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Singapore to foot part of the bill for Kim’s summit with Trump

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Singapore June 3: Singapore will foot at least some of the bill of the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

With its economy weakened from tough sanctions, North Korea is requiring that a foreign country foot the bill at its preferred lodging: the Fullerton, a neoclassical hotel near the mouth of the Singapore River, where just one presidential suite costs more than $6,000 per night.

United States officials has solved the logistical issue of who will pay for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s housing at an island resort off the coast of Singapore.

The diplomatically fraught billing issue was one of numerous logistical concerns being hammered out between two teams led by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin and Kim’s de facto chief of staff, Kim Chang-son, as they strive toward the June 12 meeting.

“When it comes to paying for lodging at North Korea’s preferred five-star luxury hotel, the US is open to covering the costs,” informed sources told The Washington Post.

“But it’s mindful that Pyongyang may view a US payment as insulting.”
The country’s outdated and underused Soviet-era aircraft may require a landing in China because of concerns it won’t make the 3,000-mile trip.

Alternatively, the North Koreans might travel in a plane provided by another country.The leader will use Soviet-era aircraft and limousine, as well as dozens of security and other staff.

After weeks of uncertainty, President Donald Trump called off the summit last week, blaming “open hostility” from North Korea.

But a flurry of diplomacy across two continents got the meeting back on track, and Trump announced on Friday that he would attend as initially planned.

As a result, US planners are considering asking Singapore, the host country, to pay for the North Korean delegation’s bill.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Saturday did not rule out the possibility that the US would arrange for Singapore’s government to pay for the North Korean delegation’s accommodations, but said Washington “is not paying the costs of accommodations in Singapore for the North Korean delegation”.

During the PyeongChang Olympics earlier this year, South Korea set aside $2.6 million to cover travel accommodations for a North Korean cheering squad, an art troupe and other members of the visiting delegation.

At the same Games, the International Olympic Committee paid for 22 North Korean athletes to travel to the event.

In 2014, when former US Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. visited North Korea to retrieve two prisoners, his North Korean hosts served him an “elaborate 12-course Korean meal”. The veteran intelligence official insisted that he pay for it.

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

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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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