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Trump says ‘a good relationship’ formed at Pompeo-Kim Jong Un meeting

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Trump last month that accepted an invitation from Kim, delivered through a visiting South Korea delegation, to meet.

No U.S. leader has ever visited North Korea while serving in the Oval Office. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton traveled to the country on peacekeeping missions, but both Democrats had been out of the White House for years before making their trip.

Much of Trump’s meetings this week with Abe have centered around regional security and his plans to meet with Kim.

Sitting alongside Abe at his Mar-a-Lago resort, Trump said Tuesday that U.S. officials had been holding direct talks with the North Korean government at “extremely high levels” ahead of his planned meeting with Kim. He did not elaborate on who was taking part in the meetings or whether the meetings included Kim himself.

Trump’s confirmation that the two governments were speaking directly revealed some of the most sustained communication between the two nations in over half a century.

“We have had direct talks at very high levels, extremely high levels with North Korea,” Trump told reporters. “And I really believe there is a lot of good will, lot of good things are happening.”

Trump said Tuesday that the meetings could take place in late May or early June and that they are considering five possible locations. However, finding a location has been one of the biggest logistical challenges. It was previously thought that Kim would never agree to leave North Korea given his lack of diplomatic experience and comfort level at home. Other possible locations present significant security concerns.

Late last month, Kim, 34, stunned regional officials and experts alike when he journeyed by train for what amounted to a secret trip to neighboring China. His meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping served as his international debut, marking his first trip outside North Korea since taking power in 2011, and his first meeting with another head of state.

Earlier this year, South Korea made some breakthroughs with its warring neighbor after a series of meetings and discussions that resulted in North Korea sending athletes to compete in the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Athletes from the two countries entered the Olympic arena in Pyeongchang under a unified flag, signaling the potential for warmer ties.

South Korea’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong – who communicated Kim’s interest in meeting Trump during a visit to Washington last month – said Wednesday that it will consider negotiating an end to the decades-old Korean War if North Korea commits to denuclearization.

No peace treaty has been signed to replace the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War. The increasing isolation of North Korea over the decades, plus its pursuit of uranium enrichment, has been a great source of concern for countries in the region, including Japan.

Trump said Tuesday that the two Koreas “have my blessing” to end the ongoing war.

Pompeo, a hawkish Tea Party conservative from Kansas, said during his confirmation hearing last week that “no one is under any illusions” that the planned summit between Trump and Kim will achieve a comprehensive agreement on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

During his hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he warned that the U.S. and other countries have rushed to ease sanctions too quickly in past negotiations with Pyongyang and urged vigilance.

“It is the intention of the president and the administration not to do that this time” and to ensure that “before we provide rewards, we get the outcome permanently, irreversibly, that it is that we hope to achieve,” Pompeo said.

“It is a tall order, but I am hopeful that President Trump can achieve that through sound diplomacy.”

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in July 2017, Pompeo said that the most dangerous thing about North Korea’s nuclear program “is the character who holds the control over them today.”

“The North Korean people I’m sure are lovely people and would love to see him go,” he added.

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Evel Knievel’s son sues Disney over Toy Story 4 character | Ents & Arts News

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Evel Knievel’s son is suing Disney over a daredevil character in the animated film Toy Story 4.

Kelly Knievel has held the publicity rights to his father’s name since 1998, according to his US District Court filing in Las Vegas.

The federal trademark infringement lawsuit claims that Disney-owned Pixar did not ask permission to use his father’s likeness when creating the character Duke Caboom.

American daredevil Evel Knievel (1938 - 2007) makes a motorcycle jump over thirteen AEC Merlin buses at Wembley Stadium in London, 26th May 1975. The stunt ended in a crash in which Knievel broke his pelvis. (Photo by Kypros/Getty Images)
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One of Evel Knievel’s most famous stunts was at Wembley Stadium in London in 1975

Knievel is seeking damages of more than $300,000 (£235,000) over allegations including false endorsement and unjust enrichment.

The 60-year-old said: “Evel Knievel did not thrill millions around the world, break his bones and spill his blood just so Disney could make a bunch of money.”

Duke Caboom, voiced by Keanu Reeves in last year’s film, was a 1970s toy who rides a motorbike and is “Canada’s greatest stuntman”, the lawsuit said.

Knievel was famous for stunts such as a motorbike jump over a row of buses at Wembley Stadium.

He was seriously injured many times during 75 motorbike jumps, but died from lung disease in 2007.

An Evel Knievel toy was released in 1973 with a white helmet and jumpsuit, with a motorbike that could be propelled with a wind-up device.

Disney and Pixar released a similar Duke Caboom toy along with Toy Story 4.

The toy also featured in McDonald’s Happy Meals.

Evel Knievel was seriously injured many times during 75 motorbike jumps
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Evel Knievel was seriously injured many times during 75 motorbike jumps

The lawsuit claims consumers and film reviewers “universally caught on to the connection”, despite the film company and Reeves avoiding any comparison.

