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North Korea threatens to renew ‘dotard’ insults against Donald Trump after US president talks of military action | World News

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North Korea has threatened to renew its insults of Donald Trump and consider him a “dotard” if he keeps using provocative language against Kim Jong Un.

The country’s foreign ministry issued the warning days after the US president spoke of possible military action and revived his “rocket man” nickname for the North Korean ruler.

Choe Son Hui, Pyongyang’s first vice foreign minister, said Mr Trump’s remarks “prompted the waves of hatred of our people against the US” because they showed “no courtesy when referring to the supreme leadership of dignity” of North Korea.



Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un







Dotards and Rocket Men: Trump and Kim’s insults

She said North Korea will respond with its own harsh language if Mr Trump again uses similar phrases and shows that he is intentionally provoking North Korea.

“If any language and expressions stoking the atmosphere of confrontation are used once again… that must really be diagnosed as the relapse of the dotage of a dotard,” Ms Choe said.

North Korea first called Mr Trump a “dotard” in 2017, with the Oxford English Dictionary defining the term as “a person whose mental faculties are impaired, specifically, a person whose intellect or understanding is impaired in old age”.

During his visit to London this week, Mr Trump said his relationship with Mr Kim was “really good” but called for him to follow up on a commitment to denuclearise.

The US president said: “We have the most powerful military we ever had, and we are by far the most powerful country in the world and hopefully we don’t have to use it. But if we do, we will use it.”

Mr Trump added that Mr Kim “likes sending rockets up, doesn’t he? That’s why I call him rocket man”.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un react at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Donald Trump has called for Kim Jong Un to follow up on a commitment to denuclearise

The president’s comments prompted North Korea’s military chief to warn that the use of force against the country would cause a “horrible” consequence for the US.

Pak Jong Chon said North Korea would take unspecified “prompt corresponding actions at any level” if the US takes any military action.

Mr Trump has previously said he would rain “fire and fury” on North Korea and derided Mr Kim as “little rocket man”, while the North Korean leader questioned the US president’s sanity and said he would “tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire”.

However, the two leaders have avoided such words and developed better relations after North Korea entered nuclear negotiations with the US last year, with Mr Trump even saying he and Mr Kim “fell in love”.









June 2019: Kim ‘never expected’ Trump in N Korea

The pair held face-to-face talks aimed at denuclearisation in Singapore in June 2018 and staged a failed summit in Vietnam in February this year.

But talks have stalled since then, and despite another meeting in the demilitarised zone that separates North and South Korea in June, Pyongyang has restarted testing of short-range ballistic missiles.

Mr Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, said the US remains hopeful that a deal can be reached with North Korea.

He said: “I don’t want to say we’re optimistic, but we have some hope that the Koreans will come to the table… and we can get a deal.”

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Belarus: Europe’s last dictatorship could be about to fall because of three women | World News

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This is not the election that the long-time leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, had planned.

The last five were not hard fought. No need when the entire apparatus of the state is busily engaged engineering a slam-dunk majority for the incumbent.

This Sunday was set to be one more token polling day that would see Mr Lukashenko coasting towards his third decade in power.

Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko (C), seen in Moscow, is not used to having his hold on power challenged
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Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko (C), seen in Moscow, is not used to having his hold on power challenged

It has not turned out that way.

The remarkable charisma and campaign of his three female challengers may even mean this term turns out to be his last.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Veronika Tsepkalo and Maria Kolesnikova are the wives and campaign manager of three presidential candidates barred from running.

They have taken on the mission their menfolk cannot, uniting their efforts behind Ms Tikhanovskaya, a 37-year-old mother and housewife, to rally the ever-growing opposition behind one voice.

Ms Tikhanovskaya’s husband, Sergei, is a popular YouTube blogger. Maria’s boss, Victor Babariko, is a banker. Both were jailed during the campaign.

