North Korea Threatens Relations with the U.S. over Military Drills

By Nick Baum

WEDNESDAY – 5/16/18

North Korea made a statement yesterday stating that talks with South Korea have been suspended, and that the summit with the U.S. in Singapore might be canceled due to recent South Korea – US military drills on the southern half of the peninsula, as well as in the nearby sea. Kim Kye-gwan, an official in the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that if Trump wanted better relations, that they would get the response they “deserve”.

Also stated in the announcement, which was aired through North Korean State Media across the country, was that North Korea canceled a meeting with South Korean officials and that if talks of relations between North Korea and the US were meant to be, then US President Donald Trump wouldn’t bring denuclearization to the front table.

As of now, the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and United States President Donald Trump is still on, as it will be on June 12 in Singapore, a neutral location. However, peace talks between the US, South and North Korea have been thrown up due to North Korea’s response of American military drills.

Sources: CNN, CNN Politics, Wall Street Journal, CBS News,

EXCLUSIVE: US Embassy Opens in Jerusalem

By Nick Baum

TUESDAY – 5/15/18

Yesterday, the United States Embassy of Israel had officially moved from Tel Aviv and opened its new location in Jerusalem, with US President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. At the new opening ceremony beside the new location, both top officials from the U.S. and Israel attended, with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump representing the President, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The move had a mass support from Israelis and other citizens, but the move also met fierce opposition as well as protests and riots from Palestinians. 11 were killed in riots against the new embassy move, with the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) saying that one officer had to shoot three protesters who looked like they were about to shoot at him. Another officer also killed a few protesters after he found them rigging a fence with explosives.

Despite the death toll, the majority of opposition made peaceful protests, arguing that Jerusalem belongs to Palestine, some of which even arguing that Tel Aviv, the sight of the originally US embassy, should be moved elsewhere due to Tel Aviv being originally placed on Palestinian land. However, the move was still cheered by many locals, with Israeli parades supporting the move being held, as well as Jerusalem’s most famous soccer team and one of the best teams in the Israeli Premier League, Betar Jerusalem, officially changed its name to Beitar “Trump” Jerusalem, sparking outrage from many on the same team that also didn’t allow Arabs.

Sources: IDF,  Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Fox News

6 Killed in Suicide Bombing on Police HQ in Indonesia

By Nicholas Baum

MONDAY – 5/14/18

This morning, a family of four carried out a suicide bombing on the police headquarters of Indonesia’s second most populous city, Surabaya, killing six. In the attack, two motorcycles, each with one parent and a kid on the back, drove into the police headquarters building before detonating their bombs, still attached to their bodies. In addition to the six killed, four of them were the attackers and ten were wounded, six civilians and four officers.

The incident has been another attack in the string of suicide bombings in Indonesia last week. Three other attacks have been reported on various churches, killing a combined total of eight excluding the attackers’ deaths. The previous attacks have been thought to be done by a different family, as a husband and wife used their four kids to blow up different churches.

ISIS, through their Amaq News Agency, claimed responsibility for the three church attacks before, but hasn’t said anything about the recent police bombing. However, many have believed that the rise in suicide bombings correlates with the rise of Islamic extremism in the country, with many ISIS militants moving to different countries including Indonesia.

Sources: CNN, Fox News

Two Russian Military Planes Intercepted off of Alaska

By Nick Baum

SATURDAY – 5/12/18

Two Tupolev Tu-95 “Bear” planes belonging to the Russian Federation were intercepted by a pair of F-22 US stealth planes. The Russian planes were first spotted over international waters, but later entered “Air Defense Identification Zone”, an airspace that is not part of the US, but is still federal law for any aircraft within the zone to identify itself, as the Russian plane did not.

The report was first shared by a spokesman for NORAD, in charge of air command and defense in the United States, at about 10 AM. After the planes identified the zone, they eventually turned around back to the mainland according to the spokesman. Defense officials later reported to Fox News, stating that the airplanes went as close as 55 miles off Alaska’s west coast.

The two planes were part of a type of aircraft originally created during the Soviet Union, in the 1950’s. Both aircrafts were also identified to have nuclear capacity, and to have the power to fire nuclear weapons. A similar encounter happened a year ago, on May 3, 2017 with a Sukhoi Su-27 aircraft (the same type of plane as the picture above). The Russian aircraft traveled dangerously close to American air space, even entering within 20 feet of the air space before turning around.

Sources: CNN, Fox News

US-North Korea Summit is Set for June 12

By Nick Baum

FRIDAY – 5/11/18

After US President Donald Trump met with three freed American prisoners in North Korea, a time and place for the widely discussed summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has finally been agreed on, it will be on June 12 in Singapore, just south of Malaysia.

The date of June 12 is seen as a relatively soon date, yet giving both leaders time before hand to prepare. In February, Trump originally suggested for the summit to be by May, but settled for June with North Korea. As for the location of the meeting, intelligence officials in the US all agreed that Singapore is a neutral ground that can welcome in both sides, as opposed to other suggested locations like on a US battleship.

It is still unknown what other leaders will be attending the summit, or other personnel in the administration, but it is likely that CIA Director Mike Pompeo will join as he has already visited North Korea twice, both on terms to set up a time for the summit as well as escalating peace talks.

Sources: CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News

Trump Welcomes Released American Detainees

By Nick Baum

THURSDAY – 5/10/18

In the early hours of Thursday, the plane carrying three American detainees in North Korea had touched down at Joint Base Andrews right outside of Washington D.C. Following the survivors’ plane was another plane carrying CIA Director Mike Pompeo, whom travelled to North Korea to discuss a time and location for a later summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

During Pompeo’s visit, he also made a quick appointment to negotiate the release of three American prisoners in North Korea, Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song. Due to continuing peace talks, the country decided to release the three prisoners, and with the US offering plane rides back to their home country.

Despite news of continuing talks regarding the three prisoners, Join Base Andrews was quickly prepared for their arrival, and no family members of the detainees were allowed due to “protocol”. Also, all three of the prisoners were interviewed and met with intelligence officials before returning to the US.

Sources: CNN, The Washington Post

 

Trump Pulls US out of Iran Nuclear Deal

By Nick Baum

WEDNESDAY – 5/9/18

Yesterday, US President Donald Trump announced that the US will be pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Deal, a deal created in 2015 that in return for the US and other allies to pay Iran, Iran has to delay and stop progress on building nuclear weapons.

However, countries in the past have shared their skepticism of Iran’s promise, while others still believed they were keeping it. Just last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Israel and brought evidence from Iran that they were building nuclear weapons, and encouraging Trump to pull out of the deal.

Despite Netanyahu’s plea, Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal was because of his campaign promise to do so, and has before encouraged the United States to pull out of it, calling the deal “stupid” and “horrid”.

Sources: CBS News, CNN, Fox News