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Business

Companies need to share more wealth with workers

For two generations, workers’ wages have stagnated. During this period, powerful institutional investors have tied executive pay to stock performance and created a corporate-governance system solely focused on delivering for stockholders.

The bulk of the rewards for improved corporate performance shifted to stockholders and top management, at the expense of other company stakeholders.

The result has been soaring inequality, increased economic insecurity and a growing anxiety that the US capitalist system is stacked against working people.

Business leaders have even acknowledged that an economic system that doesn’t work for everyone is unsustainable, most prominently in the Business Roundtable’s statement last August that the purpose of a corporation shouldn’t be just to serve shareholders, but workers as well.

We would go further: Revise the mandate of board compensation committees to make them responsible for overseeing a more equitable pay distribution for the entire company workforce. This is made more urgent by the Covid-19 pandemic which makes clear that the people doing the risky work essential to our economy make much less than the national average. Basic fairness requires us to right these inequities, especially because taxpayers have once again bailed out big business.

Boards must make more sensible decisions about senior executive compensation, situating it within the overall context of the company’s workforce. Likewise, a focus on workers will help directors make more enlightened decisions about balancing shareholder returns with equitable compensation for workers and the maintenance of prudent reserves to help the company better withstand future adversity.

This approach requires directors and senior executives to set baselines for more equitable pay along with metrics to track the workforce’s share of gains in productivity and profitability. That policy should recognise that stockholders deserve a solid, long-term return but also that employees have a deep incentive to sustain corporate profitability and deserve fair wages and encouragement for working hard to achieve that objective.

Although it would be unproductive for a board committee to enmesh itself too deeply in the details of worker pay, a solid grasp of essentials is necessary. For example, the committee could ask company management and advisers to identify – both company wide and along major business lines – data such as the mean and median pay and benefits package of each quartile of employees, with corresponding data about their function, educational level, skill set and business relevance.

The committee should also collect information on whether there is a race and gender-pay disparity. Importantly, it must also consider the company’s use of contract labour and whether those workers are fairly treated.

But the committee shouldn’t stop at issues of pay: it must approve company policies to ensure that employees have safe working conditions, reliable and family-friendly schedules, are treated with respect and dignity, and have a welcoming and inclusive workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment.

By doing this, the well-being of the workers, who are critical to the company’s success, can become a central consideration in corporate decision-making.

Perhaps most of all, if corporate America is serious about capitalism working for the many, the reconceived compensation committee can ensure that workers receive their fair share of the value they create.

BLOOMBERG

• Leo E. Strine Jr is the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware. He now serves as adjunct professor at Harvard and Penn law schools.

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World News

The motorcycle bandits terrorising northern Nigeria

Motorcycle-riding armed bandits operating out of abandoned forest reserves are ransacking communities in Nigeria’s north-west.

The groups are the latest to join Nigeria’s lucrative kidnap for ransom industry, and are quite brazen in their operations.

In the last decade more than 8,000 people have been killed in the states of Kebbi, Sokoto, Niger and Zamfara, according to the International Crisis Group.

But recent attacks in the president’s home state of Katsina, where more than 100 people were killed in attacks between April and June, have led to protests and calls for his resignation.

On two separate occasions the bandits targeted villagers who had received food handouts from the government during the coronavirus lockdown.

“They were about 200 on motorbikes, each bike rider carried a passenger and they all carried AK47 guns,” Bashir Kadisau, an eyewitness, told the BBC.

He said he climbed to the top of a tree when he saw the large number of motorcycle riders coming into Kadisau village, and saw the attackers loot shops, steal cattle and grain, and shoot people who were fleeing.

Climate change fuels conflict

The attacks are rooted in decades-long competition over resources between ethnic Fulani herders and farming communities.

The herders are mostly nomadic and can be found on major highways and streets across the country herding their cattle, but they have become involved in deadly clashes with farmers in Nigeria’s north-western and central states.

This is because these areas have suffered massive deforestation, due to the impact of the Sahara Desert spreading south, causing arable farming land to disappear and water to become scarce.

Militant Islamistsin the north-east

Armed banditsin the north-west and centre

Farmers and herdersin the north-west and centre

Street gangsin the south-west

Biafra separatistsin the south-east

Oil militantsin the Niger Delta

“The persistent clashes led to the formation of armed self-help groups, called vigilantes, by both sides for protection,” security analyst Kabiru Adamu told the BBC.

‘Kidnapping more lucrative than herding cows’

Armed groups within Fulani communities are being accused of resorting to criminality.

“The herders now see kidnapping and pillaging as more lucrative than the herding.

“The biggest cow would go for 200,000 naira but one kidnapping would fetch millions,” Dr Adamu said.

Nigeria’s Fulani herders deny the accusation.

The main Fulani cattle-breeders association, Miyetti Allah (Hausa for Thank You God), said they are the ones mostly affected by the activities of the bandits and that hundreds of their members have been kidnapped.

“Our cows have been rustled. The bandits are a bunch of criminals comprising all sorts of groups. We have lost 30% of cattle in Nigeria to different types of crises,” Miyetti Allah’s national secretary Baba Othman Ngelzarma told the BBC.

He said the attackers in Nigeria’s north-west were “foreign herders from neighbouring countries”.

Nigeria’s north-west, an area almost the size of the UK, borders Niger and criminal gangs criss-cross between the two countries, evading security.

‘Herders seek revenge’

The borders are porous and the vast forest reserves in the border regions have been turned into operational bases for the bandits.

Police say the attacks in the north-west are being carried out by criminal gangs, as well as Fulani herdsmen.

“The Fulani herders suddenly realised that they now have arms to protect themselves. But they are not just protecting themselves, they are also going after those who wronged them in the past,” Isah Gambo, police spokesman in Katsina state, told the BBC.

Kidnapping for ransom is widespread in Nigeria, with victims forced to pay between $20 and $200,000 for their freedom.

At its height in 2017 and 2018, the major road connecting the capital Abuja in central Nigeria to Kaduna in the north-west had 10 kidnappings per day with 20 different groups operating on the route, the police head of a special unit fighting kidnappers, Abba Kyari, told the BBC.

Peace deal with bandits

The governor of Katsina state, Aminu Bello Masari, went into the forest hideout of the bandits last year, negotiating a deal that would see them escape prosecution in exchange for stopping the attacks.

But he caused shock among many Nigerians when he appeared in a photo standing next to a bandit wielding an AK-47 rifle.

Businessman Nasif Ahmad, who had been kidnapped in Katsina only days before, condemned the governor for making the deal.

“How can a state government go into a deal with bandits who have no education, have no sympathy or faith and behave like animals,” he said.

Mr Ahmad said he fought off the bandits after they abducted him, and spent the night in the forest.

“I felt very, very bad when I heard about the governor going into a deal with them,” he told the BBC.

Buhari targeted

The governor said at the time that the talks were aimed at ending the “incessant wanton destruction of lives and property”, and were yielding positive results.

But last month, Mr Masari told journalists that the peace deal was off because of continuing attacks.

“These bandits come to town, spray bullets, kill indiscriminately for no purpose and no reason whatsoever. How can a human being behave the way an animal cannot behave?” he asked.

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Last month’s street protests in Katsina saw angry protesters burn down an old campaign billboard of President Muhammadu Buhari, the clearest indication yet that people in his home state had run out of patience.

Mr Buhari, a retired army general, was elected in 2015 on promises of solving Nigeria’s various security challenges.

But in his time, a deadly Islamic insurgency has continued to rage in the north-east, while criminal activities, along with the farmer-herder clashes, appear to have escalated in the north-west and central states.

Nigeria’s military is currently carrying out an operation on the orders of the president to “sweep bandits and kidnappers” out of his home state.

Mr Buhari has also attempted to solve the underlying reasons for the conflict by proposing grazing reserves for the herders.

But in a country divided along ethnic lines, many powerful state governors refused to buy into the project, accusing the president, a Fulani, of hatching a plan to seize land for his ethnic group.

It is increasingly clear that the lines between the farmer-herder clashes and banditry are becoming more blurred in the north-west, and as the Katsina state governor learned, bandits do not keep their word.

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Politics

Singapore GE2020: PAP, PSP West Coast teams exchange fire over manifesto, handling of Covid-19

What was expected to be a clash of personalities in West Coast GRC turned into a battle of policies yesterday – with the People’s Action Party (PAP) criticising its opponent’s manifesto for lacking detail and the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) accusing the ruling party of taking its eye off the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was the first major exchange between the two teams led by politicians with decades of ties to the constituency: on the PAP side, Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran, 58, who has been a West Coast GRC MP since 1997, and on the PSP side, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, 80, who was Ayer Rajah MP from 1980 to 2006. Ayer Rajah SMC was absorbed into West Coast GRC in 2006.

