White House pushes back over Trump North Korea quote

US President Donald Trump. (AFP/Nicholas Kamm)
Updated 14 January 2018
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White House pushes back over Trump North Korea quote

WASHINGTON: The White House on Saturday denied and corrected a quote attributed to President Donald Trump that suggested he had a good relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
“I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-Un,” Trump was quoted as telling The Wall Street Journal in an interview on Thursday.
But Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted that Trump said “I’d,” not “I” as the newspaper reported.
Both The Wall Street Journal and the White House posted audio recordings of Trump’s remarks on Twitter. These, while not completely clear, appeared to support Sanders’ account.
Sanders had earlier tweeted a written message disputing the newspaper’s article.
“President Trump said, I’D probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. I’D — I’D — I’D. NOT I!” the message read, with “I’D” in red ink, under a red banner reading “FAKE NEWS.”
Mockingly mimicking the newspaper’s front page, it then reads “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL — FAKE NEWS IS AT IT AGAIN! — FALSELY QUOTING PRESIDENT TRUMP.”
Washington and Pyongyang are in a standoff over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, which could be used to target the United States and its allies.
Trump has repeatedly insulted the North Korean leader, describing him as mad and a “rocket man.”
Asked if by The Wall Street Journal if he had spoken to Kim, Trump said: “I don’t want to comment on it. I’m not saying I have or haven’t. I just don’t want to comment.”
Trump suggested his variable position on individuals was part of a broader strategy.
But it was not clear how his remarks fitted with his self-described policy of “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang.
In the coming week the United States and Canada are to host a meeting in Vancouver on the nuclear standoff with North Korea, bringing together friendly powers from around the world.


Sky adds TV subscribers as bid battle intensifies

Updated 19 April 2018
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Sky adds TV subscribers as bid battle intensifies

LONDON: Sky, the pan-European TV giant, said Thursday that it had added 38,000 customers in its third quarter as a takeover battle for the group intensified.
Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is hoping to buy the 61 percent of Sky it does not own but the long-running battle has been held up by competition concerns over media plurality and broadcasting standards in Britain.
Amid the delay, US cable giant Comcast has offered more than £22 billion for all of Sky, trumping Fox’s bid on a price-per-share basis.
In a further twist, Disney is hoping to buy Fox for $52.4 billion — a deal that would see British government concerns over Murdoch’s far-reaching media control in Britain fall away.
Awaiting developments in the takeover saga, Sky on Thursday added that its revenue climbed 5.0 percent to £10.14 billion in the first nine months of its 2017-18 financial year that runs to the end of June.
“In media terms, Sky is currently the belle of the ball, attracting overseas suitors aplenty. This update is another vindication of the interest being shown,” noted Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.
Earlier this month, 21st Century Fox proposed selling rolling TV channel Sky News to Disney in order to finally seal control of Sky.
Nearly 18 months ago, 21st Century Fox bid £11.4 billion for the part of Sky it is yet to own.
The Fox bid, pitched at £10.75 per Sky share, is significantly lower than the Comcast offer of £12.50.
But earlier this year, Britain’s Competitions and Markets Authority provisionally ruled that Murdoch’s planned takeover was not in the public interest and that a deal would hand him too much power in swaying public opinion.
Murdoch owns also major British newspaper titles The Times and The Sun.
To counter the regulatory obstacle, 21st Century Fox has proposed to sell Sky News to Disney even if the latter does not buy Fox.
Another option put up by Fox is to ring-fence Sky News.