Another Trump – Kim Summit?

Grind for July 1st
“As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it.”

– Buddy Hackett

Making Progress

The Headline

South Korean President suggests third summit is possible

The Grind

The North Korean Foreign Ministry this week accused the US government of engaging in “extreme hostile acts” against Pyongyang after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that sanctions on 80% of North Korea’s economy is what brought Kim to the negotiating table.

“Our state is not a country that will surrender to the US sanctions, nor are we a country which the US could attack whenever it desires to do so,” the ministry said in a statement.

Hours after the rebuke, South Korean President Moon Jae-in suggested the possibility of a third summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“There’s no reason to regard the current situation as a stalemate in the peace process on the peninsula just because the pace has remained slow,” said Moon. “Complete denuclearization and a permanent peace regime on the peninsula are tasks that cannot be achieved overnight.”

The Details

Trump and Kim met for the first time in Singapore last summer, signing a historic treaty we expected would lead to negotiations about denuclearization and sanctions relief.

The second summit, held in Vietnam in February, broke down when Trump rejected Kim’s demand for sanctions relief in exchange for the dismantling of Pyongyang’s main nuclear complex.

Despite the setback, both leaders have described their personal relationship as good. Last week, the White House confirmed the two had been exchanging private letters.

“It’s noteworthy that behind-the-scenes talks have been preceded by the mutual understanding of each other’s position gained through the Hanoi summit,” said Moon.

President Trump will visit South Korea next week to speak with Moon after attending a G20 summit in Japan. He is considering a trip to heavily defended DMZ that divides the Korean peninsula.

Bad News

The Headline

Climate change is killing thousands of birds

The Grind

When hundreds of dead seabirds started to wash up on the shores of St. Paul Island, Alaska, locals knew something was wrong.

“It was very apparent that something strange was happening,” says Laura Divine, director of the local conservation office. “Every person in our community knew something was wrong.”
The emaciated carcasses, which began to appear in October, belonged to migratory seabirds that typically fly south in the winter.

The phenomenon occurred in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

“Part of the mystery is what in the heck were those guys doing there? Why hadn’t they left?” says Julia Parrish, head of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team. “We know month in and month out what is normal, what to expect.”

The Details

“The mortality event represents one of multiple seabird mortality events…cumulatively suggestive of broad-scale ecosystem change,” wrote Parrish. The die-offs “are indicators of a changing world, and particularly of climate change.”

Parrish and others believe that rising temperatures and melting ice in the Bering Sea affected the birds’ food supply and caused them to molt at different times. Molting is a natural process that replaces feathers but limits the ability to fly.

The birds “ran out of gas,” says Parrish. “They ran out of time.”

Changes in climate are believed to have caused mass die-offs affecting species including: the Tufted Puffin, the Crested Auklet, the Common Murres, the Northern Fulmar, and the Short-Tailed Shearwater.

“Seabirds are good indicators of ocean ecosystem health,” writes the National Park Service. “Recent mortality events are concerning in that they may be pointing to significant changes in marine ecosystems.”

Did you know… Carols began as an old English custom called wassailing, toasting neighbours to a long life.