Diane is a perfectionist. She enjoys searching the internet for the hottest events from around the world and writing an article about it. The details matter to her, so she makes sure the information is easy to read and understand. She likes traveling and history, especially ancient history. Being a very sociable person she has a blast having barbeque with family and friends.
At a news conference after the summit, President Trump was asked if he believed his own intelligence agencies or the Russian president when it came to allegations of meddling in the election.
He replied: “President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
President Trump also blamed poor relations with Russia on past US administrations rather than Russian actions.
US intelligence agencies concluded in 2016 that Russia was behind an effort to tip the scale of the US election against Hillary Clinton, with a state-authorized campaign of cyber attacks and fake news stories planted on social media.
President Trump later backtracked, tweeting that he had “great confidence in my intelligence people”.
He tweeted: “As I said today and many times before, “I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people.” However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past – as the world’s two largest nuclear powers, we must get along! #HELSINKI2018”
A 29-year-old Russian woman has been charged in the US with conspiracy to act as a Russian government agent while infiltrating political groups.
According to media reports, Maria Butina had developed close ties with the GOP and had become an advocate for gun rights.
The charges are not related to Robert Mueller investigation that is examining alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Maria Butina allegedly worked at the direction of a high-level Kremlin official.
Her attorney, Robert Driscoll said in a statement released on July 16 that his client was “not an agent” and instead just an international relations student “who is seeking to use her degree to pursue a career in business”.
Robert Driscoll added the charges were “overblown” and there was “no indication of Maria Butina seeking to influence or undermine any specific policy or law or the United States”.
He said his client had “been co-operating with various government entities for months” over the allegations.
Maria Butina, who lives in Washington, was arrested on July 15 and was held in jail pending a hearing set for July 18, the DOJ said in a statement.
The announcement of Maria Butina’s arrest came hours after President Donald Trump met Russian President Vladimir Putin, and defended the Kremlin against claims of interference in the 2016 presidential election.
President Trump said there had been no reason for Russia to meddle in the vote.
Maria Butina’s arrest also came days after the justice department charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking Democratic officials in the 2016 US elections.
In a sworn statement unsealed on July 16, FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson said Maria Butina’s assignment was to “exploit personal connections with US persons having influence in American politics in an effort to advance the interests of the Russian Federation”.
Maria Butina did so without registering her activities with the US government, as required under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, prosecutors say.
She sought to foster ties with an “organization promoting gun rights”, the DOJ said, without naming any group or politicians.
According to an affidavit, Maria Butina was trying to “establish a <<back channel>> communication for representatives of the Government of Russia”.
The criminal complaint states that Maria Butina focused on developing personal connections with influential US politicians to “advance the interest” of Russia.
As a part of that alleged mission, the complaint says she was organizing an event to further influence “the views of US officials as those views relate to the Russian Federation”.
According to the complaint, Maria Butina reported back to an official in the Russian government about her progress using Twitter direct messages among other means.
In one message, the Russian official told her: “Your political star has risen in the sky. Now it is important to rise to the zenith and not burn out (fall) prematurely.”
The affidavit also states that the unnamed official was sanctioned by the US Treasury.
Maria Butina, originally from Siberia, came to the US on a student visa to study at American University. The complaint alleges that she was in fact secretly working for the Russian government.
The woman founded a group called the Right to Bear Arms before she arrived in America, and US media have previously reported her ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA), the most powerful gun lobby in the US.
Maria Butina has previously denied having worked for the Russian government.
The Washington Post reported that she became an assistant to Russian banker and former senator Alexander Torshin. He was sanctioned by the US Treasury in April.
Alexander Torshin, who is a lifetime member of the NRA, and Maria Butina attended NRA events in the US beginning in 2014.
Maria Butina also attended a Trump campaign event and reportedly asked Donald Trump about his views on foreign relations with Russia.
According to the Washington Post, Donald Trump had answered: “We get along with Putin.”
