Mindanao Times » Agence France-Presse http://mindanaotimes.net Wed, 26 Sep 2018 01:17:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.25 First K.O. in 9 years http://mindanaotimes.net/first-k-o-in-9-years/ http://mindanaotimes.net/first-k-o-in-9-years/#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2018 01:19:34 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60252 ]]> -PRRD: Manny’s win cements boxing legacy in Hall of Fame

MANNY Pacquiao yesterday scored his first knockout victory in nearly nine years when he floored Argentinian champion Lucas Matthysse to score the WBA welterweight belt at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The 39-year-old Filipino icon hit Matthysse with a left uppercut to end the bout in the seventh round, his first knockout win since Nov. 14, 2009, when he defeated Miguel Cotto, also via technical knockout.

It was a dominant, devastating display as Pacquiao registered the 60th win of a fabled 23-year career that now looks certain to extend beyond his 40th birthday in December.

The Filipino senator knocked down the big-puncher from Argentina as early as the third round with a stunning left uppercut that thudded around the Axiata Arena.

The 35-year-old Argentine, who came in with a reputation as a big puncher, had no answer to Pacquiao’s blistering speed and he dropped again in the fifth.

When a right-left combination thudded home to send Matthysse crashing down for a third time in the seventh round referee Kenny Bayless stepped in to save him from further punishment at 2:43 of the seventh.

“I’m surprise I knocked him down so early,” said Pacquiao who extended his record to 60 wins, seven losses and two draws. “I’m surprised I knocked Matthysse down in the third, fifth and seventh.
It was a long time ago since I’ve done that. I came out smoking hot.”

“We did a good job in training. We were not pushing hard — we controlled our pace and ourselves.
“I’m no longer young so thanks to my trainer and all my team members.”

It was his first fight in nearly 20 years without Freddie Roach as his trainer. He was trained by life-long friend Buboy Fernandez.

Pacquiao, who was coming off a controversial loss to Jeff Horn a year ago, looked rejuvenated, though Matthysse offered little resistance.

Pacquiao landed an insanely high 43.6 percent of his power shots, connecting on 79 of the 181 he threw.

But still, it was not the force that he was a decade ago, when in a two-year span he won titles at super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight, welterweight and super welterweight in one of the dominant runs in modern boxing.

“I’m happy to go back to my country to celebrate this victory with my countrymen, the Filipino people,” Pacquiao said.

Congratulate
President Rodrigo Duterte has congratulated Pacquiao “for giving us pride and bringing the Filipino nation together once more.”
“You have proven time and again that you are not just a public servant, but one of the greatest boxers of all time. This win will surely cement, yet again, your position and legacy in boxing’s Hall of Fame. May you continue to inspire Filipinos not only in boxing but also in the public service,” the president said.
“Daghang salamat, Manny! You are truly the People’s Champ!”
Peaceful
Just like Pacquiao’s previous fights, the city was generally peaceful.
Sr. Insp. Maria Theresita Gaspan, spokesperson of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO), said not even one incident was reported during the fight.
“There was a vehicular accident but it happened early dawn,” Gaspan said.
However, two persons were arrested yesterday for allegedly bringing shabu.
The two were intercepted at the Task Force Davao checkpoint in Lasang (see page 2 for the story).
(With reports from Rhoda Grace B. Saron)

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US military to help prosecute migrant cases http://mindanaotimes.net/us-military-to-help-prosecute-migrant-cases/ http://mindanaotimes.net/us-military-to-help-prosecute-migrant-cases/#comments Fri, 22 Jun 2018 01:55:01 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=59377 ]]> US military lawyers will help civilian prosecutors handle cases against undocumented migrants, the Defense Department said Wednesday, in a rare use of armed forces legal staff.

