North Korea Says It Won’t Denuclearize Unless the U.S. Removes Its Own Nuclear Threat First

North Korea Says

(SEOUL, South Korea) — North Korea said Thursday it will never unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons unless the United States removes its nuclear threat first, a bombshell statement that could rattle a fragile diplomacy between Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang to defuse the nuclear crisis.

The statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency came amid a deadlock in nuclear negotiations between the United States and North Korea over the sequencing of the denuclearization process and removal of international sanctions.

It raises further doubts on whether North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will ever voluntarily relinquish an arsenal he may see as a stronger guarantee of survival than whatever security assurances the United States could provide. It also suggests that North Korea will demand the United States withdraw or significantly reduce the 28,500 American troops stationed in South Korea, which would be a major sticking point to a potential disarmament deal.

Kim and President Donald Trump met June 12 in Singapore where they issued a vague goal for the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula without describing when and how it would occur.

But North Korea for decades has been pushing a concept of denuclearization that bears no resemblance to the American definition, vowing to pursue nuclear development until the United States removes its troops and the nuclear umbrella defending South Korea and Japan. In Thursday’s statement, the North made clear it’s sticking to its traditional stance on denuclearization. It accused Washington of misleading what had been agreed on in Singapore and driving the post-summit talks into an impasse.

“The United States must now recognize the accurate meaning of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and especially, must study geography,” the statement said.

“When we talk about the Korean Peninsula, it includes the territory of our republic and also the entire region of (South Korea) where the United States has placed its invasive force, including nuclear weapons. When we talk about the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, it means the removal of all sources of nuclear threat, not only from the South and North but also from areas neighboring the Korean Peninsula,” the statement said.

The United States removed its tactical nuclear weapons from South Korea in the 1990s. Washington and Seoul did not immediately respond to the North Korean statement.

North Korea Says

“The blunt statement could be an indicator that the North has no intentions to return to the negotiation table anytime soon,” said Shin Beomchul, a senior analyst at Seoul’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies. “It’s clear that the North intends to keep its nukes and turn the diplomatic process into a bilateral arms reduction negotiation with the United States, rather than a process where it unilaterally surrenders its program.”

The nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang stalled since the Trump-Kim meeting. The United States wants North Korea to provide a detailed account of nuclear and missile facilities that would be inspected and dismantled under a potential deal, while the North is insisting that sanctions be lifted first.

The North Korean statement came a day after Stephen Biegun, the Trump’s administration’s special envoy on North Korea, told reporters in South Korea that Washington was reviewing easing travel restrictions on North Korea to facilitate humanitarian shipments to help resolve the impasse in nuclear negotiations.

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Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself. Science Says You Have a Pretty Good Sense of Your Own Personality

Sense of Your Own Personality

It’s a common belief among psychologists that people’s perceptions of themselves should be taken with a grain of salt, because they’re often thought to be positively biased and less accurate than the judgments supplied by others. But you really do know yourself best, according to a new paper published in the journal Psychological Science.

The new research found that people are actually better at judging their own personalities than scientists previously assumed — and, if anything, people tend to view themselves more negatively than others do.

“I honestly went into this research thinking, ‘Yeah, we’ll find big effects for self-enhancement,’ and that wasn’t the trend at all,” says study co-author Brian Connelly, an associate professor of management at the University of Toronto-Scarborough.

While individuals vary in their tendencies, the researchers found that on average, people are unlikely to overhype their traits more than their family, friends or colleagues. (They did find that self-reports were often more positive than assessments from strangers, who may judge someone both inaccurately and unfairly harshly.)

Of the “Big Five” personality traits — emotional stability, extraversion, openness/intellect, agreeableness and conscientiousness — the researchers found that on average, individuals’ self-assessments tracked closely with or were even harsher than those supplied by outsiders. People’s ratings of their own emotional stability and conscientiousness were especially likely to be more negative than what their peers said.

