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:: Who was Kim Wall?

30-year-old Kim Wall was an award-winning journalist from the small village of Trelleborg in Sweden. She studied at the London School of Economics, the Sorbonne in Paris and at the Columbia School of Journalism.

Despite only having worked as a journalist for four years, her work was published in the New York Times, Atlantic, Vice, The Guardian and Time Magazine. She focused on gender, identity and climate change and travelled widely – to China, North Korea, Sri Lanka, Uganda and the Marshall Islands.

When she died in August last year, she had been living with her boyfriend in Copenhagen. The couple were preparing to move to Beijing, China.

:: Who is Peter Madsen?

Peter Madsen, 47, is a minor Danish celebrity; an inventor and entrepreneur who drew crowds to watch tests of his home-built rockets and submarines.

The Nautilus was his most impressive creation – the world’s largest privately build submarine in the world. Built over three years, it could carry eight people and could dive to depths of 400 metres.

:: Why was she on his submarine?

Kim Wall and her boyfriend Ole Stobbe lived in an apartment not far from Mr Madsen’s workshop in Refshaleoen, a former industrial zone on the edge of Copenhagen.

Refshaleoen is now home to artists, inventors and entrepreneurs. Ms Wall knew of Madsen and his inventions. She thought he might make an interesting subject for a story. She made contact and asked him for an interview.

This photo shows allegedly Swedish journalist Kim Wall standing in the tower of the private submarine 'UC3 Nautilus' on August 10, 2017 in Copenhagen Harbor
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This photo apparently shows Ms Wall in the tower of the submarine

:: What was the sequence of events?

On the evening of 10 August last year, Ms Wall and her boyfriend were preparing for their own farewell party before they moved to Beijing. But later that day, she received a call from Madsen. He was prepared to grant her an interview and a ride on his submarine.

She decided that it was worth doing, even if it meant forfeiting her own party – it couldn’t wait, as they were leaving for Beijing. She left with Madsen from a pier in Refshaleoen. She was expected back later the same evening.

Late that night, she still hadn’t returned. Her boyfriend raised the alarm. By the following morning a full scale maritime search had been mounted for the sub, though it had issued no distress call.

Hours later, the Nautilus was spotted, sinking in a bay south of Copenhagen. Madsen was rescued.

When he came ashore, he claimed that he had dropped Ms Wall off back at Refshaleoen as planned the previous evening and gone out again, alone.

However, his story then changed. Under police questioning he said there had been an accident on board.

The submarine’s hatch had hit Ms Wall on the head and killed her, he claimed. He said he had panicked and buried her at sea.

But 11 days later, not far from where the submarine sank, just south of Copenhagen, a discovery was made on the shoreline.

Over the next few weeks, body parts began to wash up. They were all identified as belonging to the journalist.

Madsen’s story changed again. He admitted he had dismembered her. But he failed to explain how she died. It is understood that he has not given the police any further details.

:: What is the indictment against Mr Madsen?

According to the official indictment, he cut and stabbed her multiple times before killing her and then dismembering her body.

Her body parts, the indictment says, were weighed down and thrown into the sea.

Madsen has been charged with premeditated murder, indecent handling of a corpse and “sexual relations other than intercourse of a particularly dangerous nature”.

An examination of Ms Wall’s remains showed evidence that she had been stabbed multiple times in her genitals.

The prosecution will need to prove that she died in a pre-meditated murder.

They will present evidence which they hope will prove that he planned and prepared Ms Wall’s murder, bringing a saw, knife and screwdrivers to his submarine.

Ms Wall had travelled extensively to report on social and economic issues
Image:
Kim Wall had travelled extensively to report on social and economic issues

:: How does the trial work?

The trial is taking place at Copenhagen’s City Court and is scheduled to last for 12 days.

It will not sit on consecutive days but on selected days between 8 March and 25 April, when the verdict is due.

Mr Madsen is expected to appear in person on each day.

A total of 37 witnesses are expected to be called. They will give evidence to panel of three judges and be cross-examined by the prosecutor Jakob Busch-Jepsen and Madsen’s defence counsel Betina Hald Engmark.

There will also be two jurors. Under the Danish legal system, trials usually consist of 6 jurors, however a defendant can waive the right to the full six and instead opt for a smaller make-up. Mr Madsen has chosen this option.

In Danish law, the defendant cannot be compelled to tell the truth and so there is no requirement to swear an oath.

In Denmark, murder typically carries a jail sentence of 12 years. However, in certain cases, it’s possible for a convicted murderer to remain in custody for life if he or she is deemed too dangerous to be released.

