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Pompeo to travel to North Korea with new special envoy

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WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit North Korea again next week to try to persuade it to abandon its nuclear weapons, and will take a new US special representative, Stephen Biegun, with him in an attempt to break the deadlock.

Pompeo on Thursday named the Ford Motor Co executive, a veteran Republican foreign policy hand, as the US special envoy to North Korea.

“Steve will direct US policy toward North Korea and lead our efforts to achieve President Trump’s goal of the final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea as agreed to by Kim Jong Un,” Pompeo told reporters, referring to the North Korean leader.

“He and I will be traveling to North Korea next week to make further diplomatic progress toward our objective,” Pompeo said.

It will be Pompeo’s fourth trip this year aimed at getting North Korea to scrap a nuclear weapons program that threatens the United States and his second since an unprecedented June summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim that produced much fanfare but little obvious progress.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Pompeo had no plans to meet with Kim in Pyongyang.

“We don’t have that scheduled; we have no expectations of meeting with Chairman Kim. That is not a part of this trip,” she told a regular news briefing.

Biegun said of North Korea: “The issues are tough and will be tough to resolve.” But he added that Trump had created an opening “that we must take by seizing every possible opportunity to realize the vision for a peaceful future for the people of North Korea.”

Biegun served as vice president of international governmental affairs for Ford for 14 years. Prior to that, he was a senior staffer for former President George W Bush’s national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and he also advised members of Congress on foreign affairs.

Trump hailed the summit in Singapore as a success and even went as far as to declare that the nuclear threat from North Korea was over, but Pyongyang has given no indication that it is willing abandon its arsenal unilaterally.

Pompeo was charged with heading follow-up negotiations, but these appear to have made little progress, with the two sides apparently far apart on the fundamental issue of denuclearisation and the US demand for this before North Korea sees any relief from tough international sanctions.

‘GANGSTER-LIKE DEMANDS’

On his last visit to Pyongyang, in July, Pompeo left hailing progress, only for North Korea within hours to denounce his “gangster-like demands.” He did not meet with Kim on that trip, although he did on his first two visits, which took place before the summit.

In an interview with Reuters on Monday, Trump defended his efforts to convince Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons, saying he believed North Korea had taken specific steps toward denuclearisation. He said he would “most likely” meet again with Kim.

However, several members of the US negotiating team said they had seen no sign that North Korea was prepared to negotiate seriously until the United States promised relief from sanctions in return.

Some US intelligence and defense officials consider Pompeo’s planned trip to be premature and said the prospects for significant progress appeared dim.

Kelly Magsamen, a former US deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian affairs now at the Center for American Progress, said Biegun’s appointment would “hopefully bring focus and coherence” to US North Korea diplomacy.

Joshua Pollack, a North Korea missile expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, noted that Biegun’s background was mostly in Russian issues.

But Pollack said that Pompeo could enhance Biegun’s credibility as a negotiator by personally introducing him in Pyongyang. “That would allow Pompeo to step back somewhat until more groundwork has been laid in working-level talks,” he said.

Biegun’s name was floated earlier this year among a list of contenders to replace Trump’s then national security adviser, HR McMaster, who was ultimately succeeded by John Bolton.

Biegun fills a vacancy that has existed since the late February retirement of Joe Yun, an appointee of former President Barack Obama and a strong advocate for diplomacy with North Korea. Soon after Yun’s departure, Trump embraced a diplomatic approach to Pyongyang that led to the June summit.

North Korea state media last week blamed lack of progress on members of the US negotiating team and said breaking the deadlock would demand “a bold decision on the part of President Trump.”

A commentary in its Rodong Sinmun newspaper said those opposed to dialogue were seeking to derail talks with baseless references to “secret nuclear facilities” in North Korea.

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Beauty

The good, the bad and the ugly

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A new year is almost upon us, and although we’re not quite ready let go of this one, there’s not much we can do other than reminiscing about it. 2018 has been an interesting year, full of ups and downs, groundbreaking achievements and innovation. It’s only fair that we celebrate the end of this year by scribbling down a recap in its honor.

Pakistan was included in Forbes list of 10 coolest places to go in 2019.

In 2018, Pakistan witnessed a changing of the guard. One democratically elected government transitioned into another via the general elections.

Imran Khan was elected as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan, while PTI formed a majority and took hold of the federal government. This ushered a change in the political climate of Pakistan labelled “Naya Pakistan”

What will people say, an enigmatic and groundbreaking film by Pakistani-Norwegian director Irum Haq was extremely well recieved and met with applause all around the world.

PMLN was successful in adding 12000 MW of electricity within the system, dampening the energy crisis that had been looming over our heads for quite some time.

Awareness about workplace sexual harassment was raised when Meesha Shafi contributed her story in regards to the MeToo movement. This helped shed a light on how women are treated in an allegedly safe environment.

A groundbreaking verdict was given out in the Asia Bibi blasphemy case, the previous high court verdict was overturned and she was released due to insufficient evidence.

The Government managed to secure aid from both Saudia Arabia and the UAE in order to lessen their dependance upon the IMF. Talks are underway with China for more financial support.

The Kartarpur corridor was opened for Sikh pilgrims, a mature and humanitarian step taken by Pakistan to mend bilateral ties with India.

A bill was passed in order to ensure that the rights of transgender people within Pakistan are protected, and to help save them from any form of discrimination.

A successful initiative taken by PTI was the billion tree tsunami, afforestation in many affected areas was done, lush and greenery brought back to the country.

