the North-South relations.

North Korea had previously said it understood that the drills needed to go ahead.

But KCNA said they were a “provocation” and a rehearsal for an invasion — a return to the sort of language it has used during far more tense times.

America

US sanctions Myanmar military personnel, units over human rights abuse

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Rohingya Muslims

Washington, Aug 18 (IANS) The US Treasury Department on Friday announced to sanction four commanders and two military units in Myanmar, accusing them of being related with human rights abuse cases in the country.

In a statement, the Treasury said the targeted commanders were from Burmese military and Border Guard Police (BGP), Xinhua reported.

Together with the 33rd Light Infantry Division (LID) and the 99th LID, the commanders were punished over the alleged involvement in ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State and “other widespread human rights abuses” in Kachin and Shan States.

These individuals and entities were designated according to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of 2016 that targeted “perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption.”

Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in the statement that the US government “will continue to systematically expose and bring accountability to human rights abusers in this region.”

As a result of these actions, any property, or interest in property, of those designated within U.S. jurisdiction is blocked.

Additionally, US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with blocked persons, including entities 50 percent or more owned by designated persons.

Building upon the act, US President Donald Trump signed Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, or “Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption.” To date, 84 individuals and entities have been sanctioned under the order.

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Imran Khan elected as Pakistan Prime Minister

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Imran Khan

Islamabad, Aug 17: Cricketer-turned-politician PTI chief Imran Khan elected as Pakistan’s 22nd Prime Minister by the National Assembly on Friday. 

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief won with 176 seats while his opponent, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) President Shehbaz Sharif, secured 96 votes , Dawn online reported.

Khan, whose party attained victory in the July 25 general election, will take the oath of office on Saturday.

According to the poll body’s figures, the PTI has 158 members in the National Assembly after the joining of nine Independents and bagging of 33 seats reserved for women and minorities.

With the support of the country’s smaller and regional parties, a total of 175 lawmakers backed Khan.

WeForNews 

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Flags in Mauritius at half mast in Vajpayee’s honour

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Port Louis, Aug 17: In an unprecedented gesture, the government of Mauritius will fly both the Mauritian and Indian national flags at half mast on Friday in honour of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“Following the passing away of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the government has decided that both the Mauritius and India flags will remain at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Friday,” a directive issued by the office of Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said.

“An appeal is also being made to the private sector for ll flags to be flown at half-mast during the same period,” it said.

Vajpayee passed away in Delhi on Thursday at the age of 93 after prolonged illness.

Around 68 per cent of Mauritius’s population of nearly 1.3 million are of Indian descent. Many are descendants of Indian indentured labour brought to work on sugarcane plantations on the Indian Ocean island nation in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

In a condolence message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jugnauth said that Vajpayee “shaped the destiny of India through his bold leadership and his deep-rooted empathy for the common man”.

“Today, as India shines as a beacon of progress and development on the global stage, we cannot forget the strong and able stewardship of Vajpayee,” Jugnauth stated.

“His was a leadership characterised by determination, perseverance, fairness and equity.”

Jugnauth also recalled Vajpayee’s deep affection for Mauritius and its people and said that “we were honoured to receive him in March 2000 as chief guest at the National Day celebrations and whenever he visited Mauritius”.

“Mauritius mourns the loss of a man who stood not only for India but also for Mauritius,” he said.

IANS

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