Mr Madsen admits dismembering Kim Wall but he denies murder.

:: The Kim Wall Memorial

After her death, Kim Wall’s family and friends set up a memorial fund in her memory. The money it raises will help fund young female reporters starting out in the business.

“Kim would have wanted more women to be out in the world, brushing up against life. We are asking for your help in realising her vision of this braver, lovelier world.” the website says.

Visit: https://www.rememberingkimwall.com/

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Joe Biden-Vladimir Putin summit: Leaders agree to return ambassadors to posts in bid to lower tensions | World News

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Russia’s Vladimir Putin says he and US President Joe Biden have agreed to return their ambassadors to their respective posts in an attempt to lower tensions.

It comes after around four hours of talks between the leaders at a summit in Switzerland.

The two men have had face-to-face discussions at a villa on the shores of Lake Geneva.

The first round of talks involved both leaders, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and a pair of translators.

A second session involved other senior officials on both sides.

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Putin and Biden meet in Geneva

President Biden gave a thumbs up as he left the villa and then entered his limousine, TV footage showed.

Diplomats deemed it to be too risky for them to appear together because of the potential of an embarrassing public spat in response to media questions.

Opening the talks earlier, Mr Putin said he hoped for a “productive” meeting, while Mr Biden called it a discussion between “two great powers” and insisted “it is always better to meet face to face”.

As they appeared together for the first time since 2011, both men appeared to avoid looking directly at the other during a brief and chaotic photocall before jostling reporters and photographers.

Mr Biden instigated the summit, and for months the two leaders have criticised each other.

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Biden: Putin is a worthy adversary

Mr Biden has repeatedly called out Mr Putin for malicious cyberattacks by Russian-based hackers on US interests, a disregard for democracy with the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and alleged interference in American elections.

Mr Putin, in turn, has pointed to the US Capitol riot on 6 January to argue America has no business lecturing on democratic norms.

And he insisted the Russian government has not been involved in any election interference or cyberattacks despite US intelligence showing otherwise.

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Russia’s View: Exclusive interview with Putin

The jailing of Mr Navalny, whose novichok poisoning was blamed on the Kremlin, was a subject on which Mr Biden was unlikely to get much traction with Mr Putin who considers the case an internal Russian affair.

But there were areas where cooperation was expected. They include arms control, climate change, containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions, humanitarian assistance to Syrians and working together on the COVID-19 pandemic.

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US-Russia summit: Putin hopes for ‘productive’ meeting and Biden says it is ‘better to meet face to face’ as event gets under way | World News

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US President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have embarked on hours of face-to-face talks at a lakeside mansion in Switzerland.

Opening the talks, Mr Putin said he hoped for a “productive” meeting, as Mr Biden insisted “it is always better to meet face to face”.

Their encounter at a villa on the shores of Lake Geneva is full of the potential for high drama but low on expectations for diplomatic breakthroughs.

Biden and Putin
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Biden and Putin

As they appeared together for the first time since 2011, both men appeared to avoid looking directly at the other during a brief and chaotic photocall before jostling reporters and photographers.

When a reporter asked if Mr Putin could be trusted, Mr Biden appeared to nod, but the White House quickly sent out a tweet insisting the president was “very clearly not responding to any one question, but nodding in acknowledgment to the press generally”.

Mr Putin ignored shouted questions from reporters.

The two leaders shook hands with Mr Biden extending his hand first.

Shortly before, Mr Biden had smiled at the Russian leader when they posed with Swiss President Guy Parmelin, who welcomed them to Switzerland for the summit.

The meeting, which is expected to last four or five hours in total, comes at the end of Mr Biden’s first foreign trip as US president which has taken him to Cornwall for the G7 meeting and Brussels for separate NATO and EU summits.

About two hours in, the Kremlin announced that the first round of talks had concluded, with a short break, followed by their resumption with a larger group of people in attendance – the first of two such rounds.

The first meeting involved the two leaders, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and a pair of translators.

At all of these meetings, messages have been moulded and red lines set by western leaders which sources say Mr Biden will spell out to Mr Putin.

Ukraine, Belarus, Iran, Syria and issues like arms proliferation are all expected to be discussed as well as behaviour by Russia which western nations consider to be contrary to the so-called international rules based system.

The fate of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, poisoned then imprisoned in Russia, will be raised by the American president. It is a subject on which he is unlikely to get much traction with his Russian counterpart who considers the case an internal Russian affair.

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Russia’s View: Exclusive interview with Putin

But domestically for Mr Biden, who is facing criticism for agreeing to a meeting with Mr Putin so early in his presidency, it’s important to be seen to be pressuring the Russians.

