Russian Diplomats Get Booted Out

The United States and its European allies are expelling dozens of Russian diplomats in a co-ordinated response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK.

It is said to be the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history.

More than 20 countries have aligned with the UK, expelling more than 100 diplomats.

Russia vowed to retaliate to the “provocative gesture”.

Russia denies any role in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, southern England. The pair remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

EU leaders agreed last week it was highly likely Russia was behind the nerve-agent poisoning.

Mrs May said: “President Putin’s regime is carrying out acts of aggression against our shared values and interests within our continent and beyond.

“And as a sovereign European democracy, the United Kingdom will stand shoulder to shoulder with the EU and with Nato to face down these threats together.”

Maybe Putin will think twice about using chemical weapons on foreign soil to eliminate his enemies.  It was so traceable back to Russia.  Why not just use a handgun with a silencer?

Expelled Russian diplomats arriving back in Moscow.

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The Tit for Tat Insult Barrage between Trump and Kim Jong Un

When Trump got elected I had a feeling these two would eventually get down and dirty with each other.

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North Korea’s official news agency responded Tuesday to President Trump’s controversial “nuclear button tweet,” describing it as the “spasm of a lunatic,” according to the Associated Press.

“Trump’s bluff is regarded by the DPRK as just a spasm of a lunatic frightened by the might of Juche Korea and a bark of a rabid dog,” said the report, which summarized a commentary in the ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun. DPRK is the abbreviation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name. Juche is the North Korean state ideology, often translated as self-reliance.

“The spasm of Trump in the new year reflects the desperate mental state of a loser who failed to check the vigorous advance of the army and people of the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea]. . . . He is making [a] bluff only to be diagnosed as a psychopath,” it added.

North Korean media were referring to the U.S. president’s response to Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Day taunt two weeks ago that his nuclear button was always on his desk. Trump tweeted Jan. 3 that his “nuclear button” was “much bigger & more powerful” than the North Korean leader’s. He went on to threaten that the U.S. arsenal “works.”

Pyongyang still agreed later on to high-level talks with Seoul, which has raised hopes of an improvement of relations with South Korea.

But North Korea’s latest mocking of Trump — even though it may not be unusual — certainly won’t help to calm tensions, especially given that Trump has responded to previous North Korean provocations by referring to Kim as “rocket man,” “short and fat” and “madman.”

John Cole / Scranton Times Tribune

Here is how the Trump-Kim rhetoric escalated in 2017. Here are some excerpts:

April 28: Approaching his 100th day in office, Trump tells Reuters a “major, major” conflict with North Korea is possible but that he still seeks diplomacy.

May 14: Kim celebrates the test of a ballistic missile. He’s quoted by state media saying, “If the U.S. awkwardly attempts to provoke the DPRK, it will not escape from the biggest disaster in the history.”

May 23: The Post reports that Trump called Kim a “madman with nuclear weapons” during a phone conversation weeks before with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Trump said: Kim’s “rockets are crashing. That’s the good news,” according to a transcript obtained by The Post.

Aug. 8: Trump warns North Korea that it will be met with “fire and fury” if it continues to threaten the United States. It is his harshest language yet against the regime.

Aug. 9: North Korea responds by saying it is reviewing plans to target the U.S. territory of Guam. “The nuclear war hysteria of the U.S. authorities including Trump has reached an extremely reckless and rash phase for an actual war,” said the KCNA, North Korea’s official state media.

Sept. 17: Trump taunts Kim on Twitter: “I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!”

Sept. 22: Kim calls Trump a “mentally deranged dotard,” prompting the public to search for the definition of the archaic insult.

Sept. 23: Trump tweets: “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”

Sept. 19: Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly, Trump threatens to “totally destroy North Korea” and says “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself.”

Oct. 1: Trump sends two tweets. One at 9:30 a.m. EST, saying Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” and another at 2 p.m. saying he “won’t fail” to rein in Kim.

Nov. 11: After reports surface that North Korean state media referred to Trump as a “lunatic old man,” Trump tweets: “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!”

Trump’s Jan. 3 tweet about his “nuclear button” drew perhaps the strongest condemnations, as observers from the United States and abroad condemned the remarks as ill-advised and “infantile.”

“Trump plays with the subject so carelessly and recklessly as if it were some kind of video game,” commented Aaron David Miller, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars who has advised several secretaries of state.

