Daily News Roundup

June 13, 2018

Image: ABC

Wednesday June 13

While the talks between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore focused on denuclearisation and peace on the Korean Peninsula, the North Korean leader’s human rights record was also on the agenda.

Mr Kim has been accused of committing a string of human rights abuses, including holding thousands of people in gulags, mass starvation of the North Korean people and countless assassinations of political rivals and family members.

Despite the strong focus on denuclearisation, Mr Trump said he managed to bring up the issue of human rights with the North Korean dictator.

“I believe it is a rough situation over there. No question about it. We did discuss it today strongly,” Mr Trump told a news conference after the meeting in Singapore.

“They will be doing things and I think he wants to do things.  He wants to do the right thing.”

Mr Trump added that he wanted improvement on human rights from the North Korean leader.

“I want significant improvement. I want to start that process. Although you cannot finish that process for a while, but you cannot go back,” Mr Trump said.

But the calls for action came amid surprising praise for the leader he had traded insults with over the past 12 months.

“He is very talented,” Mr Trump said.

“Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough, I don’t say it was nice, he ran it — very few people at that age, you can take one out of 10,000 probably who couldn’t do it.”

But in the past, Mr Trump has been far more critical of Mr Kim’s human rights record, claiming the dictator is leading one of the most brutal regimes in the world.

“No-one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the wellbeing of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea,” Mr Trump said during his infamous ‘little rocket man’ speech to the United Nations last year.

“It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans, and for the imprisonment, torture, killing and oppression of countless more.”

When asked by a reporter if he was betraying the prisoners in North Korea by meeting with Mr Kim and legitimising the government , Mr Trump said:

“No, I think I’ve helped them, because I think things will change. At a certain point, I really think he’s going to do something about it.

“I think they are one of the great winners today … that large group of people that you are talking about. I think they will be one of the great winners as a group.”

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AUSTRALIAN coach Justin Langer has spoken of his devastation at Australia’s involvement in ball-tampering earlier this year, a scandal that led to his appointment as head coach following the resignation of Darren Lehmann.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports Cricket Langer and newly-appointed captain Tim Paine talk candidly about their roles in overseeing a culture change in the Australian team.

Speaking to Nasser Hussain, Langer said: “There were too many whispers in the last 12 months or so about the abuse on the field, or dare I say, the side playing like spoilt brats.

“When that moment [the ball-tampering] happened, as a past player and lover of Australia, I nearly died. And when I saw it was Cameron Bancroft, my heart nearly came out of my chest, I couldn’t believe it.”

Despite that, Langer has stated his Australia will continue to sledge opposition teams as they look to play hard, but fair, cricket, starting with their five-match ODI series against England.

Langer also shared a candid assessment of Steve Smith’s captaincy in the 12 months prior to his downfall as Australian skipper during the tour of South Africa.

Nasser Hussain: [To Langer] As a coach, at Western Australia, did you see anything from a distance about the culture of the Australian side that made you think ‘that’s not right’?

Justin Langer: The whispers were there, weren’t they Nass? Once upon a time, the opposition didn’t like us because we played really good, hard cricket — we were very skilful and we won a lot of games. It’s easy to dislike the opposition if they’re good, but there have been too many whispers in the last 12 months or so about the abuse on the field, or dare I say, the side playing like spoilt brats.

NH: They were some very dark days in South Africa: tell us how a cricket team gets into that situation?

Tim Paine: I don’t think it goes back to any one individual, but not living by our behaviours over a sustained period of time — not one year, two years, but probably even longer than that. It meant that something like Cape Town was probably going to happen, due to brushing over little things. But, the little things can turn into big things when you take your eye off the ball. It was a really difficult time.

NH: [To Langer] The side of your era played it hard — you had some mongrels; you weren’t the most liked side. What was the difference between your side and Steve Smith’s?

JL: I think Steve Smith maybe just wasn’t strong enough in his leadership. But, he loves the game of cricket — he practices harder than anyone I’ve ever met — and he is a very, very nice young lad. There’s no doubt about that.

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The prime ministers of Greece and Macedonia say they have agreed on “Republic of Northern Macedonia” as the new name for the Balkan country, ending a bitter 27-year dispute that had prevented the former Yugoslav republic from joining international institutions such as NATO.

Greece’s Alexis Tsipras and Macedonia’s Zoran Zaev made the announcements shortly after speaking by phone, the ABC reports.

The new name — which in Macedonian is Severna Makedonija — will be used both domestically and internationally, while Macedonia will also amend its constitution as part of the deal.

Greece had long demanded that Macedonia change or modify its name to avoid any claim to the territory and ancient heritage of Greece’s northern region of Macedonia — birthplace of ancient warrior king Alexander the Great.

“There is no way back,” Mr Zaev told a news conference as he explained the decision.

“We have been solving a two-and-a-half decade dispute … that has been drowning the country,” he said, adding that the deal “will strengthen the Macedonian identity”.

Mr Tsipras said the deal dictates “a clear distinction between Greek Macedonia and our northern neighbours”.

“We have a deal,” Mr Tsipras said.

“I’m happy because we have a good deal which covers all the preconditions set by the Greek side,” he told Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos during a televised meeting.

“[The deal] puts an end to the irredentism which their current constitutional name implies.”

He added that Macedonia “cannot and will not be able in the future to claim any connection with the ancient Greek civilisation of Macedonia”.

The dispute over the “Macedonia” name had been a thorn in relations of the two countries at least since 1991, when Macedonia broke away from former Yugoslavia, declaring its independence under the name Republic of Macedonia.

Athens, which has a northern region also called Macedonia bordering on the ex-Yugoslav republic, objected to the name, demanding it be changed.

The row has stymied Macedonian attempts to join the European Union and the NATO military alliance in a region where the two organisations jostle for influence with Russia.

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