Trump says ‘talking not the answer’ on North Korea

Wed, 2017-08-30 21:00

WASHINGTON/SEOUL: US President Donald Trump on Wednesday dismissed any diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, saying “talking is not the answer,” one day after Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile over Japan that drew international condemnation.
Renewing his tough rhetoric toward North Korea, Trump wrote on Twitter, “The US has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!“
Trump, who has vowed not to let North Korea develop nuclear missiles that can hit the mainland United States, said in a statement on Tuesday that “all options are on the table.”
North Korea said the launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) on Tuesday was to counter US and South Korean military drills and was a first step in military action in the Pacific to “contain” the US island territory of Guam.
The United Nations on Tuesday condemned as “outrageous” North Korea’s firing of the missile over Japan, demanding that the isolated country halt its weapons program but holding back on any threat of new sanctions.
A US Congressional Research Service report said between 1995 and 2008, the United States provided North Korea with over $1.3 billion in assistance. Slightly more than 50 percent was for food and about 40 percent for energy assistance. The assistance was part of a nuclear deal that North Korea later violated.
Since early 2009, the United States has provided virtually no aid to North Korea, though periodically there have been discussions about resuming large-scale food aid.
The latest tweet by the Republican US president drew criticism from Democrats in Washington.
Responding to Trump’s message, Senator Chris Murphy wrote on Twitter: “Bar is high, but this is perhaps the most dangerous, irresponsible tweet of his entire Presidency. Millions of lives at stake – not a game.”
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, ordered the launch to be conducted for the first time from its capital, Pyongyang, and said more exercises with the Pacific as the target were needed, the North’s KCNA news agency said on Wednesday.
“The current ballistic rocket launching drill like a real war is the first step of the military operation of the KPA in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam,” KCNA quoted Kim as saying. KPA stands for the Korean People’s Army.
Trump’s latest comments appeared to undercut his secretaries of defense and state, who have emphasized finding a diplomatic solution to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Earlier this month Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters the US effort “is diplomatically led. It has diplomatic traction. It is gaining diplomatic results.”
North Korea this month threatened to fire four missiles into the sea near Guam, home to a major US military presence, after President Donald Trump said the North would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States.
For its part, the US Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency announced a “complex” and successful missile defense flight test off Hawaii early on Wednesday, intercepting a medium-range ballistic missile target.
The 15-member Security Council said it was of “vital importance” that North Korea take immediate, concrete actions to reduce tension and called on all states to implement UN sanctions.
However, the US-drafted statement, which was agreed by consensus, does not threaten new sanctions on North Korea.
Diplomats say veto-wielding council members China and Russia typically only view a test of a long-range missile or a nuclear weapon as a trigger for further possible sanctions.
China’s and Russia’s ambassadors to the United Nations said they opposed any unilateral sanctions on North Korea and reiterated calls to halt deployment of a US missile defense system in South Korea.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China was discussing the situation with other Security Council members and would make a “necessary response” based on the consensus reached. China is the North’s lone major ally.
“Any measures against North Korea should be under the UN Security Council framework, and should be carried out according to Security Council resolutions,” he told a news briefing.
Unilateral sanctions did not accord with international law, Wang added, a reference to sanctions imposed on Chinese firms and citizens by the United States and Japan.
Speaking during a visit to the Japanese city of Osaka, British Prime Minister Theresa May called on China to put more pressure on North Korea, saying Beijing had a key role to play.
Asked about her comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said some “relevant sides” were only selectively carrying out the UN resolutions by pushing hard on sanctions yet neglecting to push for a return to talks.
She said this was not the attitude “responsible countries” should have when the “smell of gunpowder” remained strong over the Korean peninsula.
“When it comes to sanctions, they storm to the front but when it comes to pushing for peace they hide at the very back,” Hua told a daily news briefing.
Tuesday’s test was of the same Hwasong-12 missile Kim had threatened to use on Guam, but the test flight took it in another direction, over northern Japan’s Hokkaido and into the sea.
North Korea has conducted dozens of ballistic missile tests under Kim in defiance of UN sanctions, but firing a projectile over mainland Japan was a rare and provocative move.
The 2,700 km (1,680 miles) that the missile flew before splashing down was much shorter and at a lower trajectory than that of an earlier launch of the same missile type.
The US Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency and the crew of the USS John Paul Jones conducted a “complex missile defense flight test” off Hawaii early on Wednesday, resulting in the intercept of a medium-range ballistic missile target, the agency said.
“We are working closely with the fleet to develop this important new capability, and this was a key milestone in giving our Aegis BMD (Ballistic Missile Defense) ships an enhanced capability to defeat ballistic missiles in their terminal phase,” said agency director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves in a statement, without mentioning North Korea.
“We will continue developing ballistic missile defense technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves.”

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As Harvey Moves Inland, A New Storm Is Brewing Over The Atlantic


The National Hurricane Center (NHC) will be initiating advisories at 11 AM AST, as the new area of low pressure in the eastern Atlantic Ocean will develop into Tropical Storm Irma. Tropical Storm Irma will become the 9th storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season as it moves towards the Gulf of Mexico region.

