Australia's foreign minister pressed leaders in North Korea yesterday to remain involved in six-nation talks on its nuclear program, amid concerns that the Pyongyang administration might pull out of preparatory meetings for the next round of negotiations. \n"I'd been, on arriving here, concerned that the six-party talks process was stalling, and I hoped that we'd been able to add some substantial momentum to that process," Alexander Downer said, according to Australian pool video of his visit received by Associated Press Television News. \nDowner, who arrived in North Korea on Tuesday, met with the country's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam and Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun. \nThe US, Russia, China, Japan and the two Koreas had agreed in June to hold the next round of nuclear talks in Beijing before the end of next month. \nWashington has also called for working meetings to prepare for those talks, but North Korea said on Monday that it wouldn't attend those lower-level meetings -- complaining the US wasn't interested in "making the dialogue fruitful." \nIn Seoul, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon said yesterday that efforts were being made to still hold the working talks, but participants had yet to reach an agreement. \n"Our government believes that the main talks should open before the end of September, and we expect it to be opened and will make necessary preparations," he said. \nChina, which hosts the six-party talks, also yesterday appealed to North Korea to join the working meetings. \n"We hope that all sides will maintain a calm, practical and flexible attitude, appropriately handle these disagreements and continue to push forward the peace talks process with great strides," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said. \nAt the latest nuclear talks in June, North Korea offered to freeze its nuclear program in exchange for energy, lifting of US economic sanctions and removal from Washington's list of countries that sponsor terrorism. \nIt said the freeze would be a step toward eventual dismantling of the program. \nThe US proposal required the North to go further by disclosing all its nuclear activities, helping to dismantle facilities and allowing outside monitoring. \nUnder the plan, some benefits would be withheld to ensure the North cooperates. \nThe nuclear dispute flared up in 2002 when US officials said North Korea had admitted that it was running a secret nuclear program in violation of international agreements.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies