ConocoPhillips exits UK oil and gas production in huge $2.7 billion North Sea sale

ConocoPhillips on Thursday announced it has struck an agreement to sell its UK oil and gas operations for nearly $2.7 billion, setting up its exit from the North Sea. It will also continue to operate the terminal, which receives oil and gas from the North Sea fields. Earlier this year, Conoco Chief Operating Officer Matthew Fox said the company’s major portfolio restructuring was essentially complete, with the exception of the North Sea sale. The deal makes Chrysaor one of the largest producers


ConocoPhillips on Thursday announced it has struck an agreement to sell its UK oil and gas operations for nearly $2.7 billion, setting up its exit from the North Sea. It will also continue to operate the terminal, which receives oil and gas from the North Sea fields. Earlier this year, Conoco Chief Operating Officer Matthew Fox said the company’s major portfolio restructuring was essentially complete, with the exception of the North Sea sale. The deal makes Chrysaor one of the largest producers
ConocoPhillips exits UK oil and gas production in huge $2.7 billion North Sea sale Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-18  Authors: tom dichristopher, source
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, chrysaor, oil, uk, gas, company, transaction, sea, conocophillips, sale, exits, north, production, huge


ConocoPhillips exits UK oil and gas production in huge $2.7 billion North Sea sale

ConocoPhillips on Thursday announced it has struck an agreement to sell its UK oil and gas operations for nearly $2.7 billion, setting up its exit from the North Sea.

The Houston-based driller will sell its ConocoPhillips United Kingdom subsidiaries for $2.675 billion to Chrysaor E&P, a company focused on producing oil and natural gas from the North Sea. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2019.

The deal is the largest transaction in the exploration and production space outside the U.S. this year, according to investment bank Jefferies, which acted as Chrysaor’s financial adviser.

Shares of ConocoPhillips were slightly higher in morning trading.

ConocoPhillips has been marketing the assets for several months. The company will retain its commercial trading business in London and its roughly 40% interest in the Teesside oil terminal. It will also continue to operate the terminal, which receives oil and gas from the North Sea fields.

“We are extremely proud of the legacy we’ve built in the U.K. over the last 50 years and are pleased that Chrysaor recognizes the value of this business,” ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance said in a statement. “This disposition is part of our ongoing effort to hone our portfolio and focus our investments across future low cost of supply opportunities.”

Earlier this year, Conoco Chief Operating Officer Matthew Fox said the company’s major portfolio restructuring was essentially complete, with the exception of the North Sea sale. The company earned nearly $1.1 billion on dispositions in 2018.

The deal makes Chrysaor one of the largest producers in the UK North Sea.

Chrysaor will pick up offshore assets that produced about 72,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. That increases its pro forma 2018 output to about 177,000 boepd of oil and gas. The company will take control of two major offshore production hubs, Britannia and J‐Block, and ConocoPhillips’ stake in the Clair Field area.

“This significant acquisition reflects our continuing belief that the UK North Sea has material future potential for oil and gas production,” Chrysaor CEO and former Hess executive Phil Kirk said in a statement.

The transaction continues a trend of major oil companies exiting the North Sea and placing the region in the hands of private equity-backed independent drillers.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-18  Authors: tom dichristopher, source
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, chrysaor, oil, uk, gas, company, transaction, sea, conocophillips, sale, exits, north, production, huge


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Hyundai Motor names former Nissan executive Jose Munoz as COO

South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor on Thursday named former Nissan executive Jose Munoz as its global chief operating officer. Munoz, who will take charge on May 1, has also been named president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor North America and Hyundai Motor America. Previously, Munoz, 53, was Nissan Motor’s chief performance officer and head of its China operations. He joined Nissan in 2004 in Europe and led its expansion in North America after the global financial crisis. Munoz


South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor on Thursday named former Nissan executive Jose Munoz as its global chief operating officer. Munoz, who will take charge on May 1, has also been named president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor North America and Hyundai Motor America. Previously, Munoz, 53, was Nissan Motor’s chief performance officer and head of its China operations. He joined Nissan in 2004 in Europe and led its expansion in North America after the global financial crisis. Munoz
Hyundai Motor names former Nissan executive Jose Munoz as COO Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-18  Authors: andrew harrer, bloomberg, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, named, nissan, chief, jose, executive, munoz, investigation, motor, coo, global, names, hyundai, north, officer


Hyundai Motor names former Nissan executive Jose Munoz as COO

South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor on Thursday named former Nissan executive Jose Munoz as its global chief operating officer.

