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  • Handout/Getty Images(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- President Donald Trump saluted a North Korean general in an awkward moment captured on video and broadcast by North Korean state media on Thursday.The brief interaction was featured in a 42-minute-long program about Tuesday's unprecedented summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The program, narrated by North Korea's most famous newscaster, Ri Chun-hee, aired on state-run television two days after the summit in Singapore and a full day after Kim returned home to his country's capital, Pyongyang.In the video, Trump can be seen going to shake the hand of a North Korean general, who salutes the American president instead. Trump then returns the salute before the two finally shake hands, while Kim looks on as a grin spreads across his face.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(DUBLIN) -- Less than a month after Ireland held a remarkable referendum vote that legalized abortion, government officials announced plans this week to hold a referendum on removing the offense of blasphemy from its constitution.Ireland’s constitution, which was written in 1937 following its independence from the United Kingdom, states that the "publication of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offense which shall be punishable in accordance with law.”The Defamation Act of 2009 outlines a fine of just under $30,000 liable for anyone convicted of the offense, defining the act as “publishing or uttering matters that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion.”The last known conviction for blasphemy in Ireland was in 1855, according to the Irish news outlet The Journal.In 2015, police in Ireland investigated a complaint of blasphemy with regard to comments made by the author and broadcaster Stephen Fry on the Irish state broadcaster RTE.Fry was asked for his thoughts on the existence of God, to which he replied that “the god who created this universe, if it was created by God, is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, totally selfish.”The complaint was made by a member of the public who asked not to be identified.The investigation was dropped in 2017 after police failed to find a significant number of people offended by his comments.The announcement of the referendum follows a landmark vote last month to legalize abortion. Ireland was one of the last countries in Europe where abortion remained illegal.The government hopes for changes in the law on abortion to be effective by the end of the year.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) -- The U.S. ambassador to the Vatican returned a letter written by Christopher Columbus after it was stolen and replaced with a forgery, officials said.“The Columbus Letter, as it is known, is an account of the explorer’s discovery of America written in 1493 to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain,” according to a press release from the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.The letter was translated into Latin and several copies were distributed throughout Europe, the embassy said. The letter was stolen from the Vatican Library and sold in 2004, according to the Department of Justice.After the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Homeland Security Investigations discovered that the copy held in the Vatican was a fake, they contacted a man named Robert Parsons, who purchased a copy of the original letter in 2004, the release said.Parsons’ widow, Mary Parsons, decided to return the letter to the Vatican and relinquish her rights to it, according to a press release.U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Callista L Gingrich, delivered the letter to Vatican’s archivist and librarian, Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, and the prefect, Bishop Cesare Pasini.“The Columbus Letter, written in 1493, is a priceless piece of cultural history. I am honored to return this remarkable letter to the Vatican Library -- its rightful owner," Ambassador Gingrich said.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(SANAA, Yemen) -- A military coalition led by Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates forces, with vital guidance and supplies provided by the United States, has launched the largest assault of Yemen's war, with an attack on the massive port city of Hodeidah.As many as 22 million people -- three-quarters of Yemen’s population -- could be at risk of losing access to necessary food and medicines they receive through the port, amid a worsening humanitarian crisis on the verge of famine that the U.N. has described as the world’s most dire."Any attack on or significant, long-term disruption of operations of the port will have catastrophic consequences for the people of Yemen," Frank McManus, the International Rescue Committee's country director in Yemen, told ABC News.Saudi Arabian warplanes and warships began pounding the fortifications of the Iranian-supplied Houthi rebels Wednesday morning to support ground operation “Golden Victory,” led by Yemeni troops massed south of the port of Hodeidah, witnesses told reporters.The assault threatens the safety of humanitarian workers in the city, as well as around 400,000 people living there, McManus said."We condemn to the fullest extent the launch of an attack by the Saudi- and