Oct. 13 (UPI) —Kim Jong Un recently visited the Red Flag Mangyongdae Revolutionary School, an elite school in Pyongyang, the second civilian-related visit the North Korean leader has made in a week.
Pyongyang’s state-controlled KCTV aired footage from Kim’s visit on Friday, which included clips of Kim being greeted with thunderous applause, South Korean network KBS reported.
“Comrade Kim Jong Un visited the Mangyongdae Revolutionary School to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding,” KCTV stated.
The announcement of Kim’s visit with students is defying expectations of more provocations, after North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said the regime is capable of testing a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.
Many experts were also predicting North Korea would launch a missile or engage in a provocation on Tuesday, the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party.
Some analysts in South Korea say the deployment of U.S. supersonic bombers to the peninsula is making Kim think twice about provoking the United States.
“The message is that the United States could attack North Korea without South Korea’s consent,” said Cho Sung-ryul, a researcher at the Institute of National Security Strategy in Seoul. “[That is why] they have decided the situation is extremely dangerous.”
North Korea could engage in provocations when Trump visits Japan, South Korea and China in November, according to analysts who spoke to KBS.
Oct. 13 (UPI) — A Welsh man who feared there was a rat inside his home investigated the sound and found something far more unusual — an exotic snake wrapped around his boiler.
David Dawes of Swansea said he heard a sound upstairs at his home Tuesday and thought it might be a rat, so he went up to investigate.
“At about half past nine I heard a movement upstairs. I was concerned that it might have been a rat,” Dawes told Wales Online. “When I opened the airing cupboard, I instead found what turned out to be a Taiwan beauty rat snake.”
“So, I just found this fellow curled up on my boiler. RSPCA have just said to close the door and hope he finds his way out. I am decidedly unchill about this course of action,” he wrote.
Dawes said a friend suggested the serpent was likely an escaped pet, so he again consulted with experts and decided to attempt to capture the animal.
“Following a second call to the experts, I took their revised advice; donned my thickest flannel shirt and a pair of gardening gloves, and went in to say hello,” he said. “Unfortunately, my new friend was awake by now, and didn’t appreciate being grabbed — but beyond trying to scoot up the curtain, he quickly settled into a lock top box which I took downstairs.”
“After an uneasy night, I took him down to World of Aquatics, an exotic pet shop just at the end of my road,” Dawes said. “They quickly identified him as a Taiwan beauty rat snake, and very kindly took him in.”
Oct. 13 (UPI) — A federal judge in Manhattan said accused Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman must be allowed more contact with his lawyer during jail visits, court documents indicate.
U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan said prison officials should modify the attorney visiting room at a Manhattan jail to include a second computer monitor and a slot to pass legal documents through.
Cogan made the ruling Thursday in response to a plea from Guzman’s lawyer for in-person meetings with Guzman. Last month, federal magistrate Roanne Mann recommended contact visits.
She said that the former Sinaloa Cartel leader had only been able to contact lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman through video messages or a “scratched and dirty” Plexiglas window.
Mann said she doesn’t see a problem with the two men being able to meet face-to-face as long as Lichtman feels safe with his client. Cogan stopped short of allowing the face-to-face meetings.
Guzman, who has twice escaped from prison in Mexico, is being held in a high-security section of the federal jail in Manhattan.
“El Chapo” — meaning “The Short One” or “shorty” — so dubbed because of his 5-foot-6-inch frame, was first captured in Guatemala in 1993.
Guzman’s cartel is credited with dominating the illegal drug market in nearly the entire United States, according to a report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The report states the criminal organization is most powerful “along the West Coast, through the Midwest and into the Northeast.”
Donald Trump has threatened to terminate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal if Congress and US allies fail to amend the agreement in significant ways.
In a vituperative speech on Friday that began by listing Iran’s alleged crimes over the decades, Trump announced he would not continue to certify the agreement to Congress, but stopped short of immediately cancelling US participation in the deal.
He said his administration was ready to negotiate with Congress and US allies on ways to toughen the obligations on Iran and making them permanent. But he made clear that if those negotiations failed to reach a solution, he would unilaterally pull the US out of the international agreement signed in Vienna two years ago.
“Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification. We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout,” Trump said.
The president declared: “I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons.”
He noted that congressional leaders were already drafting amendments to legislation that would include restrictions on ballistic missiles and make the curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme under the 2015 deal permanent. European diplomats have warned that any such unilateral changes to the agreement are likely to trigger the deal’s collapse and a return to a nuclear standoff in the Middle East.
But Trump made clear that if the changes were not made, he would personally pull the plug on the deal.
“In the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated,” Trump said. “It is under continuous review and our participation can be cancelled by me, as president, at any time.”
On two major issues, Trump flatly contradicted his own secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who had briefed journalists on Thursday evening. Tillerson said that new restrictions on Iranian missile development and the permanent nature of the nuclear constraints could be laid down in a parallel agreement that could exist side by side with the 2015 deal and not trigger its collapse.
Furthermore, the president said he had ordered the US Treasury to sanction Iran’s “entire” Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Only hours earlier, Tillerson had said that was impractical for such a large organisation and that instead, selective sanctions would be used against individuals and entities responsible for arming and funding militant groups abroad.
The administration’s new, tougher policy on Iran appears to be a messy compromise between a president determined to obliterate the diplomatic legacy of his predecessor, and his top cabinet officials and US allies, who have sought to preserve the agreement as way of avoiding a new nuclear crisis in the Middle East.
The implications of that approach are unclear. The other signatories to the deal, including three European allies, Russia, China and Iran, have said renegotiation is impossible.
Within minutes, the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, issued a stinging rebuke to Trump’s threat, pointing out that the nuclear deal had been enshrined in a UN security council resolution in 2015, that could not simply be terminated by one country.
“To my knowledge there is not one single country in the world that can terminate a UN security council resolution that has been adopted,” Mogherini told journalists in Brussels. “The president of the United States has many powers, but not this one.”
But Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was quick to praise the speech, in a video prerecorded before the beginning of the Jewish sabbath in Israel.
Netanyahu, who has for years lobbied for a tougher US policy against Iran and who had clearly been briefed on the content, said he wanted to “congratulate President Trump for his courageous decision today” and for “boldly confront[ing] Iran’s terrorist regime”.
“President Trump has just created an opportunity to fix this bad deal, to roll back Iran’s aggression, and to confront its criminal support of terrorism. That’s why Israel embraces this opportunity,” he said.
In the week that allegations against Harvey Weinstein rocked Hollywood, Fabrizio Lombardo has emerged as a central figure in the scandal – the so-called “Italian connection” accused of enabling the American producer’s alleged sexual harassment and abuses.
Two women – Asia Argento and Zoë Brock – have claimed that Lombardo, who formerly worked as a Miramax executive in Italy, helped set up encounters with Weinstein under false pretences.
Argento, an Italian actor, has accused Lombardo of leading her to Weinstein’s suite in the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in the south of France in 1997, after he falsely told her she would be attending a party. When they arrived at the room she found the movie mogul alone, and Argento alleges the meeting led to her being raped by Weinstein.
Brock, a model and writer from New Zealand, said Weinstein made unwanted sexual advances when she was 23 years old, and that Lombardo was part of the “pack of hyenas” who would “hunt” for him, enabling the producer’s alleged abuses.
Sitting in his attorney’s office in Rome, in an old palazzo tucked between the Tiber and the Vatican, an old picture of Federico Fellini and Robert De Niro leaning against the wall, Lombardo responded to the multiple allegations with a mix of irritated incredulity and steadfast denials.
“I did not hunt for him,” Lombardo said in direct response to Brock’s allegation. “It is not my style … it is not my relationship with Weinstein,” he added.
For decades, Weinstein was a Hollywood kingmaker. He is now facing allegations of sexual misconduct from more than two dozen women, and three allegations of rape. Weinstein has “unequivocally denied” any “allegations of non-consensual sex” and has said he is hoping to get a “second chance”.