Munoz, who will take charge on May 1, has also been named president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor North America and Hyundai Motor America.

Previously, Munoz, 53, was Nissan Motor’s chief performance officer and head of its China operations.

He joined Nissan in 2004 in Europe and led its expansion in North America after the global financial crisis. Since then, Nissan has raised its market share in the United States and posted record sales.

Munoz resigned from Nissan in January, further rattling the Japanese automaker’s management team amid the investigation into ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s alleged financial misconduct.

Widely considered as a close ally of Ghosn and a potential successor to lead the automaking partnership between Nissan and France’s Renault, Munoz had been a “person of interest” in Nissan’s widening internal investigation. Munoz will be based in California and will report to Hyundai’s top leadership in Seoul.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-18  Authors: andrew harrer, bloomberg, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, named, nissan, chief, jose, executive, munoz, investigation, motor, coo, global, names, hyundai, north, officer


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North Korea says it tested a ‘powerful warhead’

WASHINGTON — North Korea tested a new type of tactical guided weapon on Wednesday, state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Thursday morning local time. The test of “a powerful warhead” was overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and marks the first public weapons test from the rogue regime since President Donald Trump’s historic meeting with Kim in Singapore last year. North Korea, the only nation to have tested nuclear weapons this century, spent most of Trump’s first year in off


WASHINGTON — North Korea tested a new type of tactical guided weapon on Wednesday, state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Thursday morning local time. The test of “a powerful warhead” was overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and marks the first public weapons test from the rogue regime since President Donald Trump’s historic meeting with Kim in Singapore last year. North Korea, the only nation to have tested nuclear weapons this century, spent most of Trump’s first year in off
North Korea says it tested a ‘powerful warhead’ Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-17  Authors: amanda macias, kcna
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, north, korea, trump, weapons, test, kim, korean, powerful, tested, trumps, tests, nuclear, warhead


North Korea says it tested a 'powerful warhead'

WASHINGTON — North Korea tested a new type of tactical guided weapon on Wednesday, state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Thursday morning local time.

The test of “a powerful warhead” was overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and marks the first public weapons test from the rogue regime since President Donald Trump’s historic meeting with Kim in Singapore last year.

The White House and Pentagon did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

The latest revelation comes less than two months after the collapse of nuclear talks between Trump and Kim in Vietnam.

“This is a volatile country that holds the entire world at risk but, at this point, it just seems like a bunch of propaganda and a way to remind the Trump administration why they were negotiating in the first place,” Alexandra Bell, senior policy director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation told CNBC.

“And obviously the North Koreans have been pressuring the administration for sanctions relief so I would see them as putting this little measure on the table to enhance their negotiating position if Trump and Kim sit down again,” Bell added.

North Korea, the only nation to have tested nuclear weapons this century, spent most of Trump’s first year in office perfecting its nuclear arsenal. The newest member of the world’s exclusive nuclear weapons club has stopped testing of its nukes for now as the U.S. and international community offer the possibility of relief from crippling economic sanctions.

While North Korea has paused nuclear tests that prompted Trump’s threat to bring “fire and fury” upon that country, it had already made significant progress before the historic dialogue with the U.S. started.

Under the third-generation North Korean leader, the reclusive state has conducted its most powerful nuclear test, launched its first-ever intercontinental ballistic missile and threatened to send missiles into the waters near the U.S. territory of Guam.