Under a “zero tolerance” policy, the United States has been arresting every illegal border-crosser but the measure has failed to stop the flow of migrants from impoverished and violent Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, as well as from Mexico.
From March to May this year, more than 50,000 people a month were apprehended for illegally crossing the boundary from Mexico.
In a statement, Army Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis approved a request from the Department of Justice “to detail 21 attorneys with criminal trial experience to DOJ for a period of 179 days.”
They will be appointed as special assistant United States attorneys and will focus on prosecuting misdemeanor improper entry and felony illegal reentry cases, Davis said.
NBC’s Rachel Maddow reported that the military lawyers will be sent to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
US President Donald Trump reversed course on Wednesday and ordered an end to separation of migrant children from their parents on the US border, after domestic and international outrage, although he insisted his border policy will be just as tough.
Nearly all of the arriving families, and many others, have officially requested asylum, citing the incessant violence in their home countries. AFP

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Guest Editorial | VIDEO gaming addictive like crack: WHO http://mindanaotimes.net/guest-editorial-video-gaming-addictive-like-crack-who/ http://mindanaotimes.net/guest-editorial-video-gaming-addictive-like-crack-who/#comments Thu, 21 Jun 2018 00:50:23 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=59293 ]]> VIDEO gaming can be addictive in the same way as cocaine or gambling, the World Health Organization said Monday in a much anticipated update of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

“After consulting with experts across the world, and reviewing evidence in an exhaustive manner, we decided that this condition should be added,” Shekhar Saxena, director of the WHO’s department of mental health and substance abuse, told AFP.
Online and offline “gaming disorder” is grouped with “disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviours” in the ICD’s 11th edition, the first major revision in nearly three decades. The wording of the new entries has been known since January, when the WHO announced problem gaming would be recognised as a pathological condition.
Key symptoms include “impaired control” — notably the inability to stop playing — and focusing on the game to the exclusion of everything else. “The person does so much gaming that other interests and activities are ignored, including sleeping and eating,” Saxena said by phone.
In extreme cases, gamers unable to pry themselves away from a screen drop out of school, lose jobs, and become cut off from family and non-gaming friends. The overwhelming majority of video game adepts are young, many in their teens.
Symptomatic behaviour must continue for at least a year before it is considered dangerously unhealthy, according to the new classification. Some 2.5 billion people — one-in-three worldwide — play some form of free-to-play screen game, especially on cell phones, but the disorder only affects a “small minority”, said Saxena. “We are not saying that all gaming is pathological.”
The games industry raked in $108 billion dollars worldwide in 2017, more than double movie box-office receipts, according to Superdata, which tracks the games and interactive media sector. Nearly 40 percent of those sales are in east Asia, especially China and South Korea. Other important markets include the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Brazil. In South Korea and the United States, clinics have sprung up to treat video game addiction, along with community and online support groups.
So-called “shooter games” such as “Fortnite” — described on the support website Game Quitters as the “hottest game in the world” — are either played online or on offline consoles. The inclusion of “gaming disorder” in WHO’s revised catalogue of diseases met with resistance, both from industry and some experts.
“The WHO process lacks transparency, is deeply flawed, and lacks scientific support,” Michael Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, said in a statement in March.
In a study to be published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, a group of 36 researchers said there was insufficient evidence to warrant the new category. “Given the gravity of diagnostic classification and its wider social impact, we urge our colleagues at the WHO to err on the side of caution for now and postpone the formalisation,” they wrote in a study reviewing academic literature.
The ICD identifies about 55,000 separate injuries, diseases, conditions and causes of death, and is widely used as a benchmark for diagnoses and health insurance.
“It enables us to understand so much about what makes people get sick and die, and to take action to prevent suffering and save lives,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. The new ICD also includes for the first time a chapter on traditional medicines, used by millions of people around the world.
The ICD-11 database can be consulted here: https://icd.who.int/browse11/l-m/en

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Greece, Macedonia sign deal to end name row http://mindanaotimes.net/greece-macedonia-sign-deal-to-end-name-row/ http://mindanaotimes.net/greece-macedonia-sign-deal-to-end-name-row/#comments Mon, 18 Jun 2018 05:44:13 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=59112 Read more ›]]> Greece and Macedonia on Sunday signed a historic preliminary agreement to rename the small Balkan nation the Republic of North Macedonia, ending a row that has poisoned relations between the two neighbors since 1991.

“This is a brave, historic and necessary step for our peoples,” said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

“We are here to heal the wounds of time, to open a path for peace, fraternisation and growth for our countries, the Balkans and Europe,” he said.