But as more stories of his allegedly predatory behaviour emerge, so too are questions about the people in Weinstein’s intimate circle who may have known and indeed helped the producer to gain physical access to young and unsuspecting women.
Among many questions about Lombardo’s relationship with Weinstein is what role he played at Miramax, which reportedly continued to pay the Italian executive for months after the production company’s short-lived Italy office was closed in 2003, according to an account that was published in 2004 by the New York Times.
Lombardo emphatically denies that he ever brought a then-21-year-old Argento to Weinstein’s suite in 1997, when they were attending the Cannes film festival. He also said he could not recall having ever met Brock, although the model told the Guardian that Lombardo invited her to his home in Rome, which he shared with his then-girlfriend and where she once spent the night.
Lombardo rejected the notion that any single man can enable another man’s sexual abuse of a woman by bringing the woman to an abuser’s hotel room.
“So you can’t complain with the driver or with the doorman of the hotel who sends the woman up, you see what I mean?” Lombardo said.
Weinstein, Lombardo said, would not have needed him to meet women or anyone else. “He can pick up the phone and have lunch or dinner with whoever he wants,” he added.
He denied any knowledge of Weinstein’s sexual activities, saying that such things were not discussed among men, especially situations in which a man might be rejected by a woman.
In an hour-long interview, Lombardo acknowledged, however, that he had introduced the media mogul to “countless” people over the years. He said meetings took place in Weinstein’s hotel suites because he and the people he met with were famous.
Asked whether he ever questioned what Weinstein’s intentions might have been when he met young women privately, Lombardo said: “You cannot talk about [intentions]. Out of 1,000 people, to know his intentions with three people, I don’t know … it’s impossible.”
Pressed about whether he knew what was happening behind closed doors, he claimed: “But you are joking. Of course not.” He said: “What world are you talking about?” and added that Guardian journalists had a biased view of men.
The allegations against Weinstein have “shocked” him, Lombardo said, but he declined to comment further.
Brock, 43, alleged that Weinstein made unwanted sexual advances at Cannes film festival in 1997. She told the Guardian she had been in Weinstein’s hotel room with a few other people when they left, leaving her “suddenly … alone in a remote hotel suite with Harvey fucking Weinstein”. She alleged that Weinstein took his clothes off and asked her for a massage, forcing her to run into a bathroom to escape.
She said what most disturbed her was how a network of men, including Lombardo, had allegedly enabled Weinstein on the night of her encounter, seemingly setting her up to be one-on-one in the hotel.
“They went behind my back, betrayed me and organised a date with the guy. That was just horrifying to me,” she said. “That is the most sinister thing. We’re all used to predators working alone, but when they band up like a pack of hyenas, that’s a whole other ballgame.”
She said of Weinstein’s links to Lombardo: “That is scary that a man is that powerful that he can convince other people to hunt for him … What does that say about society? What does that say about humanity that we would do that? It’s so disturbing to me.”
Argento has also pointed a finger of blame at Lombardo, who she said took her to Weinstein’s room when she was 21, in 1997, and claimed it was a Miramax party.
She told the New Yorker that when she questioned why no one else was there, Lombardo – referred to in the article as “the producer” – said they had arrived “too early”, before leaving her alone. The alleged rape occurred after he left.
Lombardo contacted Argento for the first time in years last week. On 5 October, the day the New York Times broke the story of Weinstein’s alleged serial abuse and harassment, Lombardo sent Argento two messages on Whatsapp that he claimed were jokes. In one, a man wakes up next to a woman in bed after a night of drinking and tries to escape what he believes to be a bad one-night stand, only to see a photograph of the woman downstairs. She’s his wife. In another alleged joke, former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi – who is known for having had “bunga bunga” sex parties with young women – is pictured with a car and a licence plate that reads “escort”.
In an earlier interview with Lombardo’s attorney, Bruno della Ragione, the attorney joked that Argento was the “virgin of 2017”. He also suggested that Weinstein’s rapid downfall could be the result of a financial conspiracy against the producer.
