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South Korean Spy Chief, Security Head to Visit North Korea

MIke Pompeo and Moon Jae-in

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in, in Seoul, Republic of Korea. June 13, 2018. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Department of State

High-ranking officials from South Korea are bound to the north this week.

President Moon Jae-in has ordered his top spy and national security adviser as special envoys to a mission to Pyongyang on Wednesday. The high-level delegation is traveling to North Korea in preparation for a potential inter-Korean summit to be held this month.

Whether the South Korean envoy will have a meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un or not is still unclear, Yonhap News Agency reports. News of the visit comes after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly called off Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s planned trip to the hermit nation.

According to Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom, the date of the inter-Korean summit will likely be discussed during the special envoy’s visit. Also expected to be discussed are the denuclearization of North Korea, as well as agendas for the declaration of the end of the war.

Moon and Kim have met face-to-face twice so far. The first time was in April during a summit at the border truce village of Panmunjom. The event was considered a historic one, as it was the first time a North Korean leader had crossed into the South since the Korean peninsula was officially divided during the 1950-53 war.

In May, the two leaders met again as they tried to make arrangements for a summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore. They have since agreed to have another meeting in Pyongyang scheduled for this month.

“President Moon is aware that if he sits idle, the situation could become bleak. He must now be talking and co-ordinating with the US on what he can offer Mr. Kim during the inter-Korean summit,” Kim Yeol-soo, a policy adviser in the National Security Office, stated.

Kim added, “The silver lining is that when Seoul suggested sending the special envoys to the North this week, Pyongyang readily accepted, suggesting they are also frustrated with the current situation. The North needs someone to deliver their messages to the US.”

 

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Major Toronto Mall Evacuated after Shooting Reports

Shoppers panicked after gunshots were heard inside a Toronto mall. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Oxford Properties

Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre was put on lockdown after gunshots were fired Thursday afternoon.

Shortly before 3 p.m. ET, gunfire rang out at the famous north-end mall. Cops received several 911 calls reporting a shooting, as confirmed by Supt. Rob Johnson. Investigators found out that the gunfire was from a fight that took place in the southern corner of the mall.

Two groups of men apparently had a conflict, which resulted to one of them pulling out a gun and firing at least two shots. All members of the groups fled the scene. Police tweeted earlier that they were looking for two men in their 20s – one of whom may be in possession of a handgun.

The subway station connected to the major mall had been shut down, according to the Toronto Transit Commission. Speaking with a local news station, a woman who was having coffee with her daughter said she heard a loud bang. She explained that she thought the sound just came from a balloon popping.

“We looked over and saw a bunch of panic, people running,” the woman stated. “Then we heard a second shot and we had to find cover… There was a little girl who was just clenched onto me. I had no idea who this little girl was.”

Cop asked the mother and daughter to go to an open area shortly after. “I was scared for my daughter’s life,” she further said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen during that run.”

Although no one was injured, a baby had reportedly been knocked out of a stroller amid the panic. Meanwhile, another witness from a dessert shot said she heard two shots before people started to panic. She also confirmed that she saw a baby get knocked down.

“Yorkdale is secure and we are co-operating with police to safely evacuate the centre,” the mall tweeted after the incident. “We expect to open as scheduled tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.”

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Central Mexico Mob Burns 2 Men to Death

crime scene

Two alleged child abductors have been burned to death in Central Mexico. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Tony Webster

Enraged villagers have burned two suspected child abductors to death in Central Mexico.

Local authorities confirmed the killing on Thursday, claiming the two victims – aged 21 and 53 – were believed to be child abductors. The men had initially been detained in the town of San Vicente Boqueron in Puebla. They were pulled from their cell by an angry crowd before beating them up and setting them on fire.

“Nearly 150 angered residents broke the door (…) taking out the two individuals,” the state government said on Wednesday.

Images of the incident immediately surfaced on social media, showing the moment when a furious mob doused the male victims in gasoline before setting them alight. According to a report from the local media, relatives of the men said they were actually farm workers who had traveled to the town to buy supplies.