“Our two countries should step out of the past and look to the future,” said Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

“By signing the agreement… we have really moved mountains.”

But as the two countries’ foreign ministers signed the deal Greek protesters clashed with riot police, who beat them back with tear gas near the small village of Pisoderi, 25 kilometres (16 miles) away.

Six policemen and six protesters were injured, police said, as around 500 demonstrators waving Greek flags tried to approach the ceremony.

The accord aims to start unravelling one of the world’s longest diplomatic disputes, which began 27 years ago with Macedonia’s declaration of independence but dates back centuries.

“The time has come again to sing happy songs in the Balkans,” Tsipras said, moments before the document was signed by the foreign ministers.

Zaev and several of his ministers arrived by speedboat at the picturesque fishing village of Psarades under a sunny sky, on the southern bank of Lake Prespa, one of the natural boundaries between the two countries.

Tsipras and Zaev embraced on the village dock and were treated to a standing ovation by gathered dignitaries.

UN under-secretary-general for political affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, longterm UN negotiator Matthew Nimetz, EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini and EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn were on hand, snapping pictures with their smartphones.

Nimetz, who turned 79 on Sunday, and was given a birthday cake, has been trying to broker a solution since 1994, first as a US envoy and subsequently on behalf of the UN.

But it was the election of Zaev in 2017, replacing nationalist prime minister Nikola Gruevski, that proved crucial.

An economist and former mayor of Strumica, Zaev made a rapprochement with Greece a priority to secure his country’s membership of the European Union and NATO, blocked by Athens for years.

After the signature, Tsipras crossed over to the Macedonian side of Lake Prespa for lunch, becoming the first Greek prime minister to visit the neighbouring state.
Since 1991, Athens has objected to its neighbour being called Macedonia because it has its own northern province of the same name, which in ancient times was the cradle of Alexander the Great’s empire — a source of intense pride for modern-day Greeks.

The two premiers, born just months apart in 1974, have bucked strong hostile reactions at home to push ahead with the agreement.

- Accusations of treachery -

Tsipras has been accused of treachery by Greek hardliners, and on Saturday defeated a vote of censure against his government amid protests and clashes with police outside parliament.

In Macedonia, President Gjorge Ivanov plans to exercise a one-time veto option to block the deal that the nationalist opposition has called a “capitulation”.
The Macedonian parliament is scheduled to start debating the agreement the coming week.

The accord still needs to be approved by Macedonia’s parliament and then pass a referendum. The constitution must also be revised by the end of the year, before Greece’s parliament is called to ratify it.

On Sunday, some 5,000 people marched peacefully against the name deal in Bitola, in southwestern Macedonia, an event organised by the main opposition VMRO-DPMNE party.
But in Skopje special police fired tear gas after some among 2,000 people protesting in front of the parliament hurled stones and flares and attempted to break through a police cordon.

The protestors, who organised themselves through social networks, chanted “Zaev traitor”.

The state-run MIA news agency reported that 10 people including seven police officers were injured.

- ‘Brave steps’ -

Tsipras’ domestic critics say he has bargained away Greece’s diplomatic advantages — the power of veto over EU and NATO accession — for a deal that could backfire.
Specifically, by officially recognising a Macedonian language and nationality, it is almost certain that the country will be called Macedonia by the broader world, instead of North Macedonia, opponents of the deal argue.

Officials in Athens insist the deal will help stabilise the historically volatile Balkan region, permitting Greece to focus on other regional challenges, Turkey among them.

Macedonia was admitted to the UN in 1993 under the provisional name of the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, but more than 120 countries including Russia and the United States have recognised the Balkan country under the name of “Republic of Macedonia”.

“It is indeed a historic day… I believe this will be inspiration for many in the region and Europe to make brave steps,” Mogherini said.

Skopje hopes to secure a date to begin EU accession talks at an EU summit in late June and an invitation to join NATO in mid-July. Agence France Presse

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US solons want to end ‘evil’ family separations http://mindanaotimes.net/us-solons-want-to-end-evil-family-separations/ http://mindanaotimes.net/us-solons-want-to-end-evil-family-separations/#comments Mon, 18 Jun 2018 05:22:29 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=59109 ]]> Democratic lawmakers vowed Sunday to end the “evil” separation of migrant children from their parents at the US border, as First Lady Melania Trump made a rare political plea to end the deeply controversial practice.

