China’s Xi met with a high-ranking North Korean official: reports

Chinese President Xi Jinping may have met with a high-ranking North Korean official in the Chinese port of Dalian.

Media reported Tuesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping may have met with a high-ranking North Korean official in the Chinese port of Dalian amid heavy security forces and the spotting of a North Korean plane at the city’s airport.

South Korea’s News Agency also reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may have been aboard the plane, although there was no direct evidence to back up the claim.

Japan’s Kyodo News service said the plane left on Tuesday.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper said two unidentified sources claimed that Xi had flown to Dalian on the coast east of Beijing to meet with the official as well as to preside over the official launch of sea trials for China’s first entirely self-built aircraft carrier.

Internet users in China also posted on social media saying there was heavy security presence in the city and extensive flight delays on Monday. Others said they saw sets of Red Flag limousines used by state leaders.

North Korea leader Kim visited China for the first time in March since he took office six years ago, in a trip that was not publicized by both sides until after he had returned back to North Korea by armored train. Possibly by the end of this month, Kim is expected to meet with President Donald Trump for a historic summit.

Trump says U.S.-North Korea summit is set for June 12 in Singapore: reports

President Trump announced Thursday that his planned meeting with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.

President Trump announced Thursday that his planned meeting with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, will hold June 12 in Singapore.

The announcement came in a tweet few hours after Trump welcomed the three recently freed American hostages at Joint Base Andrews, where they arrived in the middle of the night after they were released by North Korea.

“The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!”

The summit will be the first ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and the North Korean leader. The release of the American hostages shows a significant step into making the peace talks a success. A senior U.S. official said their release was an American condition to the talks.

The president also showered praises on Kim and said he was “nice in letting them go before the meeting.” It would be recalled that last year, Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim threatened nuclear war against each other’s countries.

“We’re starting off on a new footing,” Mr. Trump said early on Thursday.

While greeting the freed hostage, President Trump told reporters that his proudest achievement will be “when he denuclearize that entire peninsula.”

President Trump hopes he is going to convince Kim to abandon his nuclear weapons program.

 

Syria accuses Israel of launching missiles on a military outpost: reports

Syria has blame Israel for carrying out a missile strike on a military outpost south of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Syria has blamed Israel for carrying out a missile strike on a military outpost south of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Syria’s state news agency Sana said two missiles were shot down in the Kiswah area on Tuesday night, and that two civilians were killed in an explosion.

However, a monitoring group said the missiles hit an Iranian weapons depot, killing 15 pro-government fighters.

Israel has declined to comment, but its government has earlier vowed to stop what it considers Iran’s military “entrenchment in Syria, also the reports came after it noted “irregular activity” by Iranian forces in Syria.

In addition, the Israeli military placed it troops in the occupied Golan Heights on high alert and urged civilians to prepare bomb shelters in case of attack.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow to discuss Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is a key ally of the Syrian government.

A commander in a regional military alliance supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Rueters news agency that the missiles targeted a Syrian army base, but was intercepted and by Syria’s air defense.

However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, reported that the missiles struck weapons depots and missile launchers belonging to Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards force.

The group said eight members of the Revolutionary Guards and several other non-Syrian nationals were among at least 15 pro-government fighters who were killed.

It came as President Donald Trump said the US would quit the Iran nuclear deal.

Trump hired an Israeli intelligence firm to dig up dirt on former administration officials: reports

The Observer reported Sunday that aides to President Donald Trump contacted a private Israeli intelligence agency to dig up dirt on negotiators of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The Observer reported Sunday that aides to President Donald Trump contacted a private Israeli intelligence agency to dig up dirt on negotiators of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal who worked in the Obama’s administration.

 

Sources told The Observer that the aides contacted the firm days after Trump’s first trip to Israel as POTUS. It was reported that during that trip, President Trump promised Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran would never get nuclear weapons.

 

According to a source with the knowledge of the “dirty tricks campaign” told The Observer “the idea was that people acting for Trump would discredit those who were pivotal in selling the deal, making it easier to pull out.”

 

According to The Observer, at least two men who worked under Obama’s administration, Ben Rhodes, a former deputy national security adviser, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to former President Barack Obama were targeted.

