Wednesday briefing: North Korea and US back on speaking words

Preparations for summit resume Soros backs second EU referendum and Roseanne axed over stars bigoted outbursts

Top story: Kim sends senior official to Washington

Hello, it’s Warren Murray construction sure you are fully informed this morning.

One of Kim Jong-un’s chief lieutenants has been sent to Washington as the North Korean leader’s summit with Donald Trump looks like it could go ahead after all. Kim Yong-chol, due to arrive in New York today, has served three generations of the Kim dynasty, having risen from perimeter guard in the demilitarised zone( DMZ) to vice-chair of the ruling party and head of intelligence. He has emerged as the third most powerful figure in the existing regime behind Kim Jong-un and sister Kim Yo-jong.

Kim Yong-chol will hold talks with Mike Pompeo, the United states secretary of state, as officials from both side continue preparations on the assumption that, barring further tantrums on either side, the Singapore summit on 12 June will be held. The Trump administration was allegedly delayed imposing sanctions on North Korea that had been due to take effect on Tuesday, in a bid to improve the conditions for a summit.

A mixture of North Korean, South Korean and US officials have met in Singapore, and at the DMZ, in recent days.” Since the President’s 24 May letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the North Koreans have been engaging ,” said the White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.” The United States continues to actively prepare for President Trump’s expected summit with leader Kim in Singapore .” Trump tweeted:” Solid response to my letter, thank you !”


Soros backs second referendum- A campaign to bring about a second EU referendum is being launched with the backing of financier and philanthropist George Soros. Best for Britain has already helped persuade Theresa May to give parliament a meaningful vote on Brexit, says Soros. Amid a deepening political crisis in Italy, Soros said the EU had lost its style but had the perfect opportunity to avert Brexit by” transforming itself into an association that countries like Britain would want to join “. Separately, a defunct Eurosceptic group that was dominated by Nigel Farage’s Ukip has been told to repay EUR1. 1m of allegedly misspent funds to the European parliament.


Quick catch-up- Here is the latest on some of the week’s developing stories.

> We have excavated up another PS3. 5bn of Oxbridge’s extraordinary wealth. Their colleges’ property holds encompass 42,000 hectares- more than the Church of England. They include a Scottish castle, the O2 arena and … a bet shop in Brent.

> The collapse of Italy’s government-in-waiting continues to send shockwaves through world financial markets. There are fears populist parties could win a bigger parliamentary majority in an anticipated election, imperiling the stability of the eurozone.

> Women from Northern Ireland should be allowed to have abortions in the Republic, says Leo Varadkar. The Irish taoiseach will legalise abortion after last week’s referendum but Theresa May says there are no such plans for the north.

> The “Spider-Man” of Paris has joined the fire brigade after receiving fast-tracked residency status. Praise has been unanimous for Mamoudou Gassama who scaled a multistorey build to save a child hanging from a balcony.


Putin critic murdered- A dissident Russian journalist has been shot and killed in Kiev, Ukraine , where he was living in exile after death threats in his home country. Arkady Babchenko served as a soldier in both wars in Chechnya and later became an author and war correspondent. He criticised Vladimir Putin for annexing Crimea and supporting separatists in Ukraine. A number of other critics of Russia have been killed in Kiev in recent years including the Chechen fighter Amina Okuyeva and renegade Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov. Pavel Sheremet, a journalist and critic of leaders in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, died in a Kiev car bombing in 2016.


Pretty low Barr- The US network ABC has axed Roseanne after the show’s eponymous starring likened a former Obama adviser to an ape. The sitcom’s resurgence after 20 years was a hit for the network but Roseanne Barr’s open intolerance off screen proved toxic. Bob Iger, the chief executive of Disney, which owns ABC, supported the decision:” There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing .” Conservatives sway straight into the mental gymnastics to try and excuse Barr’s offensive tweets- though at least one prominent rightwinger called it out: ” Come on. Wrong is wrong ,” said Fox commentator Tomi Lahren.

Lunchtime read: How one drinking binge can cost your life

The costs of binge drinking are explained today by the drinkers themselves: people left with severe and even terminal pancreatitis from heavy alcohol intake. Chronic pancreatitis- an rednes of a vital digestive organ- has no remedy, and often progresses to cancer. Despite surgeries and an array of painkilling and alleviating medications, it kills one in five sufferers within five years of their diagnosis.

Rebecca

It can come on after merely one heavy session of drinking, says Dr Sarah Jarvis of Drinkaware. And it hurst:” The pain is unbelievable ,” says Rebecca Charles, 23, who woke up with pancreatitis after a night where she downed 35 divisions of alcohol. At age 34, Lee Peters has a terminal prognosis, and said today if his example promptings merely one person to reconsider their drinking” it would be sufficient for me … my life’s work complete “.

Sport

Bernard Hinault has launched a stinging attack on Chris Froome, claiming the Team Sky rider should never have been on the Giro d’Italia start line owing to his anti-doping battle. Ben Te’o has been ruled out of England’s tour of South Africa next month to leave Eddie Jones with a significant midfield headache for the three-Test series against the Springboks.

Jordan Pickford has confirmed England are preparing for the possibility of facing penalties in Russia, even practising the nerve-jangling walk from the halfway line that has been the undoing of many players. One of England’s upcoming opponents, Panama, were held to a goalless depict by Northern Ireland, while a makeshift and inexperienced Scotland side were beaten but not humiliation in a 2-0 loss to World Cup-bound Peru. And Serena Williams thinks the black bodysuit she wore during her opening victory at the French Open is much more than a style statement.” It feels like this suit represents all the women that have been through a lot mentally, physically, with their body to come back and have confidence and to believe in themselves ,” she said.

Business

The political turmoil in Italy has taken its toll on the single currency overnight as the unit dropped to its lowest point for 10 months against the US dollar. Asian stock exchange also saw big selloffs as investors fretted that fresh elections in Italy would become a referendum on the country’s future in the currency bloc.

The FTSE1 00 dropped 1.5% yesterday and is set to open down around 0.2%. The pound is , not astonishingly, up again against the euro at EUR1. 148 and has been buying $1.325 overnight.

The papers

” Crunch period for cartoons on cereal boxes”- I’m going to give the i that one, partly because it opens the style for me to write that a crunch of another kind preoccupies the financial newspapers.” Italy crisis spreads ,” says the FT ,” as central bank chief warns investor trust is fading “. The FT’s commitment to sprawling headlines continues to impress;” Italian crisis rattlings Europe” is CityAM’s tabloid-friendly take. The Guardian leads with George Soros money the Best for Britain campaign, which is pushing for a second EU referendum.

Guardian

” Police to treat gangs like terror suspects”, says the Times , reporting on the” legal crackdown on videos that provoke violence “.” Taxman ignores four million phone calls” is the Telegraph splash- the self-employed in particular are having trouble get through to HMRC. Today’s Express hails” Aim of cold-call menace” as telephone canvassing boss face PS500, 000 fines. The Mail does that one a bit better:” Objective of the cold-calling sharks “.

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