remarks & sparks feature

Remarks & Sparks – This World News In Focus

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Korea: U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Friday (May 25) that a summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un might be held as scheduled.

The U.S. President had just cancelled the planned summit scheduled for 12 June in Singapore on Thursday.

In a personally dictated three-paragraph letter, Trump explained his decision because of the “tremendous anger and open hostility displayed” in a recent statement made by North Korea.

Last week, the U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence made comments comparing North Korea’s denuclearization with Libya, where its leader, Moammar Gadhafi, was captured and killed in 2011 after striking a deal with the U.S. in giving up nuclear weapons.

Denouncing America’s comments as offensive and calling Pence a “political dummy,” North Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui issued an angry statement on Thursday (May 24) suggesting that Kim Jong Un might have to reconsider attending the summit.

North Korea later appeared conciliatory following Trump’s letter, saying it was willing to talk “at any time in any form,” and the U.S. President told the media that lines of communication had opened between the two countries to make preparation for the summit.

For more we go to CBS News:

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Saudi Arabia: Several women’s rights activists were arrested and called “traitors” – only weeks before the country lifts its prohibition on women driving.

Three activists were detained on Tuesday (22 May), according to the Human Rights Watch, adding to the ten campaigners who have been arrested over the weekend.  The kingdom’s most prominent human rights campaigner, Mohammed al-Bajadi, was arrested on Friday (25 May).

The arrests were believed to be related to the impending lifting of a ban on female drivers, which takes effect on June 24, and to the anti-guardianship campaign.

Saudi King Salman issued a royal decree in September last year allowing drivers’ licenses be issued to women without their having obtained a permission from a legal guardian and without having a guardian in the car when they drive.

Saudi Arabia’s guardianship system also requires women to obtain permission from their fathers, brothers, husbands, or even sons for a host of life decisions.

The Saudi government explained that the campaigners were arrested for “suspicious contacts with foreign entities and offering financial support to enemies overseas.”  Meanwhile, Saudi government-directed media described accused the campaigners as “traitors.”

But the detentions are seen as a continuous crackdown on perceived critics of the government.

For more on Saudi Arabia’s female drivers, we go to BBC News:

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Business: The UK mid-market clothing and food retailer Marks & Spencer announced more store closures last week.

The retailer said on Tuesday (May 22) that it would close 100 shops in the UK by 2022 to salvage the company from chronic sales and profits drop.  These stores mainly sell clothing, homewares, and food.

The new wave of shop closures is an expansion of a program that began 18 months ago to cut the amount of shop space for the retailer’s clothing ranges.

Marks & Spencer considered this vital for the future of the struggling retail business, according to Sacha Berendji, the Marks & Spencer retail, operations, and property director.

The company reported a sharp fall in annual profits on Wednesday (May 23) with pretax profits falling by 62 percent to £66.8m (US$88.9 mil).

A large portion of the retailer’s clothing and homewares business would move online over the next five years as Marks & Spencer’s shop closure plan proceeds, but thousands of jobs are expected to be removed from the employment market.

For more we go to Good Morning Britain:

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Image (Lit Fuse) Courtesy of Lukasz Pawel Szczepanski / Shutterstock.com