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No indication North Korean nuclear activities stopped: IAEA

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The U.N. nuclear watchdog said it did not find any indication that North Korea had stopped its nuclear activities, adding to doubts about the country’s willingness to abandon its arsenal.

“The continuation and further development of the DPRK’s nuclear program and related statements by the DPRK are a cause for grave concern,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a report published late on Monday.

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The report, which refers to the country’s official name Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is to be submitted to the IAEA’s board meeting next month.

U.S. President Donald Trump said in an interview with Reuters on Monday he believed North Korea had taken specific steps toward denuclearization and that he would “most likely” meet again with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump held a landmark summit with Kim on June 12, at which the North Korean leader agreed in broad terms to work toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

However, the country has given no indication it is willing to give up its weapons unilaterally as the Trump administration has demanded.

“As the agency remains unable to carry out verification activities in the DPRK, its knowledge of the DPRK’s nuclear program is limited and, as further nuclear activities take place in the country, this knowledge is declining,” the IAEA said.

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Between late April and early May there were indications of the operation of the steam plant that serves a radiochemical laboratory, the report said. However, the duration of the steam plant’s operation was not sufficient to have supported the reprocessing of a complete core from the experimental nuclear power plant reactor.

Dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program and verifying it would be a large and complex task. The IAEA has said it is best placed to verify a deal.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by David Holmes

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Trump may come to regret his big celebration of a small dip in unemployment

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Though the unemployment rate remains in the double-digits, the official unemployment numbers are slightly lower than economists expected, prompting self-congratulations by President Donald Trump.

This article first appeared in Salon.

But experts say celebration is premature.

Indeed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate fell from 14.7 percent in April to 13.3 percent in May as the economy added 2.5 million jobs. The high April number was the worst that the American workforce had seen since monthly record-keeping began in 1948, and almost certainly the worst since the Great Depression. White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett predicted last month that unemployment would rise above 20 percent, a view that was widely shared by economists.

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2020 Election

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The 2020 general election campaign between two top parties has unofficially been set.

"Joe Biden formally clinched the Democratic presidential nomination Friday, setting him up for a bruising challenge to President Donald Trump that will play out against the unprecedented backdrop of a pandemic, economic collapse and civil unrest," the AP reported Friday. "The former vice president has effectively been his party’s leader since his last challenger in the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders, ended his campaign in April. But Biden pulled together the 1,991 delegates needed to become the nominee after seven states and the District of Columbia held presidential primaries Tuesday."

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