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North Korea’s Kim to meet Putin as tensions rise with US

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North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un will visit Russia for talks with Vladimir Putin this month, the Kremlin said Thursday, as tensions between Washington and Pyongyang reached fever pitch.

The Kremlin announced the talks just hours after North Korea launched an extraordinary attack on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, demanding he be removed from negotiations over its banned nuclear programme.

Pyongyang also claimed Thursday to have tested a new kind of weapon with a “powerful warhead”.

The Kim-Putin meeting will be the first between the two leaders, as Moscow seeks to play a role in another global flashpoint.

 

The Kremlin said Putin had invited Kim and that the meeting would take place “in the second half of April” but provided no further details.

Russia, South Korean and Japanese media had reported this week that preparations were underway for a summit in Russia’s Far East.

Russia has relatively warm ties with Pyongyang and provides some food aid, and Putin has long expressed his readiness to meet with the regime leader.

Two senior US officials — presidential advisor Fiona Hill and special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun — were in Moscow this week for talks with Russian officials.

Pyongyang and Washington have been at loggerheads since the collapse of a summit between Kim and President Donald Trump earlier this year.

Pompeo ‘reckless’

Upping the ante in the diplomatic standoff, North Korea’s foreign ministry on Thursday described Pompeo as “reckless” and immature and said it wanted him replaced.

“I am afraid that, if Pompeo engages in the talks again, the table will be lousy once again and the talks will become entangled,” the official KCNA news agency quoted Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the ministry’s Department of American Affairs, as saying.

“I wish our dialogue counterpart would be not Pompeo but… (another) person who is more careful and mature in communicating with us.”

Kwon said Kim had made clear that the US attitude has to change and that Pompeo was standing in the way of a resumption of talks.

Since the beginning of the thaw in relations between the US and North Korea, Pyongyang has been far happier to deal directly with Trump, who critics fear is too soft on the regime and is not sufficiently versed in diplomacy.

The US president has made much of his personal relationship with Kim, musing on several occasions about their “love” for each other.

The February summit between Kim and Trump, the second between the two men, ended abruptly, with North Korea later protesting that the US was being unreasonable.

North Korea has since said it is mulling options for its diplomacy with the US, and Kim said last week he was open to talks with Trump only if Washington came with the “proper attitude”.

‘Powerful warhead’ tested

Adding to tensions, KCNA reported Thursday that Kim had supervised the test-firing of a new tactical weapon.

Wednesday’s test was “conducted in various modes of firing at different targets” KCNA reported, adding that Kim described its development as one “of very weighty significance in increasing the combat power of the People’s Army”.

The report gave no details of the weapon.

South Korea had not detected anything on radar so it was unlikely to have been a missile, a military official told AFP.

A rapid diplomatic thaw on the Korean peninsula last year saw Kim meet not only Trump but also his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Little concrete progress has been achieved, however, and UN sanctions over the North’s nuclear programme remain in place.

Putin has previously expressed positions sympathetic to Kim’s regime, saying last year that Pyongyang must be given guarantees in exchange for de-nuclearisation.

The US has accused Russia of trying to help North Korea evade some international sanctions, though Moscow denies this.

The last summit between a Russian and North Korean head of state came in 2011, when Kim’s father Kim Jong Il travelled to Siberia to meet Dmitry Medvedev, then Russian president.

Kim Jong Il, who died shortly after the visit, told Medvedev his state was prepared to renounce nuclear testing.

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Crime

Revealed: How Tycoon Dutch Tob Cohen Died From Severe Head Trauma

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Dutch Tob Cohen

It has now found that the  late Dutch businessman Tob Cohen died from a severe head trauma inflicted by a blunt object. Post-mortal examination results released on Friday revealed that a kick to the right side of the head is what killed him.

Detective found the body at his Kitisuru home almost two months after he had been reported missing,” The body was of a male adult of light skinned race  who had been preserved by refrigerator and was break up….in black polyethylene bag, yellow polyethylene  bag and red polyethylene bag.”

The Pathologists said they collected 10 samples from the deceased’s body that had been found in an underground water tank. Some parts of the body were found to be overrun by parasites while the eyes had been blindfolded, hands and feet were tired with a rope at the neck.

Both hands were fractured with a lot of bruises while his upper lip was found torn on the sides. Report from 5 diagnosticians further revealed that the late Cohen had many rib injuries and bruises on the diaphragm.

The  pathology reports, the late Cohen was found to have bruises on the right side of the face and his left external ear also had a torn ragged  wound. Bruises were  also discovered on the chest, arms, lower limbs and the right foot.

Diagnostician used finger and toe nails as DNA sample for the post-mortal examination as well as sprig and flora(vegetation) they found enclosed on the body.

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Crime

Judge won’t return $100,000 to the woman who posted bond for R. Kelly

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CHICAGO (AP) — A judge in R. Kelly’s Illinois sexual assault case has refused to give $100,000 in bail money back to a Kelly friend who paid it in February to secure the singer’s release from county jail.

The judge says papers that restauranteur Valencia Love signed clearly indicated she could lose the money.

Love’s lawyer said in court Tuesday that she didn’t know when she paid 10% of a $1 million bond that Kelly would be charged federally and land in federal jail.

John Collins said Love now fears losing all the money as charges against Kelly stack up.

But Judge Lawrence Flood read sections of papers Love signed warning the bond money could be used for Kelly’s legal fees and that she may never see it again.

 

– Associated Press

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