US intelligence agencies concluded in 2016 that Russia was behind an effort to tip the scale of the election against Hillary Clinton, with a state-authorized campaign of cyber attacks and fake news stories planted on social media.
Some US politicians had called for the Trump-Putin summit to be canceled after 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted last week, accused of hacking the presidential campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Speaking at the press conference in Helsinki, President Putin offered to allow US investigators to visit Russia to question the officers.
Vladimir Putin made it clear that, in return, Russia would want similar access to people in the US it suspects of criminal activity.
Donald Trump’s first visit official visit to the UK as president took place in between the NATO summit in Brussels and a meeting on July 16 in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Speaking after talks with UK’s PM Theresa May at Chequers, President Trump said the US-UK relationship is “the highest level of special”, while PM May said they had discussed plans for an “ambitious” trade agreement.
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump later had tea with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor.
Thousands of people have protested in London against President Trump’s UK visit.
A large balloon, portraying Donald Trump as a baby, has been floated in Parliament Square as part of the demonstrations. Other protests are taking place across the UK on July 13 and 14.
The Queen greeted President Trump and the first lady as their motorcade arrived at Windsor Castle. The band of the Coldstream Guards played the Star-Spangled Banner and she invited the president to inspect the guard of honor.
Their meeting lasted nearly an hour and was the final engagement in Donald Trump’s two-day working visit to the UK.
The presidential couple took off from Windsor in a helicopter before boarding Air Force One, which flew them to Ayrshire and a weekend stay at his Turnberry golf resort.
Donald Trump and Theresa May’s talks at Chequers took place after The Sun published its wide-ranging interview with the president in which he was critical of the PM’s Brexit plan.
But standing alongside Theresa May after the meeting at her Buckinghamshire country residence, Donald Trump praised her as an “incredible woman” and a “very tough negotiator” who was “doing a fantastic job”, and said there could be a “great” trade deal between the US and UK.
The president said: “I read reports where that won’t be possible, but I believe after speaking with the prime minister’s people and representatives and trade experts it will absolutely be possible.”
At the news conference, Donald Trump said: “The relationship between our two nations is indispensable to the cause of liberty, justice, and peace.”
President Trump described Brexit as a “very tough situation… between the borders and the entries into the countries and all of the things”, saying: “The only thing I ask is that she work it out so that we can have very even trade.”
The dissident is a co-founder of the China Democracy Party, and was handed a 12-year prison term in 1998 after trying to register it officially. A year later, while still in prison, Qin Yongmin was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Qin Yongmin was leading a pro-democracy group called China Human Rights Watch when he was arrested in January 2015. Its activities included organizing discussion groups and criticizing the government’s policies online.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador has announced that “profound change” is coming for Mexico after claiming victory in the country’s presidential election.
The left-wing candidate, known by his initials Amlo, is projected to win about 53%. His rivals have conceded in a crushing defeat for the main parties.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s key pledge has been to tackle the “evil” of corruption.
The ex-Mexico City mayor has also been highly critical of President Donald Trump and ties with the US will now be closely watched.
Relations with the US have been hugely strained, with President Trump strongly criticizing Mexico over trade and migration. President Trump has sent a tweet of congratulations.
The 64-year-old promised to respect civil liberties and said he was “not looking to construct a dictatorship, either open or hidden”.
Some opponents have expressed fears that his leftist and populist policies could damage the already sluggish economy and turn Mexico into “another Venezuela”. Mexico is suffering a deep economic crisis and rampant inflation.
Hailing a “historic night”, López Obrador called on all Mexicans to reconcile and repeated his campaign pledge to review energy contracts for signs of corruption.
He said: “Corruption is… the result of a decadent political regime. We are absolutely convinced that this evil is the main cause of social and economic inequality, and also that corruption is to blame for the violence in our country.”
López Obrador has insisted that no-one involved in corruption will be spared, not even those he calls “brothers-in-arms”.