NHC will be initiating advisories at 11 AM AST on Tropical Storm Irma, located west of the Cabo Verde Islands.

— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) August 30, 2017

Per Weather Channel,

In the near-term, future Irma will bring locally heavy rain and gusty winds to the Cabo Verde Islands through Wednesday.

South Florida Weather Management District (SFWMD) reports various pathways for Irma.


National Weather Service (NHS) reports Global Tropics Hazards and Benefits Outlook for the next 1-2 weeks. First week, Irma is labeled as a ‘tropical cyclone formation’  heading towards Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Second week, passing inland and over Central America.


“There is the potential to ramp up to a powerful hurricane in the coming days,” according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

Irma will take about a week for the system to make its trek westward across the Atlantic Ocean. Meteorologists will likely be tracking this storm through the middle of September.

“All interests in the eastern Caribbean will need to monitor the progress of this evolving tropical cyclone, especially next week,” Kottlowski said.


“It is way too soon to say with certainty where and if this system will impact the U.S.”

Meanwhile, Texas and now southwestern Louisiana are still dealing with Tropical Storm Harvey. The weather disturbance has caused a great deal of destruction and cannot afford another storm such as Irma.


Luckily, Irma’s models via the major weather agencies provided above show current trajectories missing the devastated region. We all know in weather forecasting just like stock market forecasting models tend to be wrong – just ask Dennis Gartman.

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Oil Markets React Stoically To Strong Crude Inventory Draw

Amid the shutdown of 20 percent of U.S. refining capacity caused by Hurricane Harvey and the pending shutdown of more refineries as the storm moves on to Louisiana, the EIA’s latest weekly inventory report may limit the fall in WTI prices. The authority reported a draw of 5.4 million barrels for the week ending August 25, a day after the American Petroleum Institute estimated these inventories had fallen by 5.78 million barrels in the period. Analysts had expected a decline of 1.75 million barrels. Despite the almost uninterrupted string…

Gunmen kill transgender person in Pakistan’s Karachi

Wed, 2017-08-30 16:51

KARACHI: Unknown gunmen killed a transgender person in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi Wednesday, police said, in the latest attack to target the marginalized community in the deeply conservative country.
The attackers initially threw eggs from a moving car at the victim and her friend before returning to the scene and firing gunshots at the pair.
“The bullet hit the jaw (of the victim) who died of that shot,” senior police officer Saqib Ismail told AFP.
In 2009, Pakistan became one of the first countries in the world to legally recognize a third sex, allowing transgenders to obtain identity cards, while several have also run in elections.
Despite these strides, many transgender Pakistanis face rampant discrimination and are forced to live as pariahs, often reduced to begging or prostitution and subjected to extortion and violence.
The killing comes as transgender activists dismissed early results from a long-awaited national census that aimed to record the community’s population for the first time.
According to data released this week officials said Pakistan’s transgender community comprised just over 10,000 people, prompting outrage from activists who said the government survey was inaccurate.
The findings stand in stark contrast to much larger estimates from past studies conducted by non-profits and development organizations that put the community’s population in the hundreds of thousands.
“From my personal interactions in the community, I know of more than 900 transgender people in [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province},” said Farzana Riaz, head of Transaction, a Pakistan-based trans-rights organization.
“In the whole of Pakistan, there must be hundreds of thousands… but the census has erased the presence of transgender people,” she added.
Pakistan had not held a census for nearly two decades due to years of bickering by politicians concerned it could redraw the political map and potentially weaken their power base and access to federal funding.

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Israel detains Palestinian band over song praising Halamish attacker

Israeli forces detained a popular Palestinian wedding singer and his band members during predawn raids in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah today, reportedly over a video released by the group applauding Omar Al-Abed, who has been indicted for carrying out a deadly stabbing attack in July that left three Israeli settlers dead. Local sources in Beit Rima said Israeli forces raided the village overnight and detained the singer, Muhammad Barghouthi, and his band’s organist Naji Rimawi. Israeli forces also raided the nearby village of Kafr Ein and detained the band’s audio engineer Nazzal Barghouthi. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed only one detention in Beit Rima, and one in Kafr Ein. She added that one detention was also […]

Total Boosts North Sea Oil Output With New Startup

Total SA will be adding production capacity of up to 56,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day (boed) to its North Sea production after it started up production from the Edradour & Glenlivet gas and condensate fields in the West of Shetland area, the French oil and gas giant said on Wednesday. The new start-up fields are located close to the Laggan-Tormore fields that came online in February 2016. “We have completed this project ahead of schedule and 30% under the initial budget”, Arnaud Breuillac, President Exploration & Production,…

Total Boosts North Sea Oil Output With New Startup

Total SA will be adding production capacity of up to 56,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day (boed) to its North Sea production after it started up production from the Edradour & Glenlivet gas and condensate fields in the West of Shetland area, the French oil and gas giant said on Wednesday. The new start-up fields are located close to the Laggan-Tormore fields that came online in February 2016. “We have completed this project ahead of schedule and 30% under the initial budget”, Arnaud Breuillac, President Exploration & Production,…