Trump Hopes for Successful North Korea Summit, But Warns He Could Walk Away
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he hoped an unprecedented summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would be successful after a recent visit to Pyongyang by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, but warned he would call it off if he did not think it would produce results. Trump told a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that his campaign of "maximum pressure" on North Korea would continue until Pyongyang gave up its nuclear weapons.
U.N. Team Fired Upon In Syria While Visiting Suspected Chemical Sites
A U.N. security team came under fire in Syria while doing reconnaissance for inspectors to visit sites of a suspected chemical weapons attack, and officials said it was no longer clear when the inspectors would be able to go in. The inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are in Syria to investigate an April 7 incident in which Western countries and rescue workers say scores of civilians were gassed to death by government forces.
Castro Nears Retirement as Cuban President, Lawmakers Vote On Successor
Cuba's Raul Castro was just hours away from retiring as president on Wednesday, with his vice president Miguel Diaz-Canel set to replace him in a shift that will usher in the island's first non-Castro leader since the 1959 revolution. Castro, 86, was due to step down on Thursday after 10 years in office. He announced his departure several years ago and has long signalled that Diaz-Canel, a 57-year-old Communist Party stalwart, was his likely successor, carefully managing the transition to ensure political continuity.
Trump Says U.S. In 'Extremely High' Level Talks with North Korea on Summit
President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States was engaged in direct talks at "extremely high levels" with North Korea to try to set up a summit between him and its leader, Kim Jong Un. Trump sowed some confusion by suggesting he had been speaking to Kim directly, but later clarified by saying: "Let's leave it a little bit short of the highest level." Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders added: "The president said the administration has had talks at the highest levels and added that they were not with him directly."
Syria Says Chemical Weapons Experts May Visit Douma on Wednesday
Syria's U.N. ambassador said a United Nations security team travelled to the Syrian town of Douma ahead of a planned visit by global chemical weapons experts on Wednesday to look into a suspected poison gas attack that sparked a U.S.-led retaliatory strike. Western countries say scores of civilians sheltering from bombs were gassed to death in Douma on April 7. Syria and its ally Russia deny that any chemical attack took place. "Today the U.N. security team entered Douma ... in order to assess the security situation on the ground and if this United Nations security team decided that the situation is sound in Douma then the fact-finding mission will begin its work in Douma tomorrow," Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.
In The Sierra Maestra, Castro Brothers' Revolution Lives On
In the rugged Sierra Maestra mountains near where Fidel Castro made his hideout as he led a guerrilla uprising in the late 1950s, Cubans say they are still grateful for the land reforms and modern amenities his leftist revolution brought. Fidel Castro's younger brother Raul Castro, 86, steps down as president this week. His successor is likely to be 57-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, the first time that Communist-run Cuba has had a leader born after the 1959 revolution.
U.S. Suggests Russia, Syria May Tamper With Douma Evidence, Moscow Denies
The United States accused Russia on Monday of blocking international inspectors from reaching the site of a suspected poison gas attack in Syria and said Russians or Syrians may have tampered with evidence on the ground. Moscow denied the charge and blamed delays on retaliatory U.S.-led missile strikes on Syria at the weekend.
U.S. Pastor Denies Allegations of Coup Links As Turkey Trial Begins
A U.S. pastor denied allegations of links to a group accused of orchestrating a failed military coup in Turkey as he went on trial on Monday in a case that has compounded strains in U.S.-Turkish relations. Andrew Brunson, a Christian pastor from North Carolina who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, was indicted on charges of helping the group that Ankara holds responsible for the failed 2016 coup against President Tayyip Erdogan. He faces up to 35 years in prison. "I've never done something against Turkey. I love Turkey. I've been praying for Turkey for 25 years. I want truth to come out," Brunson told the court in the western Turkish town of Aliaga, north of the Aegean city of Izmir.
In Damascus's Ravaged Farm Belt, Douma's Residents Jostle For Loaves
It used to provide fresh food for the Syrian capital; now its hungry people are queuing for bread handouts from a truck. For over a week now, Syrian government flags have flown over Douma, the biggest town in the agricultural eastern Ghouta region near Damascus, since rebels there surrendered after five years of siege.
U.S. Says Air Strikes Cripple Syria Chemical Weapons Program
(Reuters) - Western powers said on Saturday their missile attacks struck at the heart of Syria's chemical weapons program, but the restrained assault appeared unlikely to halt Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's progress in the 7-year-old civil war.