North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, pictured here in Vladivostok in April, apparently has people following Donald Trump’s Twitter feed live. Relations between the North and South appeared to take a turn for the worse on Thursday. Photo: Alexander Khitrov / Shutterstock
Trump interest in Greenland, Iranian tanker released, Japan increase stake in US Treasury securities, Matt Healy defies UAE. Delano’s breakfast briefing.
North Korea launches more tests
North Korea has test-fired two more missiles into the sea off its eastern coast, according to reports from South Korea. The tests followed a statement from the North that called South Korean president Moon Jae-in a “shameless man” for vowing to unite the Korean peninsula by 2045, the BBC reports. Moon said on Thursday that denuclearisation efforts were at a “most critical juncture” after the North had conducted 5 missile tests in less than a month. But the North is angry that joint military drills conducted by South Korea and the United States have taken place this month, says Reuters. Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have met three times since April last year. Meanwhile, US president Donald Trump has suggested that Kim Jong-un has people following his Twitter feed live. The Korea Times reports that Trump told a New Hampshire radio programme that Kim Jong-un called him “within 10 minutes” after he tweeted an invitation to meet in June.
Israel under fire over Omar and Tlaib ban
Israel’s decision, prompted by a tweet from US president Donald Trump, to bar US representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from a visit, has come under fire from several quarters, The Guardian reports. “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Reps. Omar and Tlaib to visit,” Trump tweeted on Thursday, just hours before the decision was announced. Vox has a roundup of reaction from leading Democrats. In an op-ed in the Chicago Sun Times, Neil Steinberg argues that “refusing to listen to disagreement, is both un-American and a betrayal of Jewish values.”
Trump shows interest in buying Greenland
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal (paywall), US president Donald Trump has expressed interest in the US buying Greenland because of the island’s “abundant resources and geopolitical importance.” The idea emerged after an advisor told Trump that Denmark was having financial difficulty in supporting the territory. Fox News says that some of Trump's advisors support the idea as a “good economic play” while others have said it is a “fleeting fascination that will never come to fruition.” CNN says that the United States under president Harry Truman allegedly tried to buy Greenland in 1946, and that as far back as 1867 Secretary of State William Seward also showed interest in purchasing the island.
Gibraltar tanker released
Gibraltar authorities have allowed Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 to leave the territory after it said Iran had assured them it would not sail to Syria, CNBC reports. Earlier on Thursday, the US government applied to block the release of the tanker. The New York Times has an in-depth report and background to the story.
Epstein suffered broken neck
Law enforcement sources suggest that the autopsy on Jeffrey Epstein show his neck had been broken in several places, Reuters reports.France 24 says the one of the sources has said there was no evidence or suggestion of foul play, and cited New York City's chief medical examiner saying that “everything must be consistent; no single finding can be evaluated in a vacuum.”
Truck driven at anti-ICE protestors
The BBC reports that a truck has been driven into a group of people protesting against the treatment of migrants in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centre in Rhode Island. Time says the truck was being driven by a correctional officer at the centre who has been placed on leave while the incident is investigated.
Japan surpasses China in US Treasury securities
Following recent acquisitions of some $21 billion since May, Japan now holds $1.12 trillion in US Treasury securities, according to U.S. Treasury department data. That puts it ahead of China, which holds $1.11 trillion, CNBC reports.
The 1975 singer kisses man at UAE concert
Matt Healy, frontman of the pop band The 1975, defied United Arab Emirates anti-LGBT laws by kissing a male fan on the lip at a concert, The Guardian reports. Some fans suggested that the move could have put the fan in danger.
Today’s breakfast briefing was written by Duncan Roberts