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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Record high numbers of men, women and children were driven from their homes across the world last year due to war, violence and persecution, according to a new report by the United Nations' refugee agency.

The UNHCR's annual "Global Trends" study found that a staggering 68.5 million people worldwide had been forcibly displaced by the end of 2017.

Nearly a quarter of them were uprooted just last year, either for the first time or repeatedly. That's an average of one person displaced every two seconds of the day, the study says.

"Now, more than ever, taking care of refugees must be a global –- and shared –- responsibility," Filippo Grandi, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, said in a statement Wednesday. "It’s time to do things differently."

"On World Refugee Day, it’s time to recognize their humanity in action -– and challenge ourselves, and others, to join them –- in receiving and supporting refugees in our schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces," he continued. "This is where solidarity starts –- with all of us."

The report was published Tuesday ahead of World Refugee Day, amid global outrage over a "zero-tolerance" policy enacted by U.S. President Donald Trump that is forcibly separating immigrant children from their parents at the border with Mexico. Thousands of Central Americans are fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries -- including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras -- and are risking their lives to reach the United States.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, has described the immigration policy as "government-sanctioned child abuse" and urged the U.S. government to end the controversial practice.

"In the past six weeks, nearly two thousand children have been forcibly separated from their parents," al-Hussein said in a statement Monday. "The thought that any State would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable."

According to the UNHCR report, the humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the civil war in South Sudan and the flight of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar into Bangladesh were the leading causes of forcible displacement last year.

The global displacement figure for 2017 includes 25.4 million refugees who fled their countries to escape conflict and persecution, the study says. That's 2.9 million more refugees than the year before -- the steepest increase UNHCR has ever seen in a single year.

The report shows that Turkey hosted the largest number of refugees worldwide for the fourth consecutive year, with 3.5 million people. It was followed by Pakistan, Uganda, Lebanon, Iran, Germany, Bangladesh and Sudan.

"International responsibility-sharing for displaced people has utterly collapsed. Rich countries are building walls against families fleeing war, at the same time as less money is available for aid to people in conflict areas," Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said in a statement Tuesday.

Halfway through the fiscal year, the Trump administration has admitted less than a quarter of the 45,000 refugees it set as a cap -- already the lowest ceiling in the 43-year history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program -- with only 10,548 refugees allowed entry into the United States since October 1, 2017.

In a statement marking World Refugee Day, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized that his government provides aid to crises that uproot people from their homes and that "new actors" must step up to the plate to address the rising number of displaced persons.

"As global displacement has reached record levels, it is vital that new actors – including governments, international financial institutions, and the private sector – come to the table to assist in the global response to address it," Pompeo said in his statement Wednesday. "The United States will continue to be a world leader in providing humanitarian assistance and working to forge political solutions to the underlying conflicts that drive displacement."

"The United States provides more humanitarian assistance than any other single country worldwide, including to refugees," he added.

The U.N. 1951 Refugee Convention defines a refugee as someone who is forced to leave their home due to "a well-founded fear of persecution." The persecution must be "because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion," the treaty says.

Other types of forcibly displaced persons include asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, stateless persons and returnees.

"Refugees are ordinary human beings who have been forced to flee their homes under the most extraordinary circumstances," Ryan Mace, grassroots advocacy and refugee specialist at Amnesty International, said in a statement Wednesday. "They all deserve to have their human rights respected, protected, and fulfilled."

"Refugees bring so much to their communities, wherever they are," he continued. "They have innumerable skills, ideas, hopes, and dreams. Here in the U.S., we should be welcoming them into our communities with open arms and inviting them to our table, not building taller walls and implementing draconian policies meant to keep refugees and asylum seekers out."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In response to mounting criticism of the policy of separating migrant children from their families, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that he said is about "keeping families together" and "ensuring we have a powerful, very strong border."

"I think the word 'compassion' comes into it," Trump said. "My wife feels strongly about it. I feel strongly about it. Anybody with a heart would feel this way."

The practice of separating children from their parents and detaining them had sparked widespread criticism from other world leaders, including the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Theresa May.

"The pictures of children being held in what appear to be cages are deeply disturbing," Theresa May told lawmakers Wednesday. "This is wrong. This is not something that we agree with. This is not the United Kingdom's approach."

It is unclear how and where migrant children who are detained in the U.S. will be housed following the executive order. But America's policies toward migrant children remain much different than those of European Union member states. While some EU countries do detain child migrants, they are not separated from their parents, and EU law says that asylum-seeking families should be kept united as much as possible.

So how do European countries deal with asylum-seeking families and children? Here’s what you need to know.

How many migrant children are detained in the EU?

Children have represented up to a third of migrant arrivals in the EU since the summer of 2015, according to a 2017 report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. But there is no comparable and reliable data on how many migrant children are detained in the EU, the agency found.

