North Korea Invites South Korean President for Summit in Pyongyang

North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, on Saturday, invited South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, to North Korea for a summit in Pyongyang setting the stage for the first meeting between the Korean leaders for the first time in more than10 years.

Kim Jong-un’s invitation was presented by his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, at a historical meeting between the North and South Korean officials at the presidential palace in Seoul.

According to the Spokesperson for South Korea’s presidential palace,  Eui-kyeom, North Korea’s leader has invited South Korea’s President to visit Pyongyang as soon as possible. “Moon did not immediately accept the offer, calling instead for efforts to create the right conditions to realize such a visit and urging Pyongyang to actively seek dialogue with the US,” he said. He further stated that Moon has requested North Korea to engage in talks with the United States as early as possible.

 The proposed meet would be the third one between the two nations after the Korean war that ended in 1953. Ms Kim is the first senior member from North Korea to visit South Korea after the war. Ms Kim is in South Korea to attend the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Sources: BBC, FirstPost

New York’s museum commemorates Olympics with Korean art exhibition

The Winter Olympics is not only being eagerly awaited for excellent sports display, but also to witness a probable clearance between US and North Korea nuclear standoff. A probationary reconciliation among Seoul and Pyongyang is also expected.

Meanwhile, in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is commemorating this year’s Winter Olympics with an exhibition of Korean art. This collaboration is happening for the first time in the United States and is expected to attract a whole bunch of new audience.

The exhibition started on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, and will continue till May 20, 2018. It is called the Diamond Mountains Travel and Nostalgia In Korean Art. The exhibition features almost 30 paintings of what is popularly referred to as the Diamond Acts in English. These paintings span from the 18th century to the present date. They are marked by the use of delicate ink, colors on silk, scrolls and painted screens. These art forms evoke a subtle magical sense, mixed with the mystical visual impression.

The exhibition’s spotlight will be on the 18th-century album from the National Museum of Korea by Jeong Seon, who inspired Korean painting by depicting native scenery, breaking away from the conventional art forms. Other notable art includes the works of Scottish artist Elizabeth Keith, which dated back to 1920.

It took 3 years to put together and come up with such an exhibition. Post this Bae Kidon, Director General of the National Museum of Korea expressed his hope for a future collaboration with the United States. US is hoping to come up with more such exhibitions.

Four soldiers killed and one injured in Pakistani shelling in Rajouri

An Army Captain and three soldiers were killed while two others were injured in shelling by Pakistani troops across the line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, Rajouri district on Sunday.

According to a senior official, heavy shelling took place along the line of control in Poonch and Rajouri district after the Pakistani troops started unprovoked firing. The officer added that the Indian army retaliated strongly.

Those killed have been identified as Captain Kapil Kundu, Rifleman Ram Avtar, Rifleman Subham Singh, and Havaldar Roshan Lal. The injured soldier, Nilak Iqbal Ahmed is undergoing treatment in a hospital.

Shahid Iqbal Choudary, the Deputy Commissioner of Rajouri has ordered closure of 84 schools that are near the border area in Rajaouri for the next three days. Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said that people have been already safely evacuated by the administration.

This is the second instance in last three days where Pakistani Army has targeted Poonch Using automatic weapons and mortars.

Ceasefire violations are high this year.  According to the army forces, January alone saw over 130 instances of ceasefire violation by the Pakistani troops. There were 860 instances of ceasefire violations in 2017and 271 in 2016.

Sources: TOI, The Indian Express

95 killed and 158 injured in a bomb blast in Kabul

At least 95 people have been killed and 158 wounded after a bomb hidden in an ambulance exploded in Kabul on Saturday.

The bomb blew up near the foreign embassies and government buildings at around 12.15 pm local time.

The streets were busy at the time of the explosion as Saturday is a working day in Afghanistan. According to Sediqullah Popalzai, a national security official, the number of women and children being killed or wounded is high as they were standing outside the passport department at the time of the explosion. “Dead bodies which were near the ambulance were unidentifiable. There were shattered bodies everywhere. It was a very tragic and devastating scene,” he said.

Mirwais Yasini, a member of parliament, who was near the incident area when the bomb blew up, said that the ambulance blew after reaching the checkpoint. The checkpoint is close to the High Peace Council and several foreign embassies

The Taliban have claimed the responsibility for the blast. The blast came just a week after an attack on the intercontinental Hotel in Kabul which killed more than 20 people.

Sources: RTE,Independent

Suspected suicide bomber detained in Kashmir

A  Pune based woman, suspected to be a suicide bomber, was arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir police in South Kashmir, on Thursday, January 25, night.

According to the Kashmir Police Chief, Munir Khan, the police is investigating the matter.  “We will talk to her and our sister agencies, and cover every lead to know the facts,” he said.

The arrested suspect is believed to be Sadiya Anwar Shaikh, from Pune who is a student of pharmacy. She is said to have traveled to Kashmir just a few days ago.

According to the official sources,the Pune Anti-Terrorism Squad in 2015, had questioned Shaikh on being radicalised after coming in touch with ISIS supporters abroad.

The ATS, after finding out about her plan of traveling to Syria had sent her for a de-radicalisation program.

Just two days before the Republic Day, the Inspector General of Police, Munir Khan, in an interview to Outlook had said that Jammu Kashmir police had received inputs that a woman from Pune may diffuse a suicide bomb and disrupt the Republic Day functions.

Sources: NDTV, Outlook

Gurugram Schools to stay shut till Sunday as Padmaavat protests turn violent

At least four schools in Gurugram have announced holiday for the rest of the week after G D Goenka School’s bus carrying school kids was attacked by a mob protesting the film “Padmaavat” on Wednesday, January 24.

Despite the district administration and the Gurugram police assuring security the management of the schools have decided to shut down as a safety measure against the ongoing threats. The well known schools of the city including Pathways school, G D Goenka School, Shiv Nadar School and Delhi Public School have decided to remain closed till Sunday.

On Wednesday, a group of protestors reportedly pelted stones at the G D Goenka World School bus near Bondshi . The school bus was carrying 25 students. “We do not want to take any risk with the life of students. Protection of students outside and inside is our prime concern,” a school teacher told PTI on the condition of anonymity.

To avert any disturbances by the anti-social elements outside the cinema halls in the district, Section 144 was imposed in Gurugram, two days ahead of the release of the controversial film ‘Padmaavat’. According to a senior official, the Gurgaon police have arrested 20 people for allegedly violating prohibitory orders.

Sources: Livemint, The Statesman

Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison

Larry Nassar, the former USA gymnastics doctor, on Wednesday, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years prison for molesting young female Gymnasts in Lansing.

Nassar was pleaded guilty for assaulting seven victims in the Lansing area but the sentencing hearing was open to anyone who said they were a victim. The sentence brought an end to the seven-day hearing where more than 150 victims gave statement about Larry Nassar’s abuse under the guise of medical treatment.

 Nassar, 54, is already under the 60 year sentence in federal prison for the convictions of child pornography.

 “I just signed your death warrant”, the Ingham county circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar when delivering the sentence.

Rosemarie Aquilina has also called for an in-depth investigation into the matter questioning how the abuse was undetected for so long.

The United States Olympic Committee after the sentence, released an open letter where the US Olympic committee CEO, Scott Blackmun promised an independent investigation into the matter. According to him, the inquiry will examine how the abuse was unnoticed for so long. He also said that the result of the inquiry will be made public.

Sources:Washington Post, CNN