Путін: Корейський півострів перебуває на межі «масштабного конфлікту»

Президент Росії Володимир Путін заявляє, що Корейський півострів перебуває на межі «масштабного конфлікту» через напруженість у відносинах між США і Північною Кореєю після запусків ракет КНДР.

У статті, опублікованій на сайті Кремля 1 вересня, Путін закликав зацікавлені сторони до переговорів. «Розрахунок на те, що можна зупинити ракетно-ядерні програми КНДР виключно тиском на Пхеньян, помилковий і безперспективний. Необхідно вирішувати проблеми регіону шляхом прямого діалогу всіх зацікавлених сторін без висування попередніх умов. Провокації, тиск, войовнича і образлива риторика – це шлях в нікуди», – заявляє російський президент.

За словами Путіна, Росія і Китай розробили «дорожню карту» зі врегулювання на Корейському півострові, «покликану сприяти поетапному зниженню напруженості, створенню механізму тривалого миру і безпеки».

Президент США Дональд Трамп неодноразово заявляв, що розглядаються «всі варіанти», відповідаючи на запитання про реагування на ракетні випробування Північної Кореї. 30 серпня він зауважив у мережі Twitter, що «розмови не є відповіддю» у справах із Пхеньяном.

Японія наполегливо закликає запровадити нові санкції проти КНДР після того, як раніше цього тижня північнокорейські військові запустили над японською територією здатну нести ядерну боєголовку ракету.

Рада безпеки ООН схвалила нові жорсткі економічні санкції проти Пхеньяна, це сталося після попередніх випробувань таких балістичних ракет. 29 серпня цей орган ООН назвав останній пуск ракети «обурливим», але не вимагав нових санкцій.

Росія неодноразово виловлювала занепокоєння порушенням Північною Кореєю резолюції Ради безпеки ООН, що забороняє її ядерну і ракетну активність. Водночас Москва також неодноразово звинувачувала США у посиленні напруженості, заявляючи про провокаційний характер військових навчань США і Південної Кореї, а також про те, що запровадження нових санкцій проти Пхеньяна є контрпродуктивним.

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Putin Says Threat Of ‘Large-Scale Conflict’ Looms Over Korean Peninsula

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs is “on the verge of a large-scale conflict.”

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Muslims Celebrate Start Of Eid Al-Adha As Hajj Enters Final Days

Muslims around the world are celebrating the start of the Eid al-Adha holiday on September 1 as some 2 million Muslim pilgrims carry out the final rites of the annual hajj in Saudi Arabia.

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Erdogan: US Indictment of Turkish Security Officers a ‘Scandal’

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan labeled as a “scandal” the decision of a U.S. court to indict 19 people, among them 15 members of a Turkish security detail, accused of attacking peaceful demonstrators during Erdogan’s visit to Washington on May 16.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul Friday, Erdogan called the indictment “a clear and scandalous expression of how justice works in America,” adding that he would discuss the issue with U.S. President Donald Trump during a trip to New York this month.

“The only thing I can say about this matter … as you know our foreign minister summoned the U.S. ambassador to the ministry and conveyed the necessary warnings. This is a complete scandal. It is a scandalous sign of how justice works in the United States.”

Video showed Turkish security agents beating and kicking protestors outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador to the U.S. in Washington, following a meeting between Erdogan and President Donald Trump.

Erdogan said the security officials, among them the head of Erdogan’s security operation, were protecting him from members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) after U.S. police failed to do so.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry repeated Ankara’s criticisms of “serious negligence” by U.S. security authorities who did not “secure our delegation’s safety” and conveyed its reaction to the U.S. ambassador to Ankara.

The charges against Erdogan’s security agents sent a clear message that the U.S. “does not tolerate individuals who use intimidation and violence to stifle freedom of speech and legitimate political expression,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.

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Likely US Envoy to Seoul Opposes Engagement With North Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly will soon nominate Georgetown University professor Victor Cha for ambassador to South Korea. The addition of the highly qualified North Korea expert would fill an important diplomatic vacancy needed to manage what seems to be significant disagreements between Washington and Seoul over how to deal with the North’s increasingly provocative nuclear and missile tests.

 

Cha, who is Korean-American, is the director of Asian studies at Georgetown University, and the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.  He was also deputy head of the U.S. delegation to the North Korea nuclear six-party talks during the administration of former President George W. Bush, and the author of a number analytical books on Asian security, including The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future, that was published in 2012.