Since 2011, Kim has fired more than 85 missiles and four nuclear weapons tests, which is more than what his father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim Il Sung, launched over a period of 27 years.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-17  Authors: amanda macias, kcna
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, north, korea, trump, weapons, test, kim, korean, powerful, tested, trumps, tests, nuclear, warhead


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North Korea could target Southeast Asia’s vulnerable crypto sector, says defense think tank

“As a determined and sophisticated cyber actor in need of financial resources, North Korea is likely to continue to find ways of obtaining and exploiting cryptocurrencies.” “As a determined and sophisticated cyber actor in need of financial resources, North Korea is likely to continue to find ways of obtaining and exploiting cryptocurrencies,” they said in their report, “Closing the Gap: Guidance for Countering North Korean Cryptocurrency Activity in Southeast Asia.” The WannaCry attack “signale


“As a determined and sophisticated cyber actor in need of financial resources, North Korea is likely to continue to find ways of obtaining and exploiting cryptocurrencies.” “As a determined and sophisticated cyber actor in need of financial resources, North Korea is likely to continue to find ways of obtaining and exploiting cryptocurrencies,” they said in their report, “Closing the Gap: Guidance for Countering North Korean Cryptocurrency Activity in Southeast Asia.” The WannaCry attack “signale
North Korea could target Southeast Asia’s vulnerable crypto sector, says defense think tank Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-15  Authors: kelly olsen, getty images, royal united services institute
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, wannacry, southeast, target, financial, official, sophisticated, ways, cyber, vulnerable, sector, korea, think, north, crypto, need, cryptocurrencies, defense, tank


North Korea could target Southeast Asia's vulnerable crypto sector, says defense think tank

“As a determined and sophisticated cyber actor in need of financial resources, North Korea is likely to continue to find ways of obtaining and exploiting cryptocurrencies.”

“North Korea has gone to extremes to raise funds and evade international sanctions, recently expanding these efforts to include the exploitation of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin,” David Carlisle, a former official at the U.S. Treasury department’s office of terrorism and financial intelligence, and Kayla Izenman, a financial crime and terrorist finance expert, wrote in the report.

“As a determined and sophisticated cyber actor in need of financial resources, North Korea is likely to continue to find ways of obtaining and exploiting cryptocurrencies,” they said in their report, “Closing the Gap: Guidance for Countering North Korean Cryptocurrency Activity in Southeast Asia.”

The WannaCry attack “signaled North Korea’s interest in, and ability to exploit, cryptocurrencies,” they said. And its cyber skills, coupled with the constant need for funds amid the squeeze of sanctions, point to the risk of a “sustained security challenge,” they added.

CNBC could not reach North Korea’s foreign ministry for comment on Monday but the country has in the past vehemently denied allegations of cybercrime.

In September, for example, the official Korean Central News Agency carried comments by a foreign ministry official denying involvement in the WannaCry attack, instead calling the United States the “chief culprit responsible for posing security threats in cyberspace.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-15  Authors: kelly olsen, getty images, royal united services institute
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, wannacry, southeast, target, financial, official, sophisticated, ways, cyber, vulnerable, sector, korea, think, north, crypto, need, cryptocurrencies, defense, tank


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Kim Jong Un is skirting sanctions and pursuing this energy strategy to keep North Korea afloat

Sanctions have squeezed many North Korean industries that rely on imports of gasoline and diesel fuel, including agriculture, transportation and the military. Additionally, the UN Security Council has banned key North Korean exports, including coal and iron ore — key revenue generators for the North Korean economy. Collapsed talks in Hanoi between Trump and Kimin February have only made the situation murkier for North Korea. It’s unclear what Trump will do next after tweeting last month that he


Sanctions have squeezed many North Korean industries that rely on imports of gasoline and diesel fuel, including agriculture, transportation and the military. Additionally, the UN Security Council has banned key North Korean exports, including coal and iron ore — key revenue generators for the North Korean economy. Collapsed talks in Hanoi between Trump and Kimin February have only made the situation murkier for North Korea. It’s unclear what Trump will do next after tweeting last month that he
Kim Jong Un is skirting sanctions and pursuing this energy strategy to keep North Korea afloat Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-11  Authors: heesun wee, saul loeb, afp, getty images, ed jones, -andray abrahamian, north korea expert, korea fellow in stanford universitys korea program
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, strategy, skirting, coal, pursuing, north, including, sanctions, kim, korean, korea, nuclear, products, afloat, jong, energy, trump


Kim Jong Un is skirting sanctions and pursuing this energy strategy to keep North Korea afloat

With President Donald Trump pushing hard to denuclearize North Korea, Kim Jong Un must contend with a major domestic crisis sparked by UN sanctions: how to fuel his ailing economy and military that nuclear energy is off limits and the amount of oil and energy products he can trade has been restricted.