On combating Mexico’s record levels of violence, much of it related to drug cartels, he said he would have daily meetings with his security cabinet, which under him, he said, would be under a “unified command”.
The July 1 election followed one of Mexico’s deadliest campaigns in decades with more than 130 political candidates and party workers killed.
During the campaign Andreas Manuel López Obrador had often used confrontational language when referring to President Trump, but struck a more conciliatory note in his victory speech, saying he would seek “friendly relations”.
López Obrador also tried to reassure the business sector, saying there would be no nationalization and that he would respect private business. He also said his government would be fiscally disciplined and taxes would not be raised.
On social policies, López Obrador said he would double pensions for the elderly upon taking office on December 1 as a first step to reducing Mexico’s disparate income levels.
According to the latest figures from the Mexican electoral institute, Andreas Manuel López Obrador has won more than double the votes of his nearest challenger. It is the widest victory since the 1980s.
His rival, Ricardo Anaya, candidate for the conservative National Action Party (PAN), looked set to be runner-up to López Obrador.
Ruling party candidate José Antonio Meade, who lies in third place according to initial results, told supporters that he wished the winner “the greatest success”.
Tens of thousands of protesters have demonstrated across the US over the Trump administration’s hard-line immigration policies.
More than 630 events were planned, with demonstrators calling for migrant families split at the US border to be reunited.
Some 2,000 children remain separated from their parents, despite President Donald Trump bowing to public outrage and curtailing the policy.
Concerns remain that records were not kept linking parents and children.
Major demonstrations took place in Washington DC, New York, and many other cities, using the hashtag #familiesbelongtogether. Protesters held placards calling for no more family separations and for the controversial immigration agency ICE to be abolished.
In New York, protesters chanted: “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.”
In Chicago, protesters marched to the local offices of federal immigration authorities.
The original Trump administration “zero tolerance” policy required authorities to arrest and detain anyone crossing the Mexico-US border illegally. That meant separating children from their parents and holding them separately.
However, President Trump promised to “keep families together” in migrant detention centers.
But critics say the order did not address the issue of families already separated, leaving uncertainty over the fate of 2,342 children taken away from their parents between May 5 and June 9 alone. Earlier this week, a judge in California ordered the families to be reunited within 30 days.
It also still requires authorities to detain immigrant families, rather than release them with a court date to return.
Protests’ organizers said they wanted to send a message to President Trump, prompted by concerns that he would renege on his executive order.
As well as the reunification of parents and children, organizers called for an end to immigrant detention – even when families are kept together – and also planned to voice opposition to President Trump’s travel ban targeting five majority-Muslim nations, which was upheld by the Supreme Court earlier this week.
Protests were also likely to focus on the shake-up of the Supreme Court after Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement last week, giving President Trump the opportunity to solidify a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.
On June 30, President Trump defended the agency that played a central role in carrying out the separations – the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The president told its employees: “You are doing a fantastic job of keeping us safe by eradicating the worst criminal elements. So brave!”
Protests’ organizers issued instructions for people to dress in white, to represent peace and unity. The main march is taking place in Washington DC, but one of the people behind the movement, Anna Galland, said separate events were planned in 50 states.
Lead organizers of the march include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
A number of celebrities expressed their support, including Julianne Moore, America Ferrara and Natalie Portman, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the hit musical Hamilton.
President Donald Trump has announced the search for a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will “begin immediately”.
He said at a rally in North Dakota: “We have to pick one that’s going to be there for 40 years, 45 years.”
The retirement of Justice Kennedy, a conservative who sided with liberals on many votes, gives President Trump the chance to shift the top court’s balance more to the right for decades to come.
The 81-year-old judge will retire on July 31.
Justice Anthony Kennedy made the announcement on June 27, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family after 30 years on the top court. President Trump later praised Justice Kennedy – who held the pivotal vote on many key cases – as “a great justice of the Supreme Court”.
