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Tuesday briefing: North Korea willing to give up nucleur weapons if US agrees to talks

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Anna Freeman

06 Marzo 2018 13:19

Hello, this is Anna breaking down today's top stories into bite-sized chunks

Thawing tension - North Korea is willing to discuss relinquishing its nuclear weapons, and will freeze its nuclear and missile programmes if it begins direct talks with the US. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has said he wants to ‘vigorously advance’ relations with South Korea, asserting to a visiting delegation from Seoul that he hoped to ‘write a new history of national reunification’. ‘He ... made an exchange of in-depth views on the issues for easing the acute military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and activating the versatile dialogue, contact, cooperation and exchange,’ the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported. ‘He repeatedly clarified that it is our consistent and principled stand and his firm will to vigorously advance the north-south relations and write a new history of national reunification by the concerted efforts of our nation to be proud of in the world.’

Mystery in England - Two people are critically ill in a Salisbury hospital in the UK after ‘suspected exposure to an unknown substance’, with one of the victims being a Russian man who was exchanged in a ‘spy swap’ in 2010. 66-year-old Sergei Skripal was one of four Russians exchanged for 10 ‘sleeper’ agents planted in the US by Moscow. Police said that a man in his 60s and a woman in her 30s were found unconscious on a bench in Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury on Sunday afternoon. The woman who is also critically ill is believed to be Skripal’s daughter. Russian officials have denied any knowledge about the incident or the substance used.

This story is still developing.

Shamed by right wing press - Transgender model Munroe Bergdorf has quit her role on the UK’s Labour party LGBT advisory board following relentless attacks by the tabloid press and Conservatives over comments she had made regarding structural racism in the past. Bergdorf said the appointment had ‘turned into nasty tabloid fodder, blown out of all proportion’. She was previously criticised for social media posts in which she wrote that she no longer had the energy to talk about the ‘racial violence of white people any more’. In a statement posted on Twitter, Bergdorf said of her decision to step down from her post: ‘This is a decision that I’ve had to make due to endless attacks on my character by the conservative right wing press and relentless online abuse. I refuse to be painted as a villain or used as a pawn in the press’ efforts, especially those at the Daily Mail, to discredit the Labour party and push their transphobic rightist agendas.’

Plastic everywhere - A diver filmed himself swimming through a sea of plastic rubbish off the coast of the Indonesian tourist resort of Bali and posted it on social media to highlight the poisoning of our oceans. A video shot by Rich Horner shows the water polluted with plastic waste and food wrappers, interspersed with the occasional tropical fish or stingray. The footage was shot at dive site Manta Point, a cleaning station for the large rays on the island of Nusa Penida.

Hand it over - Disgraced pharmaceuticals entrepreneur Martin Shkreli, also known as ‘the most hated man on the planet’, has been forced to hand over the Wu-Tang Clan album he paid $2m for at auction in 2015. The order comes after Shkreli was convicted for securities fraud in August 2017, for which he is facing a maximum of 20 years in jail. Shkreli famously hiked the cost of a life-saving HIV medicine from $13.50 a pill to $750.

A message in a bottle - The world’s oldest message in a bottle has been found on a beach in Western Australia. Tonya Illman found the 132-year-old gin bottle near Wedge Island in January. Her husband, Kym Illman, told Guardian Australia that she initially thought it was rubbish but picked it up because it had distinct, raised lettering and would be at home on their bookshelf. Inside, she found a roll of paper printed in German and dated to 12 June 1886, which was authenticated by the Western Australian Museum. ‘It was an absolute fluke. It won’t get better than than this,’ said husband Illman.

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