It’s a hard balancing act for the young dictator whose goal now is to develop alternative energy — everything from wind and tidal power to transforming coal into liquid synthetic fuels.

Time is of the essence. Sanctions have squeezed many North Korean industries that rely on imports of gasoline and diesel fuel, including agriculture, transportation and the military. Factories have closed due to a lack of raw materials and an inability to keep the lights on. Additionally, the UN Security Council has banned key North Korean exports, including coal and iron ore — key revenue generators for the North Korean economy. As a result, many people are unemployed and food is scarce.

Collapsed talks in Hanoi between Trump and Kimin February have only made the situation murkier for North Korea. Trump demanded Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. No agreement was made, and Kim needs sanction relief. It’s unclear what Trump will do next after tweeting last month that he wanted to remove new sanctions against North Korea.

In the meantime, North Korea has been doing illegal ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products and coal, according to a UN report. Its operatives have been caught by cybersecurity McAfee hacking businesses around the world. The vast majority were in the U.S., including Houston, an energy hub, though McAfee did not name specific targets.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-11  Authors: heesun wee, saul loeb, afp, getty images, ed jones, -andray abrahamian, north korea expert, korea fellow in stanford universitys korea program
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, strategy, skirting, coal, pursuing, north, including, sanctions, kim, korean, korea, nuclear, products, afloat, jong, energy, trump


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Saudi energy minister expects Aramco bond demand at ‘north of’ $30 billion

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al Falih expects robust demand for state oil giant Saudi Aramco’s first-ever bond issuance, the deal for which is expected to close on Wednesday. Demand for the bond should be “north of” $30 billion, al Falih said while speaking at the inaugural Gulf Intelligence Saudi Arabia Energy Forum in Riyadh on Monday. Saudi Arabia’s state-controlled energy giant Aramco plans to tap bond markets this week, marking the first-ever debt issuance from the world’s largest oil firm


Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al Falih expects robust demand for state oil giant Saudi Aramco’s first-ever bond issuance, the deal for which is expected to close on Wednesday. Demand for the bond should be “north of” $30 billion, al Falih said while speaking at the inaugural Gulf Intelligence Saudi Arabia Energy Forum in Riyadh on Monday. Saudi Arabia’s state-controlled energy giant Aramco plans to tap bond markets this week, marking the first-ever debt issuance from the world’s largest oil firm
Saudi energy minister expects Aramco bond demand at ‘north of’ $30 billion Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-08  Authors: natasha turak, ahmed jadallah
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, bond, giant, falih, north, saudi, aramco, energy, issuance, billion, 30, oil, firstever, minister, expects, demand


Saudi energy minister expects Aramco bond demand at 'north of' $30 billion

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al Falih expects robust demand for state oil giant Saudi Aramco’s first-ever bond issuance, the deal for which is expected to close on Wednesday.

Demand for the bond should be “north of” $30 billion, al Falih said while speaking at the inaugural Gulf Intelligence Saudi Arabia Energy Forum in Riyadh on Monday.

Saudi Arabia’s state-controlled energy giant Aramco plans to tap bond markets this week, marking the first-ever debt issuance from the world’s largest oil firm and enabling greater visibility into its financial performance.

