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North Korea to send athletes, cheer squad to Winter Olympics in South Korea

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SEOUL — North Korea during rare talks with the South on Tuesday said it will send a delegation of high-ranking officials, athletes and a cheering squad to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea next month, according to a senior South Korean official.

During talks, Seoul proposed athletes from the two Koreas march together at the opening ceremony, and engage in other joint activities during the Games. Seoul also proposed inter-Korean military talks to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula and a reunion of family members in time for February’s Lunar New Year holiday, said South Korea’s vice unification minister Chun Hae-sung.

“North Korea said that they are determined to make today’s talks fruitful, and make it a ground-breaking opportunity,” South Korea’s vice unification minister Chun Hae-sung told reporters.

“North Korea said that they are determined to make today’s talks fruitful, and make it a groundbreaking opportunity,” Chun said.

Chun also said the South Koreans proposed resuming negotiations over the North’s nuclear program but there was no specific response from the North Korea.

The talks are being closely watched by world leaders eager for any sign of a reduction in tensions on the Korean peninsula amid rising fears over North Korea’s missile launches and development of nuclear weapons in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The meeting was to continue on Tuesday afternoon after the two sides broke up for separate lunches. It began at 10am (0100 GMT) in the three-storey Peace House just across the demilitarized zone on the South Korean side of Panmunjom truce village.

However, North Korean officials said during the meeting they were open to promoting reconciliation between the two countries through dialogue and negotiation, according to Chun.

The head of the North Korean delegation, Ri Son Gwon, said in opening remarks: “We came to this meeting today with the thought of giving our brethren, who have high hopes for this dialogue, invaluable results as the first present of the year …””

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NC leader Regmi passes away

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KATHMANDU— Nepali Congress leader Keshab Regmi, who contributed to restoring democracy in 1990, has passed away on Thursday night.

Regmi, who was suffering from respiratory problems for long, died at his residence in Gongabu in Kathmandu. Regmi, who also served as secretary of NC, Kaski, played an important role in establishing Nepal Students’ Union, the student wing of the NC.

He was also sent to jail five times for fighting to restore democracy. He is survived by two wives.

His last rites were conducted at Pashupati Aryaghat today itself. People from various walks of life and NC leaders attended his funeral rite.

On the occasion, NC President and former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel and General Secretary Dr Shashanka Koirala paid tribute to Regmi by draping his body in the party flag.

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