The agency did analyze data provided by EU member states on the number of children detained on three specific days, however: Dec. 31, 2015, March 31, 2016, and Sept. 1, 2016.

On those days, no children were detained in Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Spain or the United Kingdom.

Bulgaria had the largest number of children in detention on any one day -- 458, all of whom were in detention with their families on Sept. 1, 2016. On the same day, Greece had 255 children in immigration detention; only seven of them were detained without their families. Those who were detained without their families had arrived alone without parents or guardians, and had not been separated from their families by authorities, the report said.

Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia were other countries that detained a large number of children on some of the days studied in the report.

Overall, while these numbers are not a complete picture of the number of children detained each day, they are significantly smaller than the approximately 2,000 migrant children who had been detained and separated from their families by U.S. authorities over the past six weeks.

Where are detained migrant children held and what are the conditions like?


Most EU countries that allow the detention of children have established specialized spaces for them -- either as part of existing detention centers or separate facilities, according to the report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

But many of these facilities still resemble prisons, the report found, and they are often surrounded by barbed wire.

Many officers in these facilities wear military fatigues and use handcuffs to transport detainees, the report found, and in most of the cases the agency examined, staff members had no specific training on child protection.

Human rights organizations have criticized some European countries for detaining children too long and in "degrading" conditions.

For example, in a 2016 report, Human Rights Watch found that Greece had been arbitrarily detaining children for prolonged periods of time, often in "poor and degrading conditions" at police stations, protective custody or in pre-removal detention centers and closed facilities on the Greek islands.

"In some cases, children said they were made to live and sleep in overcrowded, filthy, bug- and vermin-infested cells, sometimes without mattresses, and were deprived of appropriate sanitation, hygiene, and privacy," the report found.

How long do children stay in detention in the EU?

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights report found that the time children spent in detention varied from a few hours to several months. Most of the children detained were boys. On the days that the agency examined in its 2017 report, three countries -- Luxembourg, Poland, and Slovakia -- had detained infants with their families. Four countries -- Belgium, Luxembourg, Slovenia, and Sweden -- held children for 15 days or less on the days examined.

On the dates the agency studied, two unaccompanied children had been detained for more than four months: a 15-year-old boy in Latvia had been detained for 195 days and a 16-year-old boy in Poland had been detained for 151 days.

Questions about a child's age, irregular border crossings and waiting for a guardian to be appointed were among the reasons EU countries gave for detaining children for longer periods of time.

What does the UN and the EU say about separating families?

Under international law and binding European directives, detention of unaccompanied children -- children who arrive in a country without their parents or adult guardians -- can only be used as a last resort. Such detention is reserved for exceptional circumstances, and the law mandates that the child's best interest must to be kept in mind.

Article 9 of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child requires countries to make sure that children are not separated from their parents against their will unless competent authorities "subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child." This separation might be necessary in cases where parents are abusing or neglecting their children, the article says.

EU law also states that countries have to do what they can to ensure that families are not separated. Article 12 of the Reception Conditions Directive states that EU member states "shall take appropriate measures to maintain, as far as possible, family unity" if asylum seekers are provided with housing by the host countries.

Article 11 of the same document states that "minors shall be detained only as a measure of last resort" and after it has been established that there are no better alternatives. The policy also says that the detention of children has to be for the shortest period of time possible and in a place suitable for them. Additionally, detained families need to be held in separate facilities to ensure their privacy.

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iStock/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- Fans partying at the World Cup in Moscow are downing so much beer that they are nearly drinking parts of the city dry, with some bars saying they get close to running out each night.

For almost a week, tens of thousands of foreign and local fans have been turning the heart of Moscow into a street party each night, gathering in the area around the Kremlin in a huge tide of chanting, dancing and drinking, which doesn't recede until the very early hours of the morning.

“They drink half a tonne of beer each night!” said Evgeny Gorbanov, a bouncer at Let’s Rock Bar, whose establishment has been overflowing with fans every night since the month-long tournament began.

Half a dozen bars said they had almost ran out of beer in the first few days of the competition and had had to quickly increase orders to keep up with the demand.

“We hadn’t counted on it,” said Nikolai Vladik, manager at Ketch-Up, a burger bar. “On the first day, it got pretty tough. But we’ve prepared now,” he said.

Like many residents in Moscow, the bar staff said they had been caught off guard by the avalanche of fans and the scale of the partying. At Kamchatka, an all-night bar that sells beers in plastic cups, staff said they had sharply increased their beer orders. At the restaurant Dante, manager Nadia Desyatelik said fans were drinking 200 liters a night, compared to the 30 they normally sell.

Several shell-shocked, but happy-looking bar staffers and managers said fans need not worry - they would keep the beer taps flowing.

