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North Korea threatens to resume referring to Trump as a ‘dotard’

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President Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in Vietnam. Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

North Korea has threatened to resume referring to US president Donald Trump as a “dotard”, raising the prospect of a return to a war of words with a negotiating deadline approaching.

Pyongyang has set Washington an end-of-year time limit to offer it new concessions in deadlocked nuclear negotiations, and has said it will adopt an unspecified “new way” if nothing acceptable is forthcoming.

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Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — whose countries and their allies fought each other to a standstill in the 1950-53 Korean War — engaged in mutual insults and threats of devastation in 2017, sending tensions soaring before a diplomatic rapprochement the following year.

But denuclearisation negotiations have been at a standstill since a summit in Hanoi broke up in February.

Trump on Tuesday indicated military action was still possible when he was asked about Pyongyang on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Britain.

“He definitely likes sending rockets up, doesn’t he? That’s why I call him ‘Rocket Man’,” Trump said, reprising one of his previously favoured nicknames for Kim.

Pyongyang reacted stiffly late Thursday, with vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui saying the comments were made with “no courtesy when referring to the supreme leadership… of the DPRK”.

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“If this is meant to make expressions, reminiscent of those days just two years ago when a war of words was fought across the ocean… it will be a very dangerous challenge,” she said in a statement carried by the North’s state news agency KCNA.

Referring to Trump by name and reprising Kim’s own previously preferred insult, she said that any repetition “must really be diagnosed as the relapse of the dotage of a dotard”.

North Korea’s comments came a day after it warned that if the US used military force against the North it would take “prompt corresponding actions at any level” in the event of military action by Washington.

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At the Nato summit, Trump said: “We have the most powerful military we’ve ever had, and we’re by far the most powerful country in the world.”

“Hopefully, we don’t have to use it, but if we do, we’ll use it. If we have to, we’ll do it,” he added.

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KCNA, known for its flamboyant and sometimes antiquated language, has previously labelled former US President George W. Bush a “half-baked man”, ex-South Korean leader Park Geun-hye a “crafty prostitute”, and called former US leader Barack Obama her “pimp”.

The North has issued a series of increasingly assertive comments in recent weeks as its negotiating time limit approaches. Kim’s New Year speech, a key political set-piece in the isolated country, is also due on January 1.

On Wednesday another Pyongyang official said, in response to Trump’s comments made Tuesday, the use of armed forces is “not the privilege of the US only”.

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GOP’s use of Kanye West to help Trump has been a spectacular flop: CNN host

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On CNN Saturday, Michael Smerconish examined rapper Kanye West's presidential campaign — and how the GOP efforts to boost it to siphon voters from former Vice President Joe Biden don't appear to be working.

"Is Kanye West serious about running for president or is it all part of a dark twisted fantasy?" said Smerconish. "NPR has documented how several operatives, some with Trump ties, are actively helping the superstar get on general election ballots in various states. Kanye West officially on the ballot in Vermont, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and has filed recently in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Jared Kushner met privately with West in Colorado, where the two par took in a friendly conversation ... the RNC and Trump has denied involvement in West's campaign. but the president isn't exactly discouraging the competition."

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Greenland’s ice sheet has melted past the point of no return

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Greenland's ice sheet may have shrunk past the point of return, with the ice likely to melt away no matter how quickly the world reduces climate-warming emissions, new research suggests.

Scientists studied data on 234 glaciers across the Arctic territory spanning 34 years through 2018 and found that annual snowfall was no longer enough to replenish glaciers of the snow and ice being lost to summertime melting.

That melting is already causing global seas to rise about a millimeter on average per year. If all of Greenland's ice goes, the water released would push sea levels up by an average of 6 meters -- enough to swamp many coastal cities around the world. This process, however, would take decades.

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Trump targets TikTok again with new executive order

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US President Donald Trump late Friday lashed out anew at ByteDance, issuing a fresh executive order stating the Chinese internet giant must sell its interest in the Musical.ly app it bought and merged with TikTok.

The order builds on sweeping restrictions issued last week by Trump that TikTok and WeChat end all operations in the US, his latest explosive moves aimed at countering China's rising global power.

ByteDance bought karaoke video app Musical.y from a Chinese rival about three years ago in a deal valued at nearly a billion dollars. It was incorporated into TikTok, which became a global sensation.

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