“Hopefully we are going to pick somebody who will be as outstanding,” the president told reporters at the White House. The judge’s retirement gives President Trump his second Supreme Court pick since he became president, and he has said he will choose from a list of 25 conservative candidates.
The Supreme Court plays a key role in American life and is often the final word on highly contentious laws, disputes between states and the federal government, and final appeals to stay executions.
This week the Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s travel ban which covers people from several Muslim-majority countries, in a 5-4 conservative majority ruling. Earlier this month the court ruled in favor of a baker in Colorado who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
Speaking at the rally in Fargo, North Dakota on June 27, President Trump told supporters that Anthony Kennedy had chosen to retire under his presidency “because he felt confident in me to make the right choice and carry on his great legacy”.
Donald Trump has promised to draw names from the same list from which he picked Neil Gorsuch in February 2017.
Rather than serving fixed terms, the justices serve for life unless they decide to retire. This makes their appointments particularly significant.
Anthony Kennedy, who is the second-oldest justice on the nine-member US Supreme Court, earned a reputation as a swing vote conservative who supported liberal arguments on key decisions, including the 5-4 rulings that decided same-gender marriage and upheld abortion rights.
The travel ban, which the Supreme Court allowed to take effect in December 2017, has been widely criticized by refugee and human rights groups.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion, which said the travel ban was “squarely within the scope of Presidential authority”.
He also rejected arguments that the ban discriminated against Muslims.
He wrote: “The Proclamation is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices.
“The text says nothing about religion.”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the dissenting opinion, which argues the court failed to uphold the religious liberty guaranteed by the first amendment of the US constitution.
Justice Sonya Sotomayor wrote: “It leaves undisturbed a policy first advertised openly and unequivocally as a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’ because the policy now masquerades behind a facade of national-security concerns.”
The dissent also states that “a reasonable observer would conclude that [the ban] was motivated by anti-Muslim animus”.
The ban prevents most immigrants, refugees and visa holders from five Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen – as well as North Korea and Venezuela from entering the US.
However, the restrictions on North Korea and Venezuela were not part of the legal challenge.
Muharrem Ince, whose fiery campaigning has revitalized Turkey’s demoralized opposition, promised to push back what he characterized as a slide into authoritarian rule under Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
He told at least a million people gathered in Istanbul: “If Erdogan wins, your phones will continue to be listened to… Fear will continue to reign. If Ince wins, the courts will be independent.”
Muharrem Ince also said that if elected, he would lift Turkey’s state of emergency within 48 hours. Emergency rule allows the government to bypass parliament.
At his own rally, Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who was prime minister for 11 years before becoming president in 2014 – used a violent metaphor to summarize his hoped-for result, asking supporters: “Are we going to give them an Ottoman slap [a technique for knocking someone out] tomorrow?”
The incumbent president accused his rival – a former teacher and lawmaker of 16 years – of lacking the skills to lead.
“It’s one thing to be a physics teacher, it’s another thing to run a country,” President Erdogan said.
“Being president needs experience.”
President Erdogan told supporters he planned to push through more major infrastructure projects to boost the economy.
Around 60 million Turks are eligible to take part in today’s vote.
Six candidates are vying for the presidency, and if one of them wins more than 50% of the vote they will be elected outright.
If nobody hits that threshold, the top two will face off in a second-round vote on July 8.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be hoping to win decisively, as a run-off vote could end in defeat or narrow his margin of victory.
In the parliamentary election, President Erdogan’s AK Party (AKP) will face a tough battle to keep its majority in the 600-seat assembly.
In a statement, the Crown Property Bureau (CPB) said it was required “to return whatever asset of the Crown property previously under its charge to His Majesty so that His Majesty may take decisions on all matters pertaining to their charge and management at his discretion”.
The assets include shares in various companies.
The Crown Property Bureau’s statement went on to say: “His Majesty made the decision to make the ‘Crown Property Assets’ be subject to the same duties and taxation as would assets belonging to any other citizen.”
