Ex-Russian agent mystery; Trump economic adviser quits

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  • Economic adviser quits – Gary Cohn, a former Wall Street banker turned White House economic adviser, quit in the wake of President Donald Trump’s plans to impose steel and aluminum tariffs.  Cohn’s departure as director of the National Economic Council came after a little more than a year on the job.
  • Former Russian double agent critically ill – Britain warned of a robust response if the Kremlin is behind a mysterious attack on a former MI6 operative and his daughter that left both critically ill after coming into contact with an unknown substance. Sergei Skripal, 66, is a former Russian double agent convicted in Moscow of betraying dozens of agents to British intelligence. His daughter, Yulia Skripal, is 33. (See WikiTribune‘s full coverage of the story.)
  • North Korea meets South – North Korea is willing to freeze its nuclear weapons program if military threats against the “Hermit Kingdom” are shelved and it receives credible security guarantees, according to South Korea‘s national security director. The two countries also agreed to hold summit talks in late April and set up a telephone hotline between leaders, according to South Korea. The developments came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met top South Korean government officials on March 6 for the first time in his seven-year reign.
  • Aid convoy cuts mission short in Damascus suburb – The first humanitarian aid convoy to reach eastern Ghouta in weeks was forced to cut its mission short because Syrian government troops resumed bombarding the area while aid workers were still inside, according to a local council. The International Committee for the Red Cross confirmed that its joint convoy with the U.N. had to turn back. Nine of the 46 trucks carrying aid were forced to leave before unloading cargo in the town of Dhouma. Four hundred thousand civilians have been trapped in eastern Ghouta since Damascus began an attack on the area that has killed hundreds of people (see WikiTribune‘s coverage).
  • Child marriages in decline – The number of child marriages has dropped significantly worldwide, UNICEF says. The United Nations agency says that 25 million child marriages were avoided over the last 10 years. One in five girls is now married before she is 18, compared with one in four a decade ago. South Asian countries have also seen the largest fall in the number child marriages, UNICEF says.

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  • New York’s Penn Station will be the testing ground for the QinetiQ SPO-NX, a device that scans pedestrians for objects hidden underneath their clothing. What looks like a camera perched on a tripod could detect potential suicide bomb vests and large quantities of drugs. The new technology could change the conversation about public safety and government surveillance.

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  • The April deadline looms for big British companies to reveal their pay figures. WikiTribune  reports on the gender pay gap, and what it means for corporate responsibility and gender equality. HelpWikiTribune report on the gender pay gap as UK companies come under scrutiny.

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