The “zero-tolerance” border security policy implemented by President Donald Trump’s administration has sparked outrage on both sides of the political aisle and took on particular resonance as America celebrated Father’s Day.

“They call it ‘zero tolerance,’ but a better name for it is zero humanity, and there’s zero logic to this policy,” said Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, after leading a group of Democratic lawmakers to the Mexican border.

“It’s completely unacceptable under any moral code or under any religious tradition to injure children, inflict trauma on them in order to send some political message to adults somewhere overseas.”

After touring a converted Walmart supermarket that is now housing about 1,500 immigrant children, Merkley said “hurting kids to get legislative leverage is unacceptable. It is evil.”

The government has said that during one recent six-week period nearly 2,000 minors were separated from their parents or adult guardians — a figure that only stoked the firestorm.

Trump has said he wants the separations to end, but continues to blame opposition Democrats for the crisis, which critics say is one of his own making.

Amid deep divisions, congressional Republicans have struggled to craft a viable immigration plan.

The Republican-led House of Representatives may vote in the coming days on two immigration measures — a hardline bill and a compromise measure that would limit legal immigration while also ending family separations.

- ‘Massive child abuse’ -

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee accused Trump of lying by claiming he was simply following to the letter a previously existing law.

“The president is not telling the truth. There is no law, there is no policy that has allowed him to snatch children away from their families,” she said.

“I can assure you we’ll be fighting to the end to stop this ugly, vile program that is harming children and creating massive child abuse.”

Earlier, Representative David Cicilline said the policy was “undermining the founding values of this country.”
“We saw the fear in the eyes of these children who are wondering when they will see their parent ever again. It’s a disgrace, it’s shameful and it’s un-American,” he added.

- Melania weighs in -

Trump’s wife, who seldom wades into the political arena, opted to call for bipartisan immigration reform to fix the issue, rather than denounce the policy.

“Mrs Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform,” her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told CNN.

“She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”

The president himself later tweeted: “The Democrats should get together with their Republican counterparts and work something out on Border Security & Safety. Don’t wait until after the election because you are going to lose!” he tweeted.

Immigration is one of the most divisive issues plaguing the Trump administration.

The number of separations has jumped since early May, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that all migrants illegally crossing the US border with Mexico would be arrested, regardless of whether the adults were seeking asylum.

Since children cannot be sent to the facilities where their parents are held, they are separated, which the American Academy of Pediatrics has warned causes “irreparable harm” to the children.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen insisted, however, that “we do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.”

“For those seeking asylum at ports of entry, we have continued the policy from previous Administrations and will only separate if the child is in danger, there is no custodial relationship between ‘family’ members, or if the adult has broken a law,” she wrote on Twitter.

- Republican criticism -

Some of Trump’s fellow Republicans have said the policy must end.
“What the administration has decided to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you,” Senator Susan Collins told CBS television’s “Face the Nation.”

“That’s traumatizing to the children who are innocent victims, and it is contrary to our values in this country.”
Laura Bush, the former first lady and wife of Republican ex-president George W. Bush, was unflinching in her rejection of the policy.

“I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart,” Bush, who lives in Texas, wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece.
Ex-president Bill Clinton, a Democrat, also weighed in.

“These children should not be a negotiating tool. And reuniting them with their families would reaffirm America’s belief in & support for all parents who love their children,” he tweeted.

In one incident that highlighted the crisis, five immigrants died and several others were injured after a high-speed chase with Border Patrol agents in Texas ended in a crash, US media said. Agence France Presse

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Kim invites Trump to visit Pyongyang http://mindanaotimes.net/kim-invites-trump-to-visit-pyongyang/ http://mindanaotimes.net/kim-invites-trump-to-visit-pyongyang/#comments Wed, 13 Jun 2018 00:45:13 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=58936 ]]> KIM JONG Un invited Donald Trump to visit North Korea during their historic summit and the US President accepted, Pyongyang state media reported Wednesday, calling it the start of a “radical switchover” in the nuclear-armed Cold War foes’ fraught relations.

