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North Korea state media plasters front pages with leader's Singapore trip

North Korea state media plasters front pages with leader's Singapore tripJust hours after Kim Jong Un wrapped up a surprise evening sightseeing tour of Singapore on Monday, the North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun crammed its front page with photographs snapped of the reclusive leader. The official newspaper of the Workers' Party of Korea featured 14 photographs, covering more than half of the front page of its Tuesday issue, showing Kim jovially walking with oficials from the city-state at a tropical garden as well as beside an infinity pool. The speed of the coverage in Rodong Sinmun and other state media is unusual in a country where events are often reported a full day, if not longer, after they happen. The sense of fun in the reporting is also a contrast with the more sober way in which the North Korean media would usually handle an official trip. It appears to reflect a new confidence among officials in North Korea that the isolated country has really been accepted onto the world stage. This is the furthest Kim is known to have traveled since he came to power in 2011 and there has never previously been a meeting between a US president and a North Korean leader. Kim Jong Un's late night stroll through Singapore makes the front page of the Rodong Sinmun back home – very unusual to see them report at this speed pic.twitter.com/qGcIuV7ssH— Martyn Williams (@martyn_williams) June 11, 2018 Despite all pomp and circumstance, ordinary North Koreans are not confident that improvement in relations between the North and the United States will last long and give them a better economy, defectors say. "They weren't too excited about the summit. North Korea had rice and medicine aid from the United States and other countries before, but that did not trickle down to ordinary people," said Park Hyun-sook, a defector who spoke to two relatives inside the North by phone on Saturday. "Under sanctions, we have figured out the way to live on our own. Even under any better relationship with the U.S., it would be the same," Park told Reuters. Park used to smuggle North Korean goods into China to make a living near the border. North Korean TV just aired a report on Kim's Sunday departure, arrival and meet with Singapore PM. 5 repeats scheduled today. If you're curious what "Donald J Trump" sounds like in Korean, see if you can hear Ri Chun Hee say his name. Full video: t.co/LpEIyUOAwUpic.twitter.com/jE9u3Nhaiy— Martyn Williams (@martyn_williams) June 11, 2018 Many North Koreans are still filled with deep-rooted distrust towards Trump, which state media previously called a "lunatic old man", said Daily NK, a news website run by North Korean defectors who retain contacts with sources inside. North Korea's official media brought a large number of reporters and camera operators to Singapore for the Kim trip, and they had access to various locations that was denied to media from elsewhere in the world. For previous trips by Kim to China, state media had mostly reported the visits after Kim had returned to Pyongyang. In the case of the inter-Korea summit – which began on the morning of April 27 – the coverage was largely delayed until early the next day. In addition to the pictures of Kim on the tour on Tuesday, separate landscape shots of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, and a bird's-eye view of Singapore from the hotel's observation deck were also shown. The meeting was played out on huge screens in central Tokyo Credit:  Koji Sasahara/ AP KCNA reported Kim as saying of the sightseeing tour that "Singapore is clean and beautiful and every building is stylish as he heard of in the past, adding he is going to learn a lot from the good knowledge and experience of Singapore in various fields in the future." On Monday, Rodong Sinmun had shown Kim just before departing Pyongyang for Singapore, shaking hands with his officials and waving his hand inside the entrance of an Air China airplane ahead of takeoff. State television aired the same photographs of Kim's departure as well as his arrival in Singapore and the North Korean leader's meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Presidential Palace. Protests, however, were held in South Korea where president Moon Jae-in watched on hopefully Credit:  JUNG YEON-JE/AFP The North Korean media still faces some barriers, though. It doesn't go live for such sensitive events. In the capital of Pyongyang, North Koreans watched a big TV screen playing still photographs of Kim's visit to Singapore and read a newspaper about the trip at a subway station, media photographs showed. But, on Tuesday, while all other international networks went live with Kim and Trump's first handshake and opening remarks at their meeting, the official Korean Central Television remained blank, choosing not to break with its usual broadcast schedule that usually begins five hours later.



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Charles Manson's Grandson Awarded Cult Leader's Body: 'I'm the Last Man Standing'

Charles Manson's Grandson Awarded Cult Leader's Body: 'I'm the Last Man Standing'The decision comes after a months-long court battle among several people who tried to claim the cult leader’s body.



