TPM World News

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — It was a historic moment, and it happened even before the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics had officially begun.

As South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife greeted VIPs in their dignitary box to watch the opening ceremony, they turned to shake hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s younger sister, who arrived earlier in the day on an unprecedented visit to the South by a member of the North’s ruling Kim family.

All broke out in broad smiles.

Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, was at the opening ceremony with North Korea’s nominal head of state, 90-year-old Kim Yong Nam. They are part of an extraordinary diplomatic push by the North aimed at using the Olympics to ease tensions with Seoul and bolster unity between the two Koreas after a year that has been marked by escalating fears of war and increasing angry rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington.

As they shook hands, the North and South Koreans spoke briefly. It was not immediately known what they said, but all of them were smiling.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife arrived after the handshakes. They were seated beside the Moons and next to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife. His office said he did not interact with the North Koreans.

The Moons, Nam and Kim all stood again as athletes from both Koreas marched together behind a blue-and-white “unification” flag for the first time since 2007. There was another handshake.

The Pences did not stand for the unified Korean team’s entrance. During the parade of nations, they stood only for the U.S. team.

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s younger sister took her place among dignitaries from around the world, including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Friday in an unprecedented visit to South Korea.

The trip by Kim Yo Jong is the latest move in an extraordinary show of Olympic diplomacy with Seoul that could prove to be a major challenge to the Trump administration’s hard-line Korea policies.

As the opening ceremony began, she and South Korean President Moon Jae-in exchanged a historic handshake and spoke briefly. They smiled broadly, though it was not immediately known what they said.

She and Kim Yong Nam, the North’s 90-year-old nominal head of state, were seated behind Moon and his wife, while Pence and his wife were seated beside the Moons and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

At the age of 30, Kim Yo Jong is quite possibly the most powerful woman in North Korea. Just a few years younger than her brother, she is believed to be his closest confidant and is a senior cadre in North Korea’s ruling party.

Her arrival on Kim Jong Un’s private jet with a coterie of 22 officials was broadcast live on South Korean television.

Looking confident and relaxed, she had a brief meeting at the airport with South Korean officials, including Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, before being whisked away in a black limousine and catching the high-speed train to the mountains of Pyeongchang. As a sign of her status, the elder Kim Yong Nam offered her the seat of honor at the airport meeting, but she politely declined.

The trip comes amid a flurry of activity following Kim Jong Un’s surprise proposal on New Year’s Day to send a delegation of athletes, officials, entertainers and cheering groups to the Olympics.

His decision to dispatch his sister to the games is all the more significant since Kim Jong Un himself hasn’t set foot outside North Korea or met a single head of state since he assumed power upon the death of their father, Kim Jong Il, in late 2011. His single-minded pursuit of a nuclear arsenal to counter what he sees as the threat of invasion by the United States has ratcheted up tensions not only with his rivals but also with primary trading partner China and with Russia, once a key benefactor.

The North’s Olympic “detente” is a striking shift in tactics.

This is the first time a member of the Kim dynasty has traveled to South Korea, though their grandfather, Kim Il Sung, went to areas occupied by his troops south of what is now the Demilitarized Zone during the 1950-53 Korean War.

Kim Yo Jong has been rapidly rising within the North’s power structure and is believed to be in charge of shaping her brother’s public persona. But she has generally remained safely cloaked in her brother’s shadow. This is her first high-profile international appearance at center stage, though she is technically just a member of a delegation headed by Kim Yong Nam.

Just before the opening ceremony, Kim Yong Nam attended a dinner for visiting foreign dignitaries hosted by Moon. Pence was also at the dinner and reportedly refused to shake the elderly North Korean’s hand.

For security reasons, few details of Kim Yo Jong’s three-day itinerary have been made public.

After arriving at the South’s ultramodern Incheon International Airport— the North’s flagship airline is subject to sanctions — she traveled to Pyeongchang for the opening ceremony, where the North and South Korean athletes marched together behind a blue-and-white “unification” flag for the first time in more than a decade.

