Israeli forces kill 12 Palestinians during protest; South Korea negotiates steel tariffs

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  • Israeli forces kill Palestinians on Gaza border – At least 12 Palestinian protestors were killed by Israeli security forces during a massive demonstration on the Israel-Gaza border. Hundreds were injured by gun fire, rubber bullets, and gas inhalation. Israel authorities estimated the crowd of demonstrators at 30,000. The Palestinians gathered to demand the “right to the return” to former Palestinian villages that are now part of Israel. Israeli officials said at at least two of the dead were affiliated with Hamas.
  • South Korea wins exemption from Trump steel tariff – Meeting in Washington, D.C., trade officials from South Korea and the United States agreed to changes to the Korean Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) that will exempt South Korea from the 25 percent tariff on steel imports announced by President Donald J. Trump earlier this month. The amended deal will give U.S. automakers and pharmaceuticals more access to the South Korean market and, in exchange for lifting the steel quota, will cut U.S. imports of Korean steel by about 30 percent.
  • Erdogan says France could be a target of Turkey’ – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan excoriated French President Emmanuel Macron for meeting with the Syrian Kurdish group known as YPG, which he sees as a terrorist organization. He said France could become a “target of Turkey.”
  • Daughter of ex-spy ‘rapidly improving’ – Yulia Skripal, the daughter of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, is “rapidly improving” and is no longer in critical condition, according to the Salisbury NHS Trust, four weeks after a nerve agent attack on both on March 4. Her father remains in critical but stable condition (The Guardian).
    • It was revealed on March 28 the pair first made contact with a military grade nerve agent on the front door of his home, according to police. A BBC security correspondent said the highest concentration was found on the door handle and the nerve agent could have been administered by a “gloopy substance,” possibly explaining why it may have been found in the Skripals’ car or the restaurant they later visited. The British government has said it’s “highly likely” the Russian state is responsible for the attack but Moscow has said it suspects the British secret services are trying to frame the Kremlin. A number of Western countries have expelled over 100 Russian diplomats in a show of solidarity with the UK. (Read: Who is Sergei Skripal, target of the nerve agent attack in Britain?)
  • Jail riot kills 68 in Venezuela – Prison violence has been a serious and long-standing problem in Venezuela, but Thursday’s riot is one of the nation’s bloodiest. A fire broke out during rioting at a police station in the city of Valencia. The blaze reportedly started after prisoners set mattresses on fire as part of an attempt to break out on Wednesday. At least 68 people, including relatives of inmates who were visiting, were killed by the fire and clash with guards. President Nicolas Maduro has yet to comment on the incident. His opposition sees it as further evidence of his socialist government’s failure to curb violence.

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