Asked what the fans drink when they run out of beer, Vladik - with a wry laugh - said. “Vodka.”

The World Cup street parties - flooded each night with flag-wrapped fans - are unfolding in one of Moscow’s toniest neighborhoods, sitting between the famous Bolshoi Theater and Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office.

The epicenter of the revelry is Nikolskaya Street, a long, pedestrianized drag that leads directly onto Red Square and the Kremlin. Fans head there after each win.

Each night, a bobbing, deafening mass of people from a bewildering mix of countries mingle — Mexican fans in sombreros and wrestling masks, Egyptians dressed as pharaohs, Russian fans teaching Argentinians folk dances, to name a few.

On Tuesday night, after Russia beat Egypt 3-1 to effectively put them through to the knockout stage of the World Cup for the first time in almost 30 years, a vast flood of euphoric Russians poured into the streets again.

Some of the fans themselves have said that they were also impressed by how much was being consumed, with some saying other host cities were being drained too.

“That’s crazy,” said Per Engstrom, a Swedish fan sitting with three friends drinking beer on a nearby terrace. “We were in Nizhny Novogorod and they also ran out of beer,” he said referring to a host city about 6 hours from Moscow.

“At 11 o’clock! Before lunch!”

“It’s not ok,” he added, laughing.

Some bar staff said they were nervous that beer suppliers might miss vital deliveries.

But Baltika, the Russian unit of Carlsberg told Reuters that while there was increased risk of supply disruption during the World Cup, their business was so far able to handle demand. Heineken also told Reuters sales were strong and the brewer did not yet see any challenges to its supply.

The party has surprised Muscovites all the more because few can remember anything like it in the city. Drinking on the street is illegal in Russia, carrying a fine of between $7 - $23.

A growing emphasis from the Kremlin on public discipline, combined with an official suspicion towards street gatherings, has made wild public displays unwise.

But those rules seem to have been suspended for the World Cup. Russian police have stood by and watched as fans have clambered up lamp posts and hung flags from buildings. On Nikolskaya Street, Argentinian fans have covered a monastery with team banners. Riot police, usually dour, have been addressing people with rare politeness at security points.

Russians are marveling at the new light-touch approach. Many are also delighted by the party atmosphere on the streets. The revelry has so far been good-natured - with few reports of trouble.

“Everyday is a weekend,” said Liza Yakushenko, a worker at a cocktail bar, Cuba Libre, which is open 24 hours a-day.

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Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images(BEIJING) -- In their third meeting in less than three months, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly hailed their close and growing ties, while Xi urged the United States and North Korea to build on the momentum from their Singapore summit.

“No matter how the international and regional situations change,” China and the Communist Party’s support of North Korea will remain “unchanged,” Xi told the North Korean leader, according to China’s state-run news agency Xinhua.

Kim, in turn, vowed to “lift the unbreakable" North Korea-China relations "to a new level."  

Xi commended Kim for making “positive efforts for realizing denuclearization and maintain peace on the peninsula,” adding that the situation there has been “put back on the right track of seeking settlement” and that “the situation on the peninsula was developing toward peace and stability.”

Kim arrived in Beijing Tuesday morning and returned to North Korea late Wednesday.

According to the official Chinese comments on the meetings, Xi was quoted as saying, "China speaks highly of the summit."

The most crucial remarks were possibly Kim’s commitment to “implement the consensus of the summit step by step solidly."

The phrase “step by step” was deliberate, showing that China supported Kim’s own proposed pace of denuclearization.

The Trump administration had sought for North Korea to be “completely denuclearized” before any sanctions would be lifted.

The resulting joint statement the United States and North Korea ultimately signed in Singapore last week included no timetable.

But “China will continue to play a constructive role to this end,” Xi said.

Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, welcomed Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, with a banquet and cultural performance Tuesday night at the Great Hall of the People just off Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Kim previously met with Xi during two secret meetings -- late March in Beijing, and early May in the coastal city of Dalian. Prior to the Singapore summit, Trump had complained that the North Koreans’ attitude changed after Kim and Xi met in Dalian.

Xi and Kim’s meeting continued during the morning Wednesday at the Diaoyutai guesthouse, where Kim was staying, concluding with a luncheon again with their wives.

Before returning to Pyongyang, Kim visited the Beijing rail traffic control center and a national agricultural technology innovation park under the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

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Photodisc/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- Canadian lawmakers approved landmark legislation on Tuesday to fully legalize marijuana.

The move will make Canada the second country in the world to legalize cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes nationwide. Uruguay was the first to fully legalize the drug.

Bill C-45, also known as the Cannabis Act, was first introduced on April 13, 2017, in a bid to legalize and regulate the recreational use of weed. The bill passed in the House of Commons that November and then passed in the Senate on Tuesday night by a vote of 52-29, with two abstentions.

Medicinal use of the drug has been legal in Canada since 2001.