Mr Iswaran yesterday took aim at the PSP’s manifesto, saying it contained broad statements but few details. “The term ‘trade-off’ has been used,” he said of the 13-page PSP manifesto which has sections on the economy, politics and social development.

Speaking to reporters after the latest of walkabouts in the constituency, he said: “What is a trade-off? A trade-off means you have to give up something in order to get something. If you look at what is being said by the other side, they talk only about what they want to get, but they don’t tell you what you have to give up in order to get it.”

The PAP team has “understood in detail, with depth, the concerns and needs of our people, and has mounted national programmes as well as local programmes”, whereas “on the other side, you have a team that has basically put out a very short manifesto with broad statements but lacking in detail”.

Both teams have been visiting markets and homes in the GRC nearly every day for the past week.

The race in the constituency has been attracting attention since Dr Tan – who used to win elections in Ayer Rajah by comfortable margins when he was with the PAP – declared his intention to contest there early this year. It heated up further on Nomination Day, when the PAP slate was boosted by the addition of Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, 43.

Responding to Mr Iswaran yesterday evening, Dr Tan said it would be up to Singaporeans to judge the PSP manifesto: “A manifesto is up to your interpretation; we feel like our manifesto was crafted in the interest of Singaporeans, so it’s up to their interpretation. If they think we have done a lousy manifesto, it’s not up to him to say. It’s for the people to decide.”

In its online rallies and manifesto, the PSP had attacked the PAP Government’s stance on free trade agreements, especially those that cover labour exchanges which pave the way for freer movement of labour between Singapore and another country.

Yesterday, Dr Tan also reiterated comments made on how the PAP was irresponsible to call an election during a pandemic, adding that the ruling party needs to focus on the public health aspect of the outbreak and not just jobs.

“As far as I’m concerned, this is a Covid-19 election. If you don’t control Covid-19… all the borders are closed to us. Where are we going to get people to come here to invest? Where are you going to get those people to come here as tourists? These are very fundamental, basic things,” he said during a walkabout in Pioneer SMC.

He also pointed to his experience as a doctor in treating infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and said he had made proposals on how the Covid-19 outbreak might be handled.

In the early part of the campaign, both sides had focused their messages on their backgrounds and what they could do for the constituency.

WHERE ARE THE DETAILS?

You have a team that has basically put out a very short manifesto with broad statements but lacking in detail.

MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION S. ISWARAN, on the Progress Singapore Party’s manifesto.

WHO’S THE JUDGE?

If they think we have done a lousy manifesto, it’s not up to him to say. It’s for the people to decide.

DR TAN CHENG BOCK, on Mr S. Iswaran’s criticisms of the PSP manifesto.

Dr Tan cited his own experience in town management, as he had chaired Jurong East Town Council, Bukit Timah Community Development Council and, later, West Coast-Ayer Rajah Town Council.

Besides Dr Tan, the PSP team includes its assistant secretarygeneral Leong Mun Wai, 60, vice-chairman Hazel Poa, 50, and party members Jeffrey Khoo Poh Tiong, 51, and Nadarajah Loganathan, 57.

The PAP slate comprises Mr Iswaran, Mr Lee, incumbent MP Foo Mee Har, 54, former Jurong GRC MP Ang Wei Neng, 53, and first-time candidate Rachel Ong Sin Yen, 47.

When it comes to improvements on the ground in West Coast GRC, the PAP team has split up the work among themselves. They plan for Mr Ang to focus on healthcare services and transport connectivity; Ms Foo on jobs, skills and helping small and medium-sized enterprises; and Ms Ong on issues related to family and youth.

Mr Lee said that if elected, the team’s most immediate mission would be to bring government help schemes to the ground, “to ensure that the schemes the Government enacted to help citizens at this time of crisis reach the families who need the help”.

TAN CHENG BOCK FACTOR

Yesterday, the PSP team went on walkabouts at three of the largest markets in the constituency. Dr Tan was the team’s main crowd-puller, with residents and supporters approaching him for wefies and autographs. He was very popular with the residents during his 26 years as MP for Ayer Rajah.

He also stood in the 2011 Presidential Election and lost to Dr Tony Tan by just 7,382 votes.