It was an emotionally charged moment.

The two Koreas, which remain technically at war, have cycled through countless periods of chill and thaw since their division 70 years ago. North Korea boycotted the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and blew up a South Korean commercial airliner the year before. The past year has been particularly acrimonious as the North has accelerated its nuclear weapons development and test launches of missiles that are now believed to be able to reach most or all of the United States, South Korea’s most important ally.

The delegation’s most substantive event may come outside of the Olympic ambit on Saturday.

Along with the rest of the North’s senior delegation, Kim Yo Jong was to have lunch with Moon at the presidential Blue House. The meeting could turn out to be just a lunch, a photo op or a nicety. But it is so unprecedented, and its announcement on Thursday was so sudden, that rumors are already swirling it could open the door to much more — perhaps even an offer for Moon to travel to Pyongyang, the North’s capital.

The North and South held summits in Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007, both hosted by Kim Jong Il.

Considering the depth and complexity of the problems that keep the Koreas apart, it’s highly unlikely a luncheon would lead to an immediate breakthrough on something like the North’s nuclear weapons development. Pence, who is using his visit to South Korea to underscore the Trump administration’s policy of maximum pressure on the North, has publicly and repeatedly warned Seoul not to let down its guard to a North Korean charm offensive.

But during her stay, Kim Yo Jong will have ample opportunity to play up the feel-good side of her country’s participation in the games.

The first hockey match featuring the joint North-South women’s ice hockey will be held Saturday night — they play Switzerland, where both Kim Jong Un and his sister went to school when they were children — and that would be an event she might want to see. The North has also sent a several hundred women-strong cheering squad, an orchestra with singers and dancers and a demonstration taekwondo team that will perform in Seoul and places near the Olympic venues.

Security for anything involving the North Koreans has been exceptionally tight.

The North’s participation has been generally welcomed, but right-wing protesters have shown up at several venues to burn North Korean flags and tear up portraits of Kim’s brother. The group is fringe, but their demonstrations have generated irate reactions in North Korea’s state-run media and could potentially spin out into a major incident if they ever manage to get closer to the North Koreans themselves — or especially Kim and her entourage.

So far, police have kept the two at a safe distance.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Russian cyberspies pursuing the secrets of military drones and other sensitive U.S. defense technology tricked key contract workers into exposing their email to theft, an Associated Press investigation has found.

What ultimately may have been stolen is uncertain, but the hackers clearly exploited a national vulnerability in cybersecurity: poorly protected email and barely any direct notification to victims.

The hackers known as Fancy Bear, who also intruded in the U.S. election, went after at least 87 people working on militarized drones, missiles, rockets, stealth fighter jets, cloud-computing platforms or other sensitive activities, the AP found.

Employees at both small companies and defense giants like Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Co., Boeing Co., Airbus Group and General Atomics were targeted by the hackers. A handful of people in Fancy Bear’s sights also worked for trade groups, contractors in U.S.-allied countries or on corporate boards.

“The programs that they appear to target and the people who work on those programs are some of the most forward-leaning, advanced technologies,” said Charles Sowell, a former senior adviser to the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, who reviewed the list of names for the AP. “And if those programs are compromised in any way, then our competitive advantage and our defense is compromised.”

“That’s what’s really scary,” added Sowell, who was one of the hacking targets.

The AP identified the defense and security targets from about 19,000 lines of email phishing data created by hackers and collected by the U.S.-based cybersecurity company Secureworks, which calls the hackers Iron Twilight. The data is partial and extends only from March 2015 to May 2016. Of 87 scientists, engineers, managers and others, 31 agreed to be interviewed by the AP.

Most of the targets’ work was classified. Yet as many as 40 percent of them clicked on the hackers’ phishing links, the AP analysis indicates. That was the first step in potentially opening their personal email accounts or computer files to data theft by the digital spies.

James Poss, who ran a partnership doing drone research for the Federal Aviation Administration, was about to catch a taxi to the 2015 Paris Air Show when what appeared to be a Google security alert materialized in his inbox. Distracted, he moved his cursor to the blue prompt on his laptop.