In their Tuesday responses to the tweet, North Korean media also appeared to address speculation over President Trump’s mental fitness, which was raised in the controversial “Fire and Fury” book. Trump has rejected the claims made in the book and has boasted about being “like, really smart” and a “very stable genius” in response.

Washington Post

This stuff is actually very funny, unfortunately using one of Trump’s favourite terms, it is also very very SAD!

A Pair of Delusional World Leaders Arguing Over Who Has the Biggest Button

In his sixth annual New Years address, Kim Jong Un stated that the United States can’t wage war against his country in any form because he had “the entire mainland of the U.S.” within reach of his intercontinental ballistic missiles and that he has a “nuclear button” always on the desk in his office. The young tyrant emphasized that “this is not a threat but a reality.”

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The mental image of North Korea’s already comic book-like super villain leader having a big red button on his desk that would bring about a massive war, and even a nuclear exchange, on a whim is bordering on Dr. Evil territory. But who knows, the ultra paranoid leadership in Pyongyang knows full well that their command and control systems would come under near instant electronic and cyber attack—and eventually kinetic attack—the second hostilities are detected, so simplifying and turbocharging the command release procedure for the country’s nuclear stockpile could very well be a primary goal of the regime. At the very least it would lend credibility to the country’s nuclear deterrent, albeit in a terribly frightening way. At the same time it could mean recalling the country’s nuclear forces once an order is given could be near impossible.

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Not to be outdone:

Late on Jan. 2, 2018, Trump took to his preferred outlet, Twitter, to slam Kim over his pronouncement and mock North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons and missile capabilities. In the past, the President has made bold threats of “fire and fury” against the North Korean regime and suggested it might be necessary to “totally destroy” the country if the government in Pyongyang doesn’t abandon its advanced weapons programs.

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.'” Trump Tweeted out. “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

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Where is this going to end? World leaders that are complete idiots.

North Korean calendars show no birthday for Kim Jong-un

BBC

  • 21 December 2017
  • kim11
Image captionKim Jong-un’s birthday is just another day in North Korea

New year calendars recently published in North Korea make no mention of leader Kim Jong-un’s birthday, six years after he rose to power.

The Supreme Leader’s birthday – widely believed to be 8 January – will be marked as a regular working Monday in the Communist country, according to 2018 calendars shown on the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) channel in Japan.

The birthday of Mr Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, is celebrated on 16 February every year as the Day of the Shining Star; while his grandfather Kim Il-sung’s birthday on 15 April is marked as the Day of the Sun.

Both of these national holidays were established while the Kim ancestors were still alive, but it is unknown why North Korea has still not publicly confirmed Kim Jong-un’s birthday or marked the day as a public holiday.

The nearest North Korea has come to acknowledging his birthday was in 2014, when visiting basketball player Dennis Rodman sang “Happy Birthday” to him after an exhibition match in Pyongyang.

While viewers outside of North Korea were able to see video of Rodman’s performance, domestic audiences were merely told that the former NBA player had “sung him a special song”.

Kim Jong-un and Dennis Rodman in Pyongyang, January 2014Image copyrightKCNA
Image captionKim Jong-un and Dennis Rodman met on the North Korean leader’s alleged birthday in 2014

From military to marketing

The 2018 calendars obtained by TBS are available at hotels and bookstores in North Korea as well as in the few North Korean restaurants remaining in foreign countries. They show goods manufactured in the country, including liquor, ginseng and shoes.

North Korean calendars have previously heavily featured the military or the Kim family.

But Seoul-based Daily NK notes that this year’s calendar is more geared toward promoting North Korean consumer goods, as well as landscapes and cooking.

Daily NK says that this suggests that sales of earlier “propaganda calendars” were falling.

The April, May and June pages from one North Korean calendarImage copyrightTBS
Image captionApril, May and June: Electronics, sporting goods and chemical products

One particular product in this year’s calendar has caused bemusement on Japanese television: a “health watch”, complete with “natural calcite polarising prisms”.

The product, pictured on the September page, is reportedly “designed to improve blood circulation and strengthen the the whole body’s immune system”.

It purports to do this by “using sunlight that passes through the hole on the right side of its face”.

Perhaps ironically, the hole is exactly where the calendar function might be on an analogue watch.

