World News Headlines: 12-01-2018

Germany (DW) G20 summit opens as leaders give Saudi prince mixed reception; World leaders have opened talks at the G20 summit in Argentina. A weekend of meetings is expected to be overshadowed by the contentious presence of the Saudi crown prince and tensions between Russia and Ukraine. The G20 summit kicked off in Buenos Aires on Friday, with a plea from the host, Argentine President Mauricio Macri, for world leaders to have a “sense of urgency” and take actions “based on shared interests.” A number of high-stakes bilateral meetings over the next two days are likely to be dominated by the trade war between the United States and China, Russian aggression in Ukraine, and the suspected involvement of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the slaying of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Russian President Vladimir Putin and the crown prince raised eyebrows when they exchanged a high-five and shook hands, laughing together as they took their seats alongside each other at a plenary session. Other leaders avoided the prince, who appeared towards the edge of the official “family photo” of leaders.

(DW) Protests hit G20 in Argentina; As the leaders of Russia, China, the US and other industrialized nations kicked off their annual summit, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Buenos Aires to express opposition — in a very colorful manner.

(DW) Germany announces new global arms control project; Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has announced a German-led initiative on global disarmament. He warned that technologically advanced weaponry will soon transform from science fiction into “deadly reality.” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called Saturday for “new thinking” on disarmament policy and announced a German initiative aimed at improving control over increasingly technologically sophisticated weaponry. In an interview with the daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, Maas said, “Our rules need to keep pace with the technological developments of new types of arms. “I am also thinking of fully automated weapons systems that can kill entirely independent of human control,” he said. Space-based weapons and missiles that can travel many times faster than the speed of sound may sound like science fiction today, but will soon become “deadly reality,” he added. Concrete details about the German initiative remain unknown.

(DW) North Korean soldier defects to South; The defection comes as North and South Korea have reduced military tensions along the border. Defections across the border separating the two sides are rare and have raised tensions in the past. A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea early on Saturday, the South Korean military said. The defector crossed the military demarcation line separating the two countries and was spotted by surveillance equipment, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. “Related agencies plan to investigate him regarding the details of how he came to the South,” it said. The escape across the heavily fortified border separating the two Koreas comes as both sides have made moves to reduce tensions despite slow progress on denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

(DW) A transit city in Niger extends HIV/AIDS care to migrants; The movement of people in Africa is driving the HIV/AIDS rate up. In one city Nigerien authorities have included migrants in their program to curb and treat the disease. Agadez is the largest city in central Niger, with over 100,000 people, and a key West African transit hub. The prevalence rate of the sexually transmitted virus is not as high as in other African cities. Hoping to keep it that way, the health ministry has extended its HIV/AIDS awareness and treatment programs to people who may just be passing through the city. The government has teamed up with non-governmental organizations based in Agadez. “We give proper counseling and medication to those living with HIV and this applies to all, not just the residents of Agadez,” Mahmoud Aboubakar, the initiative’s coordinator, told DW. HIV/AIDS tests are also provided for foreigners on a voluntary basis when they enter or leave Agadez. Health experts say the program is proving helpful in curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

(DW) Canada’s top court rules reporter must hand over notes on alleged terrorist; The court ruled that there was a public interest in obtaining evidence for a terrorism case. The decision may impact the willingness of sources to speak to journalists.Canada’s Supreme Court on Friday ruled that a reporter must hand over correspondence with a suspected jihadi to police for use in a prosecution. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that “the media’s interest was outweighed by the public interest in obtaining reliable evidence of very serious terrorism offenses.”

(DW) Turkish court rejects European rights court ruling to release top Kurdish politician; A Turkish court has defied a European Court of Human Rights ruling demanding the release of Selahattin Demirtas. The decision comes after Turkey’s president said the European court’s decisions were non-binding. A Turkish court on Friday rejected an appeal to free a top Kurdish politician from prison despite a European human rights court ruling demanding his release. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on November 20 that the pretrial detention of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), served the “ulterior purpose of stifling pluralism and limiting the freedom of political debate” and demanded his immediate release. Demirtas’ lawyers then filed an appeal to an Ankara court calling for his release. In its ruling, the court said the ECHR decision had not been finalized. The ECHR enforces the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Turkey is a signatory. The court’s rulings are binding for member states.

(DW) Anti-Semitism: ‘Climate has got worse for Jews in Europe,’ says Moscow rabbi; Anti-Semitism is spreading across Europe once again. Moscow’s chief rabbi, Pinchas Goldschmidt told DW about the fears and hopes of Europe’s Jewish communities and warned against radicalization in society.

