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South Korea newspapers welcome summit as ‘first step’ toward peace

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Most South Korean newspapers reacted with cautious optimism Wednesday to the historic meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore, although one conservative daily denounced the agreement it produced as “absurd”.

The centrist Hankook daily noted that the post-summit joint statement signed by the US president and North Korean leader on Tuesday had omitted Washington’s demand for a “complete, verifiable, irreversible” denuclearisation of the North and lacked a concrete timetable to achieve that goal.

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Instead the statement commits Pyongyang to “work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”.

“In terms of the key issue… it may appear that the result failed to meet expectations,” Hankook said in an editorial.

But it added that the concrete steps of dismantling the North’s nuclear arsenal would be handled during follow-on negotiations, and that negotiations for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and permanent peace between Seoul and Pyongyang had “just begun”.

The pro-business Joongang daily was cautiously optimistic, even though the timetable for the dismantling of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons remained vague.

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“We can’t dismiss the summit as a failure. It is already a historic event that the leaders of two foes have met. The first step to end decades of hostilities since the Korean War has been made”, Joongang said.

However, the conservative Chosun daily lambasted the agreement signed by Trump and Kim.

“The June 12 agreement is so outrageous and absurd that we could hardly believe our eyes,” it said in an editorial.

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The paper attacked Trump for promising to stop annual US-South Korea joint military drills before the North had started dismantling its nuclear arsenal.

Its view was echoed by the conservative opposition Liberty Korea Party, whose leader Hong Joon-Pyo castigated the summit as a “great failure”.

But an editorial in the left-leaning Hankyoreh praised the summit as opening a new chapter for a “great change” in US-North Korea ties.

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The stoppage of the US-South Korea drills, which the North says are rehearsals for aggression against it, will serve as “a catalyst” in improving ties between the two Cold War foes and denuclearisation of the North, it said.


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Swiss holding ‘funeral march’ to mark disappearance of an Alpine glacier

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Dozens of people will undertake a "funeral march" up a steep Swiss mountainside on Sunday to mark the disappearance of an Alpine glacier amid growing global alarm over climate change.

The Pizol "has lost so much substance that from a scientific perspective it is no longer a glacier," Alessandra Degiacomi, of the Swiss Association for Climate Protection, told AFP.

The organisation which helped organise Sunday's march said around 100 people were due to take part in the event, set to take place as the UN gathers youth activists and world leaders in New York to mull the action needed to curb global warming.

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2020 Election

UAW strike ‘threatens to upend the economy in Michigan’ — and could destroy Trump’s re-election: report

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At the end of the first week of a major strike by the United Auto Workers, the employment standoff threatens to upend President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election map, the Chicago Times reported Saturday.

Approximately 46,000 workers have been striking against General Motors.

There are two major threats to Trump's campaign from the strike.

The first is that the strike could cause regional recessions -- threatening Trump's political standing in key Rust Belt states.

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Security forces fired live rounds at protesters calling for the ouster of Egyptian president: report

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Egyptian security forces clashed with hundreds of anti-government protesters in the port city of Suez on Saturday, firing tear gas and live rounds, said several residents who participated in the demonstrations.

A heavy security presence was also maintained in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of Egypt's 2011 revolution, after protests in several cities called for the removal of general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Such demonstrations are rare after Egypt effectively banned protests under a law passed following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi.

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