Pompeo visit scrapped after belligerent letter from North Korea

Pompeo received it Friday and showed it to President Donald Trump. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 28 August 2018

Pompeo visit scrapped after belligerent letter from North Korea

  • The precise contents of the letter, which came from Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea’s ruling party, were not known
  • Trump tweeted that he had not seen sufficient progress toward Pyongyang denuclearizing

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s planned trip to North Korea last weekend was canceled after he received what US officials deemed to be a belligerent letter from Pyongyang, The Washington Post reported.
The precise contents of the letter, which came from Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea’s ruling party, were not known, the Post said.
Pompeo received it Friday and showed it to President Donald Trump. They concluded it was belligerent enough to call off the visit, the Post said late Monday, quoting two administration officials.
In pulling the plug on the visit, Trump tweeted that he had not seen sufficient progress toward Pyongyang denuclearizing.
Trump acted amid independent reports that North Korea has done little or nothing to roll back its nuclear program, despite promises made at a historic summit in June with Kim Jong Un.
Trump also blasted China for not doing enough to help push denuclearization, but left open the possibility of a Pompeo trip to Pyongyang when the US-China trading relationship is “resolved.”


Pakistan couple arrested for allegedly murdering seven-year-old maid

Updated 24 min 58 sec ago

Pakistan couple arrested for allegedly murdering seven-year-old maid

  • Hassan Siddiqui and his wife employed Zohra Bibi at their home in a middle-class suburb of Rawalpindi
  • Some 8.5 million people — including many children — are employed as domestic workers in Pakistan

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: A Pakistan couple have been arrested for allegedly murdering their seven-year-old maid after she was blamed for letting a pet bird escape, police said, the latest case of violence against child domestic workers in the country.
Hassan Siddiqui and his wife employed Zohra Bibi at their home in a middle-class suburb of Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, to care for their son of a similar same age.
“The poor girl was subjected to torture by Siddiqui and his wife who accused her of freeing one of the four pet Macao parrots,” investigating officer Mukhtar Ahmad said on Thursday.
“Siddiqui kicked her in the lower abdomen which proved fatal.”
Some 8.5 million people — including many children — are employed as domestic workers in Pakistan, according to the International Labour Organization.
Theoretically it is illegal to employ anyone under the age of 15, but it remains common practice.
Zohra was taken to hospital by the couple on Sunday, but died the following day. The incident was reported to the police by staff at the hospital.
The young girl’s body was handed over to her parents, who live in Muzaffargarh, near the city of Multan, more than 500 kilometers away from where she was working.
Human rights minister Shireen Mazari confirmed the arrests in a tweet and said the ministry was in touch with police.
“Violence and physical torture against children will not be tolerated and all those involved in such incidents will be dealt with,” city police chief Muhammad Ahsan Younus added.
Domestic workers frequently face exploitation, violence and sexual abuse, with Pakistan’s patriarchal and rigid social-class structure leaving them without a voice.
Children are particularly vulnerable, and Bibi’s case is the latest in a growing number of incidents involving minors.
In December 2018, the rising number of abuse cases led the provincial legislature in Punjab to set regulations for the employment of domestic workers, which theoretically grants them rights such as sick leave and holidays.