Chief Justice Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar and the Supreme Court took suo motu notice of many afflictions that the poor people of Pakistan suffer from, in addition to that, a fund was also created to raise money for building a dam.

Important politicians such as Mian Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari were the subject of trials in regards to financial corruption and misuse of authority.

A wave of extremism overtook Pakistan as TLP protested the Asia Bibi verdict, damages worth Rs.260 million were incurred during this time period.

Pakistan was included by the FATF in its grey list due to allegations of terror financing.

The nation was shocked to its core by an atrocious act in January; the rape and murder of Zainab Ansari, and although the gaping wound left behind by her demise has not yet healed, the one who did wrong by her has been brought to justice.

Pakistan in 2018 lost many important people and leaders such as Siraj Raisani, Haroon Bilour, Ali Raza Abidi; they kept on championing for democracy, and lost their lives in the process.

Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani Nobel Prize winner and activist visited Pakistan for the first time in 6 years, she called it the happiest day of her life.

After a decade of inactivity, British Airways are to resume flights in Pakistan, Qatar too opened a visa facilitation center in Islamabad for swift processing of visas, along with a promise of 100,000 jobs for Pakistani workers.

2018 proved to be a golden year for Pakistani cinema, as many of its films went to to receive critical acclaim and managed to bring in big box office numbers; Cake and 3 Bahadur were well received by Pakistani audiences and people abroad, with the former’s director winning an award at the UK Asian Film Festival.

We’ve had our fair share of U-turns, delays and mishaps this year, but we’ve also enjoyed much, this year showed us that Pakistan can persevere through anything with the grace of Allah, it is important to cling on to hope, it is integral to try and find a silver lining in every cloud. Let’s hope the forthcoming year is a prosperous and fulfilling one, bringing all of us joy and solace.

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Entertainment

Style Chaser ft. Muzi Sufi

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Muzi Sufi is an innovative globetrotting photographer and a mother, she has been causing ripples around Instagram with her beautiful content, however her photography isn’t the only thing she’s known for. Muzi Sufi’s impeccable taste in clothes has made her a well known fashion icon in her own right, that we can all draw inspiration from.

Here she can be seen opting to wear a fashionable black sweater-shirt, pairing it off with high-ankle jeans and stiletto heels. A perfect look for any casual event.

Muzi opts to wear an orange maxi-dress with mini floral designs, this is an airy look and quite comfortable when one is out to sight see.

Trying something new, Muzi dons a traditional Japanese Kimono, she can be seen effortlessly pulling off the look, seemingly making it her own.

A simplistic look that everyone should try to emulate, Muzi is seen wearing a black turtle neck with denim jeans.

Twinning with her daughter, Muzi puts on a black chic leather jacket, spicing up her look with a white shirt under it, and finishing it off with black skinny jeans and boots.

Traditional all the way, Muzi embraces Pakistan’s culture by wearing a beautifully designed shalwar kameez with intricate details. A statement we could all borrow inspiration from.

Entering into the retrosphere, Muzi whips out her elegant fur coat, underneath it she wears her skinnies and tops it off with an aesthetically pleasing top.

Draped in a Sari, Muzi looks exquisite and graceful. The sari complements her figure and accents her features, making it certain that all eyes will be on Muzi.

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Food

COUNTRIES WITH THE BEST FOOD‼️

If you’re on a diet, you shouldn’t be here.

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If you’re planning to travel abroad and you’re a foodie, you might want to check this out. Listing the very few countries which have never disappointed us foodies. WARNING: If you’re actually considering visiting, you are highly likely to gain MORE THAN A FEW POUNDS, so please go easy on the food, tiger! 

#10 LEBANON

Lebanese food is truly the best food ever‼️It is far more better than Turkish food since it has a tastier edge to it. If you haven’t had Lebanese food by now, God help you 🙌

#9 SWITZERLAND

Don’t underestimate the Swiss, they make better chocolate than Belgium + they have Swiss rolls 😍

#8 SOUTH KOREA

Go watch Korean Englishman and you will know why Korea is on this list 💯

If you haven’t tried Spanish food by now, you’re living in hell ☄️

#6 INDIA

Spicy, mild, medium sweet, super sweet, and everything in between. This is Indian cuisine. 🌶🍛🍲

#5 Mexico

Tacos 🌮,  Quesadillas 🌯 and Mexican Margaritas 🍸 Weren’t these your 3 genie wishes⁉️ 🧞‍♂️ 

#4 SWEDEN

Swedish food is something that you have to eat to understand how great it really is‼️Words can not make it justice 🙌

#3 PORTUGAL

The only European country that has food very similar to Turkey 🇹🇷 and Morocco 🇲🇦 . Their chicken and seafood and rice dishes are amazing‼️ 

#2 MOROCCO

One of the great cuisines of the world 💯🙌Moroccan cooking abounds with subtle spices and intriguing flavour combinations 🇲🇦🇲🇦

Now comes our favourite country which is the perfect definition of heaven for people like us 😍 Who doesn’t love pizza 🍕  and cheese 🧀 … and ITALY !?! 🇮🇹 

PIZZA AND THIS; What else do you want?

Italy is really the perfect country 🙌 with the amazing food, architecture, art, history, landscapes, beaches and the people 🇮🇹 If it weren’t for these Italians, we would have been in a world without Pizzas so remember them in your prayers 🤲

Here’s our list for the countries which make us hit the gym when we come back to our sad lives ☢️ We only recommend you to go to these places if you are Christian Bale and losing and gaining is your everyday game 💪 If you’re one of us, there’s no way out ❌  

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