By Ju-min Park SEOUL (Reuters) - North and South Korea agreed to increase the minimum wage for North Korean workers at a joint factory park by 5 percent, a South Korean industry representative said, ending a months-long dispute despite heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula. The compromise, reached Monday, raises the monthly wage to $73.87 at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, which is just north of the heavily fortified inter-Korean border. "The fact that dialogue between South and North met with good results is welcomed and a good signal for stable management in Kaesong," Yoo Chang-geun, vice chairman of the Corporate Association of Kaesong Industrial Complex, said on Tuesday. The complex is a key source of revenue for the impoverished North, employing 53,000 people whose salaries are paid directly to the North Korean government by the 125 South Korean companies operating there, mostly making textiles and industrial parts. Kaesong is the last significant vestige of cooperation spawned by the neighbors' first summit meeting 15 years ago. North Korea shut down the complex for five months in 2013, during a period of diplomatic tension. The new wage is slightly below the $3.65 increase, or 5.18 percent, North Korea had demanded, which exceeded the annual increase of 5 percent agreed when the zone was established. Tension between the two Koreas escalated early this month, with Seoul blaming Pyongyang for laying landmines that exploded in the Demilitarised Zone, wounding two South Korean soldiers. North Korea denied any involvement. North Korea on Monday began blasting propaganda over loudspeakers across the border, days after the South took a similar step. The two sides had refrained from such tactics since 2004. On Monday, U.S. and South Korean forces began annual joint military exercises that the North denounces as a preparation for war. (Editing by Tony Munroe and Stephen Coates)
- The Independent
Nancy Pelosi called pro-Trump rioters ‘Putin puppets’ and the Capitol siege a ‘gift’ to the Russian president
A boy who was killed in an alleged murder-suicide by his father has been identified as 9-year-old Pierce O’Loughlin. Family tragedy: The boy and his father, Stephen O'Loughlin, 49, were both found dead at their home on Scott Street, Marina District in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon, SF Chronicle reports. The boy’s mother, Lesley Hu, asked authorities to check on her son after learning that he did not show up for school that day.
- Associated Press
A court in Thailand on Tuesday sentenced a former civil servant to a record prison term of 43 years and six months for breaching the country's strict law on insulting or defaming the monarchy, lawyers said. The Bangkok Criminal Court found the woman guilty on 29 counts of violating the country’s lese majeste law for posting audio clips to Facebook and YouTube with comments deemed critical of the monarchy, the group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said. “Today’s court verdict is shocking and sends a spine-chilling signal that not only criticisms of the monarchy won’t be tolerated, but they will also be severely punished,” said Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher for the group Human Rights Watch.
Armenia has returned all Azeri prisoners who were captured during last year's conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, but the process with Armenian prisoners has been held up, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday. The six-week conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh was brought to a halt in November by a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement under which Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces were expected to exchange all captives. Armenia has said that many of its prisoners of war remain in Azerbaijan, a problem it has raised with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk group.
- The Week
Anthony Scaramucci was right: The White House appears to be having trouble rounding up a sizable crowd for President Trump's official send-off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday."In what looks like a desperate attempt to build a crowd for the crowd-obsessed president, an email has been making the rounds to current and former White House officials inviting them, and as many as five plus-ones, to Trump's elaborate exit ceremony," Politico reported Tuesday morning. "The go-to excuse for skipping out has been the 6 a.m. call time at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. But truly, many just don't want to be photographed sending off their former boss."Trump's current staffers have a good reason to avoid their outgoing boss. "Former White House officials and campaign staffers who would typically land plum jobs in corporate America after serving their time are now out in the cold," Politico says. One former White House official who got out early put it this way: "No one wants to touch them, they're just toxic." Another former Trump aide, pointing to the fallout from the Jan. 6 insurrection, was more blunt, telling Politico: "They're f---ed."Trump will be the first president since Andrew Johnson, another member of the tiny impeached president club, to skip the inauguration of his successor. "Johnson snubbed Ulysses S. Grant in 1869," The Washington Post notes. More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Melania Trump released a farewell video. So did Colbert's Late Show Melania Trump. Anthony Scaramucci says even he got an invite to Trump's D.C. sendoff
- NBC News
Skylar Mack, 18, was jailed for violating quarantine protocols after isolating for two days and abandoning her tracking device in the Cayman Islands.
- The Independent
‘If you turn me in, you’re a traitor and you know what happens to traitors...traitors get shot,' he told his children
- Yahoo News Video
The spokesman for Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert has quit less than two weeks after she was sworn into office, saying he felt like he need to due to the insurrection at the nation's Capitol.
An independent panel said on Monday that Chinese officials could have applied public health measures more forcefully in January to curb the initial COVID-19 outbreak, and criticised the World Health Organization (WHO) for not declaring an international emergency until Jan. 30. The experts reviewing the global handling of the pandemic, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, called for reforms to the Geneva-based United Nations agency.Their interim report was published hours after the WHO's top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, said that global deaths from COVID-19 were expected to top 100,000 per week "very soon". "What is clear to the Panel is that public health measures could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities in China in January," the report said, referring to the initial outbreak of the new disease in the central city of Wuhan, in Hubei province.
- Associated Press
So what does a 50-50 Senate get President-elect Joe Biden? Washington has barely had time to process the implications of Democratic control after two Georgia runoff elections that are delivering the Senate to Democrats. The unexpected new balance of power giving Democrats only the barest control of Congress has big consequences for the president-elect — easy confirmation of his Cabinet most importantly — but the road ahead for his ambitious legislative agenda remains complicated and murky.
