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The key players attending North Korea-South Korea summit

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Behind the high-profile names at Friday’s meeting are a host of policymakers with histories of backroom deals and influencers who advise their respective leaders on strategy.

Here is a brief guide to who will be pulling the strings behind the scenes.

North Korea

Kim Jong Un, supreme leader: If the current overture bears fruit, it will be one of the ironies of history that Kim Jong Un’s bloody consolidation of power provided him with the impunity to pursue peace with his nation’s mortal enemy, the United States. Believed to have ordered the deaths of anyone viewed as a potential threat to his rule, Kim also personally oversaw the acceleration of North Korea’s nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile programs. The biggest question now is whether he is actually willing to cede ground on what has been North Korea’s long-held ambition to be a nuclear power.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.AFP – Getty Images file

Ri Su Yong, vice chairman of the Central Committee: Ri Su Yong’s ties to Kim Jong Un go back to the days when the future supreme leader was a student in Switzerland. A former foreign minister, Ri Su Yong’s unimposing title belies the fact that he supervises North Korea’s foreign policy, and retains Kim’s ear on foreign affairs, particularly with regard to the U.S.

Kim Yong Nam, president of the People’s Assembly: Described as second only to Kim Jong Un, the elderly Kim Yong Nam has been the public face of North Korea and carried out high-stakes diplomatic missions around the world, including attending the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2014 Sochi Olympics and the PyeongChang Olympics earlier this year.

Ri Yong Ho, minister of foreign affairs: A diplomat with a 30-year career behind him, Ri Yong Ho is a former ambassador to the United Kingdom. Fluent in English, only last year Ri stood in front of the U.N. General Assembly and called Trump “President Evil” and “Commander-in-Grief.”

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.SERGEI CHIRIKOV / EPA

Kim Yong Chul, head of national intelligence: A former four-star general, Kim Yong Chul is a hardliner who South Korean intelligence believes ordered the sinking of the South Korean navy vessel in 2010, killing 46 sailors. Eight years later, he was heading North Korea’s delegation to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. He served as a bodyguard to Kim’s father Kim Jong Il, and has been in intelligence for more than 30 years, and was also the lead military negotiator with South Korea during previous inter-Korean talks that ended in 2008.

South Korea

President Moon Jae-in: The liberal Moon swept into power after the divisive impeachment of his predecessor, and promised to pursue better relations with his northern neighbor. A human rights lawyer by trade, Moon was imprisoned as a student for his role in protesting against military strongman Park Chung-hee. Moon also served in South Korea’s special forces in the DMZ during a period of exceptionally high tensions. He promised to pursue a policy toward North Korea following in the pattern of the “Sunshine Policy” of his liberal predecessors. His challenge has been to persuade the Trump administration — and conservatives inside South Korea — of his dedication to the Seoul-Washington alliance.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in.Kim Min-Hee / EPA file

Chung Eui-yong, director of the national security office: Chung’s role is similar to that of national security adviser in the United States. After being named special envoy to North Korea by Moon, Chung shuttled back and forth between Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington laying the groundwork for the proposed summit between Kim and Trump.

Suh Hoon, director of national intelligence: South Korea’s top spy has been the architect of previous summits involving North Korea, and is viewed as an honest broker by Pyongyang. In the 1990s he lived in North Korea for two years, working on an international agreement that would have supplied the country with a non-military nuclear power reactor. Having studied at Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies, Suh is also comfortable in Washington D.C., where he is well-known and respected.

Unification flags are put up near Unification Bridge in Paju, South Korea, on Wednesday.Lee Jin-man / AP

Moon Chung-in, special adviser to the president on national security: A prolific writer on foreign affairs and national security, Moon Chung-in was tasked by South Korea’s president with an advisory portfolio that included unification and national security. Having studied for his master’s degree and doctorate in the U.S. during the 1970s, he also taught at the University of Kentucky and Duke University before returning to South Korea.

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Iran targeting U.S. state voter rolls and spreading election propaganda, officials say

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The FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency both issued advisories Friday warning that Iran is spreading propaganda and targeting U.S. state websites, including election sites, in “an intentional effort to influence and interfere with the 2020 U.S. presidential election.”

The FBI sent a FLASH bulletin to various states, saying an Iranian group is “creating fictitious media sites and spoofing legitimate media sites to spread anti-American propaganda and misinformation about voter suppression.” It added, “This group has been linked to efforts to disseminate a propaganda video concerning voter fraud and hacking of U.S. voter information. The FBI advises this video is almost certainly intended to make U.S. voter information and the voting process appear insecure and susceptible to fraud.”

The CISA advisory went further, stating that the Iranian hackers have also “successfully obtained voter registration data in at least one state.” The agency did not disclose which state.

Both the FBI and CISA confirmed that “a review of the records that were copied and obtained reveals the information was used in the propaganda video.”

There is no indication that any voter registration databases have been manipulated or any votes have been changed.

The news comes after FBI Director Christopher Wray and National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe alleged in a press conference last week that Iran and Russia had hacked local governments and obtained voter registration and other personal data. Iran used the data, the officials claimed, for a recent campaign of emails that purported to be from the white nationalist group the Proud Boys, which were sent to intimidate Florida Democratic voters.

Both countries have denied the accusation.

U.S. intelligence officials also believe Iranian hackers probed election-related websites of 10 states and, in one case, accessed voter registration data, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News on Friday. The hackers scanned state and local websites at the end of September, then attempted to exploit the websites and steal voter data, the source said. The states were not named.

FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials briefed local election officials on the attempt during a conference call and assured them that the agencies will be coordinating with states to address the issue. DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

DHS officials have stressed that these hacks did not grant attackers access that could affect the integrity of the vote. But there have long been fears that foreign hackers could tamper with voter rolls in a way that makes it harder for people to vote when they show up on Election Day.

American voters’ data is, on the whole, already public and widely available. Though laws vary by state, some make the list available to anyone who requests and some just to political parties; some require requesters to be researchers or to work in politics; some charge a fee. Some lists are simply available to download from a state website at any time. But all 50 states and Washington, D.C., have at least some way to make access easy for requesters, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.



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Fishing chief warns French will use 'militant tactics and burn boats' in Brexit blockade

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FRENCH fishermen are plotting to use “militant tactics” to stage a mass blockade of ports in a bid to hammer their Brexit message home, a fishing chief has warned.

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Biden faces protestors in Minnesota, says 'we need to come together'

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Former Vice President Joe Biden faced loud protesters during his drive-in campaign rally in Minnesota but said that he would still represent them if elected, adding “we need to come together.”

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