“I clicked on it and instantly knew that I had been had,” the retired Air Force major general said. Poss says he realized his mistake before entering his credentials, which would have exposed his email to the hackers.

Hackers predominantly targeted personal Gmail, with a few corporate accounts mixed in.

Personal accounts can convey snippets of classified information, whether through carelessness or expediency. They also can lead to other more valuable targets or carry embarrassing personal details that can be used for blackmail or to recruit spies.

Drone consultant Keven Gambold, a hacking target himself, said the espionage could help Russia catch up with the Americans. “This would allow them to leapfrog years of hard-won experience,” he said.

He said his own company is so worried about hacking that “we’ve almost gone back in time to use stand-alone systems if we’re processing client proprietary data — we’re FedEx’ing hard drives around.”

The AP has previously reported on Fancy Bear’s attempts to break into the Gmail accounts of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, American national security officials, journalists, and Kremlin critics and adversaries around the world. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the hackers worked for the Kremlin and stole U.S. campaign email to tilt the 2016 election toward Donald Trump.

But the hackers clearly had broader aims. Fifteen of the targets identified by the AP worked on drones — the single largest group of weapons specialists.

Countries like Russia are racing to make better drones as the remote-control aircraft have moved to the forefront of modern warfare. They can fire missiles, hunt down adversaries, or secretly monitor targets for days — all while keeping human pilots safely behind computer controls.

The U.S. Air Force now needs more pilots for drones than for any other single type of aircraft, a training official said last year. Drones will lead growth in the aerospace industry over the next decade, with military uses driving the boom, the Teal Group predicted in November. Production was expected to balloon from $4.2 billion to $10.3 billion.

So far, though, Russia has nothing that compares with the new-generation U.S. Reaper, which has been called “the most feared” U.S. drone. General Atomics’ 5,000-pound mega-drone can fly more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) to deliver Hellfire missiles and smart bombs. It has seen action in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

The hackers went after General Atomics, targeting a drone sensor specialist. He did not respond to requests for comment.

They also made a run at the Gmail account of Michael Buet, an electronics engineer who has worked on ultra-durable batteries and high-altitude drones for SunCondor, a small South Carolina company owned by Star Technology and Research. Such machines could be a useful surveillance tool for a country like Russia, with its global military engagements and vast domestic border frontier.

“This bird is quite unique,” said Buet. “It can fly at 62,000 feet (18,600 meters) and doesn’t land for five years.”

The Russians also appeared eager to catch up in space, once an arena for Cold War competition in the race for the moon. They seemed to be carefully eyeing the X-37B, an American unmanned space plane that looks like a miniature shuttle but is shrouded in secrecy.

In a reference to an X-37B flight in May 2015, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin invoked the vehicle as evidence that his country’s space program was faltering. “The United States is pushing ahead,” he warned Russian lawmakers.

Less than two weeks later, Fancy Bear tried to penetrate the Gmail account of a senior engineer on the X-37B project at Boeing.

Fancy Bear has also tried to hack into the emails of several members of the Arlington, Virginia-based Aerospace Industries Association, including its president, former Army Secretary Eric Fanning. It went after Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford, who has served in the military and aerospace industry as a corporate board member. He has been involved with major weapons and space programs like SpaceX, the reusable orbital rocket company founded by billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.

Along another path, the hackers chased people who work on cloud-based services, the off-site computer networks that enable collaborators to easily access and juggle data.

In 2013, the CIA signed a $600 million deal with web giant Amazon to build a system to share secure data across the U.S. intelligence community. Other spy services followed, and the government cleared them last year to move classified data to the cloud at the “secret” level — a step below the nation’s most sensitive information.

Fancy Bear’s target list suggests the Russians have noticed these developments.

The hackers tried to get into the Gmail accounts of a cloud compliance officer at Palantir and a manager of cloud platform operations at SAP National Security Services, two companies that do extensive government work. Another target was at Mellanox Federal Systems, which helps the government with high-speed storage networks, data analysis and cloud computing. Its clients include the FBI and other intelligence agencies.