The CPB also pledged to ensure the management of assets would be “transparent and open to scrutiny”.
It has been managing royal assets since it was established in 1938 and, until now, has been run by at least four royally-appointed directors and included the minister of finance.
The extent of the CPB’s wealth is not known. In 2012, Forbes magazine estimated the CPB’s value in property and other investments came to more than $30 billion.
Stock exchange data in March showed King Vajiralongkorn acquired a nearly $150 million stake in Siam Cement Group Pcl and, in October, shares worth over $500 million in Siam Commercial Bank were transferred to the king, Reuters reports.
The two countries agreed that the new name would be used both internationally and bilaterally, so that even the 140 or more countries that recognize the name Macedonia will also have to adopt North Macedonia.
They also agreed that the English name could be used as well as the Slavic term.
The two sides had earlier dropped a number of alternatives, including Gorna Makedonija (Upper Macedonia), Nova Makedonija (New Macedonia) and Ilinden Macedonia.
The name Macedonia already belongs to a northern region of Greece that includes the country’s second city Thessaloniki. By adopting the same identity in 1991, the new Slavic nation infuriated many Greeks, who suspected their northern neighbor of territorial ambitions.
The new Macedonians did not help matters when they named the main airport in the capital, Skopje, after Ancient Greek hero Alexander the Great, as well as a key motorway running from the Serbian to the Greek border.
During the 4th Century BC, the Macedonia of Alexander and his father Philip II before him ruled all of Greece and much beyond it.
When the Ottomans were driven out of the broad region known as Macedonia during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, it was split up, mainly between Greece and Serbia, but a small part went to Bulgaria.
In World War Two, Greek and Yugoslav Macedonia were occupied by Bulgaria, an ally of Nazi Germany and Italy. Communists from both Yugoslavia and Bulgaria played a part in the Greek civil war that followed, so memories are still raw.
When Yugoslavia broke up, Greece would only accept the new country as “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)” at the UN, even though much of the world came to recognize it as Macedonia.
Speaking to reporters, President Donald Trump revealed:
The US would suspend “provocative” drills it holds with South Korea. He wanted to see US troops withdraw from South Korea. A spokesperson for the US forces said they had yet to receive any new guidance
On denuclearization, Kim Jong-un had agreed to it being “verified”, a key US demand ahead of the meeting
they had also agreed to destroy a “major missile engine testing site”
however, sanctions would remain in place for now and argued “we haven’t given up anything”.
Several reporters asked whether President Trump had raised the issue of human rights with Kim Jong-un, who runs a totalitarian regime with extreme censorship and forced-labor camps.
President Trump said he had, and did not retract his description of Kim Jong-un as “talented”.
He said: “Well, he is very talented.
“Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough. I don’t say he was nice.”
In a post-summit interview with ABC News, President Trump said he was confident that the agreement meant full denuclearization.
“Yeah, he’s de-nuking, I mean he’s de-nuking the whole place. It’s going to start very quickly. I think he’s going to start now,” he said.
“I think he trusts me and I trust him,” the president added.
Sitting alongside each other, ahead of a one-on-one meeting, President Trump and Kim Jong-un appeared relaxed against the odds.
Kim Jong-un said: “It was not easy to get here.
“There were obstacles but we overcame them to be here.”
The two leaders, accompanied only by interpreters, spoke for a little under 40 minutes. They were then joined by small delegations of advisers for a working lunch.
Over lunch Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un shared a mix of Western and Korean dishes, including stuffed cucumbers and Daegu jorim, a soy-braised fish dish.
The leaders of the nations, which represent more than 60% of global net worth, meet annually. Economics tops the agenda, although the meetings now always branch off to cover major global issues.
President Trump said he regretted the meeting had shrunk in size, putting him at odds with most other G7 members on yet another issue.
He said: “You know, whether you like it or – and it may not be politically correct – but we have a world to run and in the G7, which used to be the G8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in.”