The unprecedented encounter in Singapore Tuesday saw the leader of the world’s most powerful democracy shake hands with the third generation scion of a dynastic dictatorship, standing as equals in front of their nations’ flags.
Kim agreed to the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”, a stock phrase favoured by Pyongyang that stopped short of long-standing US demands for North Korea to give up its atomic arsenal in a “verifiable” and “irreversible” way.
In its first report on the landmark summit, the official KCNA news agency ran a glowing dispatch on the talks, describing them as an “epoch-making meeting” that would help foster “a radical switchover in the most hostile (North Korea)-US relations”.
The report said the two men each asked the other to visit their country.
“The two top leaders gladly accepted each other’s invitation,” KCNA said.
Pyongyang has reason to feel confident after the meeting which was a major coup for an isolated and heavily sanctioned regime that has long craved international legitimacy.
In a blockbusting press conference after the summit, Trump said the US would halt military exercises with Seoul — something long sought by Pyongyang, which claims the drills are a rehearsal for invasion.
The US stations around 30,000 troops in security ally South Korea to protect it from its neighbour, which invaded in 1950 in an attempt to reunify the peninsula by force.
“We will be stopping the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money,” Trump told reporters, adding that “at some point” he wanted to withdraw US troops from the South.
Both Seoul and US military commanders in the South indicated they had no idea the announcement was coming, and analysts expressed immediate concern.
Ending the drills “is in excess of all expert consensus, South Korean requests, and even a close reading of North Korean demands”, said Adam Mount of the Federation of American Scientists.
The KCNA report said Trump committed to ending the drills during his meeting with Kim.
It added that denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula would be dependent on the two sides “refraining from antagonising… each other out of mutual understanding”.
- Smiles and handshakes -
The Singapore summit was a potentially legacy-defining meeting for both men — comparable to president Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to China, or Ronald Reagan’s 1986 summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik.
World powers from China to Japan, the European Union and Russia welcomed its outcome — while cautioning it was only the first step towards resolving the nuclear stand-off with Pyongyang.
Many agreements have been made in the past with North Korea that have later fallen apart, and ahead of the meeting, critics expressed concerns that it risked being more about headlines than substantive progress.
It also legitimised Kim, critics charged, feting a regime which stands accused of widespread human rights abuses.
In the event, the two leaders showered each other with compliments in the sumptuous setting of a luxury Singapore hotel, a marked contrast from their previous rounds of mutual insults, such as “mentally deranged” and “little rocket man”.
Trump said he had formed a “special bond” with Kim, whom he described as “very talented”.
KCNA said the two leaders ate and walked together, “deepening friendly feelings” towards each other.
After a day filled with smiles and handshakes watched around the world, the US “committed to provide security guarantees” to North Korea, while Pyongyang committed to “work towards” denuclearising the Korean peninsula.
Melissa Hanham of the US-based Center for Nonproliferation Studies said on Twitter that North Korea had “already promised to do this many times,” adding the two sides “still don’t agree on what ‘denuclearisation’ means.”
Asked about the issue — the crux of the summit — Trump said “we’re starting that process” which would begin “very, very quickly”, but gave no concrete details.
Speaking later as he flew out of Singapore bound for the US territory of Guam — towards which Pyongyang last year threatened to lob missiles — Trump said he intended to hold North Korea to its word on denuclearisation.
“We’re going to have to check it and we will check it. We’ll check it very strongly,” he told reporters on Air Force One. AFP

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Trump, Kim share historic handshake http://mindanaotimes.net/trump-kim-share-historic-handshake/ http://mindanaotimes.net/trump-kim-share-historic-handshake/#comments Tue, 12 Jun 2018 07:19:05 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=58905 ]]> DONALD Trump and Kim Jong Un made history Tuesday, becoming the first sitting US and North Korean leaders to meet and shake hands, as they seek to end a tense decades-old nuclear stand-off.