Veronika Tsepkalo’s husband, Valery, fearing arrest, fled to Moscow with the couple’s twin boys
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Veronika Tsepkalo’s husband Valery, fearing arrest, fled to Moscow with the couple’s twin boys

Veronika’s husband, Valery, is a former ambassador to the US and key figure in the Belarusian IT sector.

He has had to flee to Moscow with the couple’s twin boys after they felt the state circling.

“When you receive information from two independent sources about plans to arrest you and to take your kids from you on the false charges that we were bad parents, we decided,” he told me as he took his sons to see the Kremlin for the first time.

The children of opposition candidates have been taken away before and put into state orphanages.

Ms Tikhanovskaya has also had to send her children to Europe to keep them safe.

Nothing is worth that risk.

Presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya waves to supporters at a rally in July
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Presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya at a rally in July

Sky News was refused accreditation to cover the elections so we commissioned a film-maker inside Belarus to document the women’s campaign.

It is a fly-on-the-wall look at the spirit which drives them and which has so captured the hearts of their fellow countrymen.

“So many times in this campaign I was close to quitting,” Ms Tikhanovskaya told a crowd of tens of thousands in the city of Mogilev.

“I’m not a public person and I’m a weak person to face the actions of the government towards me as a mother and a wife.

“But just the belief that you people are together as a nation, you have helped me get through this.”

Supporters of presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya copy the three womns' hand gestures at a rally in the town of Maladzechna
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Supporters of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya copy the campaign’s hand gestures

They have drawn crowds never before seen in post-Soviet Belarus: 60,000 in the capital Minsk last week, tens of thousands in each of the towns and cities they have toured.

It has been a gruelling schedule for political novices and the stress is clear to see.

But it is their emotional candour and resolve which has given hope to the millions in Belarus desperate for change.

“I am just the same, un self-confident person I was,” Ms Tikhanovskaya told Sky News.

“But this is my mission – I have to overcome all these difficulties and bring our country to a free future and become a mother and wife again.

“People say that usually women are weak. Maybe we are. But when there is need, when our duty calls us and we have to be strong, we are.”

Massive crowds, like this one in Minsk in July, have turned out to supporters presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya
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Massive crowds, like this one in Minsk in July, have turned out to support presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

Their agenda is simple: free the political prisoners and, if Ms Tikhanovskaya wins, hold free and fair elections within six months.

Since early May, the human rights group Viasna estimates about 1,300 people have been detained for protesting against the regime.

Scenes of entirely unjustified police brutality make it clear why Belarus still deserves the name Europe’s last dictatorship.

At a rally in the city of Babrysk, a schoolteacher gave her summary of what it is to live in Belarus.

She had spent a year and a half in detention on false charges, she said, but had no hesitation about speaking out.

“It’s a country of total deception. On TV they say one thing and in reality it’s different,” she said.

“In Babrysk all the factories stopped working, people have no money to live – the hunger will bring them to the streets.

“That’s how we live and we don’t want to live like this.”

(L-R) Veronika Tsepkalo, presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Maria Kolesnikova campaigning in Minsk in July
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(L-R) Veronika Tsepkalo, presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Maria Kolesnikova campaigning in Minsk in July

COVID-19 has exacerbated the discontent.

Mr Lukashenko first denied its existence, advocating vodka and banyas (steam baths) as treatment while his people died, only to admit recently he’d had an asymptomatic case himself.

Civil society has stepped in where the state would not, delivering supplies to hospitals across the country. It has made people realise they can make a difference.

The president appears increasingly desperate.

In a strange incident last week, 33 alleged mercenaries from the Russian private military company Wagner were arrested in a sanatorium outside Minsk.

According to the Belarusian KGB, they had raised suspicions because they were not drinking alcohol as regular Russian tourists would.

Moscow says they were in transit. Mr Lukashenko claims they are part of a plot to foment a colour revolution in Minsk.

He told a Ukrainian journalist on Friday that he would take up arms against “hybrid aggression” if all other options were exhausted.

It is unlikely to come to that. Ms Tikhanovskaya’s team has no desire to provoke unrest.