Initial media reports put the Aramco bond issuance amount at $10 billion, which sources have told CNBC is “reasonable as a minimum.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-08  Authors: natasha turak, ahmed jadallah
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, bond, giant, falih, north, saudi, aramco, energy, issuance, billion, 30, oil, firstever, minister, expects, demand


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Here are the top 10 airlines in the world as ranked by TripAdvisor customers

After winning the top prize for the second consecutive year Singapore Airlines CEO, Mr. Goh Choon Phong said in a statement that he “wished to thank our customers for their ongoing support, as well as our staff from all around the world.” Southwest Airlines won best North American airline and was the only U.S. carrier to make the global top ten. Within the North America category, Delta Airlines was named “Best Major Airline” while WestJet was named as Canada’s best airline and Air Canada was dee


After winning the top prize for the second consecutive year Singapore Airlines CEO, Mr. Goh Choon Phong said in a statement that he “wished to thank our customers for their ongoing support, as well as our staff from all around the world.” Southwest Airlines won best North American airline and was the only U.S. carrier to make the global top ten. Within the North America category, Delta Airlines was named “Best Major Airline” while WestJet was named as Canada’s best airline and Air Canada was dee
Here are the top 10 airlines in the world as ranked by TripAdvisor customers Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-02  Authors: david reid
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, airline, travelers, named, singapore, class, customers, tripadvisor, north, won, ranked, winning, best, airlines, world


Here are the top 10 airlines in the world as ranked by TripAdvisor customers

After winning the top prize for the second consecutive year Singapore Airlines CEO, Mr. Goh Choon Phong said in a statement that he “wished to thank our customers for their ongoing support, as well as our staff from all around the world.”

Released Tuesday, Asian carriers dominated the top ten list with four of travelers’ favorite carriers coming from the region. Southwest Airlines won best North American airline and was the only U.S. carrier to make the global top ten.

Many well-known airlines, including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines, didn’t feature.

Within the North America category, Delta Airlines was named “Best Major Airline” while WestJet was named as Canada’s best airline and Air Canada was deemed to have the best Business Class.

TripAdvisor also recognized the winning airlines in four distinct service classes. First Class was taken out by Emirates, Qatar Airways won the Business Class segment, Air New Zealand won Premium Economy while Singapore Airlines was top for Economy.

TripAdvisor said the Travelers’ Choice award winners were based on the quality and quantity of flyer reviews and ratings for airlines published on the website from January to December last year.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-02  Authors: david reid
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, airline, travelers, named, singapore, class, customers, tripadvisor, north, won, ranked, winning, best, airlines, world


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The day North Korea talks collapsed, Trump passed Kim a note demanding he turn over his nukes

It was the first time that Trump himself had explicitly defined what he meant by denuclearization directly to Kim, the source said. Bolton did not disclose in those interviews the pivotal U.S. expectation contained in the document that North Korea should transfer its nuclear weapons and fissile material to the United States. The document appeared to represent Bolton’s long-held and hardline “Libya model” of denuclearization that North Korea has rejected repeatedly. The idea of North Korea handin


It was the first time that Trump himself had explicitly defined what he meant by denuclearization directly to Kim, the source said. Bolton did not disclose in those interviews the pivotal U.S. expectation contained in the document that North Korea should transfer its nuclear weapons and fissile material to the United States. The document appeared to represent Bolton’s long-held and hardline “Libya model” of denuclearization that North Korea has rejected repeatedly. The idea of North Korea handin
The day North Korea talks collapsed, Trump passed Kim a note demanding he turn over his nukes Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-30  Authors: saul loeb, afp, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, nukes, nuclear, document, summit, note, states, north, demanding, united, kim, talks, turn, trump, passed, denuclearization, korea


The day North Korea talks collapsed, Trump passed Kim a note demanding he turn over his nukes

On the day that their talks in Hanoi collapsed last month, U.S. President Donald Trump handed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a piece of paper that included a blunt call for the transfer of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and bomb fuel to the United States, according to the document seen by Reuters.

Trump gave Kim both Korean and English-language versions of the U.S. position at Hanoi’s Metropole hotel on Feb. 28, according to a source familiar with the discussions, speaking on condition of anonymity. It was the first time that Trump himself had explicitly defined what he meant by denuclearization directly to Kim, the source said.

A lunch between the two leaders was canceled the same day. While neither side has presented a complete account of why the summit collapsed, the document may help explain it.

The document’s existence was first mentioned by White House national security advisor John Bolton in television interviews he gave after the two-day summit. Bolton did not disclose in those interviews the pivotal U.S. expectation contained in the document that North Korea should transfer its nuclear weapons and fissile material to the United States.