 

Both men said they were unaware of the plot and Rhodes added that he was not surprised by the “chillingly authoritarian” move.

 

They both added that their wives were contacted by dubious foreign investors, while a prominent Iranian-American writer said same.

 

Sources told The New Yorker that the operation was carried out by Black Cube, an Israeli intelligence firm linked to Mossad, which carried out similar intelligence probe for Harvey Weinstein during his sexual allegations scandal in 2016 and 2017.

 

Celebrity chef ruined Israeli and Japanese Prime Ministers’ dinner: reports

An offensive cultural ‘faux pas’ ruined Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, dinner last week.

An offensive cultural ‘faux pas’ ruined Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, dinner last week when their dessert was served in a shoe.

Serving food in a shoe may not mean anything in some cultures, but it has an especially offensive connotation in Japan.

“This was a stupid and insensitive decision,” a senior Israeli diplomat who served in Japan told the Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Aharonot, according to The Jerusalem Post.

“There is nothing more despised in Japanese culture than shoes,” the diplomat said. “Not only do they not enter their houses while wearing shoes, you will not find shoes in their offices either. Even the prime minister, ministers and members of parliament do not wear shoes to work … It is equivalent to serving a Jewish guest chocolates in a dish shaped like a pig.”

What Israeli celebrity chef Segev Moshe, who prepared the dinner, is trying to accomplish by serving chocolate in a shoe remains unclear, but it has caused an uproar.

“No culture puts shoes on the table,” a Japanese diplomat told Yedioth Aharonot, according to The Post. “What precisely was this illustrious chef Segev thinking? If this is meant to be humor, we do not find it funny. I can tell you that we are offended for our prime minister.”

 

Volcanic eruption hits Leilani Estates, thousands forced to evacuate: reports

The Kilauea eruption on Thursday has left opened the ground on the east side of Leilani Estates.

The Kilauea eruption on Thursday has left opened the ground on the east side of Leilani Estates, a subdivision in Hawaii’s eastern Puna district exposing an angry red beneath the lush landscape. From the widening gash, molten rock burbled, and then shot dozens of it into the air.

 

Hawaii’s County Civil Defense Agency called it “active volcanic fountaining.” Some residents however, believed it was Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess, coming to reclaim her land. Residents have been ordered to flee amid threat of fires and “extremely high levels of dangerous” sulfur dioxide gas.

According to the county civil defense agency, at least 10 such fissure vents were reported in the neighborhood as of Sunday night, including another two that had opened late Saturday night, which destroyed at least 26 homes.

“That number could change,” Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder told the Associated Press. “This is heartbreaking.”

 

The U.S. Geological Survey said some of the lava was shooting 330 feet into the air, which is higher than the tip of the Statue of Liberty torch.

Wendy Stovall, a volcanologist with the USGS said “as the eruption progresses, there will become a preferred pathway for the magma to go through. Some of the outer vents along this fissure line will start to close up and congeal because the lava is going to essentially harden.”

“Once that happens, lava fountains from the remaining open vents can shoot even higher — reaching up to 1,000 feet,” Stovall concluded.

Surprisingly, some photographers have followed the fissures that had formed, and posted dramatic photos and videos as lava shoot into the air or oozing across roads. Officials have urged everyone to leave Leilani Estate.

Pence calls for more action against Venezuela: reports

The United States on Monday sanctioned three Venezuelans and 20 companies with ties to socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

The United States on Monday sanctioned three Venezuelans and 20 companies with ties to socialist President Nicolas Maduro, for narcotics trafficking activity. Vice President Mike Pence also called for nations to increase pressure on Caracas.

This new sanctions is part of U.S. measures on individuals connected to Maduro, who Trump’s administration has blamed for deep recession and hyperinflation in OPEC member Venezuela that has resulted in food shortages and also sent tens of thousands of migrants into neighboring countries.

The individual sanctioned on Monday are fairly low-profile and are unlikely to create major economic hardship.
At the meeting with the 35-nation Organization of American States, which includes Venezuela as a member, Pence told the member states that they need to take greater steps to isolate Maduro.

“We believe it is time to do more, much more,” Pence said in an address to the OAS. “Every free nation gathered here must take stronger action to stand with the Venezuelan people and stand up to their oppressors.”