FRANCE (France24) ‘Yellow Vest’ delegates refuse meeting with French PM because not filmed; Delegates from France’s ‘Yellow Vest’ protesters turned down a planned meeting with Prime Minister Édouard Philippe on Friday, on the grounds that it would not be filmed. “I have repeatedly asked that this interview be filmed and broadcast live on television. This was refused,” said Jason Herbert, one of eight members of the delegation that emerged from the group in the beginning of the week.

(France24) Fighting Ebola in a DR Congo warzone; The Democratic Republic of Congo is currently fighting its worst ever Ebola epidemic, concentrated to its restive North Kivu region. But armed militia groups are making access for WHO specialists and local health workers difficult. The crisis could therefore deteriorate quickly. FRANCE 24’s Bastien Renouil reports from a country that is fighting a war on several fronts. By the end of November, DR Congo had recorded more than 400 cases of Ebola, including over 240 deaths. It’s the highest number of victims to have been reported since the virus was first discovered in the north of the country in 1976. Ever since the latest epidemic was confirmed on August 1, the WHO, the Congolese health ministry and international NGOs have set up special teams to respond to the crisis, and many of them have been deployed to the North Kivu city of Béni, which is at the epicentre of the epidemic. But the response has proved particularly difficult in this region, where armed militias sow terror on a daily basis, preventing medical teams from reaching some affected areas.

JAPAN (NHK) 4K, 8K broadcasting begins in Japan; Japanese TV networks have launched ultra-high definition 4K and 8K broadcasting. The formats feature images and audio far exceeding the levels used in conventional high definition broadcasting. At a ceremony in Tokyo on Saturday, Communications Minister Masatoshi Ishida said he hopes Japan will play a leading role in 4K and 8K broadcasting. NHK President Ryoichi Ueda said the broadcaster will aim to spread the service by delivering exciting experiences for viewers. After a countdown, at exactly 10 AM, broadcasters started showing programs in 8K and 4K on specially arranged monitors. NHK is broadcasting the new services domestically on the satellite channels BS4K and BS8K. The formats can only be enjoyed on certain TV monitors or with external tuners.

(NHK) Kono: S.Korea court rulings affecting exchanges; Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono says the South Korean Supreme Court’s rulings on wartime labor are affecting exchanges between municipalities in the 2 countries. According to Japan’s Foreign Ministry, Chichibu City north of Tokyo has cancelled mutual dispatches of officials with its sister city Gangneung. A visit by a delegation from South Korea’s Daegu to Gifu City in central Japan has also been postponed. South Korea’s Supreme Court recently ordered Japanese companies to compensate some Koreans for wartime labor. The Japanese government says the rulings violate international laws. It says any right to claims was settled completely and finally in 1965, when Japan and South Korea normalized ties. Kono told reporters on Friday that interaction between Japanese and South Korean people should not stop because of the problems between their governments. He said he wants municipalities to continue with their sister-city, sports and cultural exchanges. He called on the South Korean government to swiftly address the issue.

(NHK) Trump, Moon agree to maintain N.Korea sanctions; US President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in have agreed to continue enforcing sanctions on North Korea until the North achieves denuclearization. Trump and Moon met on Friday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina. During their meeting, they affirmed their commitment to achieving a final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea. Trump expressed his willingness to have a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump and Moon agreed that their countries will work closely together. The meeting comes amid an apparent stall in US-North Korean denuclearization talks, and as Washington grows concerned over increased efforts by South Korea toward reconciliation with Pyongyang. South Korea’s presidential office said Moon and Trump also agreed that the proposed visit by Kim Jong Un to Seoul would help establish peace on the Korean Peninsula. It appears the South Korean government wishes to stress the visit to Seoul by the North’s leader, which they hope to realize by the year-end, has the support of the US president.

(NHK) Abe, Trump meet at G20; The 2 leaders met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina on Friday. Trump said, “Japan is buying large amounts of our fighter jets, F-35s and others, and we appreciate it very much. But they are really working with me on trying to balance our deficit, because we do have a deficit that’s pretty substantial with Japan. We hope that we are going to be balancing it very quickly.” Trump also said he was honored to be invited to Japan for the Imperial succession next year. Abe said, “The alliance between Japan and the United States has become more robust than ever.” The 2 leaders agreed on the importance of fully implementing UN Security Council resolutions to achieve the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. They also reaffirmed that they will cooperate to deal with North Korea’s offshore ship-to-ship transfers of goods, which violate UN sanctions. They confirmed that they will further expand trade and investment between Japan and the US, as stated in their joint statement in September. They also reaffirmed that they will work toward realizing economic development in “a free and open Indo-Pacific” region. Abe and Trump later had their first trilateral summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They reaffirmed close cooperation to strengthen the free and open Indo-Pacific initiative to guarantee the rule of law and freedom of navigation.

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE®

 

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