The proposed legislation allows adults in Canada to legally possess and use up to 30 grams of dried cannabis in public, as well as cultivate up to four cannabis plants at home and prepare products for personal use. Dried cannabis and cannabis oil will become commercially available later this year.

The minimum legal age to buy and consume pot in Canada will be set at 18, but the bill allows provinces and territories to increase the minimum age.

Canadian Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who sponsored the legislation, called the bill's passage a "historic milestone."

"This is an historic milestone for progressive policy in Canada as we shift our approach to cannabis," Wilson-Raybould said via Twitter Tuesday night. "This legislation will help protect our youth from the risks of cannabis while keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime."

The federal law fulfills a top campaign promise of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party.

"It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana -- and for criminals to reap the profits," Trudeau said via Twitter Tuesday night. "Today, we change that."

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Trump administration is expecting North Korea to return up to 200 sets of remains believed to be American service members who died during the Korean War, three U.S. officials confirmed.

Planning is underway to receive the remains from North Korea in the coming days, but an actual transfer date and location has not yet been finalized, the officials said.

One official said though it was unclear where the handover of remains could occur, they would ultimately be taken to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii where the Defense Department has a lab to identify remains of missing U.S. service members from all wars.

The expected return of U.S. remains from North Korea was first reported by CNN.

During a press conference last week after his meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, President Trump said he’d asked Kim for the return of U.S. remains from the Korean War and that Kim had agreed.

“I asked for it today. And we got it,” said Trump. “That was a very last minute. The remains will be coming back. They’re going to start that process immediately.”

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) estimates that there are 7,697 Americans unaccounted for from the Korean War. Of those, approximately 5,300 are expected to be located inside North Korea.

"On several occasions in the past, DPRK officials have indicated they possess as many as 200 sets of remains they had recovered over the years," DPAA said in a release on Monday. "The commitment established within the Joint Statement between President Trump and Chairman Kim would repatriate these as was done in the early 1990s and would reinforce the humanitarian aspects of this mission."

From 1990 to 1994, the U.S. recovered 208 caskets with as many as 400 remains contained inside of them, DPAA said. From 1996 to 2005, 229 additional caskets were found and transferred.

DPAA has identified locations where they believe there are major concentrations of remains inside North Korea.

Twelve hundred are believed to be in POW Camp Burial Sites and 1,000 could be located near the Korean Demilitarized Zone or DMZ. There are also believed to be 184 individual remains at a cemetery in Pyongyang.

Remains that are able to be identified are transferred to the deceased individual's family members. Unidentified remains are kept at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and the DPAA's Laboratory in Hawaii.

In recent years, about 100 sets of unknown remains from the Korean War buried at the cemetery have been disinterred for identification by the DPAA.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Bilbao, one of the culinary capitals of the world, hosted the prestigious World's 50 Best Restaurants 2018 unveiling on Tuesday, and American gastronomy was well represented although the U.S. lost the top spot as Eleven Madison Park dropped to fourth place.

For the second time, the Italian restaurant Osteria Francescana won the "Oscars of Gastronomy," with a contemporary and traditional cuisine approved by Pope Francis, who made this restaurant one of his refectory.

Placing second was El Celler de Can Roca in Catalonia and placing third was Mirazur in Southern France. Gaggan in Bangkok rounded out the top five.

But above everything else, and as an introduction, William Drew, group editor of World's 50 Best Restaurants insisted on saying goodbye to American food icon and television host Anthony Bourdain, who died tragically earlier this month. Drew called him an "agent provocateur who changed the industry for the better and opened the palate so many people."

Very moved by the loss of Anthony Bourdain, Drew spoke about the presence of so many of Bourdain's friends in the theater, and he shared special thoughts for his family and loved ones in the U.S.

And after saying "au revoir" to the legendary 91-year-old French chef Paul Bocuse, the show resumed.

As feminism spiked early in the year following the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the rise of the #MeToo movement, British chef Clare Smith received the award for the best female chef and gave a speech where she highlighted how "women need to clear the path for the next generation."

It was a panel of more than 1,000 people who voted from a pool of chefs, restaurateurs, travelers and food authors, overseen by 26 chiefs attending this special event.

With restaurant from Lima, Peru, to Melbourne, Australia, the only continent not represented was Africa.

The annual rankings are often criticized for privileging pricey tasting menus over original or authentic gems more travelers are likely to visit.

While receiving the price, Massimo Bottura said that "all together we can make the change," reflecting the inscription of his restaurant in Modena: "We are the Revolution."

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iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- South Korea Tuesday confirmed the Pentagon's announcement of the suspension of a major joint military exercise in August and called for North Korea to reciprocate.