The US president, who famously called Mr Putin “a killer” has conceded already that there is “no guarantee” that the meeting will effect any change of behaviour by the Russian president.

As well as the Navalny case, the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in 2018 is likely to feature in the talks.

Defence rivalry will be a key issue with an attempt at a new dialogue on arms control. Issues like the territorial control in the Arctic, space, cyber and autonomous weapons systems could all be up for discussion.

Andrey Kortunov is director general of the Russian International Affairs Council and considered to be a Kremlin insider.

He told Sky News: “They will not resolve these issues in Geneva, they might only authorise their respective bureaucrats and military and diplomats to get into a serious conversation on all of these issues. That would be already a major accomplishment.”

Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with then vice president Joe Biden in Moscow in 2011
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Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with then vice president Joe Biden in Moscow in 2011

He continued: “I think that Biden and Putin will probably articulate their positions on issues like Ukraine or Belarus too. But it’s hard to believe that they can achieve a breakthrough on such sensitive issues.”

Expectations by diplomats on both sides are being kept intentionally low. From that base it’s possible to build up even small wins as diplomatic breakthroughs.

There is a chance that the two leaders could agree to repair the basic mechanics of their bilateral relationship by reinstalling ambassadors in their respective capitals. But beyond that sort of gesture, bigger announcements are not likely.

On Monday, Mr Biden said he will make clear to Putin “what the red lines are” and “if he chooses not to cooperate and acts in a way that he has in the past relative to cybersecurity and some other activities, then we will respond in kind.”

Asked for his assessment of the former KGB officer, Mr Biden said: “He’s bright, he’s tough, and I have found that he is a – as they say when I used to play ball – a worthy adversary.”

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Biden: Putin is a worthy adversary

The meeting, which was initiated by President Biden, has been arranged over just a few weeks and will involve one-plus-one talks with Mr Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Mr Biden and his Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

A second session will then include other senior officials on both sides.

The two leaders will not hold a joint news conference. Diplomats deem it to be too risky for them to appear together because of the potential of an embarrassing public spat in response to media questions.

“Definitely the summit was prepared in a haste. It’s the very beginning (of the relationship). And it’s going to be a modest beginning especially for Biden. He cannot look as if he yielded too much to the Russian counterpart,” Mr Kortunov told Sky News.

There are areas where cooperation is expected. They include arms control, climate change, containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions, humanitarian assistance to Syrians and working together on the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Nora Quoirin: Malaysia court overturns coroner’s verdict that teen’s death was misadventure | UK News

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A High Court in Malaysia has overturned a coroner’s verdict that the death of French-Irish teenager, Nora Quoirin, was likely misadventure with no one else involved.

The 15-year-old, who lived in Balham, in southwest London, was staying with her family at a hotel around an hour from the capital, Kuala Lumpur, when she disappeared in August 2019.

After a ten-day search, her body was discovered around 2.5 kilometres from where she was last seen at the Dusun eco-resort in southern Negeri Sembilan.

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A coroner in Malaysia ruled in January that the death of British teenager Nora Quoirin was most likely a misadventure.

Meabh Quoirin said her daughter was born with holoprosencephaly, a disorder that affects brain development leaving Nora with learning and physical disabilities.

During a short virtual hearing, Judge Azizul Azmi Adnan laid out the reasons for revising the judgement and returning an open verdict.

In particular, he highlighted Nora’s struggles with balance and coordination, the steep terrain around the resort, which was challenging for people without her physical disabilities, and her shy personality which made her “unadventurous” and “uncomfortable with the unfamiliar”.

“Having reviewed the material, that was before the court, I am of the view that the verdict of misadventure ought to be vacated in the interests of justice and substituted with an open verdict, as there was no credible evidence to support any other verdict,” he explained to Nora’s listening parents.

“I am willing to accept that on the evidence before the court the possibility for third party involvement was lower than the possibility that Nora Anne had inadvertently got herself into a situation from which she could not extricate herself.

“That does not mean, however, that I should enter a verdict of misadventure,” he added.

The ruling is a legal victory for the family who believe Nora may have been abducted and challenged the coroner’s decision.

Police have always suggested there was no evidence of foul play, claiming she likely climbed out of a window and wandered off into the jungle alone.

Her family has dismissed this saying that Nora would not have been physically able to disappear into thick forest unaided and evade detection during the intensive search involving drones and sniffer dogs.

Nora’s parents said they were “utterly disappointed” by a coroner’s verdict in January.

They have suggested her body may have been placed in the area where it was finally found.

Legal representatives for the family previously said an open verdict would be “appropriate”.

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