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CIA chief Mike Pompeo ‘met Kim in secret N Korea trip’

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Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state – CIA boss Mike Pompeo – is said to have travelled to North Korea to meet Kim Jong Un.

Two US officials told the Washington Post that Mr Pompeo had made the secret visit to Pyongyang during the first weekend in April.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, they said the trip was to prepare for an upcoming meeting between Mr Trump and the country’s leader.

Both the White House and the CIA declined to comment, but the Post said the pair had direct knowledge of the trip.

Mr Pompeo is in line to be the next secretary of state after being picked by the president to replace Rex Tillerson.

The news of his visit came after President Trump appeared to say he had met Mr Kim in remarks that were later clarified by White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Mr Pompeo said 'channels are open' between the US and North Korea
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Mr Pompeo has previously said ‘channels are open’ between the US and North Korea

“The President said the administration has had talks at the highest levels and added that they were not with him directly,” she said.

Mr Trump is currently hosting Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, but had earlier said: “We’ve also started talking to North Korea directly.

“We have had direct talks at very high levels, extremely high levels, with North Korea.

“And I really believe this allows good will, that good things are happening.

“We’ll see what happens, as they always say, we’ll see what happens, because ultimately it’s the end result that counts – not the fact that we’re thinking about having a meeting or having a meeting.”

Mr Trump is due to meet Mr Kim this month, with five locations being considered for the talks, he said.

No serving US president has ever met a North Korean leader and the two countries do not have formal diplomatic relations.

The plans came after a surprise offer from Mr Kim to meet Mr Trump.

The president, who has previously traded only insults with the North Korean, accepted the offer, hailing it as “great progress”.

North Korea has continued to pursue its nuclear programme and missile tests over recent years, ignoring international condemnation and UN sanctions.

It has promised to stop these while talking with the US.

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Alexei Navalny calls discharge from hospital ‘miracle’ after novichok poisoning | World News

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Russian opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny says it is a “miracle” he has been discharged from hospital after being treated for novichok poisoning.

The 44-year-old became unwell on a domestic flight in Siberia last month and was airlifted to Berlin in a coma.

Laboratories in Germany, France and Sweden confirmed he was poisoned with the same nerve agent used to target Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in 2018.

Alexei Navalny has been transferred to a hospital in Berlin
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The Russian opposition figurehead was in a coma for 16 days

Mr Navalny said the first time he saw himself in a mirror after 16 days spent in a coma he looked like a character from Lord of the Rings and feared he would “never be discharged”.

But doctors have performed a “miracle” and he says he now no longer needs to be an in-patient but can get on with the “noramlisation” of life, he wrote on Instagram in a post sent as he was “hobbling through the park”.

Mr Navalny said he is still learning to regain strength in his limbs and cannot throw a ball with his left hand but will get sessions with a physiotherapist every day.

He added when he asked doctors how to exercise his brain, they told him: “Read more, write on social networks, play video games.”

“I need to find out if the hospital can get a PlayStation 5 prescription,” he joked in the sign-off.

Medics at the Charite hospital where Mr Navalny had been treated said his condition “improved sufficiently for him to be discharged from acute inpatient care”.

The hospital added based on his progress and current condition, “the treating physicians believe that complete recovery is possible”.

But it cautioned “it remains too early to gauge the potential long-term effects of his severe poisoning”.

Navalny. Pic: @navalny
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Mr Navalny was in intensive care for over three weeks. Pic: @navalny

The Kremlin responded by saying it was pleased to learn of Mr Navalny’s recovery.

He is free to return to Russia but it remains to be seen if he wants to share information with law enforcement officials there, a spokesperson added.

They also insisted no-one in President Vladimir Putin’s entourage has access to novichok.

Mr Navalny had been in hospital for 32 days – 24 of them in intensive care.

His team said they searched the Siberian hotel room where he stayed prior to the flight on 20 August – an hour after the news broke he had been taken ill.

They claimed he was poisoned using a water bottle, gathered up as part of any evidence “that could even hypothetically be useful”.