Pence added that the OAS should suspend Venezuela’s membership and urged other members to cut off the nation’s leader from financial systems and restrict them from travel visas.

Vice President Pence also called Maduro to suspend the country’s elections coming up on May 20, saying he expected voter intimidation and manipulation of data. “There will be no real election in Venezuela on May 20, and the world knows it,” Pence said.

However, Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations, Samuel Moncada has condemned Pence’s speech saying “There is zero possibility that elections will be suspended. ”

Maduro who was subject to sanctions last year, seems unmoved about Washington’s disapproval and blames the U.S. “empire” for his country economic woes, saying it is trying to undermine his administration.

Oreo introduces three new cookie flavors as part of #MyOreoCreation contest

The three new cookie flavors are cherry cola, kettle corn, and pina colada.

Oreo has launched three new limited-edition cookie flavors based on feedback from its customers, according to a report by Fortune. The new flavors include cherry cola, kettle corn, and pina colada. All three cookie flavors are currently available in stores now.

Oreo is asking its fans to vote for their favorite of the three cookie flavors. The winner of the cookie battle will net the inventor of the flavor a cool $500,000. Voting continues until June 30.

The introduction of the three Oreo flavors was part of the company’s #MyOreoCreation Contest. Other flavors suggested but rejected by the company included avocado, carrot cake, coffee, pineapple upside-down cake, and salted caramel. The flavors were tried but failed miserably and never made their way to market.

This is not Oreo’s first foray into introducing outlandish flavors to its cookie line. The company has also sold Peeps and Swedish Fish flavor profiles of the famous Oreo cookie. In addition, in December, Oreo introduced a Fruity Pebbles flavored cookie as a mystery cookie that kept customers guessing for two months on what the actual taste was. The company finally confirmed the flavor with an announcement but only after significant hype was built by the unknown flavor.

Budweiser launches new Freedom Reserve Red Lager for a limited time

The limited-edition beer will be available in May through Sept 30 or until supplies run out.

Budweiser has announced a new beer that was inspired by a handwritten recipe from George Washington, according to a report by Fox News. The Freedom Reserve Red Lager expands the company’s Reserve Collection which also includes the patriotic America beer.

The recipe for the Freedom Reserve Red Lager was written by Washington in 1757 in his own personal military journal. The recipe, titled “To Make Small Beer,” provides detail instructions on how to brew and batch the lager.

Budweiser will brew the limited-edition beer with the assistance of its veteran employees. The employees will include their signature on the vintage bottles and pint cans the lager will be sold in. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the beer will go towards Folds of Honor – a nonprofit dedicated to providing military families educational scholarships. Budweiser has raised a total of $14 million for Folds of Honor to date.

Details and flavor profile of the Freedom Reserve include a full-bodied taste that is brewed by using toasted barley grains. The beer finishes with a hint of molasses. It also has a touch of hops and a caramel malt flavor.

Budweiser will offer the lager starting in May through Sept. 30 or until limited supplies of the beer run out.

Gibson files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Gibson will shutter its consumer-electronics division as part of the restructuring process.

Gibson Brands Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to a report by the Los Angles Times. The company has filed for debt relief with a turnaround plan that is designed to provide its lenders equity ownership in the company.

Through a restructuring support agreement with Gibson’s senior secured noteholders, bank loans will be repaid while also initiating a change of control. The petition filed placed Gibson’s debt up to $500 million. Lenders of the company will allow for an operating loan up to $135 million to continue operations of the company going forward.

With the change in control, noteholders will be given equity in the company replacing several key stockholders including Chief Executive Henry Juszkiewicz. Senior noteholders include Silver Point Capital, Melody Capital Partners LP, and KKR Credit Advisors.
With the restructuring of the company, Gibson will be allowed to shutter its consumer-electronics division. Gibson has placed blame on the division for its financial shortcomings.

Juszkiewicz will continue with the company as it moves through the bankruptcy process to allow for a smooth transition. A one-year consulting deal and compensation package have been marked for Juszkiewicz with Gibson’s court bankruptcy filing.

Founded in 1894, Gibson has sold more than 170,000 guitars a year in 80 countries around the world.