April 19, 2018

Review Category : People

Iraqi warplanes attack Islamic State positions in Syria

Iraqi warplanes attack Islamic State positions in SyriaBy Ahmed Aboulenein BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi warplanes attacked an Islamic State explosives factory and other positions inside Syria on Thursday, Baghdad's military said, in a rare air assault across the border. Iraqi F-16 jets targeted the militants near the city of Hajin in coordination with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an Iraqi military spokesman said. "Carrying out air strikes on Daesh gangs in Syrian territories is because of the dangers posed by said gangs to Iraqi territories and is proof of the improved capabilities of our armed forces," the Iraqi military said in a statement.


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Queen reveals her 'sincere wish' for Prince Charles to be future head of Commonwealth

Queen reveals her 'sincere wish' for Prince Charles to be future head of CommonwealthThe Queen has expressed her "sincere wish" that her son, the Prince of Wales, will one day succeed her as Head of Commonwealth, in the clearest signal yet about the future of the family of nations. The Queen, who addressed the Commonwealth heads of government in the Buckingham Palace ballroom at the official opening of CHOGM this morning, said it was her sincere wish that Prince Charles would “carry on the important work” started by her father, George VI in 1949. Her highly significant speech, met with warm applause, is the most explicit statement she has made to date of her hopes for the Commonwealth’s future, and the honorary and not hereditary position of its head. In an unusually explicit statement of her views, she told the presidents and prime ministers of the Commonwealth: “It remains a great pleasure and honour to serve you as Head of the Commonwealth and to observe, with pride and satisfaction, that this is a flourishing network.   “It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations, and will decide that one day The Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949.” The Queen and the Prince of Wales at the official opening of CHOGM Credit: Yui Mok /PA The Prince of Wales’ bid to one day accede to his mother’s Commonwealth role is due to be discussed at a private CHOGM retreat at Windsor on Friday, but is now widely considered a foregone conclusion. Two years ago, speaking at the last CHOGM in Malta, the Queen offered a hint to her feelings, saying she could not have been "better supported and represented in the Commonwealth than by The Prince of Wales who continues to give so much to it with great distinction”. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, and the Queen Credit: Dominic Lipinski /PA   Today, at the start of the London summit, she told an audience: "When I meet the young leaders of this century, I remember my own life-long commitment – made in South Africa in 1947 at the age of 21.  "As another birthday approaches this week, I am reminded of the extraordinary journey we have been on, and how much good has been achieved." Saying that "my family and I have been heartened" by the successful Commonwealth programmes "in which we are proud to play a part," she added: "Here at Buckingham Palace in 1949, my father met the Heads of Government when they ratified the London Declaration, which created the Commonwealth as we know it today – then comprising just eight nations. The Commonwealth Heads of Government "family picture" Credit: Jonathan Brady /PA "Who then - or in 1952, when I became Head of the Commonwealth - would have guessed that a gathering of its member states would one day number 53, or that it would comprise 2.4 billion people? Members of the Royal Family watch the ceremony Credit: Jonathan Brady /PA "Put simply, we are one of the world's great convening powers: a global association of volunteers who believe in the tangible benefits that flow from exchanging ideas and experiences and respecting each other's point of view. "And we seem to be growing stronger year by year. The advantages are plain to see." The CHOGM opening ceremony saw leaders move to pay tribute to the Queen’s service to the Commonwealth in a ceremony attended by 46 Commonwealth heads of government and seven foreign ministers representing their countries to make up 53 member states. The Queen delivers her speech Credit: Dominic Lipinski /PA Dr Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta and outgoing chair-in-office of the Commonwealth, said: "When your father, His Majesty King George, started what he started, you have not only continued, but also elevated to unprecedented levels. "We are equally elated by the vigour with which His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales actively participates in Commonwealth affairs, and puts a strong Commonwealth dimension in his various national and global initiatives. "We are certain that when he will be called upon to do so, he will provide solid and passionate leadership for our Commonwealth." A Guard of Honour for CHOGM Credit: Gareth Fuller /PA Theresa May, the Prime Minister, received prolonged applause after addressing the Queen directly, saying: “This week you have opened your homes to us – here in London and in Windsor. Over many years you have been the Commonwealth’s most steadfast and fervent champion. “You have been true to the deepest values of the Commonwealth – that the voice of the smallest member country is worth precisely as much as that of the largest; that the wealthiest and the most vulnerable stand shoulder to shoulder. “You have seen us through some of our most serious challenges. And we commit to sustaining this Commonwealth, which you have so carefully nurtured. Soldiers of the Coldstream Guards carry flags of the 53 Commonwealth countries at Buckingham Palace  Credit: Gareth Fuller /PA “For your service, for your dedication, for your constancy – we thank you.” The Prince of Wales, who walked into the ballroom at the side of the Queen and made the first address, said: “For my part, the Commonwealth has been a fundamental feature of my life for as long as I can remember, beginning with my first visit to Malta when I was just five years old. “And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, I pray that this Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will not only revitalize the bonds between our countries, but will also give the Commonwealth a renewed relevance to all citizens, finding practical solutions to their problems and giving life to their aspirations. Theresa May delivers her speech at Buckingham Palace Credit: Jonathan Brady /PA “By doing so, the Commonwealth can be a cornerstone for the lives of future generations, just as it has been for so many of us.” He raised a smile from Canadian leader Justin Trudeau, as he name-checked his father Pierre during a list of “giants of the Commonwealth” he has been “fortunate” enough to meet. The ceremony, hosted by broadcaster Reeta Chakrabarti, also saw guests treated to musical performances, with the Queen looking on intently. Emeli Sande gave a rendition of the national anthem, before a group of six “Commonwealth Voices” performed a version of Unwritten, a pop song now considered by organisers to be a “youth anthem”. The Queen and Prince of Wales arrive at the opening of CHOGM together Credit: Jonathan Brady /PA Young musicians played Shepherd’s Hey, a folk song, and two winners of the Queen’s Young Leaders programme, Devika Malik and Philip Cole, told their stories. While the Queen took her seat on stage with the heads of government and Secretary-General Baroness Scotland, the Prince of Wales watched with senior members of the Royal from a small audience. The formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace Credit: Dominic Lipinski /PA He was joined by his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, and sons the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Also in attendance were the Duke of York, the Princess Royal, the Countess of Wessex, the Duke of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra, who walked out as a family at the end of the ceremony. Later today, the Queen and Prince of Wales will host a lunch at Buckingham Palace for new heads of government. This evening, the Royal Family, heads of government and their spouses, will reconvene at the palace for a formal “Queen’s Dinner”, with a drinks reception and a second speech from Her Majesty. About | The Commonwealth  


