Next summit for Trump, North Korea's Kim likely after first of year: senior U.S. official

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un hold a signing ceremony at the conclusion of their summit at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File PhotoWASHINGTON - 20 October 2018: The next summit meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is likely to happen early next year, a senior administration official said on Friday.The two sides have been engaged in talks on the leaders’ second meeting after the first, unprecedented, one in Singapore in June.“A meeting is likely sometime after the first of the year,” the U.S. official told a small group of reporters.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday he hopes to meet his North Korean counterpart soon to lay the groundwork for a “big step forward” on denuclearization during the next summit.Pompeo, in an interview with Voice of America on a trip to Mexico City, said Kim told him two weeks ago he was committed to the promises he had made to Trump during their first summit.“I’m very hopeful we’ll have senior leader meetings here in the next week and a half or so between myself and my counterpart to continue this discussion so that when the two of them get together there is real opportunity to make another big step forward on denuclearization,” he told VOA.Pompeo met North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.A State Department spokeswoman declined to clarify if Pompeo meant he would meet his counterpart in Washington, saying she had no meetings to announce.The United States and South Korea on Friday said they had suspended upcoming joint air defense drills in a bid to ensure diplomatic efforts with North Korea continue.The two Koreas have held three summits this year.

Source:Egypt Today

October 19, 2018 21:45 UTC


U.S. says Russia, China, Iran seek to disrupt elections

U.S. says Russia, China, Iran seek to disrupt electionsWASHINGTON - 20 October 2018: The U.S. government warned on Friday that Russia, China and Iran were seeking to influence next month's congressional elections as federal prosecutors unveiled charges against a Russian national accused of participating in such a scheme.Influence operations from those nations include use of social media to amplify divisive issues, seeding disinformation about political candidates and sponsoring content in English-language media, four intelligence and law enforcement agencies said in a joint statement.They issued the warning on Friday as the U.S. government unsealed criminal charges against Russian national Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44. She is the first individual to be indicted for attempting to interfere in the 2018 U.S. elections, according to a government official with knowledge of the matter. "Foreign interference in U.S. elections is a threat to our democracy," said the statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Justice Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security. "Identifying and preventing this interference is a top priority of the Federal Government. "The agencies said they had no evidence that any foreign actor sought to compromise voting systems in a bid to prevent voting, change results or prevent authorities from tallying votes in the November congressional elections.Some state and local governments, which run polling sites, have reported attempts to access their networks, but officials were able to "prevent access or quickly mitigate these attempts," the four agencies said.

Source:Egypt Today

October 19, 2018 19:41 UTC


UK PM May tells businesses EU is committed to autumn Brexit deal

UK PM May tells businesses EU is committed to autumn Brexit dealLONDON - 20 October 2018: British Prime Minister Theresa May told business leaders during a teleconference on Friday that EU politicians are committed to reaching a Brexit agreement this autumn, striking what one source told Reuters was an upbeat tone.London and Brussels are racing to strike a deal by the end of the year and firms are worried that without one, there could be widespread disruption of everything from supply chains to flights and the movement of food and livestock.May briefed around 120 business leaders to update them on the progress of the talks after discussions in Brussels earlier this week. "The Prime Minister spoke for about 10 minutes and the tone of her message was quite optimistic," a source familiar with the content of the call told Reuters.May's office said the prime minister had acknowledged that there were "a few significant issues" still outstanding but that progress was being made. "The very real sense she had from leaders around the table at the Council was that they wanted to reach a deal as soon as possible this autumn," May's office said. "She said that her aim was to wrap this up in November," one of the business people listening to the call said.May was told by some that time is pressing and heard concerns over contingency measures which may be irreversible, the source added.She was also asked what business could do to help on Brexit, to which she suggested firms write to lawmakers in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, to make sure leaders were aware that business needed a resolution.Separately, Bloomberg reported that May was ready to give ground on one of the key sticking areas of the talks concerning the land border between the United Kingdom and Ireland.Sterling gained on the report that Britain would allow the Northern Ireland backstop, or fallback arrangement in case of failure to agree a broader deal, to have no fixed time limit.May's office said in response that the government's position had not changed, and pointed to the remarks the prime minister had made to businesses, where she said she expected any backstop arrangement to be temporary.Britain's Brexit minister, Dominic Raab, said a week ago that the so-called backstop designed to prevent a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, must be finite, short and time-limited.Brexit supporters in May's government are concerned any temporary arrangements with the EU that lack a clear time limit may become permanent solutions over time.

Source:Egypt Today

October 19, 2018 19:41 UTC


Afghans set to vote amid chaos, corruption and Taliban threats

Afghans set to vote amid chaos, corruption and Taliban threatsKABUL - 20 October 2018: Afghans vote on Saturday in parliamentary elections overshadowed by chaotic organisation, allegations of corruption and the threat of violence after decades of war.The United Nations, which has been supporting the process, has urged Afghans to "use this opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote" and called for the election to take place in a safe and secure environment.Officials worry that violence will keep voters away from polling stations, particularly following the assassination of the police chief of Kandahar on Thursday.Taliban militants have issued a series of statements telling people not to take part in what they consider a foreign-imposed process and warning election centres may be attacked.Thousands of police and soldiers have been deployed across the country but already nine candidates have been assassinated and hundreds of people killed and wounded in election-related attacks.Election authorities originally planned 7,355 polling centres but only 5,100 will be able to open due to security concerns, according to the Independent Election Commission, overseeing the vote.Voting has been postponed for at least a week in Kandahar province following the killing of police commander Gen. Abdul Razeq. It has also been delayed in Ghazni province, by arguments about the representation of different ethnic groups.FRAUD FEARSWidespread allegations of voter fraud present a challenge to the legitimacy of the process, seen by Afghanistan's international partners as a vital step ahead of the more important presidential election next year.Afghan politics is still poisoned by the aftermath of a disputed presidential vote in 2014 that forced the two main rival groupings to form an unstable partnership. Both sides were accused of massive electoral cheating.Political sleaze has put Afghanistan near the bottom of Transparency International's world corruption index. "Fraud, the abuse of power and corruption are going to be the main challenge, much more than security," said Aziz Rafiee, a political analyst and executive director of the Afghan Civil Society Forum.Some 8.8 million voters have been registered but an unknown number, by some estimates as many as 50 percent, are believed to be fraudulently or incorrectly registered.About 2,450 candidates are competing for 250 seats in the lower house. Under the constitution, parliament reviews and ratifies laws but has little real power.In a bid to ensure the vote is fair, biometric voter registration technology has been rushed in at the last minute.But many fear the untried technology, which was still being distributed to provincial voting centres as recently as Thursday, will add to the confusion without eliminating fraud.

Source:Egypt Today

October 19, 2018 19:30 UTC


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