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Seoul, Pyongyang hold military talks

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Seoul, July 31: North and South Korea held high-level military talks on Tuesday to continue implementing the measures agreed at their historic leaders’ summit in April and to reduce cross-border tension.

A South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman told Efe news that the two delegations began their meeting at around 10 a.m. at the Peace House, in the Joint Security Area (JSA).

This is the second high-level military meeting since the April 27 summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, during which both countries agreed to improve bilateral ties and work for peace and the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula.

“Through the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration, I think seeds have already been planted. By putting our heads together for earnest deliberations despite the sweltering heat, I think we can definitely secure a good harvest this fall,” South Korean Maj. Gen. Kim Do-gyun, who headed the South Korean delegation, said at the beginning of Tuesday’s talks.

Experts said the sides may exchange positions on the issue of easing the military presence in the JSA, a proposal that the South Korean Defence Ministry brought forward a week ago before a parliamentary committee.

They might also discuss the idea of withdrawing forces and their equipment from border guard posts on the militarized border in stages on a “trial basis”.

On the possible agenda of the meeting is also a joint programme with the US to unearth the remains of fallen soldiers during the Korean War (1950-1953) or a possible plan to designate the tense Northern Limit Line, the western maritime border, as a joint fishing zone.

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Families affected by Beirut blasts to be given $300 monthly

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The Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) announced on Saturday that it will provide $300 for seven months for 10,000 families affected by August 4 Port of Beirut explosions.

“We will also make assessments about the families that are very much in need for this amount after the first month,” Xinhua news agency quoted George Kettaneh, secretary general of the LRC, as saying.

Kettaneh said that LRC will cooperate with other associations and the Lebanese army to make sure that support is distributed fairly among all families, while it will continue to provide medicines for chronic diseases.

Two explosions rocked the port destroying a big part of the capital city.It killed around 190 people and wounding at least 6,000 others.

The explosions, caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate detonating at a warehouse in the port, also led to at least 300,000 people being homeless, while plunging more into poverty.

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Vietnam resumes int’l flights after 5 months

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Vietnam on Saturday resumed international flights after a five-month suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Saturday morning, a Vietnam Airlines carrying 60 passengers on board took off for Tokyo from the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Most of the passengers are Vietnamese students and workers going back to Japan to continue studying and working.

The flight also carried a number of Japanese nationals, according to state-media.Passengers exiting Vietnam must have a certificate of negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Covid-19 test result issued within 72 hours before departure.

In September, Vietnam Airlines is expected to carry out three more flights to Japan, while the reverse route from Tokyo to Hnaoi will be arranged later.Vietnam suspended all international flights in late March.

The country has recorded 1,068 Covid-19 cases and 35 deaths as of Saturday morning. No local transmission has been recorded nationwide in more than two weeks, according to the Ministry of Health.

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US judge declines to block Commerce Department WeChat order

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NEW YORK : A United States judge in California declined to block the Commerce Department order issued on Friday that will prohibit U.S. app stores from offering Tencent Holding’s WeChat for download starting late Sunday.

Judge Laurel Beeler said the request for a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by U.S. WeChat users appeared moot after the Commerce order but said in an written order “the court is available today for a hearing on any emergency motions.” A lawyer for the WeChat users did not immediately comment.

Beeler issued a follow-up order that said lawyers for the WeChat users “will file something by 10:45 a.m. (PDT) about why the motion is not moot.” She tentatively sets a Zoom hearing for 11:00 a.m. (PDT)(1700 GMT).

The Justice Department said Friday in a court filing that Beeler should reject the request, saying President Donald Trump “has invoked his emergency powers to address (the WeChat) threat, and plaintiffs have articulated no legal basis for the Court to take the extraordinary step of enjoining his exercise of that authority.”

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