The U.S. Department of Defense and the South Korean defense ministry said the annual Freedom Guardian exercise would be suspended, and South Korea also said a separate emergency training drill supervised solely by the South, called the Ulchi exercise, was under review.

It is the first time the United States and South Korea have suspended the so-called war games since 1994.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo Tuesday called for North Korea to respond with “corresponding measures,” though not providing specifics.

The decision to suspend the August exercise was made under close cooperation between the United States and the South, as a way to maintain the momentum amid inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korea dialogue, Choi told reporters.

“The United States and South Korea, after working closely, concluded on suspending the defensive Freedom Guardian military exercise planned for August,” Choi said at a press briefing.

Seoul’s defense ministry made it clear that the suspension applies only to the Freedom Guardian exercise, which is jointly carried out by the United States and South Korean troops.

In contrast, the annual Ulchi is a weeklong emergency preparedness exercise supervised by the Ministry of Public Administration and Safety and has nothing to do with the U.S. troops.

Suspension of the Ulchi exercise “is under discussion, still undecided,” South Korean presidential office spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom said during a briefing Tuesday.

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iStock/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- China’s Commerce Ministry on Tuesday criticized President Trump’s latest threat of tariffs, calling it an “act of extreme pressure and blackmail.”

Trump on Monday threatened to impose additional tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods following an announcement last week that he would seek to slap a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion in Chinese imports to the U.S.

“If the United States loses its rationality and unveils another list of Chinese products for additional tariffs, China will have no choice but to take comprehensive measures combining quantitative and qualitative ones to resolutely strike back," the ministry said in a statement.

Trump said the tariffs were “essential to preventing further unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China, which will protect American jobs.”

He added, “After the legal process is complete, these tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced.”

Beijing responded to Trump's announcement last week by applying tariffs to 659 U.S. products, including agricultural products, cars and marine products.

Companies like Apple are worried China could cause delays in supply chains and increase scrutiny of products under the guise of national security concerns, The New York Times reported.

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Ministry of Communications and Information Singapore via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Beijing Tuesday morning for his third visit to China in less than three months -- just one week after his historic summit with President Donald Trump in Singapore.

Kim will likely meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and debrief him on the results of the his meeting with Trump.

The visit comes on the same day Washington and Seoul announced that they would suspend a joint military exercise in August, a move that will likely please the Chinese.

“We hope the visit will help deepen China-North Korea relations,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at his daily press briefing Tuesday. “[We hope the visit will] strengthen strategic communication between the two sides on major issues to promote peace and stability in the region.”

In a departure from his previous visits, Chinese state media announced that Kim would be visiting Beijing for two days just after he arrived in Beijing Tuesday morning, but offered no further details. On previous visits by North Korean leaders, including those of Kim’s father Kim Jong Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung, the news of the visits were not announced until after the they had left the country.

When asked why the visit was announced during Kim’s stay this time, Geng merely said that “specific circumstances around each visit have their own specific arrangements.”

Security measures were in full force around the Chinese capital as Kim’s motorcade was filmed by Reuters cameras speeding across town on Changan Avenue and entering the Diaoyutai Guesthouse compound, where he had stayed on his previous March visit. Screens were also erected outside the Great Hall of the People to block the view of the entrance from the street.

Kim previously met with Xi on two secret meetings in late March in Beijing and in early May in the coastal city of Dalian. Prior to the Singapore Summit, Trump had complained that the North Koreans’ attitude changed after Kim and Xi met in Dalian.

Beijing has long advocated a "dual suspension" or "freeze-for-freeze" approach -- whereby North Korea halts its missile and nuclear testing and the U.S. and South Korea halt their joint military exercises -- for the easing tension on the Korean Peninsula. Both Pyongyang and Beijing have long seen the joint drills as provocative.

In pledging to halt what Trump called the “wargames” during the Singapore Summit -- even calling them “provocative” -- the president appeared to have inadvertently given what Beijing had sought for a long time.

Meanwhile, South Korea Foreign Ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said Tuesday that South Korea welcomed Kim’s visit to China and said “the governments of South Korea and China shared the same strategic goal of completely denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.”

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Arcaid/UIG via Getty Images(LONDON) -- After a British legislator blocked a proposed bill to ban taking photos up women's skirts without their knowledge, some protesters expressed their anger by hanging women's underwear around his offices.

The proposed ban on "upskirting," which is supported by Britain's Conservative government, was blocked on Friday when Conservative Member of Parliament Christopher Chope objected as the bill was put forward in the House of Commons. The proposed law would have meant that someone taking a photo up a woman's skirt without her consent could face up to two years in prison.

Lorna Rees, one of Chope’s constituents, tweeted a photo on Saturday of three pairs of underwear hanging on a red ribbon outside of the politician's office in Dorset, England. "No one should be able to photo my pants unless I want them to" she handwrote on the underwear.