The document appeared to represent Bolton’s long-held and hardline “Libya model” of denuclearization that North Korea has rejected repeatedly. It probably would have been seen by Kim as insulting and provocative, analysts said.

Trump had previously distanced himself in public comments from Bolton’s approach and said a “Libya model” would be employed only if a deal could not be reached.

The idea of North Korea handing over its weapons was first proposed by Bolton in 2004. He revived the proposal last year when Trump named him as national security advisor.

The document was meant to provide the North Koreans with a clear and concise definition of what the United States meant by “final, fully verifiable, denuclearization,” the source familiar with discussions said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The State Department declined to comment on what would be a classified document.

After the summit, a North Korean official accused Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of “gangster-like” demands, saying Pyongyang was considering suspending talks with the United States and may rethink its self-imposed ban on missile and nuclear tests.

The English version of the document, seen by Reuters, called for “fully dismantling North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure, chemical and biological warfare program and related dual-use capabilities; and ballistic missiles, launchers, and associated facilities.”

Aside from the call for the transfer of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and bomb fuel, the document had four other key points.

It called on North Korea to provide a comprehensive declaration of its nuclear program and full access to U.S. and international inspectors; to halt all related activities and construction of any new facilities; to eliminate all nuclear infrastructure; and to transition all nuclear program scientists and technicians to commercial activities.

The summit in Vietnam’s capital was cut short after Trump and Kim failed to reach a deal on the extent of economic sanctions relief for North Korea in exchange for its steps to give up its nuclear program.

The first summit between Trump and Kim, which took place in Singapore in June 2018, was almost called off after the North Koreans rejected Bolton’s repeated demands for it to follow a denuclearization model under which components of Libya’s nuclear program were shipped to the United States in 2004.

Seven years after a denuclearization agreement was reached between the United States and Libya’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi, the United States took part in a NATO-led military operation against his government and he was overthrown by rebels and killed.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-30  Authors: saul loeb, afp, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, nukes, nuclear, document, summit, note, states, north, demanding, united, kim, talks, turn, trump, passed, denuclearization, korea


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Kim showered Trump with flattery in letter before Hanoi summit

Kim wanted the discussions “strictly at the Trump and KJU level,” said a current U.S. official, referring to the North Korean leader. The letter helped create the momentum for the Hanoi summit, as it came when diplomacy was somewhat dormant over the December holidays, regional analysts said. But it echoed other signals that the North Korean regime sought to cut Pompeo and Beguin and the professionals out of the process. The administration has offered a different account, saying discussions began


Kim wanted the discussions “strictly at the Trump and KJU level,” said a current U.S. official, referring to the North Korean leader. The letter helped create the momentum for the Hanoi summit, as it came when diplomacy was somewhat dormant over the December holidays, regional analysts said. But it echoed other signals that the North Korean regime sought to cut Pompeo and Beguin and the professionals out of the process. The administration has offered a different account, saying discussions began
Kim showered Trump with flattery in letter before Hanoi summit Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-29  Authors: dan de luce, courtney kube, saul loeb, afp, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, showered, hanoi, flattery, north, president, korean, trump, kim, letter, officials, summit, current


Kim showered Trump with flattery in letter before Hanoi summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un heaped praise on President Donald Trump in a letter to the White House before a summit between the two leaders last month in Vietnam, while making clear he wished to negotiate only with the president and not his envoys, current and former U.S. officials told NBC News.

The letter appeared aimed at cutting out the U.S. envoy to North Korea, Stephen Beguin, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in the discussions on the regime’s nuclear and missile arsenal, while seeking to appeal to the president’s ego, said one current and two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

While Kim sought to curry favor with Trump before the Hanoi meeting, their second one-on-one summit, officials across the U.S. government as well as allied governments worked to prevent the president from giving up too much in the negotiations, the current and former officials said.

“A huge amount of energy was devoted to avoiding disaster,” said one former U.S. official. “They were playing defense.”

Kim wanted the discussions “strictly at the Trump and KJU level,” said a current U.S. official, referring to the North Korean leader.

“It was about flattery, that only the president could deliver peace,” said the former U.S. official.