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Donald Trump says he'll walk out of Kim Jong-un talks if they're not 'fruitful' 

Donald Trump says he'll walk out of Kim Jong-un talks if they're not 'fruitful' President Donald Trump said he’ll abandon plans for an unprecedented summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un if he decides it won’t be successful - or walk out of the meeting if it’s not productive while he’s there. “If we don’t think it’s going to be successful, we won’t have it,” Mr Trump said at a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday. “If I don’t think it’s a meeting that’s going to be fruitful, we won’t go. If the meeting when I’m there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.” Mr Trump didn’t say what would make the summit a success, and he didn’t answer a question about whether he would demand the return of three Americans held in captivity in North Korea ahead of the meeting. The comments come as south Korean media reports the US President wants to go it alone with Kim Jong-un. Mr Trump hopes to speak with the North Korean leader at their upcoming summit with only interpreters present, the Chosun Ilbo reported Thursday, citing multiple unidentified South Korean diplomatic sources. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe for dinner at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, Wednesday, April 18, 2018 Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Mr Trump’s CIA director, Mike Pompeo, discussed the three captives with Mr Kim in an unannounced visit to Pyongyang about two weeks ago, a person familiar with the matter said. Mr Abe stressed the importance of resolving abduction issues in any talks with Mr Kim, and Mr Trump pledged to Mr Abe that “we will work hard on that issue.” It’s a priority for Japan to recover citizens abducted by the North Korean regime in past years or information about their whereabouts. Mr Trump said his administration is “fighting very diligently to get the three American citizens back. I think think there’s a good chance of doing it; we’re having very good dialogue.” Sweden and Switzerland are among the places the White House is considering for the summit, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr Trump confirmed on Wednesday that he dispatched Pompeo to Pyongyang last month to meet with Kim in advance of the summit, which the US hopes will lead to North Korea giving up its nuclear arsenal. The unannounced meeting indicates preparations are advancing for a summit that Trump said could take place by early June or sooner.  North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un Credit:  KCNA VIA KNS/AFP “Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed,” Trump said in a Twitter posting Wednesday morning. “Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearisation will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!” Mr Pompeo - who’s awaiting confirmation as secretary of state - is the highest-ranking US official to visit the isolated nation since former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 2000. A White House official said Mr Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang over Easter weekend, not “last week” as the president said in his tweet. The US president told reporters Tuesday that the administration had “started talking to North Korea directly” and was discussing five potential sites for the meeting. “We have had direct talks at very high levels, extremely high levels with North Korea,” Trump said. North Korean missile ranges Any summit would likely be the start of a long and potentially fraught process aimed at persuading Mr Kim to give up North Korea’s nuclear arsenal -something his family has held onto for decades as key to their grip on power at home and their only real external deterrent. A successful outcome might simply be an agreement for talks to continue and a plan for the next meeting. A landmark summit next week between Mr Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will set the tone for the later meeting with Mr Trump.  On Thursday, Mr Moon said a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War "must be pursued" but signaled that such a deal would be dependent on North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons. North and South Korea have existed with an uneasy truce for almost seven decades after signing an armistice at the end of the Korean War of 1950 to 1953 but not a peace treaty. "The armistice that has dragged on for 65 years must come to an end," said Mr Moon. "If the inter-Korean summit or North Korea-US summit lead to denuclearisation. I think that it won't be too difficult to reach practical agreements in the big picture on creating a peace regime, normalising North Korea-US ties, or providing international aid for the improvement of the North Korean economy," he added. Locations for the meeting include Geneva, an unidentified Swedish location, and venues in Asia and Southeast Asia, people familiar with the talks told Bloomberg. One person said the US wasn’t considering Beijing, Pyongyang, Seoul or Panmunjom, the site of the Korean armistice signing in 1953. “It makes the proposed summit all the more likely to happen,” said Suzanne DiMaggio, director and senior fellow at New America in New York, who facilitated the talks in Oslo that resulted in ailing US citizen Otto Warmbier’s release from North Korea. “It is reassuring that the Trump administration is taking serious steps to prepare for that historic interaction.” How North Korea's airline keeps its Soviet-era fleet ready for service If Mr Trump and Mr Kim manage to establish a rapport, much like Mr Trump’s first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, it could go a long way toward overcoming tensions around Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear weapons tests and regular US military drills near the Korean peninsula. Mr Trump’s aides believe that if the meeting leads to a thaw between the US and North Korea, which at points last year seemed at the brink of war, the president and Mr Kim could win the Nobel Peace Prize. The Pompeo trip is part of a global diplomatic scramble after Mr Trump’s March 8 decision to meet Kim to break the decades-long impasse over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. American visitors to North Korea | A history The clandestine visit is reminiscent of then National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger’s secret diplomatic mission to Beijing in 1971. Those trips laid the groundwork for President Richard Nixon’s unexpected visit to China the following year, which paved the way to opening up the country. The Central Intelligence Agency chief arrived in North Korea just days after Mr Kim returned from his own surprise visit to Beijing - his first trip outside the country since taking power in 2011. Bloomberg had earlier reported that a “very senior” US official spoke directly with Mr Kim, bypassing third parties, citing a person familiar with the matter.