The two men strode toward each other and shared the momentous handshake beneath the white-washed walls of an upscale hotel in neutral Singapore, before sitting down for a half-day of meetings with major ramifications for the world.
They shook hands for several seconds, Trump reaching out to touch the North Korean leader on his right shoulder.
As they sat down for their one-on-one meeting, the US leader predicted a “terrific relationship” with Kim.
The extraordinary summit was unthinkable only months ago.
Then, the two nuclear-armed foes appeared on the verge of conflict, as Kim conducted nuclear and missile tests and the two leaders slung personal insults.
Trump had cajoled the international community to exert “maximum pressure” to buckle Kim’s regime and threatened to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if Pyongyang did not disarm.
For his part, Kim called the US leader “mentally deranged” and a “dotard” as he fired off a series of provocative weapons tests.
That seemed a distant memory amid the palms of the ultra-exclusive Capella Hotel.
It is a potentially legacy-defining meeting for both men — comparable to president Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to China, or Ronald Reagan’s summit 1986 with Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik.
And it is part of what Trump calls a “one-time” offer to resolve the stand-off through diplomacy.
“We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!” Trump tweeted shortly before departing for the summit.
- Hugely symbolic talks -
The pair — Kim in his thirties and consolidating his dictatorship, Trump in his seventies and struggling to bend Washington to his impetuous will — are unlikely protagonists, both instantly recognisable, so much larger-than-life as to be cartoonish.
But their work today is deadly serious.
They represent nations that are still technically at war, even if the mortars, carbines and gunships of the bloody 1950s conflict have long since fallen silent.
But that frozen Cold War-era conflict risks being thawed by North Korea’s increasingly potent weapons programs.
The totalitarian regime is on the cusp of marrying nuclear and missile technology that would put Los Angeles, New York and Washington within striking distance of a nuclear holocaust.
The United States says that is unacceptable and will be dealt with, one way or another.
For North Korea the talks are hugely significant.
Standing beside the US president in front of a phalanx of cameras is an enormous step toward ending decades of international isolation and legitimises a regime which is among the world’s most ruthless.
- ‘Brighter future’ -
Still, it remains far from clear that Pyongyang is willing to give up its nukes -— weapons that may be the ultimate guarantee of regime survival.
On the eve of the meeting, aides for both men were still scrambling to narrow yawning differences over “denuclearisation”, which means vastly different things to the two parties.
Trump will use what he says are legendary instincts to see whether Kim if bluffing, buying time or is serious.
In return, his administration may be willing to offer security guarantees, normalisation of relations, sanctions relief and economic aid that would transform North Korea from the sick man of Asia.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on the eve of the summit that the United States is willing to offer the regime “unique” security guarantees.
“We will take actions to provide them sufficient certainty that they can be comfortable that denuclearisation is not something that ends badly for them,” Pompeo said.
“Just the opposite. That it leads to a brighter and better future for the North Korean people.”
Kim and Trump will first meet one-on-one in a closed session, before a larger meeting with key advisers, US officials said.
But the summit itself is unlikely to be the end game, more likely it is the start of a longer process of negotiation.
Pompeo said he was “very optimistic we will have a successful outcome with the two leaders.”
“There are only two people that can make decisions of this magnitude. Those two people will sit in a room tomorrow.”
However, Washington’s top diplomat also warned the United States would not be “duped” and that nothing less than complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation was acceptable. Agence France-Presse

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Trump lashes out at US allies http://mindanaotimes.net/trump-lashes-out-at-us-allies/ http://mindanaotimes.net/trump-lashes-out-at-us-allies/#comments Mon, 11 Jun 2018 07:59:03 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=58848 ]]> PRESIDENT Donald Trump lashed out at US allies Monday in a Twitter rant focusing on trade following a contentious G7 summit of economic powers in Canada at the weekend.

“Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal,” Trump tweeted, as he criticized Canadian tariffs on imports of US milk.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau then “acts hurt when called out!” Trump wrote.
Trump pulled out of endorsing a joint communique after the G7 meet finished on Saturday with the US president accusing Trudeau, the summit’s chairman, of dishonesty.
His Twitter rant on Monday continued: “Why should I, as President of the United States, allow countries to continue to make Massive Trade Surpluses, as they have for decades, while our Farmers, Workers & Taxpayers have such a big and unfair price to pay? Not fair to the PEOPLE of America!”
Adding to the US trade deficit is “the fact that the U.S. pays close to the entire cost of NATO-protecting many of these same countries that rip us off on Trade (they pay only a fraction of the cost-and laugh!).”
He said the European Union “should pay much more for Military!”
According to Trump, Germany “pays 1% (slowly) of GDP towards NATO, while we pay 4% of a MUCH larger GDP. Does anybody believe that makes sense? We protect Europe (which is good) at great financial loss, and then get unfairly clobbered on Trade. Change is coming!”
Figures that Trump cites in his tweets have often been found to be incorrect or misleading.
He concluded: “Sorry, we cannot let our friends, or enemies, take advantage of us on Trade anymore. We must put the American worker first!”
Almost as an afterthought, Trump — currently in Singapore for a summit with North Korean leader Kum Jong Un — tweeted: “Great to be in Singapore, excitement in the air!”

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Trump, Kim arrive for US-North Korea summit http://mindanaotimes.net/trump-kim-arrive-for-us-north-korea-summit/ http://mindanaotimes.net/trump-kim-arrive-for-us-north-korea-summit/#comments Mon, 11 Jun 2018 01:28:49 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=58834 ]]> UPDATES with KCNA report on Kim’s departure
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump arrived in Singapore Sunday for an unprecedented summit, with Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal at the top of the agenda and the US president calling it a “one-time shot” at peace.

Bringing the Korean War to a formal end 65 years after hostilities ceased will also be on the table at the first-ever meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting president of its “imperialist enemy”.
It is an extraordinary turnaround from the tensions of last year, when Kim accelerated his weapons programmes — earning the North more sets of UN Security Council sanctions — and the two men traded personal insults and threats of war.
But critics charge that the meeting risks being largely a triumph of style over substance.
Kim arrived in Singapore on board an Air China 747 that, according to flight tracking website Flightradar24, took off from Pyongyang in the morning ostensibly bound for Beijing then changed its flight number in midair and headed south.
He was driven into the city centre in a stretch Mercedes-Benz limousine accompanied by a convoy of more than 20 vehicles, and later met Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, thanking him for hosting the event.
“If the summit becomes a success, the Singaporean efforts will go down in history,” Kim said.
Trump landed in the evening after a long flight from Canada and the G7 meeting there, telling Singaporean officials who welcomed him that he was feeling “very good” about the summit.
Authorities imposed tight security around the summit venue and the luxury hotels where the leaders were to stay — including installing extra pot plants outside Kim’s accommodation to obstruct reporters’ views.
- ‘Not just a photo op’ -
Washington is demanding the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the North, while Pyongyang has so far only made public pledges of its commitment to the denuclearisation of the peninsula — a term open to wide interpretation — while seeking security guarantees in return.
In a report describing Kim’s departure from Pyongyang, KCNA said a “changed era” had come about, adding that views on achieving denuclearisation and a “permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean Peninsula” would be exchanged at the summit.
But former US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage said he expects little progress on the key issue of defining the parameters of denuclearisation .
“The success will be in the shutter clicks of the cameras,” he said. “They both get what they want.”
Trump insisted last week that the summit would “not be just a photo op”, saying it would help forge a “good relationship” that would lead to a “process” towards the “ultimate making of a deal”.
But as he embarked for Singapore he changed his tune, calling it a “one-time shot” and adding he will know “within the first minute” whether an agreement will be possible.
“If I think it won’t happen, I’m not going to waste my time,” he said.
On Sunday Pope Francis struck an optimistic note, saying he hoped the talks might “ensure a future of peace for the Korean peninsula and the whole world.”
But the value of the event — long sought by the North, and which Trump apparently impulsively agreed to in March, reportedly without consulting his advisers — has been called into question by many seasoned experts.
“People call it a historic summit but… it is important to understand that this summit was available to any US president who wanted to do it and the point is no US president wanted to do this, and for good reasons,” said Christopher Hill, a former lead US nuclear negotiator with North Korea.
- Decades of tensions -
The two countries have been at loggerheads for decades.
The North invaded the South in 1950 and the ensuing war pitted US-led UN troops backing Seoul against Pyongyang’s forces which were aided by China. The conflict ended in an armistice which sealed the division of the peninsula.
Occasional provocations by the North have continued while Pyongyang has made increasing advances in its nuclear arsenal, which it says it needs to defend against the risk of a US invasion.
Last year it carried out by far its most powerful nuclear test to date and launched missiles capable of reaching the US mainland, while Trump threatened the North with “fire and fury” and Kim dubbed him a “mentally deranged US dotard”.
But the South’s Winter Olympics in February were the catalyst for a flurry of diplomatic moves as South Korea’s dovish leader Moon Jae-in sought to bring the two sides together.
Kim has met twice with both Moon and Xi Jinping, the president of China, long the North’s most important ally.
Pyongyang has taken some steps to show sincerity, returning three US detainees and blowing up the entrances to its nuclear test site.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that progress was being made in bringing the two sides together in their understanding of denuclearisation.
But Trump baffled observers when he said he did not think he had to prepare “very much” for the summit.
“It’s about attitude,” Trump said. “So this isn’t a question of preparation.” Agence France Presse

