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China, Russia revive push to lift U.N. sanctions on North Korea

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China and Russia are pushing the U.N. Security Council to ease sanctions on North Korea by reviving a 2019 attempt to remove a ban on Pyongyang’s exports of statues, seafood and textiles and expanding it to include lifting a refined petroleum imports cap.

In a reworked draft resolution, seen by Reuters on Monday, China and Russia want the 15-member council to remove those sanctions “with the intent of enhancing the livelihood of the civilian population” in the isolated Asian state.

North Korea has been subject to U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The draft resolution also includes other measures first proposed by Russia and China nearly two years ago, including lifting a ban on North Koreans working abroad and exempting inter-Korean rail and road cooperation projects from sanctions.

Several U.N. diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the refreshed draft resolution would find little support. In 2019 Russia and China held two informal rounds of talks on the draft resolution, but never formally tabled it for a vote.

Diplomats said on Monday that China and Russia have not yet scheduled any talks on their new draft resolution. A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, France, Britain, Russia or China to pass.

The U.N. missions of Russia and China did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new text, which diplomats said was circulated to council members on Friday.

“It has been always China’s will that we should also address the humanitarian dimension caused by the sanctions imposed by the Security Council,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun told reporters last month, adding again that the 2019 draft resolution “remains on the table.”

‘DIFFICULT SITUATION’

A spokesperson for the U.S. mission to the United Nations declined to comment on private council discussions, but added that all U.N. members should be focused on addressing those who are violating the sanctions already in place.

“The Security Council has repeatedly affirmed that it is prepared to modify, suspend, or lift the measures as may be needed in light of the DPRK’s compliance,” the spokesperson said. “Yet the DPRK has taken no steps to comply with the Security Council’s demands regarding its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

North Korea is formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The U.N. Security Council does already allow for humanitarian exemptions. A U.N. rights investigator last month called for sanctions to be eased as North Korea’s most vulnerable risk starvation after it slipped deeper into isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sanctions on industries that Russia and China have proposed lifting previously earned North Korea hundreds of millions of dollars. They were put in place in 2016 and 2017 to try to cut off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea continued developing its nuclear and ballistic missile programs during the first half of 2021 in violation of U.N. sanctions and despite the country’s worsening economic situation, U.N. sanctions monitors reported in August.

The country has long suffered from food insecurity, with observers saying that mismanagement of the economy is exacerbated by sanctions and now the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted unprecedented border lockdowns there.

The new draft resolution would have the council acknowledge “the difficult situation of economy and livelihood of the DPRK in recent years, underscoring the necessity to respect the legitimate security concerns of the DPRK, and ensure the welfare, inherent dignity, and rights of people in the DPRK.”

 

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Peter Cooney and Richard Pullin)

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Designer Virgil Abloh remembered at Fashion Awards

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Designers and celebrities paid tribute to Virgil Abloh at the Fashion Awards in London on Monday, where the late Louis Vuitton and Off-White creative force was honoured as a leader of change within the industry.

Abloh, the American-born son of Ghanaian immigrants, who became fashion’s highest-profile Black designer, died on Sunday https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/louis-vuitton-designer-virgil-abloh-dies-2021-11-28 following a two-year battle with a rare form of cancer.

The 41-year-old, who also worked as a DJ and visual artist, had been menswear artistic director at luxury label Louis Vuitton since March 2018.

“Genius, disruptor … (he) will be missed tremendously by all,” veteran designer Tommy Hilfiger said on the red carpet. “He inspired designers as well as the public.”

Designer and television personality Tan France called Abloh “incredible and a visionary … (who) has done the most beautiful work.”

Abloh, who founded label Off-White, was known for mixing streetwear with high-end suits and gowns while at Vuitton. His influences included graffiti art and hip hop.

“Everyone here is going to be talking about Virgil, everyone here has been impacted by his brilliance,” actor Gabrielle Union said.

At the awards, where Abloh’s photo was projected on stage, the designer was among 15 individuals and brands named leaders of change for their actions in the past year helping the environment, people and creativity.

Others on the list included Balenciaga designer Demna Gvasalia, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, and Kim Jones, artistic director for Fendi womenswear and couture as well as menswear designer at Dior. Jones was also named designer of the year at the awards.

Michele also won the trailblazer award, while Hilfiger received the outstanding achievement award.

“I’m absolutely grateful, appreciative, humbled by it, but happy to be here and happy to still keep the business rolling,” Hilfiger, 70, said.

Demi Moore, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Dua Lipa were among the celebrity guests attending the event, a fundraiser for British Fashion Council charities.

 

(Reporting by Hanna Rantala and Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Karishma Singh)

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Bank of Canada to work with Indigenous groups on reconciliation

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The Bank of Canada will work with Indigenous groups to understand the wounds caused by decades of discrimination and determine how reconciliation can create a more inclusive and prosperous economy for all, Governor Tiff Macklem said on Monday.

Macklem, opening a symposium on Indigenous economies, said Canadians could work to correct some of the consequences of those “ugly periods.”

Ottawa forcibly removed thousands of Indigenous children from their communities and put them in residential schools in an effort to strip them of their language and culture, a practice that continues to scar families and individuals.

“The Bank of Canada will be working with a broad spectrum of Indigenous groups to set out what reconciliation means for what we do,” Macklem said.

“Together, we’ll define what reconciliation means for the work of the Bank of Canada — toward a more inclusive and prosperous economy for everyone,” he said.

Canada‘s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called the residential school system “cultural genocide” in 2015, as it set out 94 “calls to action” to try to restore Canada‘s relationship with its Indigenous people, including economic reconciliation.

“We can’t go back and change what’s happened. But we can try to correct some of the consequences,” said Macklem, adding that it is the central bank’s job to create conditions for opportunity for all Canadians.

“Taking concrete steps toward economic reconciliation is our responsibility too. And it’s incumbent upon us to take the time to do this well,” said Macklem.

 

(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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Canada’s Trans Mountain still ‘days away’ from restarting pipeline

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Canada‘s Trans Mountain said on Monday it was “still days away” from restarting the key oil pipeline at a reduced capacity as heavy rains continue to impede restoration efforts.

The pipeline, owned by the Canadian government, ships 300,000 barrels a day of crude and refined products from Alberta to the Pacific Coast. It was temporarily shut down as heavy rains and flooding caused widespread disruption in parts of British Columbia.

The operator said assessments of the impacts from the latest storm are being undertaken with a focus on the Coldwater and Coquihalla regions.

Work was interrupted at some sites on Sunday due to high water accumulation or lack of access, the company added.

The company on Friday had said it was working toward restarting the oil pipeline at a reduced capacity this week.

 

(Reporting by Rithika Krishna in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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