 

Engagement skeptic

 

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in April, Cha voiced concern over rising support in South Korea for pursuing increased cooperation, aid and economic incentive polices with North Korea to reduce tensions and prevent conflict.

 

“I don’t think engagement is necessarily completely wrong with North Korea but now is not the time,” he told the committee.

 

If appointed U.S. ambassador to Seoul, Cha’s skeptical viewpoint on engagement may put him at odds with the liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has advocated a dual policy of strong support for sanctions and increased engagement with North Korea.  

 

The Moon administration has played down potential differences with Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy to impose crippling economic sanctions to force North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to agree to denuclearization talks.

 

But President Moon has said pressure alone will not deter North Korea. Some administration officials in Seoul have voiced support for alleviating economic pressure by re-opening the

Industrial Complex, a jointly run economic development project where South Korean companies employed thousands of North Korea workers.  Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye closed down Kaesong in 2016 on the argument that money intended for the workers was being diverted to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missiles programs.

 

After meeting with Moon in August as part of a visiting U.S. congressional delegation, Representative Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, said the South Korean president voiced support for reopening Kaesong as a humanitarian gesture. But so far North Korea has rejected virtually all offers of dialogue and cooperation.  

 

“He mentioned that it was a humanitarian thing, whether or not he would advocate it and move it forward, he indicated he reached out for talks and there hasn’t been a response back,” said Rep. Maloney.

 

Cha said in April that re-opening Kaesong would be “unwise” and create a rift with the United States and perhaps even with China that has supported stronger sanctions against North Korea.

 

However Cha shares the South Korean leader’s concern that a U.S. military strike against North Korea would be catastrophic and could lead to war resulting in millions of casualties.

 

China pressure

 

On the issue of Chinese sanctions implementation, Cha strongly aligns with the Trump administration’s emphasis that Beijing should bear the responsibility for restraining its key ally in Pyongyang.

 

“China is definitely part of the solution in trying to stop North Korea, but it is also part of the problem,” Cha said in his April congressional testimony.

Nearly 90 percent of all North Korean trade flows across its border with China.  After agreeing in March to cooperate with China to increase pressure on North Korea, the Trump administration voiced frustration in July with the lack of sanctions enforcement. Beijing is reportedly concerned that harsh sanctions could cause instability at its border, and lead to a collapse of the Kim government and an American allies takeover of the Korean Peninsula.

 

China has repeatedly urged all sides to act with restraint and engage in talks offering economic assistance and security guarantees in exchange for denuclearization.

 

Writing in the Washington Post newspaper in July, Cha called on Beijing to take the leading role in ensuring North Korea compliance by tying trade to denuclearization.

 

“The basic trade would be Chinese disbursements to Pyongyang, as well as security assurances, in return for constraints on North Korea’s program. China would be paying not just for North Korean coal, but for North Korean compliance,” wrote Cha.

 

The United States paid North Korea over half a billion dollars in energy assistance in the past for denuclearization deals that were ultimately broken.  Now, Cha says, it should be China’s time to “pay to play” or face strong secondary U.S. sanctions.

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Philippines Anticipate Long Struggle Against Muslim Rebels

Philippine residents are settling in for a long war against Muslim rebels entrenched in a southern Philippine city, despite government pledges of a speedy end, analysts say.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and military officials have promised to quickly defeat the Maute Group at its base, Marawi city. Analysts say fighting in the city on the embattled island of Mindanao could go on as long as that group or its sympathizers pose a terrorism threat, and there is no sign of the threat abating. Rebel violence has killed about 120,000 since the 1960s on Mindanao and curbed the largely impoverished island’s economic development.

“Sometimes it’s contradictory when they say there are only a few barangays (neighborhoods) that are controlled by the Maute Group, but still they cannot stop,” said Maria Ela Atienza, political science professor at University of the Philippines Diliman.

The government may have miscalculated the rebels’ reach when the battles began in May, she added. Their funding and support network could also extend to other cities and countries, making them harder to beat, scholars in the Philippines say. About 20 other rebel groups also operate on Mindanao to demand more autonomy from the Philippine government.

Officials predict final battles

Duterte on Tuesday “assured that the end of the siege is in sight” when he met in Manila with 35 displaced children from Marawi, according to a statement on his website. Duterte has also vowed to rebuild the city.