"Friday was desperately frustrating," Rees wrote in a tweet. "I hope my anti-Chope constituency pant protest shows solidarity."

On Monday, she tweeted another photo of three new pairs of underwear hung outside the MP’s constituency office.

"As the last ones were removed, I put a new set of bunting today," Rees wrote.

A similar protest took place in the British parliament, where Chope’s office also was decorated with underwear.

After the bill was blocked on Friday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said that she was "disappointed."

"Upskirting is an invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed," she wrote on Twitter. "I am disappointed the Bill didn't make progress in the Commons today, and I want to see these measures pass through Parliament -- with government support -- soon."

Chope has said that he backs the bill, but objected as a matter of principle because he believed it had to be properly debated.

"If a detailed bill is put before the house and it hasn’t had any debate then as a matter of principle, I block it without looking into the details of the bill because as a matter of principle, I don’t believe we should pass legislation which hasn’t been scrutinized," he told LBC Radio, a London-based national talk radio station.

The bill was introduced by Wera Hobhouse, a Liberal Democrat, and was backed by the British government after months of campaigning by Gina Martin, an upskirting victim.

"By making upskirting a specific offense, we are sending a clear message that this behavior will not be tolerated, and that perpetrators will be properly punished," Lucy Frazer, the British justice minister, said in a statement. "Our action builds on the tireless efforts of Wera Hobhouse, Gina Martin and other campaigners, and we will ensure this Bill becomes law."

On Monday, the British Justice Ministry said that the government would draft and introduce a new upskirting bill as soon as possible.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A terror attack in northeast Nigeria has left more than 30 dead and scores injured despite ongoing military efforts to restore peace in the region.

Multiple bombs went off during a celebration for the end of Ramadan over the weekend, and were reportedly followed by artillery strikes by the nation's military.

The government has blamed six suicide bombers from the terror group Boko Haram for the attack Saturday in Damboa, in the state of Borno.

In addition to the dozens reported to have died, the injured included 11 severely wounded people who were evacuated from the area by the International Committee for the Red Cross, the humanitarian organization told ABC News.

Some witnesses told multiple local media outlets that the military airstrikes may have hit as many or more people than the bombs.

A local person who did not want to be named told Sahara Reporters that "many civilians were hit" when the military fired in retaliation.

Borno state is one of the worst-affected areas in conflict-ridden Nigeria. The United Nations says Damboa alone in Borno state currently hosts over 90,000 internally displaced people, many of whom live in refugee camps.

"The humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s northeast that has spilled over into the Lake Chad region is one of the most severe in the world today, with 7.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2018 in the worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, and 6.1 million targeted for humanitarian assistance," the United Nations said in a statement to ABC News.

The U.N. says Damboa alone in Borno state currently hosts over 90,000 internally displaced people, many of whom live in refugee camps.

A military operation was launched May 1 to try and expel militants from Borno state. Then, hours after an army spokesman urged people to return to the area, saying it was "safe," this latest bombing happened.

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, has been a target of terror attacks for many years. Boko Haram is one of the largest Islamist militant groups in Africa, with links to several other Islamist groups, including ISIS.

In March 2015, ISIS accepted a pledge of allegiance by Boko Haram and in August 2016, the group split into two factions: The Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) and JASDJ or Boko Haram.

Following Boko Haram's pledge of allegiance to ISIS, the United States announced it would boost its military assistance to Nigeria.

“In addition to being the largest African oil producer, Nigeria's economy is very dependent on its oil revenue, its stability is vital to regional security and U.S. economic interests,” according to a statement by the Council on Foreign Relations.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, whose won in part due to his vow to crush Boko Haram, will likely face scrutiny in the next elections in February 2019 over his ability to address security threats in the country.

The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate condemned the attack in Damboa by “suspected Boko Haram insurgents targeting Eid al-Fitr celebrations,” and sent “condolences to the affected families, government and people of Nigeria.”

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Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Thomas Markle, father of newly married Duchess Meghan Markle, apologized for staging photos before his daughter's wedding to Prince Harry and expressed regret at not being able to walk her down the aisle in his first interview since the wedding.

"She was beautiful. I cried a little watching her," Thomas Markle said on "Good Morning Britain." "I was very proud and I couldn't see a better moment in my life. The whole world was watching my daughter."

"The unfortunate thing now is that I'm a footnote in one of the greatest moments in history instead of a dad walking his daughter down the aisle," he said. "It was a very emotional moment. I regretted it because I really wanted to walk her down the aisle. But I'm thankful for how it all went."

Meghan's father admitted to being a bit jealous that he was not at the wedding, but expressed thanks to Prince Charles, Harry's father, for stepping in.

"I can't think of a better replacement than Prince Charles," said Markle. "He looked very handsome. I was jealous, I wish it was me, but thank God he was there and I thank him for that."

