The Saga of Pompeo

CIA Director Mike Pompeo reportedly met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un even as he faces tough opposition in the Senate as he awaits to be confirmed as secretary of state.

The move flies in the face of protocol and tradition, as Pompeo did not meet with the North Korean leader in a diplomatic capacity, but rather in his capacity as an advisor to the president as well as the chief of a spy agency.

Since decades of tradition and protocol haven’t garnered any results with the rogue nation, some have said that the surprising decision to give Pompeo first access to Kim Jong-un in a non-formal setting may actually be a smart move.

After all, it’s not as though we’ve been able to prevent them from building more nuclear weapons with our current tactics.

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UPDATE: Novichok in Salisbury

Following the nerve-agent attack on U.K. soil against former Soviet spy Sergei Skripal, the U.S. and Russia have begun expelling one another’s diplomats and closing their respective embassies in an escalation of political tensions.

Relations between the two countries have been confusing at best and contradictory at worst, with the U.S. president congratulating Putin on his reelection one day and hiring anti-Russia John Bolton as national security advisor the next.The United States has moved to expel 60 Russian diplomats in solidarity with the United Kingdom and its NATO allies following the nerve-agent attack against former Soviet spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter on U.K. soil in early March.

The U.S. joins 25 other countries in the expulsion of Russian diplomats, including Australia, Germany, Ukraine, France, Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, and Poland.

According to British Prime Minister Theresa May, it is the “largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history,” with more than 135 expelled.

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Made in China

Tensions are mounting between China and the U.S. as China implements retaliatory tariffs against 128 U.S. products in response to the current administration’s import tariffs on steel and aluminum from China.

Between rising fears of a trade war and bad publicity in the tech industry, the Dow plummeted 458.92 points.

Early on in March, the sitting president pushed forward with strict steel and aluminum import tariffs against China in a move that upset Democrats and Republicans alike and drew criticism from business leaders.

“The U.S. will become an island of high steel prices that will result in our customers simply sourcing our products from our overseas competitors and importing them into the United States tariff-free,”  – the Precision Metalforming and National Tooling and Machining Associations

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The March of Return

Protests at the border between Gaza and Israel have resulted in at least 18 Palestinian deaths by Israeli military forces.

UPDATE 04/16/2018 11:36 AM PST: Palestinian protesters gathered along the border with Israel for the third Friday in a row in the ongoing “March of Return” protest. Thirty Palestinians were injured Friday, and Israeli soldiers have killed at least 34 Palestinians since the protests began on March 30.

The protest was planned to coincide with Palestinian Land Day, which marks the anniversary of the confiscation of Palestinian land by the Israeli government in 1976. It is being called the March of Return. Continue reading