- The Telegraph
Boris Johnson unveils £23 million compensation fund for fishing industry losses over Brexit red tape
Boris Johnson has unveiled a £23 million fund to compensate the fishing industry for losses caused by Brexit red tape as Scottish seafood hauliers descended on Downing Street to protest. The Prime Minister confirmed that any business experiencing difficulty exporting to the EU "through no fault of their own" would be compensated. However, he insisted the pandemic was responsible for some of the losses, citing reduced demand for Scottish seafood from restaurants on the Continent that have been forced to shut. His announcement came as more than 20 lorries drove up Whitehall, the majority from seafood exporters in Scotland, complaining they were being "tied in knots with paperwork" by the Brexit fishing deal. The Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) warned last week the industry was facing "mounting financial losses" and the only way to ensure a fair price was a 72-hour round trip to land catch in Denmark. Exporters said they faced possible bankruptcy following a suspension of road deliveries last week due to border delays.
- NBC News
Court documents recounted the man's telling his children that he would consider them "traitors" if they contacted authorities.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday that a convoy of trucks carrying emergency oxygen supplies for Brazil's northern Amazonas state, where a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has hit hard, has departed and is set to arrive at the border by Monday morning. Reading from a message sent by Justo Noguera, governor of Venezuela's southern Bolivar state, Maduro said during a state television appearance that the six trucks would arrive at the Santa Elena de Uairen border crossing by morning, where they would be handed over to Brazilian health authorities. From there, the trucks - carrying some 136,000 liters of oxygen, enough to fill 14,000 individual canisters - would take 14 hours to arrive in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, whose hospital system is collapsing due to the pandemic.
- National Review
President-elect Joe Biden is set to propose an extensive immigration reform bill on day one of his administration, which includes an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally. The bill, which is expected to fill hundreds of pages, would offer one of the quickest pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrants in recent years: those living in the U.S. illegally as of January 1 would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, contingent upon a background check, paying taxes, and other basic requirements, according to the Associated Press. What follows, should eligible immigrants decide to pursue citizenship, is a three-year path to naturalization. Meanwhile, “Dreamers” — young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children — as well as agricultural workers and those under temporary protective status could receive green cards even sooner if they are working, in school or fulfill other requirements. However, the measure does not include Republican-supported enhanced border security, only calls for coming up with strategies and for the use of technology, which could prove a hurdle to its passage in Congress as Biden would need to earn support from some GOP senators to pass the proposal into law. The legislation also aims to address the causes of migration from Central America to the U.S. and offers grants for workforce development and English language learning. On Inauguration Day, Biden is expected to issue a series of executive orders to reverse other Trump immigration actions, including the outgoing administration’s travel “ban” on predominantly Muslim countries. On the campaign trail, Biden repeatedly promised that immigration reform would come on day one of his administration. “[W]e made a mistake. It took too long to get it right,” Biden said of the Obama Administration’s record on immigration, during the October 23 presidential debate.
- The Telegraph
The final days of a presidential term normally see an outgoing president issue a series of pardons to those who have had criminal convictions. Rumours are swirling about who Donald Trump may pardon, but what is a presidential pardon and how might Trump exercise this power? What is a pardon? A presidential pardon is a legal act under the constitution that allows president’s to unilaterally set aside a punishment for a federal crime. This can involve commuting a sentence, removing a fine or providing clemency. A president can issue a pardon for any federal crime except impeachment.
Andrew Yang has been endorsed by the son of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. for the 2021 New York City mayoral elections. Martin Luther King III said in an endorsement video shared to YouTube on Monday that Yang's initiative to give out $1 billion to low-income residents was an idea that his father would have supported. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote about the idea for universal basic income in 1967 as a way to tackle systemic poverty, according to Gothamist.
The death toll has now risen to 78 following the powerful tremor on Sulawesi island on Friday.
- Associated Press
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has authorized the dispatch of oxygen to Brazil to help its South American neighbor treat people sickened amid another wave of the coronavirus, despite frosty relations between the two governments and Venezuela's own lack of hospital supplies. Maduro approved departure for a convoy of six tanker trucks loaded with oxygen in a national broadcast Sunday on state TV. It's destined for the city of Manaus in the northern state of Amazonas.
- The Telegraph
Joe Biden aims to hit the ground running with a blizzard of executive orders on his first day in office. Mr Biden plans to rejoin the Paris climate accord, end Donald Trump’s travel ban on several predominantly Muslim countries and order masks to be worn in federal buildings. The orders will represent the opening salvo of a flurry of activity over the first 10 days of the Biden administration, aimed at rolling back many of the policies introduced by Donald Trump. Mr Biden intends to introduce legislation for a $1.9 trillion relief package and immigration reform. His ambitious programme was outlined in a memorandum circulated on Saturday by Ron Klain, the incoming White House chief of staff. "During the campaign, President-elect Biden pledged to take immediate action to start addressing these crises and build back better," Mr Klain wrote. "As president, he will keep those promises and sign dozens of executive orders, presidential memoranda, and directives to Cabinet agencies in fulfilment of the promises he made." The 78-year-old incoming president will assume office with the country reeling from the coronavirus pandemic which has already claimed more than 395,000 lives and devastated the economy with 7.3 million people looking for work. A wave of lockdowns as the pandemic surged in recent months has seen millions more struggling as their working hours have been cut.
- Yahoo News Video
The New Yorker on Sunday published 12 minutes of new, surreal footage from inside the Capitol during the mob rampage that left five people dead earlier this month.