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Fidel Castro's son 'takes own life': Late Cuban leader's eldest child found dead in Havana

Fidel Castro's son 'takes own life': Late Cuban leader's eldest child found dead in HavanaThe eldest son of Fidel Castro, the late Cuban revolutionary leader, has taken his own life, according to state media. Fidel Ángel Castro Díaz-Balart, a nuclear scientist known as "Fidelito" – or Little Fidel - due to his resemblance to his father, was found dead in Havana on Thursday morning. The 68-year-old had been suffering from depression. State television in Cuba reported that he had been receiving medical treatment as an outpatient in recent months, following a hospital stay. "Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart, who had been treated by a group of doctors for several months due to deep depression, took his life this morning," Cuba's official newspaper Granma reported. A nuclear physicist trained by the former Soviet Union, Castro Díaz-Balart was a scientific adviser for the Cuban Council of State at the time of his death. Fidel Ángel Castro Díaz-Balart, centre, leads a convoy along Havana's streets in January 2009 Credit: AFP/Getty Castro Díaz-Balart, who had the highest public profile of all Castro's children, was born in 1949 out of the former leader's brief marriage to Mirta Diaz-Balart. The younger Castro was very popular in Cuba, despite having never held a political position.  Fidel Ángel Castro Díaz-Balart, right, next to his father in February 2002 Credit: ADALBERTO ROQUE /AFP Many Cubans remember him as a little boy dressed in an olive drab military uniform, accompanying his father on January 8, 1959 as he entered Havana triumphantly after the revolution. The younger Castro was always faithful to his father's communist ideals. His death came 15 months after that of his father at the age of 90. Video: World reaction to Fidel Castro's death At his father's funeral, Castro Díaz-Balart was seen standing alongside five half-siblings that his father had with another woman, Dalia Soto del Valle. A scientist who studied physics in the former Soviet Union, Castro Díaz-Balart helped usher in the development of a nuclear power program in the Communist-ruled country. The eldest son (centre) of late Cuban leader Fidel Castro holds a Cuban national flag as he looks at the urn with the ashes of his father Credit: RONALDO SCHEMIDT /AFP At the time of his death, he had served as a scientific adviser to the Cuban government and was vice president of the country's Academy of Sciences. Funeral arrangements will be made by the family, state media said.



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New York Times Responds To Backlash From Mormons Over Late Leader's Obit

New York Times Responds To Backlash From Mormons Over Late Leader's ObitMore than 160,000 people have signed a petition urging The New York Times to rewrite its obituary for Mormon leader Thomas Monson, who died last week.



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US airstrike kills 16 Afghan policemen in Helmand as Taliban leader's son believed dead in suicide attack 

US airstrike kills 16 Afghan policemen in Helmand as Taliban leader's son believed dead in suicide attack A US airstrike has killed 16 policemen in Afghanistan, officials said Saturday, the latest setback to Washington's efforts to bring peace to the war-torn country. The incident took place in Helmand province on Friday as Afghan security forces attempted to clear a village of Taliban militants, Salam Afghan, a police spokesman, told AFP. "In the strike, 16 Afghan policemen were killed including two commanders. Two other policemen were wounded," he said. The strike hit a compound in Gereshk district in Helmand, large parts of which are under Taliban control. Afghan security force members are in an ongoing battle against the Taliban Credit:  Xinhua / Barcroft Images "A US-supported (Afghan security) operation… resulted in the deaths of… friendly Afghan forces who were gathered in a compound," Nato's mission in Afghanistan said in a statement. "We would like to express our deepest condolences to the families affected by this unfortunate incident," the statement said, adding there would be a probe into what happened. This follows the news that the son of Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada died on Thursday carrying out a suicide attack in Helmand. Abdur Rahman, 23, also known as Hafiz Khalid, was driving a vehicle laden with explosives into an Afghan military base in the town of Gereshk, north of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, the Taliban's main spokesman for southern Afghanistan, said. A US Marine talks with Afghan National Army soldiers during a training in Helmand province Credit: REUTERS/Omar Sobhani He said Abdur Rahman had been a madrassa student but had wanted to carry out a suicide attack. "He succeeded in his mission last Thursday," he said. Taliban fighters drove three captured Humvee vehicles into checkpoints during heavy fighting around Gereshk on Thursday. One senior Taliban member, close to Haibatullah's family, said Abdur Rahman had enrolled as a suicide bomber before his father became leader of the Taliban last year and had insisted on continuing after his father took office. Mullah Haibatullah took over leadership of the Taliban after his predecessor, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour died in a US drone strike in Pakistan in May, 2016. "Before this, a number of close relatives and family members of previous supreme leaders had conducted suicide bombings but Sheikh Haibatullah has become the first supreme leader whose son sacrificed his life," the senior Taliban member said. A government official said security authorities were investigating the incident and could not confirm that Mullah Haibatullah's son had been killed. People greet the Afghan security officials as they took control of the Nawa district following an operation against Taliban militants in Helmand earlier this month Credit: EPA/WATAN YAR The incident in Gereshk came as fighting in Helmand, source of most of Afghanistan's opium crop, has intensified in recent days following the end of the harvest season. The insurgents control much of the province and threaten Lashkar Gah but government forces, backed by US airstrikes, have launched an operation to drive them back from around the provincial capital. In addition to the fighting in Helmand, there have also been reports of heavy fighting in other areas of the country, from Kunduz and Baghlan province in the north to Farah province in the west. An interior ministry spokesman, Najeeb Danish, said a ministry delegation had been sent to the area to investigate and help families of the victims. Helmand for years was the centrepiece of the US and British military intervention in Afghanistan. But the Taliban now effectively controls or contests 10 of Helmand's 14 districts, blighted by a huge opium harvest that helps fund the insurgency.



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