Lombardo said he sent the messages to Argento by accident. Pulling out his iPhone, he showed a reporter how he regularly sends memes and jokes to his contacts, and that he unwittingly sent the two to Argento, coincidentally as the Weinstein story was breaking.
“I sent it by mistake. Maybe hers was close to another name,” he said.
Underlying some of the allegations are broader questions about Lombardo’s role at Miramax. The former executive said he first met Weinstein when the two used to vacation on the Caribbean island of St Barts where Weinstein would stay with his family and Lombardo was with friends.
Lombardo was hired by Miramax to head the company’s Italian division a few years after they met. According to the New York Times, Miramax paid Lombardo, who was described by the paper as a “longtime friend” of Weinstein, for months after the Italy division was closed, even though he held another full-time job at a real estate company.
Miramax’s decision to hire Lombardo in 1999 was controversial, according to the New York Times. He had scant experience in the film industry, but Weinstein insisted he be brought on board.
TODAY’S BIRTHDAY (Oct. 13). Many times you’ve cycled through the spring of hope, the toil of summer, the autumn of reaping and the dormant dreams of winter. This time will not be the same. Now you gather new energies and ideas, and you’ll emerge in 2018 a transformed being. Broaden your scope in March. Travel in May. Give back in July. Aries and Taurus adore you. Your lucky numbers are: 9, 40, 2, 33 and 14.
ARIES (March 21-April 19). If you find you are spending just as much time thinking about what is not happening as you are thinking about what is, know that it’s the thought-ratio of unhappiness. More time in the present moment equals more happiness.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20). The word amateur literally means ”one who loves.” Those who do not exchange their work for money have the luxury of delivering the very purest personal expression. Enjoy being in the amateur stage for as long as it lasts.
GEMINI (May 21-June 21). You’ll witness some brilliant creativity and perhaps participate in it. Don’t be surprised if there’s something a little subversive about it, as that’s usually part and parcel with creative brilliance.
CANCER (June 22-July 22). Traditions speak to a group identity and from them can spring a sense of belonging. It’s a fine time to make some plans for these final parts of the year that will build the bond between you and the people you care about.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22). You need attention. Everyone does. But few work at making it so worthwhile for others to give it to them. You offer a lot of fun, usefulness and loveliness in return for their focus. This is what you’ll be up to today.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22). There’s something dangerous about having your money easily accessible to you today. The more time you take to think about your purchases, the better off you’ll be.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 23). You have passed this way before, but don’t worry: You’re not falling backward, regressing, or repeating needless and mindless patterns. You’re simply getting extremely familiar with this road that you will soon own.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 21). A high-intensity life can still be a happy one, but it works a lot better when you have healthy release valves built into it. Go on the search for better ways to equalize the pressure and effectively cope.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21). You’ve a sense about what others want from you — not the obvious need on the surface, but the underlying craving that they wouldn’t dare ask for even if they could articulate it.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19). The joy isn’t in the other thing: It’s in you. Furthermore, joy doesn’t get stolen all that often. Usually people hand it over in a mindless or weak moment. Protect your joy.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18). Your alone thoughts are different from the thoughts you have when others are around. It’s time to consider how the physical and emotional presence of another human being changes things for better or worse.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20). You aren’t trying to make a person love you, though you wouldn’t mind if it happened naturally. You’re ready for a little more respect, friendship, attention and even passion.
Le fondateur du studio Miramax, puis de la société de production Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein, est accusé de viol par trois femmes et de harcèlement sexuel par de nombreuses actrices, mannequines et employées. C’est le New York Times qui a révélé ces accusations dans une enquête publiée le 5 octobre.
Depuis, les révélations et les condamnations se suivent. La presse américaine dénonce une « culture de la complicité » et un « système misogyne ». En écho, l’actrice Jane Fonda a ainsi révélé le 12 octobre avoir été au courant « depuis un an » des agissements du producteur et dit avoir « honte de s’être tue ». « Nous ne pouvons pas continuer à rendre responsables les femmes à qui cela arrive », a dénoncé de son côté, l’actrice Emma Thompson, qui parle d’un véritable « système de harcèlement et de dénigrement ».