The father of the bride, who described his daughter as a "princess," said that he imagines Prince Charles was thrilled to walk his daughter down the aisle.

"It might have been a treat for him as well because he didn't have a daughter."

The Prince of Wales has expressed many times how he had always hoped to have a daughter. He has become particularly close to his new daughter-in-law, Meghan.

Thomas Markle decided to withdraw from the wedding after the U.K.'s Mail on Sunday claimed that he had been participating in staged photo shoots to help his image.

Within 24 hours it appeared that he had changed his mind after speaking with his daughter and Prince Harry. But again he backed out several days later after saying he had suffered a heart attack and would be unable to travel.

"Good Morning Britain" host Piers Morgan disclosed on-air that Markle, who lives in Mexico, was paid for his interview Monday with the TV show.

Markle said his daughter was only concerned about his health in a tearful phone call with Prince Harry when he shared that he would be unable to attend her wedding.

"They were disappointed," he said. "Meghan cried, I'm sure, and they both said, 'Take care of yourself, we are really worried about you.'"

Meghan's father said he apologized to Meghan and Harry for his error in judgment with regard to taking the photos.

"I realized it was a serious mistake," he said. "It's hard to take it back."

Kensington Palace issued a statement on Meghan’s behalf shortly before the wedding and after her father announced he would be undergoing heart surgery.

"Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding," Markle, 36, said in the statement from Kensington Palace. "I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health.

"I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support," the statement continued. "Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday."

First conversation with Meghan about her new boyfriend

The first phone calls were, "Daddy, I have a new boyfriend.' And I said, 'That's really nice,' and the next phone call was like, 'He's British,' and I said, 'That's really nice,' and eventually the third time around was like: 'He's a prince.'"

He continued: "And at that point, she said, 'It's Harry,' and I said, 'Oh, Harry, OK!' She said, 'Of course we’ll have to call him 'H' so no one knows we're talking about Harry.'"

"We talked a little about how they met and how happy they were with each other," Markle reflected.

"He's quite easy to talk to; he's quite a comfortable person to talk to," Markle added. "I wasn't nervous. Ten thousand miles apart, it's hard to be nervous talking to someone on the phone."

Asking for Meghan's hand in marriage

Thomas Markle recounted the moment when Prince Harry asked him for his daughter's hand in marriage over the phone.

"You are a gentleman, promise me you will never raise your hand against my daughter and of course I will grant you my permission,'" he recalled saying.

Markle said his daughter has "been a princess since the day she was born," adding, "He made a good pick, didn't he?"

When asked about Harry's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, Markle replied, "I’ve had respect for that women since I was a child. I think she’s one of the most incredible women in the world and I would love to meet her."

On Meghan wanting children

Thomas Markle also revealed that Meghan and Harry are ready to start a family.

"She's wanted children for a long time," the former Hollywood producer told "Good Morning Britain." "When she met Harry and spoke about how much she loved him, there’s got to be a child in the making somewhat soon."

On when he knew the relationship was serious
The wide-ranging interview with "Good Morning Britain" saw hosts Piers Morgan and Susannah Reid ask about when he realized that Meghan and Harry's relationship was serious.

"I can't give you a date, no, [but] it was certainly a few months before the announcement of the engagement," he said.

"My daughter is very intelligent. She knows how to choose who she wants to be with. She's a smart girl and she made a good pick. The royals are very complicated, but she can always rise to that occasion.

"My daughter is capable of anything and she will be a complement to the royal family."

On the staged photos and paparazzi deal

For the first time Meghan's father discussed the leaked photographs and his agreement to participate in order to change his image.

"For the last year photographs of me were always derogatory," he explained. "They would take pictures of my hand grabbing the beer, they’d take pictures of me getting in my car, taking the garbage out, they’d take pictures of me buying a toilet and making a big deal out of it. They took all kinds of pictures making me look negative."

He said he apologized to his daughter and son-in-law over the phone.

"I thought this would be a nice way of me improving my look. Well obviously that all went to hell. And I feel bad about it," he said. "I apologized for it and that’s all I can do. I can't do much beyond that. That was a mistake.

Markle added, "I didn’t do this for money; I did this to change my image. For one whole year I was presented as a hermit hiding out in Mexico. I was looking to change my image and obviously that was a mistake that went wrong."

On Markle’s nickname for his daughter

Markle also spoke warmly about his nickname for his daughter and how it came about.

"When she was a child she loved "Jack and the Beanstalk." ... Because she’s so small I called her Bean or beanie," Thomas said.

When asked jokingly if he called her Duchess Bean, Markle answered, "Well I don’t think I’ll call her duchess. I don’t have to, she’s my daughter."

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iStock/Thinkstock(ATHENS) -- Since its independence in 1991, the Republic of Macedonia has been fighting with neighboring Greece over the country’s name.