Alexander Lukashenko (pictured here with Vladimir Putin) is against imposing strict coronavirus measures
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Alexander Lukashenko (pictured here with Vladimir Putin) was against imposing strict coronavirus measures

Moscow has neither the will nor the wherewithal to involve themselves in a power grab in Minsk.

Mr Lukashenko’s imagination seems to be running wild as he realises his popular support has vanished.

But that does not mean a polling defeat. The members of local electoral committees across the country have jobs to keep and families to look after.

Reporting the true voting tally risks all that.

Furthermore, the elites are entrenched in Belarus. They will not allow for this election to end in anything other than a foregone conclusion even if the winds of change are beginning to blow.

The fairytale has a few more hours to run before polls close on Sunday evening.

The people of Belarus recognise there will be no happy ending this time round.

But they know too that something in the stagnant politics of the last two decades has shifted, thanks to three brave women who refuse to let an old school autocrat break their families or their country.

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Policeman tracks down man who shot him in the stomach – 46 years after his escape from prison | World News

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A policeman shot in the stomach in 1971 has tracked down the man who did it – 46 years after he escaped from prison.

Luis Archuleta, 77, was arrested in Espanola, New Mexico on Wednesday – 49 years after he shot police officer Daril Cinquanta in Denver, the FBI said.

Archuleta, also known as Larry Pusateri, shot the officer after he was pulled over to check his ID and the two got into a fight.

Two years later, he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and sent to prison, but he escaped from the Colorado Department of Corrections facility in 1974.

A warrant was put out for his arrest in 1977 but he was never found. It expired in 2018.

Mr Cinquanta never stopped investigating – constantly making phone calls and knocking on doors in a bid to trace the man who shot him.

Recently he got a phone call from an anonymous tipster who said: “I’ve thought about it, and I’m gonna tell you where the guy is who shot you”, he told KUSA-TV.

An arrest warrant was put out for Archuleta and police found him living 20 miles from Santa Fe under the name Ramon Montoya – an alias he had been using for about 40 years.

He is now being transferred to a prison back in Colorado, where Mr Cinquanta hopes to meet him.

The former police officer said: “I would love to sit down and talk to him. He may or may not talk to me. Who knows?”

Michael Schneider, FBI Denver special agent, added: “This arrest should send a clear signal to violent offenders everywhere: The FBI will find you, no matter how long it takes or how far you run, and we will bring you to justice.”

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Coronavirus: Vaccine may only be 50% effective, US disease expert warns | World News

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An approved coronavirus vaccine may only end up being effective 50% of the time, the top US infectious diseases expert has warned.

The chances of a COVID-19 vaccine being almost 100% effective are “not great”, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said on Friday.

“We don’t know yet what the efficacy might be. We don’t know if it will be 50% or 60%. I’d like it to be 75% of more,” he told a Brown University webinar.

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Dr Fauci warned that the “public health approach must never be abandoned”, as it may prove near impossible to develop a vaccine that is as high as 98% effective.

This means Americans should maintain social distancing and wear face coverings in enclosed spaces or large crowds to stop the spread of the virus.

On Friday, the US drugs regulator revealed independent experts would have to review any vaccine before it is approved.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it would organise an outside advisory committee before giving the green light, in an apparent bid to reassure people it will not cut corners in the race to offer immunity.

Dr Fauci also urged states to react as quickly as possible to increases of just 1% or 2% in coronavirus cases.

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Dr Fauci is also urging US states to react quickly to small increases in cases

It comes after the US death toll surpassed 160,000 with 4.91 million cases reported nationwide.

The US accounts for nearly a quarter of the world’s virus deaths, in front of Brazil, Mexico and the UK, which have the next highest numbers of fatalities.

States are currently considering whether schools should reopen in the coming weeks.

Several – including California, Texas and Florida – have had to go back into lockdown after large spikes in cases.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was forced to accept his Wisconsin nomination virtually in the latest virus setback to the November election.

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