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North Korea warns US sanctions may ‘block path to denuclearization’

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North Korea has condemned the United States over its latest sanctions measures, warning the policy could “block the path to denuclearization on the Korean peninsula forever”.

The warning from the North on Sunday came days after the US said it was imposing sanctions on three senior North Korean officials over human rights abuses.

The sanctioned officials include Choe Ryong Hae, who has been considered a right-hand man to leader Kim Jong Un.

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In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, the North praised President Donald Trump for his efforts to improve relations with Pyongyang, but said the US State Department was “bent on bringing the DPRK-U.S. relations back to the status of last year which was marked by exchanges of fire”.

The statement by the policy research director of the Institute for American Studies of the foreign ministry accused the US of “deliberate provocation” over the sanctions on the three officials.

If Washington believes the policy of increased sanctions and pressure would force the North to give up its nuclear weapons, “it will count as greatest miscalculation, and it will block the path to denuclearization on the Korean peninsula forever”, the statement added.

At a historic summit in Singapore in June, US President Donald Trump and Kim signed a vaguely-worded statement on denuclearisation.

But little progress has been made since then, with Washington pushing to maintain sanctions against the North until its “final, fully verified denuclearisation” and Pyongyang condemning US demands as “gangster-like”.

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In actions required by Congress, the Trump administration said on Monday it would seize any US assets of the three officials over their roles in suppressing freedom of speech.

Such restrictions may have little impact on officials in one of the world’s most closed countries but will have a clear symbolic force as North Korea seeks greater acceptance by the United States.

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Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles — ‘the hardest #Megxit possible’

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Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy.

The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties.

It means Queen Elizabeth II's grandson Harry and his American TV actress wife Meghan will stop using the titles "royal highness" -- the same fate that befell his late mother Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.

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GOP senator tells home-state press that impeachment trial must be ‘viewed as fair’: report

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Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke to local reporters on Saturday about her role in the upcoming Donald Trump impeachment trial.

Murkowski explained she would likely vote with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on an initial vote on whether to allow witnesses. However, she left the door open to voting for witnesses after House impeachment managers make their opening case.

"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," she said. "We will have that opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no' ... and if we say 'yes,' the floor is open."

Overall, Murkowski said it was important for the trial to been viewed as fair.

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White House press secretary urged to do her job: ‘We don’t pay you to be a Twitter troll’

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White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was blasted on Saturday over the confusion resulting from her refusal to hold daily press briefings.

CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was alarmed that Grisham's assistant, Hogan Gidley, was forcing reporters to refer to his remarks as coming from a "sources close to the President's legal team."

Darcy noted that Trump had repeatedly questioned the veracity of unnamed sources, making it problematic for Gidley to demand to be quoted as such.

https://twitter.com/oliverdarcy/status/1218704788432572422

Grisham responded to the criticism and asked Darcy to "stop with the righteous indignation.

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