The nerve agent used to poison Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was detected on an empty water bottle from his hotel room. his team allege







Navalny video ‘shows novichok water bottles’

All the items were passed to German authorities because “the fact that the case would not be investigated in Russia was quite obvious,” they added.

The UK and other Western countries have demanded answers from Russia.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for a “full, transparent investigation into what happened” and pledged to “join international efforts to ensure justice is done”.

Moscow has said it is yet to see evidence of a crime and has declined to open an investigation so far.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement.

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Coronavirus: Dogs deployed at Helsinki Airport to sniff out virus | World News

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An airport in Finland is using sniffer dogs to detect passengers infected with coronavirus.

Helsinki Airport is trialling the scheme which will see 10 dogs trained in total by Wise Nose, a smell detection agency, with four deployed to work per shift.

It follows a study by the University of Helsinki’s Veterinary Faculty, which suggested trained dogs can detect COVID-19 with close to 100% certainty.

Live updates on coronavirus from UK and around the world

Kossi (L) and Miina (R), some of the sniffer dogs being trained to detect the coronavirus from the arriving passengers' samples, is seen at Helsinki Airport in Vantaa, Finland September 22, 2020. Lehtikuva/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. FINLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN FINLAND.
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Finnish airport operator Finavia is trialling the scheme after a study suggested trained dogs can detect COVID-19 with close to 100% certainty

Finnish airport operator Finavia said: “We are among the pioneers. As far as we know no other airport has attempted to use canine scent detection on such a large scale against COVID-19.

“This might be an additional step forward on the way to beating COVID-19.”

But for those hoping for a quick play with a puppy there’s bad news – there’s no direct interaction between passengers and the pooches.

Those who are tested will also receive a conventional check to make sure the animals are accurate.

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One of the dogs – an eight-year-old greyhound mix called Kossi, learned to identify the scent in just seven minutes.

The scheme will see passengers swab their skin with a wipe, which they will then drop into a cup to be given to one of the dogs to check in a separate booth.

The operation is being run in this way to protect passengers’ anonymity and also protect dog handlers.

Anyone who tests positive will be sent to an information point at the airport.

Finland has reported 9,195 cases of COVID-19 and 341 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University which has been tracking the outbreak.

In the UK, the charity Medical Detection Dogs is running a programme to see if it can train hounds to be able to sniff out the coronavirus.

The scheme is being run with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Durham University, with funding from both the government and the public.

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ISS forced to move to avoid collision with space junk | Science & Tech News

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Astronauts aboard the International Space Station had to carry out an “avoidance manoeuvre” to prevent it from being hit by space junk, NASA has said.

Its trajectory was changed to move it further away from the “unknown piece of space debris”, the US space agency wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

The three crew members – two Russians and an American – relocated to their Soyuz spacecraft attached to the ISS during the operation, so they could evacuate if necessary.



Venus planet







How scientists found signs of life on Venus

Experts expected the space junk to pass within “several kilometres” of the ISS, but decided to move it “out of an abundance of caution”.

Russian and US flight controllers worked together to adjust the station’s orbit in an operation which took minutes.

The crew were able to continue with their regular activities after the manoeuvre was complete.

NASA said the crew were not in danger at any time.

More from International Space Station

“Maneuver Burn complete. The astronauts are coming out of safe haven,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said on Twitter.



Southern lights from the ISS







Southern lights (and UFOs at the end?)

It is the third time this year the International Space Station (ISS) has had to manoeuvre to avoid space debris, he said.

He tweeted: “In the last 2 weeks, there have been 3 high concern potential conjunctions. Debris is getting worse!”

Astronomer Jonathon McDowell, at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tweeted the unknown object was a part of a 2018 Japanese rocket which broke into 77 pieces last year.

The ISS is orbiting around 260 miles (420km) above the Earth, travelling at a speed of about 17,130mph (27,568km/h).

At this velocity, even a small object has the ability to cause serious damage to the space station.

NASA has said these kinds of manoeuvres occur on a regular basis, with 25 having occurred between 1999 and 2018.

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