Yet of the 31 targets reached by the AP, just one got any warning from U.S. officials.

“They said we have a Fancy Bear issue we need to talk about,” said security consultant Bill Davidson. He said an Air Force cybersecurity investigator inspected his computer shortly after the 2015 phishing attempt but found no sign that it succeeded. He believes he was contacted because his name was recognized at the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, where he used to work.

The FBI declined to give on-the-record details of its response to this Russian operation. Agency spokeswoman Jillian Stickels said the FBI does sometimes notify individual targets. “The FBI takes … all potential threats to public and private sector systems very seriously,” she said in an email.

However, three people familiar with the matter — including a current and a former government official — previously told the AP that the FBI knew the details of Fancy Bear’s phishing campaign for more than a year.

Pressed about notification in that case, a senior FBI official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the hacking operation because of its sensitivity, said the bureau was overwhelmed by the sheer number of attempted hacks. “It’s a matter of triaging to the best of our ability the volume of the targets who are out there,” he said.

A Pentagon spokeswoman, Heather Babb, said she could release no details about any Defense Department response, citing “operational security reasons.” But she said the department recognizes the evolving cyber threat and continues to update training and technology. “This extends to all of our workforce — military, civilian and contractor,” she added.

The Defense Security Service, which protects classified U.S. technology and trains industry in computer security, focuses on safeguarding corporate computer networks. “We simply have no insight into or oversight of anyone’s personal email accounts or how they are protected or notified when something is amiss,” spokeswoman Cynthia McGovern said in an email.

Contacted by the AP, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Airbus and General Atomics did not respond to requests for comment.

Jerome Pearson, a space system and drone developer, acknowledged that he has not focused on security training at his company, Star Technology, where Buet has consulted. “No, we really haven’t done that,” he said with a nervous laugh. “We may be a little bit remiss in that area.” He said they may do training for future contracts.

Cybersecurity experts say it’s no surprise that spies go after less secure personal email as an opening to more protected systems. “For a good operator, it’s like hammering a wedge,” said Richard Ford, chief scientist at the Forcepoint cybersecurity company. “Private email is the soft target.”

Some officials were particularly upset by the failure to notify employees of cloud computing companies that handle data for intelligence agencies. The cloud is a “huge target for foreign intelligence services in general — they love to get into that shared environment,” said Sowell, the former adviser to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“At some point, wouldn’t someone who’s responsible for the defense contractor base be aware of this and try to reach out?” he asked.

Even successful hacks might not translate into new weapons for Russia, where the economy is weighed down by corruption and international sanctions.

However, experts say Russia, while still behind the U.S., has been making more advanced drones in recent years. Russian officials have recently been bragging as their increasingly sophisticated drones are spotted over war zones in Ukraine and Syria.

At a 2017 air show outside Moscow, plans were announced for a new generation of Russian combat drones.

Rogozin, the deputy prime minister, boasted that the technological gap between Russia and the United States “has been sharply reduced and will be completely eliminated in the near future.”

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RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A former Palestinian intelligence chief and the head of the West Bank bar association are suing the Palestinian self-rule government after a purported whistleblower alleged the two were targeted, along with many other allies and rivals of President Mahmoud Abbas, in a large-scale CIA-backed wiretapping operation.

Allegations of continued intelligence-sharing with the United States could prove embarrassing for Abbas who has been on a political collision course with Washington since President Donald Trump’s recognition in December of contested city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The claims are contained in a 37-page anonymous document that was been shared widely among Palestinians, mostly on WhatsApp. The document alleges that three of the Palestinian security services set up a joint electronic surveillance unit in mid-2014 and monitored the phone calls of thousands of Palestinians, from senior figures in militant groups to judges, lawyers, civic leaders and political allies of Abbas.

The author describes himself as a former member of the surveillance unit who quit “this dirty job” several months ago because of his growing opposition to Palestinian government practices, including intelligence-sharing with the United States. He wrote that Trump’s policy shift on Jerusalem provided another impetus to go public.