President Trump found support in the shape of the newly installed Italian PM Giuseppe Conte, who tweeted that it was “in the interests of everyone” for Russia to be readmitted.
Canada, France and the UK though immediately signaled they remain opposed to Russian re-entry. A Kremlin spokesperson said they were interested in “other formats”, apart from the G7.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is currently in Beijing, where he was presented with a friendship medal by Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
The State Department said it was taking the reports seriously, but did not yet know the cause, and warned staff to move to a safe place if they encountered any “unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises”.
One US official was diagnosed with mild brain trauma, the same injury that affected the Cuban embassy staff.
The State Department has warned that US diplomats should alert their mission’s medical staff “if they note new onset of symptoms that may have begun in association with experiencing unidentified auditory sensations”.
It said it had sent a team to Guangzhou and set up a task force to oversee the response to the mystery attacks in China and Cuba.
Cuba has denied targeting embassy staff, and the US has not blamed the country’s government for the suspected attacks.
According to specialists, symptoms of a sonic attack may include dizziness, headaches, vomiting, bowel spasms, vertigo, permanent hearing loss and even brain damage.
President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meeting will take place at the five-star Capella Hotel on the Singaporean island of Sentosa, the White House has confirmed.
The June 12 summit was called off two weeks ago by President Trump but has since been salvaged after a flurry of contacts between the two sides.
On June 5, President Trump said that plans were “moving along very nicely”.
The US wants Kim Jong-un to commit to giving up his nuclear weapons.
However, it is unclear exactly what is on the table for the discussions in Singapore. President Trump has suggested the first meeting will kick off a longer process of negotiations, calling it a “get-to-know-you situation”.
He told reporters: “A lot of relationships being built, a lot of negotiations going on before the trip.
“It’s very important – it’ll be a very important couple of days.”
The summit would represent the first ever meeting between a US sitting president and a North Korean leader.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed on Twitter that the summit would take place at the Capella Hotel.
However, it appears that the two leaders will stay elsewhere. President Trump will likely be at the Shangri-La Hotel, where US presidents have stayed before, while Kim Jong-un will probably stay at the St Regis Singapore, the Straits Times newspaper reports. The two hotels are on the main island, near the famous Orchard Road shopping strip.
Sentosa is one of 63 islands that make up Singapore.
The 500-hectare island, only a short distance from the main island, is home to luxury resorts, private marinas and plush golf clubs.
The island also has a dark history of piracy, bloodshed and war.
Singapore was established as a British trading post in the 19th Century. Its prime location on the major sea route between India and China made it an ideal choice.
Even before British rule, Singapore was a flourishing trade centre, frequented by merchants and traders, as well as pirates.
Sentosa was known at that time as Pulau Blakang Mati, which directly translates as the “island behind death” – a reference to its violent piracy reputation.
The island’s population was mostly Malay, Chinese and the Bugis – seafarers originally from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
There have also been some protests in provincial towns, where police have reportedly used tear gas. In the southern town of Maan protesters burned tires on highways and there were scuffles with police, Reuters reported.
Jordanians have seen prices rise with salaries failing to keep up.
On June 1, King Abdullah intervened to freeze an increase in fuel prices.
However, the protesters are angriest about the proposed tax bill, which they fear will further worsen living standards.
PM Hani Mulki has refused to scrap the IMF-backed tax bill, saying it was up to parliament to decide whether to pass it or not.
The government says it needs the money to fund public services and says the new tax bill will see higher earners pay more.
Earlier this year sales tax was increased and bread subsidies were scrapped as part of a plan to cut Jordan’s debt.
Hani Mulki said he hoped the reforms needed to get Jordan’s economy “back on track” would be complete by mid-2019.
King Abdullah has said that conflict in neighboring Syria and Iraq has worsened Jordan’s financial situation.
President Trump told reporters on the White House lawn: “We’ll be meeting on June 12th in Singapore. It went very well.”
“We’ve got to know their people very well,” he added.