The regime appeared to believe it had a better chance of securing a favorable agreement in exclusively direct talks with the president than in a more traditional negotiation with Trump’s deputies preceding a one-on-one meeting, former officials and a foreign diplomat said.

A spokesperson for the National Security Council declined to comment.

When asked about the letter and the pre-summit preparations, a State Department spokesperson said, “We don’t comment on the details of our private diplomatic conversations.”

Kim’s letter tapped into Trump’s own inclinations about how to conduct negotiations, with an emphasis on his personal role and his deal making skills, as opposed to a more lengthy, detailed process carried out between the leaders’ deputies, current and former officials said.

The letter helped create the momentum for the Hanoi summit, as it came when diplomacy was somewhat dormant over the December holidays, regional analysts said.

But it echoed other signals that the North Korean regime sought to cut Pompeo and Beguin and the professionals out of the process. U.S. diplomats met with resistance when attempting to lay the groundwork for the Feb. 27-28 summit in Hanoi, which then ended abruptly without an agreement.

Former officials said working-level, detailed discussions establishing the summit agenda and the outlines of a potential agreement only began in earnest a week before the summit.

The administration has offered a different account, saying discussions began much earlier with talks between Beguin and his North Korean counterparts.

U.S. officials said Kim offered to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear site in return for the end of the bulk of U.N. economic sanctions on the country. Trump said he rejected the offer, telling reporters: “Sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times.”

Trump has cited a series of letters from the North Korean leader as proof of his excellent relationship with Kim. In September, Trump said at a rally in West Virginia that after initial tensions earlier in his presidency, the two “fell in love.”

“No, really, he wrote me beautiful letters, and they’re great letters. We fell in love.”

The Japanese government was involved in the effort to keep Trump from making concessions and remained deeply concerned about a potential damaging outcome in the run-up to the Hanoi talks. At the first summit between the two leaders last year in Singapore, Trump took allies and his own military commanders by surprise when he announced Washington would curtail military exercises on the Korean peninsula.

The pre-Hanoi briefings were largely about making sure the president understood what not to agree to in Hanoi, as opposed to focusing on a potential deal, the sources said.

“Ultimately Trump told Kim Jong Un no and walked away, which we see as a positive outcome,” the current official said.

The Hanoi discussions were scheduled to conclude with a signing ceremony for an unspecified agreement, but the summit was cut short — even before Trump and Kim could sit down for a planned lunch. The White House announced there would be nothing to sign.

Former officials said North Korea’s negotiating stance made it relatively easy for the United States to walk away from the talks, as it offered a vague proposal on its Yongbyon nuclear site in return for a major concession in the form of a relaxation of the bulk of international sanctions.

Both national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Pompeo advised the president to reject the offer, former officials said.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-29  Authors: dan de luce, courtney kube, saul loeb, afp, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, showered, hanoi, flattery, north, president, korean, trump, kim, letter, officials, summit, current


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Kavanaugh, Gorsuch suggest letting states figure out gerrymandering as SCOTUS hears case

Kavanaugh asked Allison Riggs, a voting rights attorney who was representing the state’s League of Women Voters in their case against North Carolina. The case involved a North Carolina map drawn in 2016 that was explicitly designed to maintain a 10-3 advantage for Republicans. North Carolina defended the gerrymandering on the basis that redistricting is an inherently political activity that courts should not get mired in. The suit against North Carolina was brought by the good government group C


Kavanaugh asked Allison Riggs, a voting rights attorney who was representing the state’s League of Women Voters in their case against North Carolina. The case involved a North Carolina map drawn in 2016 that was explicitly designed to maintain a 10-3 advantage for Republicans. North Carolina defended the gerrymandering on the basis that redistricting is an inherently political activity that courts should not get mired in. The suit against North Carolina was brought by the good government group C
Kavanaugh, Gorsuch suggest letting states figure out gerrymandering as SCOTUS hears case Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-26  Authors: tucker higgins, john w schoen, logan cyrus, afp, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, gerrymandering, suggest, carolina, courts, kavanaugh, hears, states, gorsuch, case, voters, suggested, standard, map, court, letting, north, scotus, figure


Kavanaugh, Gorsuch suggest letting states figure out gerrymandering as SCOTUS hears case

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s two appointees to the Supreme Court suggested on Tuesday that partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts is already being solved by state action, a possible sign that the nation’s top court, dominated by a 5-4 conservative majority, will not step into the matter.

