Briefing: UN condemns North Korea missiles, Trump on Texas mission

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  • Mexico is unwilling to negotiate trade policy with the U.S if it involves ending the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray. This announcement came in response to President Donald J. Trump’s continued threats to pull out of the trade deal.
  • U.S forces blocked a convoy of 308 fighters and 331 civilians affiliated with the Islamic State who were evacuating from the Syrian-Lebanon border per an agreement made with the Syrian Army. Evacuation agreements are commonly used by the Syria government as a way to limit fighting even though they are often “derailed in a conflict with many sides”, according to Reuters.
  • President Donald J. Trump tweeted that “talking is not the answer” in relation to North Korea’s ongoing missile test provocations, although when asked if negotiations were over, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis Said “no.

  • The UN Security Council agreed a statement condemning North Korea’s latest missile test which overflew Japan as “outrageous” but it stopped short of imposing new sanctions. Inevitably Pyongyang said it planned more tests – ending a short period of reflecting after threats to hit the U.S. territory of Guam were met with fierce rhetoric from President Donald J. Trump.
    Reuters reported that Japan was seeking an enhance missile shield from the United States.
  • President Trump visited battered parts of Texas but steered clear of disrupting the main recovery operation in Houston,  trying to avoid the mistakes of the Katrina storm.
  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has condemned the use of systemic human rights abuses as part of “a policy to repress political dissent and instil fear”. In a report issued today, the UN says that 882 people remain in custody, having been arrested during street protests, ongoing since April, calling for the end of President Nicolas Maduro’s rule.

What we’re reading and watching

  • On International Day of the Disappeared, Al Jazeera has a piece on a gathering of the relatives of people missing as a result of conflict in Kashmir, while the Guardian carries harrowing testimonies from women who have escaped confinement in Syrian jails.
  • The New York Times reports that while Hurricane Harvey has grabbed headlines, parts of South Asia have suffered their severest monsoons for 40 years and aid workers warn that “a catastrophe is unfolding”.
  • In the latest twist in an ongoing saga over mining rights in the Amazon, a court in Brasilia has suspended a decree issued by President Michel Temer which would open up a swathe of the rainforest to exploitation.

– Peter Bale is the launch editor of WikiTribune. He is a former Reuters news agency correspondent and has held roles in news organisations from CNN to The Times and investigative news service, The Center for Public Integrity. He is @peterbale on Twitter.

– Jack Barton is a WikiTribune journalist. He has an LLM in Human Rights and a background reporting on law and international development. Follow @jackbarton91.

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