Americans banned from travelling to North Korea

The U.S. State Department has imposed a ban on the United States’ passport holder to travel to North Korea. According to the statement issued on August 2, the ban will be in effect from September 1.

The officials have asked all the U.S. passport holders currently living in North Korea to return before the restriction begins. The ban will be in effect for next one year. According to a report by CBS, the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, can further extend the ban or revoke it sooner.

According to the statement, “The Secretary has authorized the restriction due to the serious and mounting risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. citizens under North Korea’s system of law enforcement.”

According to a Reuters report, North Korea currently holds one Korean-American missionary and two academics, three South Korean nationals and a Canadian pastor. According to Japan, several dozens of their nationals are also detained by North Korea.

In a public notice, journalists and humanitarian workers are exempted from the ban. The ban has come in amid increasing tensions between the two nations. The upcoming ban will also make North Korea the only country Americans can not fly to.

Sources – Reuters, CBS News

Venezuela election day turns violent, leaves ten dead

In a wave of bloodshed, ten have been killed in the last 24 hours of the Venezuela protests. The protests turned violent during the elections to choose members of the all-powerful new legislative body that is supposed to reform the country’s constitution. According to an Indian Express report, protesters had swarmed the streets and attacked polling stations, which drew fire from the security forces.

The shootings left a 13-year-old and a 17-year-old in the western state of Tachira, as well as a soldier and a 30-year old regional leader of a youth opposition party, taking the total death toll over the last four months to 120, reported Al Jazeera. Many more protesters with bullet wounds were moved to Colombia for treatment. The national guard troops were deployed to disperse the protesters and used armoured vehicles, rubber bullets and tear gas.

AFP quoted senior opposition leader Henrique Capriles saying “We do not recognize this fraudulent process,” at the close of voting on Sunday. The opposition has boycotted the elections, calling it a method to consolidate unpopular president Nicolas Maduro’s power. Since his election in 2013, he has faced months of protests of economic crises and food shortages.

The United States has condemned the violence, calling it a sham and urged neighbouring countries to take action against those who “undermine democracy, deny human rights.”


Sources: Indian Express, Al Jazeera


Tanker crash in Mississippi kills 12

At least 12 people were killed when a US Marina re-fuelling tanker crashed into a soybean field on Monday in Mississippi’s Delta region, said officials to Associated Press.

Leflore County Sheriff Ricky Banks said officials are still looking for others across a debris field more than five hours after the military tanker spiraled to the ground.

Earlier, Mr Banks said he believes Marine KC—130 had 16 people on board but he refused to confirm the information to AP.

In a statement Marine Corps spokeswoman Captain Sarah Burns said  that the tanker “experienced a mishap” but she did not provide any other detail.

WLBT-TV released some aerial pictures which showed the tanker burning strongly, plumes of black smoke of which was visible from a great distance.

Some residents living in the nearby areas claim to have witnessed the burning plane.

Andy Jones, one of the witnesses told the reporters that an explosive sound made him look up. “I looked up and I saw the plane twirling around,” he said. “It was spinning down. It happened around 4 pm.”

Officials still have not released information regarding the cause of the crash.


The Hindu, Times of India

Image Source: AP

Long anticipated Trump-Putin meet to take place during G-20 Summit

U.S. President Donald Trump will be meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit taking place in the first week of July in Germany.

In a press briefing on June 29, White House National Security Advisor, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster said that, “Next Wednesday (July 5), President Trump will first travel to Warsaw, Poland, and later to Hamburg, Germany for the G-20. While in Hamburg, the President will meet with many world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK PM Theresa May, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and others.”

The White House, however, did not assert whether Trump would discuss the alleged Russian meddling in US Presidential Elections last year with Putin in their first ever meet since Trump assumed office. After being asked about Trump’s objective, McMaster replied that there is no specific agenda of these meetings. “It’s really going to be whatever the President wants to talk about,” he said.

Broaching the topic of climate change, Director of National Economic Council, Gary Cohn said that USA will not comply with a deal in which they have to cut down emissions while other countries continue to grow until 2030. “President Trump is going to ask for a fair and level playing field when it comes to Paris Climate Agreement,” he said.

The 12th G-20 Summit will be taking place on 7 and 8 July, 2017 in Hamburg, hosted by Chancellor Merkel.


Source: White House National Security Council press, New York Times

US issues new visa rules for six Muslim countries and refugees

The Trump administration has set out a new set of guidelines for six mainly Muslim countries as well as refugees. One major rule is that the immigrants need to have a close relative in the United States in order to obtain a US visa. The supreme court has put in place a partial travel ban which the then republican candidate, Donald Trump, promised during his campaign.

These set of guidelines came to light when the department cable was leaked to the press and is yet to be confirmed, according to a report by Al Jazeera. The countries which fall under this new visa rules are Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen. Refugees, irrespective of their nationality, fall under this visa rule. The term ‘close relative’ here is defined as a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son or daughter-in-law or sibling.

Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations to the country may be exempt from the ban.

While the new travel restrictions will be enforced strictly by the visas will not be revoked from existing visa holders.

According to the cable which was obtained by the AP News, the laws will be put in place on June 29, 2017.

Image Source: Getty

Sikh man shot by a stranger in the US

A week after Hyderabad trainee killing, a 39- year-old Sikh man in the United States was injured, as an unidentified person shot him. It was reported that the alleged shouted, “Go back to your own country.”

The victim has been identified as Deep Rai.

According to the Seattle Times, on Friday, Rai the resident of Kent in the Washington state was busy working on his vehicle outside his home when this stranger approached him.

Kent police mentioned that an argument had started between these two people. In addition, the victim said that the suspect made the statement in effect of the argument was, “go back to your own country.” Then the unidentified man shot him in the arm

Moreover, the victim has given the description of the shooter; he was the six-foot-tall white man and wearing a mask covering the lower half of his face.
Kent Police Chief, Ken Thomas said, the injuries are not life- threatening, but they are “treating this as a very serious incident.”
The report also mentioned, an investigation has started and Kent police have reached out to   the FBI and other “treating this as a very serious incident.”



  1. NDTV-




Wilbur Ross to be the Commerce Secretary of the United States

Winning a vote of 72 to 27 , Wilbur Ross became the Commerce Secretary of U. S. President Donald Trump’s Government on February 27, 2017. He is set to be worn in on February 28, 2017 at the White House.  Ross, who is a former Democrat, was already advising Trump on economic policy and rewriting tax codes for the country. The current profile for the Commerce Secretary will entail him to to overhaul trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement.

With Ross’ entry, Trump’s economic team is now in place for the upcoming discussions on health and tax legislation. The billionaire investor formerly served as the Vice-Chairman for the Bank of Cyprus. In the wake of his being nominated, Ross was asked to provide details of his relations with Russian investors in the bank, which includes Victor Vekselberg, a long time ally of the Russian President. According to the New York Times, Ross said, “I am pro-trade, but I am pro-sensible trade”, trying to temper Trump’s view on trade relations.

The appointment out Ross rises questions on Trump choosing Plutocrats over populists for the cabinet. Ryan Zinke is next in line for a cloture vote for the position of the Interior Secretary.

Now, 15 out of 22 seats are confirmed in Trump’s cabinet.

Sources: New York Times, The Guardian

Image Source: The New York Times