Bar association head Jawad Obeidat told The Associated Press on Monday that transcripts of his phone conversations, as published in the document, were accurate.

“I made these phone calls and this is evidence that the leaked report is true,” said Obeidat, who spearheaded recent protests by lawyers after one of them was arrested from a court room during a legal case against the government.

“This is a blatant violation of human rights,” he said.

Tawfiq Tirawi, an outspoken Abbas critic and West Bank intelligence chief from 1994 to 2008, said he checked with his contacts and believes the document is authentic.

The CIA declined comment.

In mid-January, when the document first surfaced, Palestinian security services said in a joint statement that it was part of a “plot” seeking to harm the political and security establishments.

Adnan Damiri, the spokesman of the security services, dismissed the document Monday as “nonsense.”

The allegations come at a low point in Palestinian relations with the United States, following Trump’s policy pivot on Jerusalem, whose Israeli-annexed eastern sector the Palestinians seek as a future capital.

Abbas said at the time that he was suspending contacts with U.S. officials dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The U.S. shift on Jerusalem angered many Palestinians, and in this context, allegations of continued intelligence-sharing with the U.S. could pose a domestic political problem for Abbas.

The 82-year-old has also faced pushback from critics who say his rule has become increasingly authoritarian.

Elected in 2005, Abbas has ruled by decree since 2007, when the Islamic militant Hamas overran Gaza, leaving him with autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The territorial split and deep animosity between the Abbas- and Hamas-led camps paralyzed political institutions, including parliament, and prevented new elections.

Last week, Tirawi and Obeidat filed a complaint over the alleged wire-tapping against the Palestinian self-rule government, calling for a criminal investigation. The lawsuit asked that those who ordered the monitoring of their phones be punished and demanded an end to all wiretapping as a violation of privacy.

Attorney General Ahmed Barrak confirmed that he received the complaint, but declined further comment.

Separately, the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq demanded an investigation of the extent of the wiretapping and an explanation from the government. The head of Al-Haq, Shahwan Jabareen, said he has not received a response from the attorney general or the office of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

Jabareen said an investigation must determine if the wiretapping went beyond monitoring militants who pose an immediate security threat. If the bar association was targeted, he said, the government might also be spying on other civil society organizations and ordinary people.

“We are not against security, but it has to be legal,” he said.

The document alleged that thousands of phones are being monitored without legal authorization, including those of leaders and senior operatives in Hamas, the militant group Islamic Jihad and other factions.

Others being monitored include members of Abbas’ inner circle, such as the No. 2 in his Fatah movement and members of the decision-making body of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the document said. Abbas rivals are also on the list, including the family of imprisoned uprising leader Marwan Barghouti and supporters of Abbas’ former top aide-turned-nemesis, the exiled Mohammed Dahlan, according to the document.

It said that in 2013, the then-head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service asked the CIA for help with wiretapping and that the CIA agreed, in exchange for oversight.

The document said the equipment was provided by ISS World, a company based in Virginia.

Jerry Lucas, the president of the ISS World parent company, TeleStrategies, declined comment when contacted by email Monday by The Associated Press.

The document said members of the Palestinian surveillance unit were trained on the new equipment on the sidelines of an ISS World conference in Dubai.

The document included a copy of an invitation letter purportedly issued by TeleStrategies to two senior Palestinian security officers to attend an “ISS World Middle East Intelligence Support Systems Conference” at the Dubai Marriott from March 3-5, 2014.

The date and venue of the conference in the invitation match those on the ISS website.

Palestinian security officials acknowledged in the past, in private conservations, that they were engaged in domestic phone monitoring and other types of surveillance, going back to the 1990s.

However, the latest allegations, if confirmed, suggest spying has become more sophisticated and broader in scope.

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LONDON (AP) — A British judge on Tuesday upheld a U.K. arrest warrant for the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, leaving his legal position unchanged after more than five years inside the Ecuadorean Embassy.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot rejected a call from Assange’s lawyers for the warrant to be revoked because he is no longer wanted for questioning in Sweden.

“I am not persuaded the warrant should be withdrawn,” Arbuthnot told lawyers, journalists and Assange supporters gathered at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuador’s embassy in London since he took refuge there in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. Swedish prosecutors were investigating allegations of sexual assault and rape made by two women in 2010.

Swedish prosecutors dropped the case last year, but Assange was still subject to a British arrest warrant for jumping bail in 2012.

Had the judge ruled in Assange’s favor, he would have been free to leave the embassy without being arrested on the British warrant.

However, Assange suspects there is a secret U.S. indictment against him for WikiLeaks’ publication of leaked classified American documents, and that the U.S. authorities will seek his extradition.

Earlier this month, Ecuador said it had granted the Australian-born hacker citizenship, as the South American country tried to unblock the stalemate that has kept Assange as its houseguest for five-and-a-half years.

Ecuador also asked Britain to grant him diplomatic status. Britain refused, saying “the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice.”

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The South African city of Cape Town has made a little progress in staving off the dreaded “Day Zero,” the date when it might have to turn off most taps because of water shortages.

The country’s main opposition leader said Tuesday that “Day Zero” had been pushed back by four days to April 16 because of efforts to save water by residents.

Mmusi Maimane, whose Democratic Alliance party runs Cape Town and the surrounding province, says residents must use fewer than 50 liters (13.2 gallons) per person daily to avoid the tap closure altogether.

Maimane says aquifer drilling is accelerating and that authorities will reduce water pressure in the municipal system in coming weeks.

Experts say causes of Cape Town’s water shortages include climate change and huge population growth.

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday the Trump administration made a “hostile step” when it published a list of Russian businessmen and politicians as part of a sanctions law against Moscow.

The long-awaited U.S. publication appears to be mainly a list of people in Russian government, along with 96 “oligarchs” from a Forbes magazine ranking of Russian billionaires.

The list, ordered by Congress in response to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign, had induced fear among rich Russians that it could lead to U.S. sanctions or being informally blacklisted in the global financial system.

But the U.S. surprised observers by announcing that it had decided not to punish anybody under the new sanctions, at least for now. Some U.S. lawmakers accused President Donald Trump of giving Russia a free pass, fueling further questions about whether the president is unwilling to confront Moscow.

Putin on Tuesday referred to the list as a “hostile step” — but said Moscow does not want to make the situation even worse.

“We were waiting for this list to come out, and I’m not going to hide it: we were going to take steps in response, and, mind you, serious steps, that could push our relations to the nadir. But we’re going to refrain from taking these steps for now,” Putin said.

The Russian president said he does not expect the publication to have any impact but expressed dismay at the scope of the officials and business people listed.

“Ordinary Russian citizens, employees and entire industries are behind each of those people and companies, so all 146 million people have essentially been put on this list,” Putin said at a campaign event in Moscow. “What is the point of this? I don’t understand.”

Russia hawks in Congress had pushed the administration to include certain names, while Russian businessmen hired lobbyists to keep them off.

In the end, the list of 114 Russian politicians released just before a Monday evening deadline included the whole of Putin’s administration, as listed by the Kremlin on its website, plus the Russian cabinet, all top law enforcement officials and chief executives of the main state-controlled companies.

President Putin even joked on Tuesday that he felt “slighted” that his name wasn’t there.

A companion list of 96 “oligarchs” is a carbon copy of the Forbes magazine’s Russian billionaires’ rankings, only arranged alphabetically. It makes no distinction between those who are tied to the Kremlin and those who are not. Some of the people on the list have long fallen out with the Kremlin or are widely considered to have built their fortunes independently of the Russian government.

Officials said more names, including those of less senior politicians and businesspeople worth less than $1 billion, are on a classified version of the list being provided to Congress. Drawing on U.S. intelligence, the Treasury Department also finalized a list of at least partially state-owned companies in Russia, but that list, too, was classified and sent only to Congress.