As of Monday Philippine media report, 603 terrorists had been killed along with 130 soldiers and police officers and 45 civilians. More than 183,000 people, most of Marawi’s original population, have been displaced.

On Sunday Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was quoted in the Philippine Star online as saying troops were “preparing for final assault” in Marawi. The defense department was not available Friday for comment. Officials had said in June the Maute Group had been confined to just four neighborhoods of Marawi.

Life goes on

“A lot of people want the fighting to end and the reconstruction of Marawi to start,” said Antonio Ledesma, archbishop in the Mindanao city of Cagayan de Oro. But citizens of his city about a two-hour drive from Marawi expect little change for now.

“Actually a number of Muslim families have moved (from Marawi) over to Cagayan to Oro,” Ledesma said. “We’re also trying to provide aid to them, but life on Cagayan de Oro is as it is, not much problem with the situation there.”

Martial law declared for all of Mindanao has affected few people aside from vehicles stopped at road checkpoints, another Cagayan de Oro dweller said in July. Duterte declared martial law through Dec. 31 to make it easier for police and troops to make field decisions in Marawi.

“Outside the immediate vicinity of Marawi, it seems like everything is sort of business as usual,” said Christian de Guzman, vice president and senior credit officer with Moody’s in Singapore. Government officials have infrastructure plans for Mindanao that are still on track, he added.

“It seems to be more of a political issue rather than one that has had an actual economic impact,” de Guzman said.

Welcoming the war

Normally unaffected by the fighting itself, many Filipinos welcome a longer war if it means eliminating rebels who could spread violence to other parts of the country, analysts say.

In April, Abu Sayyaf tried to stage an attack on the tourist island of Bohol, its first outside Mindanao. Four suspected terrorists, three soldiers, two civilians and a police officer were killed in the initial fight. More rebels died in follow-up skirmishes.

Seventy-five percent of Filipinos trusted the military last year, according to surveys by Metro Manila-based research institution Social Weather Stations, and as of June 57 percent supported the declaration of martial law throughout Mindanao.

Troops believe the Maute Group is working with Isnilon Totoni Hapilon, a leader of Abu Sayyaf, a sympathetic rebel group known for kidnapping and beheading foreign tourists along the Sulu Sea west of Mindanao. Islamic State, the terrorist outfit in Iraq and Syria, last year called Hapilon its Southeast Asian “emir,” the policy nonprofit Counter Extremism Project said.

“People are also thinking it’s good to contain them, otherwise the Maute Group will spread into the Visayas and Luzon Island,” Atienza said, referring to central and northern islands of the Philippine archipelago.

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UN Committee: Britain ‘Going Backwards’ on Rights of Disabled

The U.N. Committee on the rights of disabled people said on Thursday it had more concerns about Britain – due to funding cuts, restricted rights and an uncertain post-Brexit future — than any other country in its 10-year history.

The committee, which reviews states’ compliance with the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, published a 17-page report with recommendations about how Britain could do better.

“The UK is at the moment going backwards in accordance to the information that we have received,” committee member Stig Langvad told a news conference in Geneva.

Britain said it was disappointed by the report. It said it did not reflect the evidence it had provided to the committee, nor did it recognize progress that had been made.

The U.N. committee’s chairwoman Theresia Degener has described the situation in Britain as a “human catastrophe.”

“The austerity measures that they have taken – they are affecting half a million people, each disabled person is losing between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds per year, people are pushed into work situations without being recognized as vulnerable, and the evidence that we had in front of us was just overwhelming,” she said.

The most acute concern was the limitations on independent living.

“Persons with disabilities are in our view not able to choose where to live, with whom to live, and how to live,” Langvad said.

Britain was also not fulfilling its commitment to allow inclusive education, and there was a high incidence of bullying at schools. A growing number of disabled people were living in poverty.

Budgets for local authorities had not only been slashed, but they were no longer ear-marked for disabled people, another committee member, Damjan Tatic, said.

Langvad said people with disabilities should be involved in preparations for Britain’s Brexit talks with the European Union, to avoid losing protections that historically came from the EU.

“Persons with disabilities are afraid of the future since they do not know what is happening and since they do not feel that they are involved in the discussions on how to secure the rights of people with disabilities afterwards,” he said.

Britain’s government said it was a recognized world leader in disability rights, and almost 600,000 disabled people had moved into work in the last four years.