In another press release, the state’s prosecutor’s office criticized the local police for not getting back-up. They said cops in Puebla should have sent in negotiators who could have assisted in subduing the frantic crowd. They were also expected to seek help from the state police to deal with the situation but they failed to do so.

Daily Mail reportedly tried to contact the state police in Acatlan de Osorio. An on-duty officer responded but did not agree to comment on the case – citing the ongoing investigations. He requested the press to direct all of their inquiries through the prosecutor’s office for the state of Puebla.

The Puebla incident was not the first time a mob killed people in Central Mexico in recent years. Residents in Ajalpan, Puebla beat two young men to death in 2015 after rumors had spread in the town that child kidnappers were roaming around. It turned out the victims were at the area to conduct a poll regarding tortilla consumption in Ajalpan.

 

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300 Endangered Sea Turtles Found Dead in Mexico

Sea turtle

Hundreds of endangered turtles were found dead in Mexico. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Brocken Inaglory

Mexican fishermen have found around 300 dead sea turtles in the southern state of Oaxaca.

Olive ridley turtles are known for laying their eggs on the shores of Mexican states during the months of May until September. The species is considered to be at a high risk of being extinct in the wild. Experts are still looking into the possible reason behind their death. Officials have already taken the turtles’ remains ashore and buried them in two pits.

Reports note that officials took the turtles’ remains ashore and buried them in two pits. Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente (PROFEPA) – an organization linked to the Department of Natural Resources and Environment – said it will coordinate with Mexico’s National Commission of Aquaculture and Fishing CONAPESCA to let local fishermen know about the risks involved when using illegal nets.

News of the mass sea turtle death comes just days following the death of 113 other sea turtles – most of which were also from the Olive Ridley species – in the Mexican state of Chiapas. In this latter case, it’s not clear what killed the turtles. Experts, however, have found wounds consistent with those caused by nets and hooks.

Marine biologist Bryan Wallace has been studying sea turtles for nearly two decades and he said there is not a lot of information regarding the incident. But he did say that the turtles found in Oaxaca may have fallen to a “ghost net.” This phenomenon is a major problem around the world, as many animals are killed accidentally in the pursuit of other target species.

The Olive Ridley species got its name from the color of their shells, which is olive green.

“Their vulnerable status comes from the fact that they nest in a very small number of places, and therefore any disturbance to even one nest beach could have huge repercussions on the entire population,” a statement from the WWF said.

 

 

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Brazilian Army Sent to Border as More Venezuelans Flee Home

Venezuelan family

A Venezuelan family emigrating from their native country of Venezuela. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Voice of America

Brazil is sending troops to the border in response to the overwhelming number of Venezuelans leaving their country.

Earlier this month, residents of Brazil rioted and attacked immigrants from Venezuela in a border town. President Michel Temer signed a decree on Tuesday, which will deploy soldiers along the border for two weeks. The armed forces are also set to be stationed at federal roads of the border state of Roraima.

Temer explained the reason behind the decision was to keep order and ensure the safety of all immigrants in the area.

Another nearby country has taken action on the influx of immigrants from Venezuela. Peru has placed two provinces on its northern border under a 60-day health emergency, citing “imminent danger” to sanitation and health.

Further details about the decree were not revealed. However, health authorities have previously expressed their concerns over the possibility of diseases – similar to malaria and measles – spreading.

Following the decree, Temer posted a series of tweets discussing “terrible living conditions” Venezuelans are forced to endure due to the ongoing migrant crisis.

“The migratory wave in Roraima is the result of the terrible living conditions to which the Venezuelan people have been subjected,” Temer stated. “This is precisely what has led to this tragic situation, that currently affects almost all of South America.”

The Guarantee of Law and Order decree gives the armed forces the authority to take on policing duties. It will begin today, August 29 and end on September 12. The northern Brazilian serves as the main entrance for Venezuelans who are heading to Brazil.

Before the decree was announced on August 19, a mob of Brazilians had a violent encounter with a group of Venezuelans. Reports say a local business owner told the cops that his establishment was robbed by a group of migrants from the nearby country.

After the attack, approximately 1,200 Venezuelan migrants have already crossed the border.