The Supreme Court has never blocked a congressional map for being too politically partisan, although cases have frequently come before the panel on the issue.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom Justice Brett Kavanaugh replaced on the court last year, had suggested that there may be room for a “workable standard,” though so far one has eluded the court. Kavanaugh’s own views remain largely unknown.

But questions from Kavanaugh and fellow Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch, during a case involving a congressional map drawn by North Carolina Republicans, suggested that no legal fix may be forthcoming – at least at the national level.

“What about, to pick up on something Justice Gorsuch said earlier, that there is a fair amount of activity going on in the states on redistricting and attention in Congress and in state supreme courts?” Kavanaugh asked Allison Riggs, a voting rights attorney who was representing the state’s League of Women Voters in their case against North Carolina.

“In other words…have we really reached the moment, even though it would be a big lift for this court to get involved, where the other actors can’t do it?” he asked.

Gorsuch, for his part, noted that there was “a lot of movement in this area,” including in his home state of Colorado, where voters reigned in the practice last year. Voters in Missouri, Ohio, Utah and Michigan also acted on the issue.

To be sure, questions that justices ask at oral argument are not a perfect gauge for how they will vote.

And complicating matters, during another portion of Tuesday’s argument, Kavanaugh appeared to question whether extreme gerrymandering could violate the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.

“What will Kavanaugh do? It is a more interesting question than I thought before,” wrote Rick Hasen, an election law expert and professor at the University of California, Irvine.

The case involved a North Carolina map drawn in 2016 that was explicitly designed to maintain a 10-3 advantage for Republicans.

David Lewis, a member of the state’s general assembly, has said that he proposed a 10-3 Republican advantage “because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.”

North Carolina defended the gerrymandering on the basis that redistricting is an inherently political activity that courts should not get mired in.

The suit against North Carolina was brought by the good government group Common Cause as well as the League of Women Voters. Attorneys for both groups argued separately Tuesday.

The issue is particularly significant at the moment because districts are generally redrawn once every ten years along with the national census.

The next census will be conducted in 2020. Republicans primarily benefited from gerrymandering after the nation’s last census. During the November 2018 midterms, in which the Democrats took over the House of Representatives, the GOP advantage stemmed Republican losses, a recent analysis by the Associated Press found.

The justices heard a similar gerrymandering case in 2017, but ultimately dodged the central question. In a concurrence authored by Justice Elena Kagan and joined by other members of the court’s liberal wing, Kagan suggested that courts would ultimately come up with a fix.

One central point of contention is whether any new standard would result in an onslaught of new litigation before the top court.

Paul Clement, an attorney representing North Carolina, warned that “these cases will come. They will come in large numbers,” he said.

“And once you get into the political thicket, you will not get out, and you will tarnish the image of this court for the other cases where it needs that reputation for independence so people can understand the fundamental difference between judging and all other politics,” Clement said.

But some of the court’s liberals took issue with that argument. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told Clement that he was making the same argument that had been used to argue against the one-person-one-vote rule that the court ultimately endorsed, and that no such wave of litigation resulted.

Justice Stephen Breyer, known as a pragmatist on the bench, put forward his own standard. What if, he said, gerrymandering were barred in extreme cases — defined as those where the party that wins a majority of the vote only gets a third, or less, representation?

Clement retorted that “there is no standard deviation from proportional representation clause in the Constitution.”

Later on Tuesday, the court heard a dispute brought by Republican voters in Maryland who live in a district that was gerrymandered by Democrats.

Decisions are expected by late June.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-26  Authors: tucker higgins, john w schoen, logan cyrus, afp, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, gerrymandering, suggest, carolina, courts, kavanaugh, hears, states, gorsuch, case, voters, suggested, standard, map, court, letting, north, scotus, figure


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