Jeffrey R Epstein, corporate spokesman for The Walt Disney Co, described Knievel’s claims as meritless, saying the film company will defend itself vigorously.

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North Korea troops shot dead South Korean official and burned his body, Seoul claims | UK News

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A South Korean government official was shot and killed by troops in North Korea who set his body on fire over fears he might be carrying coronavirus, officials in Seoul have claimed.

The South’s defence ministry said the 47-year-old government official had been killed and his corpse burned after disappearing from an inspection boat in waters off the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday.

South Korea‘s President Moon Jae-in called the killing a “shocking” and “unpardonable” act and demanded the North punish those responsible.

TBC
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South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in called the killing a ‘shocking’ and ‘unpardonable’ act

North Korea sent staff in gas masks aboard a boat near the man to find out why he was there on Tuesday afternoon, South Korea’s Defence Ministry said.

Later in the day, a North Korean navy boat arrived and opened fire at him, they added.

Sailors from the boat, wearing gas masks and protective suits, then poured petrol on his body and set it on fire, the ministry said, citing intelligence gathered by surveillance equipment and other assets.

It is unclear what caused the official’s death and whether he died after being shot.

Citing intelligence sources, the South’s military said the unidentified man appeared to have been questioned at sea – north of the border and around 24 miles from where he went missing – before he was executed on an “order from a superior authority”.

If confirmed by the North’s officials, it would be the first time that North Korea has killed a South Korean citizen in its territory since 2008.

The South Korean government did not know how he came to have crossed the border, but a defence official said the man may have been trying to defect to the North.

The demilitarised zone separating North and South Korea
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The demilitarised zone separating North and South Korea

The official said the man was wearing a life jacket on a small floating object and that the military had obtained information that he wanted to go to North Korea.

“Our military strongly condemns such an atrocity, and strongly demands North Korea provide explanations and punish those who are responsible,” General Ahn Young-ho, who is in charge of operations at the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said.

Officials believe that military in Pyongyang may have decided to kill the man in line with stringent anti-coronavirus rules that involve shooting anyone illegally crossing the border.

North-South relations are expected to sour further as a result of the killing.

In June, North Korea blew up an inter-Korean liaison office on its territory in protest against South Korean civilians sending anti-North leaflets across the border.

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Trump booed and heckled by mourners while paying respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg | US News

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Donald Trump has been booed and heckled while paying his respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose death has triggered a political row.

The president and wife Melania, both wearing masks, stood a few metres behind the late Supreme Court Justice’s coffin in Washington DC as her body lay in repose at the country’s highest court.

On Friday, she will be moved to lie in state at the US Capitol – the first woman to receive such an honour, before being buried next week in a private service at Arlington National Cemetery.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg honoured in Court ceremony
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A ceremony took place on Wednesday for Justice Ginsburg at the country’s highest court

Mr Trump has sparked controversy by planning to replace her on the court before November’s presidential election.

Moments after he arrived at the court, booing could be heard from some in the crowd who then briefly chanted: “Vote him out”.

He is set to announce on Saturday his nominee to fill the seat of the liberal-leaning justice and women’s rights champion.

The 87-year-old, also known as RBG, had sat on the Supreme Court since 1993 until her death on Friday due to complications from pancreatic cancer.

Her dying wish was reportedly that she would not be replaced until a new president was installed.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has accused Mr Trump of an “abuse of power” over his plans to replace her before the 3 November poll.

Mr Biden urged Senate Republicans to delay any vote on her replacement until after the election.

Democrats argue that voters should have their say first on election day and the winner of the White House battle should fill the post.

The procedure for appointing a Supreme Court justice allows the president to nominate a candidate and then requires the Senate to confirm them.

This would give Mr Trump the opportunity to expand the court’s conservative majority to 6-3, from 5-4.

It had previously been made up of an even balance of four liberal justices and four conservatives, with Anthony Kennedy considered a more neutral member of the court who would frequently become the swing vote in 5-4 decisions.

Mr Trump replaced him with conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh when he retired in 2018.

Democrats have pointed to the Republican Senate’s refusal in 2016 to act on then president Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

Conservative Antonin Scalia had died 10 months before that year’s election, and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell then said the Senate should not act on a nominee during an election year.

It was Justice Ginsburg's dying wish to not be replaced until a new president is in power
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Justice Ginsburg was a liberal and a women’s rights champion

But McConnell has reversed his stance this time and is pushing ahead with plans to begin the confirmation process, vowing to vote this year on Mr Trump’s nominee.

It would take four Republicans to break ranks to keep Mr Trump’s nominee off the court.

The president has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses November’s election and said he believes the Supreme Court could end up deciding the result.

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Announcing a nominee on Saturday would leave less than 40 days for the Senate to hold a confirmation vote before the election.

No nominee has won confirmation that quickly since Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court in 1981.

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