“We spend over 50 billion pounds a year to support disabled people and those with health conditions — more than ever before, and the second highest in the G7,” a government spokesperson said.

Debbie Abrahams, the opposition Labour party’s spokeswoman for Work and Pensions, said the “damning” report was a vindication of Labour’s criticism of the government’s policies.

“This confirms what Labour has been saying all along, that the lack of progress on all convention articles, including cruel changes to social security and the punitive sanctions regime, are causing real misery for sick and disabled people.”

A Labour government would incorporate the convention fully into British law, she said in a statement.

Reporting by Tom Miles, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Richard Balmforth

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Huge WWII Bomb to Be Defused Close to German Gold Reserves

Frankfurt’s city center, an area including police headquarters, two hospitals, transport systems and Germany’s central bank storing $70 billion in gold reserves, will be evacuated on Sunday to allow the defusing of a 1.8-metric ton World War II bomb.

A spokesman for the German Bundesbank said, however, that “the usual security arrangements” would remain in place while experts worked to disarm the bomb, which was dropped by the British air force and was uncovered during excavation of a building site.

The Bundesbank headquarters, less than 600 meters (650 yards) from the location of the bomb, stores 1,710 metric tons of gold underground, around half the country’s reserves.

“We have never defused a bomb of this size,” bomb disposal expert Rene Bennert told Reuters, adding that it had been damaged on impact when it was dropped between 1943 and 1945. Airspace for 1.5 kilometers (nearly a mile) around the bomb site will also be closed.

Frankfurt city officials said more than 60,000 residents would be evacuated for at least 12 hours. The evacuation area will also include 20 retirement homes, the city’s opera house and the diplomatic quarter.

Bomb disposal experts will use a wrench to try to unscrew the fuses attached to the bomb. If that fails, a water jet will be used to cut the fuses away, Bennert told Reuters.

The most dangerous part of the exercise will be applying the wrench, Bennert said.

Roads and transport systems, including the underground, will be closed during the work and for at least two hours after the bomb is defused, to allow patients to be transported back to hospitals without traffic.

It is not unusual for unexploded bombs from World War II air raids to be found in German cities, but rarely are they so large and in such a sensitive position.

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У Білорусі обіцяють надати інформацію про зниклого громадянина України

МЗС Білорусі викликало представника посольства України через заяву заступниці міністра закордонних справ Олени Зеркаль, яка напередодні в ефірі «5 каналу» сказала, що Мінськ належно не співпрацює щодо зниклого у Гомелі українця Павла Гриба.

«З 29 серпня за запитом посольства України правоохоронні органи Білорусі на всій території нашої країни ведуть пошук української громадянина Павла Гриба. Збірна інформація оновлюється і готується для передачі українській стороні», – заявив речник МЗС білорусі Дмитро Мирончик.

«Точно не по-партнерському за день після офіційного прохання про допомогу звинувачувати у чому-небудь країну, що без її відома була обрана місцем чи то романтичної побачення, чи то конспіративної зустрічі. Неприпустимість подібних висловлювань була доведена до радника-посланника посольства України у Білорусі Валерія Джигуна, якого викликали до МЗС нашої країни 31 серпня», – зазначив Мирончик.

Лише 31 вересня 2017 року Прикордонний комітет Білорусі визнав, що Павло Гриб дійсно перетнув кордон 24 серпня. Тим часом речник МВС Білорусі Костянтин Шалькевич заявив Радіо Свобода, що стосовно Павла Гриба «досі ніяких звернень до органів внутрішніх справ не було».

Раніше український офіцер запасу Ігор Гриб заявив, що спецслужби Росії викрали в Білорусі його сина. 24 серпня Павло Гриб виїхав до Білорусі на зустріч з дівчиною, з якою до цього спілкувався тільки через соцмережі, після чого зник.

Ігор Гриб повідомив, що син повинен був повернутися того ж дня. Коли цього не сталося, він вирушив на пошуки Павла у білоруський Гомель. Там він з’ясував, що син перебуває в розшуку російської ФСБ за статтею «теракт».

Гриб переконаний, що ФСБ виманила Павла в Гомель під виглядом зустрічі з дівчиною і провела затримання. На думку батька, причинами викрадення сина могли стати записи Павла в соцмережах, спрямовані проти агресії Росії в Україні.

Генпрокуратура України повідомила, що порушила справу щодо зникнення українця.

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August 31, 2017

A look at the best news photos from around the world.

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