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N Korea-US talks: Pyongyang ‘ready to discuss denuclearisation’

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are due to meet in May, though North Korea has not publically confirmed this

North Korea has promised the US it is ready to discuss the future of its nuclear arsenal when the two nations' leaders meet, US officials say.

Preparations for the summit have included secret, direct talks with North Korea, Trump administration sources told CNN.

US and North Korean intelligence officials are said to have spoken many times, and met in a third country.

The unprecedented summit is slated to happen in May.

It will be the first time a sitting US president has met the leader of North Korea.

North Korea has already told South Korea it was prepared to address denuclearisation, but this is the first time assurances have been given to Washington directly.

Details of the leaders' summit, including the location, remain unclear. CNN's sources said that the North Koreans are pushing to have the meeting in their capital, Pyongyang, with Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar another option.

Promises, but no guarantees

News of the talks between the US and North Korea surprised many when it broke in March

It followed a year of threats, personal insults and nuclear brinkmanship between their respective leaders.

It is not clear if Pyongyang accepts Washington's definition of denuclearisation, which for the White House means the end of its nuclear weapons programme.

The North has previously halted missile and nuclear tests during past talks, only to resume them when it lost patience or felt its demands were not being met.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption South Korea says the North is prepared to discuss getting rid of its nuclear arsenal if its own safety can be guaranteed

As yet, North Korea has not broken its public silence to confirm the US summit is happening.

However, a series of meetings with overseas leaders suggest that preparations are indeed under way.

In late March, Mr Kim made his first known foreign trip since taking office in 2011 – to Beijing.

The visit, confirmed by China and North Korea, involved "successful talks" with President Xi Jinping, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

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Media captionChinese TV showed footage of the two leaders with their wives

China is North Korea's main economic ally, and it was thought highly likely that Pyongyang would consult Beijing before holding summits with South Korea and the US.

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Mr Kim is now expected to meet South Korea's President Moon Jae-in late April, on the heavily fortified Korean border.

South Korea has played a key role in brokering the proposed talks between the US and its northern neighbour.

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Oil prices surge to near four-year high

Oil prices have jumped to the highest level for nearly four years after Saudi Arabia and Russia ruled out any immediate increase in production.

The decision on Sunday was effectively a rebuff to US President Donald Trump, who has called for immediate action to raise global supply.

Brent crude rose more than 3% to more than $81 a barrel on Monday, its highest level since November 2014.

Saudi Arabia dominates the OPEC group of oil-producing nations and Russia is its biggest oil-producer ally outside the group.

They have reportedly been discussing raising output by half a million barrels a day to counter falling supply from Iran.

But a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC energy ministers in Algiers ended without any formal recommendation for a supply boost.

Mr Trump said last week that OPEC "must get prices down".

Experts estimate that once US sanctions on Iran are fully implemented from November it could result in the loss of as many as two million barrels a day from global supply.

Commodity traders Trafigura and Mercuria said they expected Brent crude to climb above $90 by Christmas and to pass $100 early in 2019.

BNP Paribas oil strategist Harry Tchilinguirian told Reuters Global Oil Forum: "It is now increasingly evident, that in the face of producers reluctant to raise output, the market will be confronted with supply gaps in the next three to six months that it will need to resolve through higher oil prices."

Higher prices tend to mean higher petrol costs.

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However the AA has said other factors, including the strengthening pound over recent weeks, means that wholesale prices have fallen, and that this should help keep the lid on costs.

Meanwhile, higher oil prices tend to benefit UK-listed companies such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell, which employ thousands of people in the North Sea and whose shares are staples in many UK pension funds.

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Trump news: US Deputy Attorney Rosenstein heads to White House ‘to resign’ amid Russia row

US Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election, is on his way to the White House amid reports he will resign in anticipation of being fired by President Donald Trump.

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Typhoon Trami: Where is Typhoon Trami now? Will it hit Taiwan?

TYPHOON Trami was upgraded to a super typhoon today as the storm gathered strength across the Pacific Ocean. Where is Typhoon Trami now? Will it hit Taiwan?

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Rosenstein could be fired after ‘criticising Trump’

By Lucia Binding, news reporter

The US deputy attorney general has been summoned to the White House where he is expecting to be fired by President Donald Trump.

Rod Rosenstein oversees special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign before the 2016 presidential election.

And Mr Rosenstein has been the inquiry's chief public defender.

He has said he will not resign and that the White House would have to sack him, NBC reported.

Last week, he was reported to have suggested the idea of secretly recording Mr Trump in 2017 after the president had fired James Comey, the FBI director.

Mr Rosenstein also reportedly suggested invoking the 25th Amendment to have the Cabinet remove the president from office.

Mr Trump himself was in New York for a meeting of the UN General Assembly on Monday.

If Mr Rosenstein resigns, the president has more leeway on replacing him, while sacking him would make it harder for Mr Trump to designate a successor.

But NBC News reported that Mr Rosenstein said he would not resign and the White House would have to fire him.

Any termination or resignation would have immediate implications for special counsel Mr Mueller's investigation.

Donald Trump
Image: Donald Trump has been unsure about what to do about Mr Rosenstein following a report in the New York Times

Mr Rosenstein appointed Mr Mueller and oversees his inquiry.

Mr Trump had previously considered the idea of firing Mr Rosenstein in April after FBI raids of the office and home of the president's longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

Cohen has since pleaded guilty to several felonies and taken part in hours of interviews with Robert Mueller.

But the latest move follows the New York Times report of Mr Rosenstein's comments made last year, which played to some of the president's concerns about a secret "Deep State" trying to undermine him from within the government.

Mr Rosenstein subsequently said the article was inaccurate and was based on "biased" anonymous sources "advancing their own personal agenda".

Rod Rosenstein said there would 'always be adversaries' working to 'exacerbate domestic differences'
Image: Mr Rosenstein was reported to have suggested the idea of secretly recording Donald Trump last year

He added: "Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment."

The Justice Department also released a statement from an individual who claimed Mr Rosenstein's recording comment was meant sarcastically.

As of Sunday, Mr Trump has been ambivalent over what to do about Mr Rosenstein.

Some of his confidants urged him to fire Mr Rosenstein, while others suggested he wait and see if the report was incorrect, or if it was planted by some adversary.

Earlier this year, the president publicly denied referring to his deputy attorney general as "Mr Peepers".

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A memo written by Mr Rosenstein, making criticisms of the handling of an FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server, was used by the White House at the time as justification for Mr Comey's firing.

More follows…

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Belluno explosion: ‘Powerful blast’ at Italy train station – several hurt

A "POWERFUL" explosion at a train station in Belluno, Italy, has left several people injured.

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