The researchers only found a consistent positive bias in how people rated their own openness, relative to others’ descriptions. Even there, the effect was small and confined to a few sub-measures of openness, such as tendency to be reflective, explore artistic pursuits and experience new things.

Sense of Your Own Personality

But Connelly says the discrepancies in the ratings you supply for yourself versus those provided by others might have more to do with other people than with you. It’s difficult for people to understand and accurately judge another person’s innermost self, which may lead to skewed results. “Being open and thoughtful and reflective is something that people don’t necessarily see,” Connelly says. “It’s something that’s harder for them to guess, so other people may not know when it’s happening. In the same way, feeling lots of negative emotions, like anxiety and depression, are hard things to see, unless somebody talks about it.”

There’s also a well-known psychological phenomenon called the fundamental attribution bias, which says that people are more likely to blame someone else’s failings on that person’s personality, while they chalk their own shortcomings up to situational circumstances. With all of these tendencies at play, Connelly says, it’s difficult for anyone to be truly accurate and objective when it comes to assessing personality, even their own.

“Who knows personality truly and without bias? We don’t necessary know that ourselves. Other people don’t necessarily know it. But if you ask a lot of people, you’re probably getting at least a pretty good and accurate view of someone,” Connelly says. “As a whole, that means that we generally will balance out toward having accuracy in how we perceive ourselves and what we predict about ourselves.”

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Russians Tried to Use Instagram and Pokemon Go to Influence the Election, Senate Report Finds

Use Instagram and Pokemon

(WASHINGTON) — A report compiled by private researchers and expected to be released Monday by the Senate intelligence committee says that “active and ongoing” Russian interference operations still exist on social media platforms, and that the Russian operation discovered after the 2016 presidential election was much broader than once thought.

The report was compiled by the cybersecurity firm New Knowledge with data provided by the Senate committee from major tech companies Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Along with another report expected to be released by the panel, it is the first comprehensive analysis of the Russian interference on social media beyond what the companies themselves have said.

The report says that there are still some live accounts tied to the original Internet Research Agency, which was named in an indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller in February for an expansive social media campaign intended to influence the 2016 presidential election. Some of these accounts have a presence on smaller platforms as the major companies have tried to clean up after the Russian activity was discovered.

The report says that none of the companies turned over complete data sets to Congress and some of them “may have misrepresented or evaded” in testimony about the interference by either intentionally or unintentionally downplaying the scope of the problem.

One major takeaway of the study is the breadth of Russian interference that appeared on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook and was not as frequently mentioned when its parent company testified on Capitol Hill. The study says that as attention was focused on Facebook and Twitter in 2017, the Russians shifted much of their activity to Instagram.

The study says that there were 187 million engagements with users on Instagram, while there were 77 million on Facebook.

“Instagram was a significant front in the IRA’s influence operation, something that Facebook executives appear to have avoided mentioning in Congressional testimony,” the researchers wrote. They added that “our assessment is that Instagram is likely to be a key battleground on an ongoing basis.”

Other findings in the study:

    • Russian activity on Twitter was less organized around themes like race or partisanship but more driven by local and current events and made use of occasional pop culture references;

Use Instagram and Pokemon

  • Facebook posts linked to the IRA “reveal a nuanced and deep knowledge of American culture, media, and influencers in each community the IRA targeted.” Certain memes appeared on pages targeted to younger people but not older people. “The IRA was fluent in American trolling culture,” the researchers say;
  • Establishment figures of either party, especially Clinton, were universally panned. Even a tag targeted to feminists criticized Clinton and promoted her primary opponent Bernie Sanders;
  • Several posts promoted the Russian agenda in Syria and Syrian President Bashar Assad;
  • During the week of the presidential election, posts on right-leaning sites connected to the IRA aimed to generate anger and suspicion and hinted at voter fraud, while posts on sites targeted to African-Americans largely ignored mentions of the election until the last minute.
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