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Southwest jet's engine blade had microscopic cracks

Southwest jet's engine blade had microscopic cracksThe FAA will order airlines to inspect hundreds of jet engines similar to one that exploded on a Southwest flight, killing one and injuring seven others. We're also learning more about hero pilot who guided the flight to a safe landing. Kris Van Cleave reports.


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Queen puts foward son as next head of Commonwealth

Queen puts foward son as next head of CommonwealthQueen Elizabeth II, the Head of the Commonwealth, opened the Commonwealth summit for what may be the last time on Thursday voicing hope that her son would be allowed to carry on her role. Queen Elizabeth, who turns 92 on Saturday, welcomed leaders from the 53 Commonwealth nations -- mostly former colonies -- to Buckingham Palace for two days of talks that will include discussions on trade, marine protection and tackling cyber crime. In her opening speech, Queen Elizabeth spoke of her own "extraordinary journey" as head of the Commonwealth, which started under her father King George VI with the London Declaration of 1949.


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Queen puts foward son as next head of Commonwealth

Queen puts foward son as next head of CommonwealthQueen Elizabeth II, the Head of the Commonwealth, opened the Commonwealth summit for what may be the last time on Thursday voicing hope that her son would be allowed to carry on her role. Queen Elizabeth, who turns 92 on Saturday, welcomed leaders from the 53 Commonwealth nations -- mostly former colonies -- to Buckingham Palace for two days of talks that will include discussions on trade, marine protection and tackling cyber crime. In her opening speech, Queen Elizabeth spoke of her own "extraordinary journey" as head of the Commonwealth, which started under her father King George VI with the London Declaration of 1949.


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Nigerian police recover stolen parliamentary mace

Nigerian police recover stolen parliamentary maceNigeria's police have recovered a ceremonial mace stolen from the country's parliament when at least three men burst onto the Senate floor and grabbed it while lawmakers looked on, police said on Thursday. A police search "forced the suspected miscreants to abandon the mace at a point under the flyover before the City Gate, where a patriotic passer-by saw it and alerted the police", said police in the capital. A spokesman for the upper chamber blamed Wednesday's incident on a suspended senator.


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