Among his supporters in West Coast GRC is Ms Zarena Akbarshah, 40, who works in the aviation industry. Her parents, who are in their 60s, have lived in Pandan Gardens for almost four decades. When they were looking to move from a three-room to a five-room flat, they insisted on remaining in the area as Dr Tan was a good MP, she said.

“He was always there to help citizens and always improved the residential areas and listened to residents. That’s something we shouldn’t lose – the human touch,” she said. “So when I heard he’s coming here (to contest), I felt excited.”

Dr Tan himself described his return to the West Coast area as “coming home”.

“I’d like to believe my old residents didn’t see me just as an MP, but as a friend,” he said.

Some residents, however, have concerns about Dr Tan’s age. He first became an MP in 1980, the year Mr Desmond Lee’s father, Mr Lee Yock Suan, entered politics. Mr Lee went on to become a Cabinet minister and both he and Dr Tan retired from politics in 2006.

Dr Tan, of course, has since decided to make a comeback. At 80, he is the oldest candidate in this general election.

Pandan Gardens resident Andrew Ho, 75, said Dr Tan’s age is a factor in his decision on who to vote for.

“His stamina may not be so good. His ideas may be outdated. We need an MP who is dynamic,” said the retiree who used to be a businessman in the education sector.

He thinks Ms Foo, the incumbent MP for Ayer Rajah ward until Parliament was dissolved last month, is “good”.

He also expressed concern that Dr Tan is a “one-man show”, adding that he did not know anyone else in Dr Tan’s PSP team.

Singapore GE2020: Get full election coverage on our dedicated site here.

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World News

Ghana's president self-isolates after close person tests positive for coronavirus

ACCRA (Reuters) – Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo will self-isolate for 14 days on the advice of doctors after a person in his close circle tested positive for coronavirus, the government said in a statement late on Saturday.

“He has, as at today, tested negative, but has elected to take this measure out of the abundance of caution,” the statement said, adding that the president will continue to work during the period, in compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols.

The statement did not say if the close person was a staff or family member.

Ghana has recorded 19,388 coronavirus cases, one of the highest number of cases in sub-Saharan Africa, with 117 deaths.

The West African nation’s deputy trade and industry minister Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah resigned on Friday for violating coronavirus self-isolation measures after he tested positive for the virus.

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Politics

‘Our waters!’ Britons FURIOUS over French plot to block UK fishing ports after Brexit

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Brexit talks between the UK and the European Union ended prematurely on Thursday with outstanding issues remaining over trade and fisheries. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has demanded a level playing field with the UK over trade as well as access to UK fishing waters after the transition period – something his counterpart David Frost has rejected.

Britain is on course to leave the controversial Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) next year and become an independent coastal state – free to set its own tariffs and quotas on stocks.

Following the breakdown of talks, fishing expert and CEO of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation Barrie Deas, has warned French fisherman could block UK ports if its fisherman have reduced access to UK waters.

The proposition of a stand-off in the English Channel has prompted a furious response from a number of Express.co.uk readers, who let their feelings known on the websites Facebook page.

One angry user said: “They’re our waters, we let the EU use them to the detriment of our own fishing industry when we foolishly joined the EU.

“The French or any EU country does not have the right to fish in our sovereign territory unless we say so.”

A second reader said: “They have plundered our fish stocks long enough- time to give nature a rest, and to give our fishermen the rights to fish unhindered in our own waters!”

A third commented: “Typical of macron wants everything his own way.

“They are British fishing waters, not French, pay for what you take and only take what we say.”

Meanwhile a fourth simply said: “Our waters our fish they need to accept that.”

Mr Deas explained how a lack of a deal on fisheries would impact the fishing Industry in France.

He claimed the current deal negotiated in 1983, ensured 84 percent of the quota of cod in the English Channel went to France, compared to just nine percent staying in the UK.

He told Express.co.uk: “French fishermen have a long track record of blockading Channel ports when they’re upset about something.

“They’ve done it for much lesser reasons than the UK becoming an independent coastal state, renegotiation of quotas, even if there is access for French fishermen.

“I think it would be naive to expect they will be happy about this or do nothing about it.

“There’s a long history of those kinds of blockades.”

Following the four-days of talks in Brussels, Mr Barnier said there were still “serious divergences” between the two sides.

He said: “Our goal was to get negotiations successfully and quickly on a trajectory to reach an agreement.