On Sunday, Macedonia and Greece signed a historic deal aimed at settling the name dispute that has lasted longer than the 14 years it took Alexander the Great to conquer the world.

If the agreement wins approval in both nations, the former Yugoslav republic will be known as the Republic of North Macedonia.

"This is a brave, historic and necessary step for our peoples,” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said as he and his Macedonian counterpart, Zoran Zaev, watched their foreign ministers sign the agreement on Lake Prespa, where Greece borders Macedonia.

The argument may be one of the strangest disputes in international politics.

When Yugoslavia broke into pieces, one region declared itself the Republic of Macedonia.

Greece, its southern neighbor, has a northern province called Macedonia that was the cradle of its society during the Alexander the Great era.

Greece considers Macedonia a non-negotiable part of its history and because of its objection to the new Balkan country's name, it refused to let the Republic of Macedonia join either the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or the European Union until the name was changed.

The Republic of Macedonia got a United Nations seat by agreeing to be called The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for all official purposes, but this was not meant to be a permanent solution.

The new country argued that it also has a claim to the disputed name. The agreement on the new name, North Macedonia, suggests that neither state has a monopoly on the historic legacy of the region.

For the new name to take effect, the Republic of Macedonia's parliament needs to approve the deal with Greece, followed by a referendum laster his year in which voters will have a say. Also, constitutional changes in the Republic of Macedonia, a key Greek demand, need a two-thirds majority in parliament, which Mr. Zaev does not currently have.

After the referendum and constitutional changes in the Republic of Macedonia, Greek parliament needs to ratify the deal -- though nationalist and opposition parties have vowed to resist it.

In Greece, Tsipras survived a no-confidence vote on June 16 over the deal, with accusations that he made too many concessions.

As a sign of goodwill, the Republic of Macedonia also agreed to rename huge statues erected in recent years in its capital honoring the ancient warrior kings -- Alexander the Great and his father, Filip of Macedon, as well as Alexander's mother, Olympia. The statues are now to be marked in honor of Greek-North Macedonian friendship, an official of North Macedonia told ABC News.

Protests against the name change turned violent in Skopje, the capital of the nation of Macedonia, as demonstrators clashed with police, according to local reports.

Video posted on social media showed protesters standing on top of police vehicles and pushing against barricades erected near Macedonia’s National Assembly building.

Some demonstrators chanted "Macedonia: We won't give up the name," while others sang patriotic songs, and shouted chants in support of Macedonia’s president, Gjorge Ivanov, according to video from the scene.

Officers appeared to use flash grenades and tear gas to disperse the crowds amid reports of protesters attacking officers with rocks and bottles, local news outlet Radio Free Europe reported late Sunday. There were no injuries immediately reported.

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iStock/Thinkstock(BOGOTA, Columbia) -- Colombians are heading to the polls for the second time in less than a month — this time in a runoff to elect the country’s next president.

This year’s is the first presidential contest since the 2016 peace accord was signed between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the Marxist guerrilla known as FARC that had been at war with the government for more than half a century -- a conflict left 220,000 dead and 7 million displaced.

Sunday's runoff was triggered after the country’s May election proved inconclusive — none of the six candidates running then managed to get the 50 percent plus one vote required to win outright.

The two candidates on Sunday’s ballot are conservative Ivan Duque and left-wing candidate Gustavo Petro, who have campaigned on radically disparate platforms and propose very different approaches to the controversial peace deal signed with FARC.

Back in May, Duque, an investor-friendly former senator who campaigned against the peace accord, took first place with 39 percent of the vote. Petro, a former guerrilla leader and recent mayor of the capital city Bogota, came in second with 25 percent of the vote.

Petro and Duque represent the two extremes in a deeply polarized Colombia.

On one side, there are those who back Duque because they want heavier policing, economic stability and secure private property. Duque opposes the FARC peace deal, saying it is too lenient on the former guerrilla members and campaigning to modify the clause that gives those members amnesty.

On the other, there are the Petro-leaning voters who blame right-wing politicians for heavy-handed tactics and abuses of power, and who want more action to reduce economic and social inequality.

This is the first time a leftist candidate gets to the second round in a presidential election in Colombia — historically, many Colombians have been wary of left-leaning politicians who they've seen as friendly to the guerrilla groups with whom they spent 50 years at war.

Topping that, the chaotic descent of neighboring country Venezuela under the socialist regimes of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro — which has triggered a refugee crisis spilling into Colombia — adds to the fears of a left-wing government, with Duque supporters accusing Petro of wanting to turn Colombia into Venezuela.

More than 1 million Venezuelans have entered Colombia since the country fell deeper into economic crisis in 2017.

Pedro denounced the Maduro government after the first round of the election, but his approach to the Venezuelan government is expected to be more lenient than Duque's.

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