Moon Jae-in pushes for Korea summit; Netanyahu confronts family scandal

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  • South Korea President Moon Jae-in is pushing for a summit to further strengthen ties with North Korea and defuse a nuclear standoff. He even floated the idea of a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un under certain conditions. Moon made his remarks after the two countries formally met for the first time in about two years. They reached agreements to hold military talks and allow North Korea to participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea. Moon credited U.S. President Donald Trump for sparking the current talks and warned Pyongyang against further provocations, saying they would result in more sanctions.
    • Trump supports the talks between the two Koreas, and promised that the U.S. military would not take action while the talks were taking place.
    • Nick Robinson, presenter of the BBC’s Today program, said on Wednesday’s edition (Skip to 2:40:25) that Han Park, a former mediator between the U.S. and North Korea, told him “that the South Korean president is having to make a delicate balance between wooing the North whilst not alienating the United States.” Park himself said that Moon is “walking a tightrope … it may not be successful to satisfy both at the same time – Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un – it’s almost impossible.”
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is confronting a new scandal that has sparked outrage across Israel – this one involving his 26-year-old son and a 2015 recording that has shaken the political establishment (Washington Post). In the recording, broadcast locally on January 8, Yair Netanyahu and his friends recount a night in Tel Aviv involving joyriding, strip clubs, and conversations about his father’s former girlfriends and billion-dollar government deals. The younger Netanyahu apologized for the remarks, which he said he made after drinking, but criticism was widespread. The prime minister, who already is at the center of criminal investigations, countered that the release was part of a press campaign of “persecution, bloodletting and shaming.”
  • Parts of the Caribbean were under a tsunami warning after a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck the Caribbean Sea near a remote group of islands off Honduras. There were no immediate reports of serious damage from the quake, which was felt across much of the Central American nation. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center put out a warning for Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, Cub, Jamaica, and the coasts of Mexico.
  • Malaysia signed a deal to pay U.S. firm Ocean Infinity up to $70 million if it finds the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft MH370, within 90 days of beginning a new search in the Southern Indian ocean.
    • The MH370 aircraft disappeared on route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China, in March 2014 with 239 people aboard. Australia, China, and Malaysia spent $200 million on a fruitless search which ended in January 2017.
  • Ethiopia banned the adoption of children by foreign parents due to concerns about child abuse and neglect. The country accounts for about 20 percent of total international adoptions by U.S. parents, and celebrities Angelina Jolie and Mary-Louise Parker are among those who have adopted from Ethiopia. The death of an adopted Ethiopian girl in the U.S. in 2011 prompted concern about foreign adoption. Contribute to our emerging story on this here: Ethiopia prohibits adoption by foreigners.


  • The Trump administration plans to loosen restrictions on the use of nuclear weapons according to a former U.S. government official for arms control, nonproliferation, and nuclear policy, as reported by The Guardian. Jon Wolfsthal, who is said to have seen the most recent draft of the nuclear posture review (NPR), says the review removes assurances to non-nuclear states that the U.S. will not use its nuclear arsenal against them. It also expands scenarios where the U.S. would use nuclear weapons to including responding to non-nuclear attacks, says Wolfsthal, a former special assistant to Barack Obama. The NPR review is expected to be published at the end of January.
  • A U.S. judge blocked attempts by the White House to end the DACA or “Dreamers” scheme. This protected 800,000 children, born from parents who entered the country illegally, from deportation. San Francisco judge William Alsup ruled the Obama-administration scheme must stay in place while legal action against the decision continues.
    • Trump said the ruling indicated that the U.S. judicial system is “broken and unfair.” In September 2017, President Donald J. Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) programme.

What we’re reading

  • Bats are “boiling in their bodies” and koalas are being forced from their trees as Australia copes with near record temperatures, National Geographic reports.  The conservation group looks at how the heatwave, which has caused asphalt roads to melt, is affecting wildlife, especially the Campbelltown Flying Fox colony, where hundreds of bats have been found dead, some still hanging in trees and others on the ground. Temperatures have soared recently toward 50 degrees Celsius, or more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. (SkyNews). – Jodie DeJonge 
  • For years undocumented immigrants in the U.S. were granted a chance to go to court before being deported. Since Trump’s presidency this has changed. Many undocumented immigrants escape from dangerous situations in their home countries. Forcing them to go back means facing a death sentence for some, reports The New Yorker. – Ella Navarro

What the WikiTribune community’s up to

  • French actress Catherine Deneuve and 99 other women published an open letter rejecting a feminism that they say expresses a “hatred of men”, following the #metoo movement. We encourage you to contribute to our emerging story on it.
  • As tech companies and manufacturers develop self-driving cars, WikiTribune reports on the potential effects on the global economy. This is an emerging story which the community can contribute to.
  • One person was killed in Tunisia during clashes between security forces and protesters amid anti-austerity demonstration. WikiTribune member Joaquín Soria Montealegre reports on how those measures have led to general discord in the population.
  • Former White House chief strategist Steven Bannon is quitting his role as executive chairman at Breitbart News after his remarks on President Trump published in the controversial Fire and Fury book lead to a fall-out between the president and his former strategist. Help us update reaction to the row in our emerging story here.
  • Former Google employee James Damore sued the company on January 8, alleging that the organization discriminates against politically conservative white men. Damore was fired in August for circulating a controversial “anti-diversity” memo. Please contribute to this emerging story.

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