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“However, after four days of discussions, serious divergences remain.”

The EU negotiator firmly pointed the blame towards the UK and said the bloc had engaged “constructively” and added officials needed to see an “equivalent engagement from the UK side”.

Mr Frost said: “We have completed our discussion of the full range of issues in the negotiation in just over three days.

“The negotiations have been comprehensive and useful. But they have also underlined the significant differences that still remain between us on a number of important issues.”

The next round of Brexit trade talks will take place next week in London.

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World News

Catalonia locks down 200,000 over coronavirus outbreak

People will not be allowed to enter or exit Segria zone, which includes Lleida city, after a sharp rise in infections.

Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region on Saturday locked down an area with about 200,000 residents following a surge in cases of the new coronavirus.

Catalonia’s regional president Quim Torra said there had been a “sharp rise” in infections in Segria, a zone that includes the city of Lleida some 150 kilometres (90 miles) west of Barcelona.

“We’ve decided to confine Segria due to data that confirm too significant a growth in the number of COVID-19 infections,” Torra told a news conference.

People would not be allowed to enter or leave the area, gatherings of more than 10 people would be banned and visits to retirement homes halted, officials said.

The restrictions do not apply to seasonal harvest workers, and movement is not restricted within the zone, however.

Regional health ministry data showed there were 3,706 cases in the Lleida region on Friday, up from 3,551 the previous day.

Catalonia is one of the hardest-hit parts of Spain, with a total of 72,860 coronavirus cases, according to regional health ministry data released on Friday.

The move came as the summer holiday started in Spain and the country began re-admitting visitors from 12 countries outside the European Union, two weeks after allowing people from the EU’s visa-free Schengen zone and Britain to return.

“It is a surprise,” said Josep Raluy, a 63-year-old retiree who returned to the area from a second home as a precaution. “It’s another step backwards, it’s not good.”

Spain has been one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic with at least 28,385 deaths, Europe’s fourth-highest toll after Britain, Italy and France.

Madrid imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus and only recently began to open up.

Cultural site reopens

Barcelona celebrated another milestone in its bid to reopen on Saturday, with visitors allowed back into the Sagrada Familia – an imposing modernist basilica that is among Spain’s most visited buildings.

In the first phase of its reopening, health workers were the first to be admitted as a tribute to their work battling the pandemic.

Matilde Fuentes, a 49-year-old doctor, was particularly touched.

“We went through very difficult times, we tried to be there whenever we were needed, and now that they thank us it gives me goosebumps.”

Speaking during a trip Saturday to Galicia in the country’s northwest – the first region to exit the lockdown last month – Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned: “Do not let your guard down, but do not let yourself be overcome by fear.”

“We must take to the streets, take advantage of the new normality, revive the economy,” the socialist leader said, adding that “the state is better prepared to fight” against the resurgence of the epidemic.

On Friday, Spain registered 17 virus deaths within 24 hours, its highest daily toll since June 19. There have been more than 50 reported outbreaks throughout nearly all of the country’s regions.

The total number of cases now stands at 250,545 in a country of 47 million.

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Business

Trump approves five-week extension for small business pandemic loan applications

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday signed into law a deadline extension to August 8 for small businesses to apply for relief loans under a federal aid program to help businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, the White House said.

The extension to the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), which was launched in April to keep Americans on company payrolls and off unemployment assistance, gives business owners an additional five weeks to apply for funding assistance plagued by problems.

An estimated $130 billion of the $659 billion provided by Congress is still up for grabs. Critics worry the U.S. Small Business Administrator’s office, which administers the loan, may continue to experience challenges in fairly distributing the funds.

From the outset, the unprecedented first-come-first-served program struggled with technology and paperwork problems that led some businesses to miss out while some affluent firms got funds.

The SBA’s inspector general found in May that some rural, minority and women-owned businesses may not have received loans due to a lack of prioritization from the agency.

Reuters reported here on Thursday that a technical snafu in a U.S. government system caused many small businesses to receive loans twice or more times, nearly a dozen people with knowledge of the matter said.

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World News

WW3 fears: Kim Jong-Un rejects talks with Trump over North Korea’s nuclear programme

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North Korean vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui has warned the US Kim Jong-Un has no intention of changing policy and surrendering its nuclear weapons. Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump have met three times during the US President’s first term.

In their second meeting in 2019, talks broke down after chairman Kim failed to offer enough nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles in exchange for lifting international sanctions.