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Passing Roger’s 20 Slams not on agenda, says Rafa http://mindanaotimes.net/passing-rogers-20-slams-not-on-agenda-says-rafa/ http://mindanaotimes.net/passing-rogers-20-slams-not-on-agenda-says-rafa/#comments Mon, 11 Jun 2018 01:26:34 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=58832 ]]> RAFAEL Nadal insists that he has no desire to become locked into an arms race with Roger Federer to surpass his great rival’s 20 Grand Slam titles.

Nadal clinched an 11th French Open with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory against Dominic Thiem on Sunday to take his majors total to 17.
That’s three behind Federer who is more than four years older.
However, the 32-year-old Nadal said such targets do not concern him, believing his caution is well-placed after an injury-hit career which has seen him sit out nine Grand Slam tournaments.
“I have never been crazy about this kind of stuff,” said Nadal.
“You can’t always be frustrated if somebody has more money than you, a bigger house than you, if somebody has more Grand Slams than you.
“You can’t live with this feeling.
“Of course I would love to have 20 like Roger in the future or even more but it’s not something that is on my mind.”
Even this year, injury has continued to hound Nadal with a hip problem forcing him to quit his Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic.
He missed the North America hardcourt season and only returned in time for the European claycourt season.
On Sunday, he even halted play in the third set due to cramping in his finger that affected his blood circulation.
“It was scary,” he admitted.
Nadal plans to return to Paris in 2019 and try and clinch a 12th title at Roland Garros.
But he remains philosophical about the rest of his career which has so far yielded 17 majors, 79 titles in total as well as more than $100 million in prize money.
“You can’t fight against age and you can’t fight against the watch. The watch keeps going always. So that’s it.
“If you tell me seven, eight years ago that I will be here at 32 years old having this trophy with me again, I will tell you that is something almost impossible, but here we are.
“So I am not much worried about the future. Tennis is a very important part of my life, without a doubt, but is not everything.”
Next on the campaign trail for Nadal is Wimbledon where he was a two-time champion in 2008 and 2010.
However, his recent record at the All England Club has been dispiriting.
Last year, he lost 15-13 in the fifth set of his last-16 tie against Gilles Muller.
Since his last title in London eight years ago, he has also suffered a first round exit as well as two defeats in the second round.
“I would love to be playing in as many places as possible, but you understand I need to check how I feel in the next couple of days,” said Nadal as he pondered his preparation for Wimbledon which gets underway in three weeks’ time.
He is currently entered to play the Queen’s Club tournament next week.
“It is a drastic change from clay to grass. And I did it in the past when I was much younger, quicker, because I played back to back.
“But it’s time to check how I feel in the next couple of days.”
Victory on Sunday meant that Nadal became just the fourth man of the modern era to win three or more Grand Slam titles after turning 30, joining Federer, Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall.
Australia’s Rosewall was in the crowd on Sunday to see the final, 50 years after he won the title in Paris.
“I’m just glad I’m not playing today,” said Rosewall in a nod to the raw power of Nadal. Agence France Presse

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