President Trump cautioned that the summit might not achieve a final deal on North Korea’s controversial nuclear program.
“I never said it goes in one meeting. I think it’s going to be a process, but the relationships are building and that’s very positive,” President Trump said.
The historic meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un would be the first between sitting US and North Korean leaders. President Trump has offered to help rebuild North Korea’s economy if it scraps its nuclear weapons. Kim Jong-un says he is committed to “denuclearization” in some form but his precise demands are unclear.
The EU is proposing a ban on drinking straws and other single-use plastics to help protect marine life.
The proposal is aimed at outlawing many commonplace plastic items including cotton buds, balloon sticks, cutlery, straws and drink stirrers.
The European Union also wants almost all plastic bottles to be collected for recycling by 2025.
The EU’s proposals are targeting disposable food containers and dining ware, from plastic plates and cups, to packaging for food products such as fast-food.
The plan will need to be approved by the 28 member states and the European Parliament before it can be passed.
The European Union estimates that the ban will help: to avoid 3.4 million tons of carbon emissions; to prevent damage to the environment that would cost the equivalent of €22 billion by 2030 and to save consumers €6.5 billion.
President Trump said: “I was very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have the long-planned meeting.”
“You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” he added.
The president called the meeting a “missed opportunity”, saying “someday, I look very much forward to meeting you”.
President Trump was apparently responding to statements from North Korea attacking his administration and casting doubt over the meeting.
Earlier today, North Korean official Choe Son-hui dismissed remarks by US Vice-President Mike Pence – who had said North Korea “may end like Libya” – as “stupid”.
Choe Son-hui, who has been involved in several diplomatic interactions with the US over the past decade, said North Korea would not “beg” for dialogue and warned of a “nuclear showdown” if diplomacy failed.
A White House official quoted by Reuters described the comments about Mike Pence as the “last straw”. They stressed, however, there was a “backdoor that’s open still”.
References to Libya have angered North Korea. There, former leader Colonel Gaddafi gave up his nuclear program only for him to be killed by Western-backed rebels a few years later.
Nicolas Maduro has won another six-year term as Venezuela’s president, in a vote marred by an opposition boycott and claims of vote-rigging.
Just 46% of the electorate turned out to vote amid food shortages stemming from a severe economic crisis.
The main opposition candidate, Henri Falcón, rejected the result soon after the polls closed.
He said: “We do not recognize this electoral process as valid… we have to have new elections in Venezuela.”
With more than 90% of the votes counted, Nicolas Maduro, 55, had 67.7% – 5.8 million votes – National Electoral Council chief Tibisay Lucena announced. Henri Falcón won 21.2% – 1.8 million votes – she said.
Nicolas Maduro told cheering supporters outside his presidential palace in Caracas, as fireworks went off and confetti was fired in the air: “They underestimated me.”
Henri Falcón has alleged that the vote was rigged in Nicolas Maduro’s favor, by abuse of the scanning of state-issued benefits cards used for accessing food.
According to government officials, the polls were “free and fair” but most of the opposition joined a boycott against the poll.
The Trump administration said it would not recognize the result. Tweeting ahead of the vote, the US mission to the UN called the process an “insult to democracy”.
Venezuela’s presidential elections were supposed to be held in December 2018, but the National Constituent Assembly, made up exclusively of Nicolas Maduro’s supporters, brought them forward.
The opposition Democratic Unity coalition said the elections were moved to take advantage of divisions within the coalition. Its two biggest candidates were also barred from running, and others have fled the country.
There were a handful of minor candidates but only Henri Falcón, a governor under the late President Hugo Chávez, was seen as a viable alternative to Nicolas Maduro. Henri Falcon came from the same socialist party as President Maduro, but left in 2010 to join the opposition.
Henri Falcón, who ran despite the boycott, has said he believes the majority of Venezuelans want to remove Nicolas Maduro from office.
The rest of the opposition, however, has frowned on his breaking ranks – with some even branding him a traitor.