Emirati-led coalition on Yemen's port city of Hodeidah," he said.Human rights groups said airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition have killed and wounded thousands of civilians, often in indiscriminate attacks.Wednesday's military operations mark the first time the Arab states have launched such a wide-scale attack since joining the war three years ago against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who control the capital Sanaa and most of the populated areas of northern Yemen.The U.S. has backed the Saudi Arabian and Emirati forces through diplomacy, selling them billions of dollars per year in arms and providing logistical support such as warplane refueling and military intelligence.A major battle that throws the people of Yemen into further crisis and starvation could test that support."Hodeidah is absolutely essential to the preserving of life," the United Nation's emergency relief coordinator, Mark Lowcock, said this week. "If, for any periods, Hodeidah were not to operate effectively, the consequences, in humanitarian terms, would be catastrophic."Lowcock briefed the U.N. Security Council in a closed-door session on Monday and spoke to reporters afterwards."Ninety percent of the food and fuel and the medicines that are consumed in Yemen are imported; 70 percent of them come through Hodeidah,” he said. "Seven million people are completely relying every month on food and more than 7 million on other assistance from humanitarian organizations."On Wednesday, the U.N. further warned that escalating violence in Yemen could lead to a refugee exodus as more people flee the famine and fighting."It's actually surprising that an exodus has not happened yet," United Nations refugee chief Filippo Grandi told reporters in Geneva.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- The portrayal of Tuesday's historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is following predictable patterns in the U.S., often falling along party lines. But how is it playing out inside Kim's kingdom?All of the media, limited as it may be, in North Korea is controlled by the state. It is, of course, therefore an entirely positive review of the summit and the results.North Korea’s newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, featured a series of pictures of Trump and Kim Jong Un shaking hands and standing side by side on its front page on Wednesday. The headline reads, "A summit meeting of the century that pioneered a new history in DPRK-US relations," with a subheadline of "A joint statement adopted."Overall, the paper reads as if complete denuclearization was not a major issue. The article was written in chronological order, describing the day of the summit with plenty of praise for Kim's greatness and how well they got along.The article mentions "denuclearization" -- without the word "complete" -- only once, in a paragraph buried in context."Our dear great leader said many problems arose from deep-rooted mistrust and hostility that exists between the two countries, and in order to realize peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and denuclearization, both countries should promise to have understanding of and not be hostile to each other, and must establish legal, systematical measures that would assure such."The article ran across four pages out of the six-page newspaper with 33 color photos from the summit.North Korean TV’s most famous newsreader, Ri Chun Hee, also known as the "Pink Lady," announced the results of the Trump-Kim summit on Wednesday at 4 a.m. ET, specifically highlighting Trump’s "intention to halt the U.S.–South Korea joint military exercises" and "offer security guarantees to the DPRK and lift sanctions against it as mutual relations improve."Details about sanctions being lifted is unclear, as Trump specifically said they would not be lifted in a press conference following the summit."They share the same heritage, language, customs, culture and destiny, but to realize their amazing destiny, to reunite their national family, the menace of nuclear weapons will now be removed," Trump said of the Korean Peninsula. "In the meantime, the sanctions will remain in effect. We dream of a future where all Koreans can live together in harmony, where families are reunited and hopes are reborn, and where the light of peace chases away the darkness of war."Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the same thing to reporters on Tuesday, "This signed agreement has occurred with no relief from sanctions."Trump hailed the summit as a tremendous success in the hours after he departed Singapore on Tuesday. He tweeted thanks to Kim from Air Force One multiple times for the summit, which he called unprecedented and historic. Trump landed back in Washington just after 5 a.m. Wednesday."The World has taken a big step back from potential Nuclear catastrophe! No more rocket launches, nuclear testing or research! The hostages are back home with their families," he tweeted. "Thank you to Chairman Kim, our day together was historic!"Trump and Kim signed a document pledging that North Korea would take steps to denuclearize, while Trump also said he would be ending military exercises in South Korea. Both leaders invited each other to visit their respective capitals in the future. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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