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North Korea suspends talks with South Korea

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SEOUL — North Korea has suspended high-level talks with South Korea scheduled for Wednesday after US and South Korean joint military exercises and warned that a summit next month between its leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump could be in jeopardy.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) called the US-South Korean ‘Max Thunder’ air combat drills, which it said involved US stealth fighters and B-52 bombers, a ‘provocation’ that went against the trend of warming North-South ties.

The meeting was set up to work out steps for implementing a declaration agreed to during the North-South summit between the two countries on April 27.

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Issues addressed in the declaration include formally ending the Korean War and working toward the “complete denuclearization” of the peninsula.

“This exercise, targeting us, which is being carried out across South Korea, is a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula,” Yonhap quoted KCNA as saying.

“The US should make efforts to create an atmosphere for mutual respect and confidence before dialogue, not resorting to a foolish farce that may reverse the good trend created with much effort.”

Agencies

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10 dead, 10 injured in Texas school shooting

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TEXAS — A 17-year-old student armed with a shotgun and pistol has opened fire in a Texas high school, killing nine fellow students and a teacher, injuring other 10, authorities say, in an attack similar to the massacre at a Florida high school in February.

Students said the gunman, identified by authorities as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, first opened fire in an art class at Santa Fe High School shortly before 8:00am on Friday.

Students and staff fled after seeing classmates injured and a fire alarm triggered a full evacuation.

Mr Pagourtzis, was denied bail after he was charged with capital murder and aggravated assault on a public servant.

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Law enforcement officials said they found two homemade explosive devices left at the school during the rampage.

“The suspected shooter also had explosive devices that were found in the school and nearby,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who called the assault “one of the most heinous attacks that we’ve ever seen in the history of Texas schools”.

It was the worst school shooting since the February assault on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a young man with an AR-15 rifle left 17 people dead and prompted a wave of nationwide, student-led protests calling on lawmakers to tighten gun laws.

Agencies

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