North Korea's so-called "health watch"Image copyrightTBS
Cynics might suggest the “hole” is where the watch calendar function should be

Crazy little “Rocket Man”
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Dennis Rodman sings Happy Birthday to Kim Jong Un. This is painful, watch at your discretion.

Reporting by Alistair Coleman

Dennis Rodman Says His Friend Kim Jong Un Is ‘Probably’ a Madman, ‘But I Don’t See It’

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Former basketball star Dennis Rodman has spoken candidly about his odd friendship with Kim Jong Un, stating the North Korean dictator is “probably a madman, but I don’t see it.”

The unlikely relationship between the pair was the topic of discussion on Wednesday evening, when Rodman appeared as a guest on The Late Show. Host Stephen Colbert told the the four-time NBA rebound leader: “you must be high,” as he discussed the friendship between the pair.

Rodman explained he and Kim have a good relationship, although he stopped short of calling them “best friends,” explaining he had visited the isolated nation a number of times over the past four years.

“When I went over there, the first thing he said to me was, ‘Mr. Rodman, we just want to know, can we trust you?’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’ And that’s how our conversation started,” Rodman told Colbert.

“I don’t really judge people, you know, by their color. I don’t judge where they come from. I just judge people where, you know, we’re all human beings. You know, throughout the day, we’re all human beings. It’s funny though that I don’t see how people can sit there and say that this person is a ‘madman.’ He probably is, but I didn’t see that. But he probably is,” Rodman added.

His comments come as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea become increasingly strained amid missile launches from North Korea and fiery rhetoric from the leaders of both nations.

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But despite Pyongyang suggested the U.S. was “begging for war” at the beginning of December, as it announced the largest ever aerial drill with South Korea, Rodman said he does not believe his friend is looking to start a nuclear conflict.

“He’s more like a kid than anything,” Rodman insisted.

“He’s a kid, but he’s a kid with nuclear weapons,” Colbert shot back.

Several days prior to the interview, Rodman suggested there should be a meeting between Trump and Kim, announcing that he had three messages for Washington from North Korea, although he did not elaborate on what they were.

North Korea Accuses Trump of Declaring War on Twitter

What’s next? Trump is all over the board. Calling world leaders madmen, then flipping back to his war with the NFL.

North Korea’s foreign minister has accused US President Donald Trump of declaring war on his country and said Pyongyang had the right to shoot down US bombers.

Ri Yong-ho said this could apply even if the warplanes were not in North Korea’s airspace.

The White House dismissed the statement as “absurd”. The Pentagon warned Pyongyang to stop provocations.

A UN spokesman said fiery talk could lead to fatal misunderstandings.

Mr Ri’s comments were a response to Mr. Trump’s tweet that the North Korean leadership would not “be around much longer” if they continued their rhetoric.

“The whole world should clearly remember it was the US who first declared war on our country,” Mr Ri told reporters as he was leaving New York, where he had addressed the UN General Assembly on Saturday.

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One little faux pas and it’s off to the hard labor gulag.

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“Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make counter-measures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country.”

Mr Trump’s tweet followed Mr Ri’s fiery speech to the UN on Saturday, when he described the US president as a “mentally deranged person full of megalomania” on a “suicide mission”.

The latest North Korean threat to shoot down US warplanes comes in the wake of a recent US patrol that took its B1-B Lancer bombers and their accompanying F-15 fighter escorts over waters to the east of North Korea – the furthest north US warplanes have flown for several months, albeit still outside Pyongyang’s airspace.

The US believes it has every right to do this but if one day Pyongyang judges that these aircraft are on an offensive mission – what then?

US Bombers Fly Near Military Demarcation Line Between Two Koreas

Trump and Kim call each other mad

Kim Jong-un has said remarks by “mentally deranged dotard” US President Donald Trump have convinced him he is right to develop weapons for North Korea.

In an unprecedented personal statement, Mr Kim said Mr Trump would “pay dearly” for a UN speech where he threatened to “totally destroy” the North if the US was forced to defend itself.

Mr Trump responded that the “madman… will be tested like never before”.

The two countries have engaged in ever more heated rhetoric in recent months.

China responded to the war of words, warning that the situation was “complicated and sensitive”.

“All relevant parties should exercise restraint instead of provoking each other,” said Foreign Minister spokesman Lu Kang.

Russia also urged restraint. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow was “deeply concerned by an escalation of tensions”.

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