In a statement carried by the state-run KCNA news agency, Mr Hui questioned the motive of the US and accused Washington of using the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DRPK) for political reasons.

Mr Hui said: “We do not feel any need to sit face to face with the US as it does not consider the DPRK-US dialogue as nothing more than a tool for grappling its political crisis.”

He added: “There will never be any adjustment and change in our policy, conditional on external parameters like internal political schedule of someone.”

The refusal to engage with Washington comes as US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, who led previous working-level negotiations with North Korea, is due to visit neighbouring South Korea to discuss relations.

The North Korean vice foreign minister also accused Washington of having a “hostile policy” towards Pyongyang and going back on previous agreements.

Mr Hui added any potential negotiations would be a waste of time and insisted the US is “mistaken” for thinking talks could achieve anything.

He said: “Is it possible to hold dialogue or have any dealings with the US which persists in the hostile policy toward the DPRK in disregard of the agreements already made at the past summit.

“It is clear to us, even without meeting, as to what shallow trick the US will approach us with, as it has neither intention nor will to go back to the drawing board.

“The US is mistaken if it thinks things like negotiations would still work on us.”

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un met for the first time in 2018 in Singapore, they met again in Vietnam in 2019 before nuclear talks broke down.

A third surprise meeting took place on in June 2019 at the demilitarised zone separating the North and South Korea – Mr Trump made history by becoming the first US president to set foot in North Korea.

Ahead of his visit to South Korea next week, US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said there is time for both sides to re-engage and “make substantial progress”.

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said Mr Trump and Kim Jong Un should meet again before the crucial US election in November.

President Moon Jae-in said: “I believe there’s a need for North Korea and the US to try dialogue one more time before the US presidential election.

“The issues of nuclear programs and sanctions will ultimately have to be resolved through North Korea-US talks.”

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World News

At least four killed in Somalia bomb attacks

Blast targets restaurant in Baidoa killing four as suicide bomber injures five in Mogadishu, officials say.

Explosions rocked two of Somalia’s largest cities on Saturday as officials said a suicide car bomber detonated near the port in Mogadishu and a landmine in a restaurant on the outskirts of Baidoa killed four people.

Al-Shabab, which is fighting to overthrow the country’s UN-recognised government, claimed responsibility for both attacks. 

Ali Abdullahi, an official with the South West regional state, told The Associated Press news agency the mine was detonated by remote control as people were dining during the morning rush. Several others were wounded.

In Mogadishu, thick smoke billowed over the port area after police Colonel Ahmed Ali said the car bomber detonated near the gates of the motor vehicle imports duty authority headquarters.

The bomber sped through the first security checkpoint before police officers opened fire on the vehicle, which exploded outside the gates, said Ismail Mukhtar, spokesman for Somalia’s information ministry. 

Five police officers were wounded, said police spokesman Sadik Aden Ali.

The blast shook the ground, said Mohammed Ali, a shopkeeper in the area. At the city’s Madina hospital, a nurse, Halima Nur, said it received five people injured in the blast.

Al-Shabab controls parts of southern and central Somalia and often targets the capital Mogadishu with suicide bombings.

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World News

Shark kills man spearfishing off Australian coast

A man has died after being attacked by a shark off the east coast of Australia, officials say.

The 36-year-old was bitten on the leg while spearfishing in waters near Queensland’s Fraser Island, north of Brisbane, police said on Saturday.

A doctor and nurse provided first aid treatment on shore, but the man was later pronounced dead at the scene when paramedics arrived.

It is the fourth fatal shark attack in Australian waters so far this year.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Fraser Coast mayor George Seymour said it was a “tremendously sad day for our community”.

He offered his condolences to the victim’s family and friends, adding that the loss of life was “a tragedy beyond words and we share their sadness and grief”.

Police said the victim died about two-and-a-half hours after he was bitten.

His body was transported by helicopter from Indian Head on the eastern side of the island to the coastal city of Hervey Bay in Queensland.

Sharks are common in Australian waters but attacks are relatively rare.

Last month, a 60-year-old man died after he was mauled by a 3m (10ft) great white shark while surfing in northern New South Wales.

In April, a 23-year-old Queensland ranger was killed in an attack on the Great Barrier Reef.

And in January, a 57-year-old diver was killed off Western Australia.

No deaths were recorded last year.

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