The idea of the seven-page unclassified document, as envisioned by Congress, was to name-and-shame those believed to be benefiting from Putin’s tenure, as the United States works to isolate his government diplomatically and economically.

Every top Russian official except for Putin is on the list of 114 senior political figures. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is on it, along with all ministers from the Russian government, all 42 of Putin’s aides, and top law enforcement officials. The CEOs of all major state-owned companies, including energy giant Rosneft and Sberbank, are also on the list.

The oligarchs list includes tycoons Roman Abramovich and Mikhail Prokhorov, who challenged Putin in the 2012 election. Aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a figure in the Russia investigation over his ties to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is included.

Less obvious names on the list include Sergei Galitsky, founder of retail chain Magnit, and Arkady Volozh, founder and CEO of the search engine Yandex, and bankers Oleg Tinkov and Ruben Vardanyan. They have been lauded as self-made men who built their successful businesses without any government support.

Some billionaires on the list have fallen out with the Kremlin entirely, like the Ananyev brothers, who fled the country last year and vowed to sue the Russian government after their bank was declared bankrupt.

The list shows that the United States views the entire Russian government as enemies, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov — himself on the list — told reporters on Tuesday.

Although he said Russia should not “give in to emotions” before studying the list and its implications carefully, Peskov pointed out the name of the law: “On countering America’s adversaries through sanctions.”

“De facto everyone has been called an adversary of the United States,” he said.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee for the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russian parliament, said U.S. intelligence failed to find compromising material on Russian politicians and “ended up copying the Kremlin phone book.”

Kosachev criticized the U.S. government for harming Russia-U.S. relations, saying that “the consequences will be toxic and undermine prospects for cooperation for years ahead. He added that the list displays “political paranoia” of the U.S. establishment.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who came to prominence thanks to his investigations into official corruption, tweeted Tuesday that he was “glad that these (people) have been officially recognized on the international level as crooks and thieves.” Navalny in his investigations has exposed what he described as close ties between government officials and some of the billionaires on the list.

The list’s release was likely to at least partially defuse the disappointment from some U.S. lawmakers that Trump’s administration opted against targeting anyone with new Russia sanctions that took effect Monday.

Under the same law that authorized the “Putin list,” the government was required to slap sanctions on anyone doing “significant” business with people linked to Russia’s defense and intelligence agencies, using a blacklist the U.S. released in October. But the administration decided it didn’t need to penalize anyone, even though several countries have had multibillion-dollar arms deals with Russia in the works.

State Department officials said the threat of sanctions had been deterrent enough, and that “sanctions on specific entities or individuals will not need to be imposed.”

Companies or foreign governments that had been doing business with blacklisted Russian entities had been given a three-month grace period to extricate themselves from transactions, starting in October when the blacklist was published and ending Monday. But only those engaged in “significant transactions” are to be punished, and the U.S. has never defined that term or given a dollar figure. That ambiguity has made it impossible for the public to know exactly what is and isn’t permissible.

New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, lambasted the move to punish no one, saying he was “fed up” and that Trump’s administration had chosen to “let Russia off the hook yet again.” He dismissed the State Department’s claim that “the mere threat of sanctions” would stop Moscow from further meddling in America’s elections.

“How do you deter an attack that happened two years ago, and another that’s already underway?” Engel said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

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HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier is expected to make a port visit to Vietnam in March, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday. It would be the first such visit in the postwar era.

The planned visit to Danang is likely to irritate China, which is critical of U.S. moves to add to its military muscle in the region.

Mattis and his counterpart, Ngo Xuan Lich, discussed the planned carrier visit during a closed-door meeting, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said. Davis said the Vietnamese are awaiting final approval by more senior government authorities, but Mattis appeared to indicate it was a done deal.

“Thank you for the increasing partnership with our aircraft carrier coming in to Danang here in March,” Mattis said in remarks opening a meeting with Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

Mattis also thanked him for Vietnam’s support for toughening United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea.

The Vietnamese Defense Ministry said separately that the two defense ministries had submitted their proposals for a U.S. carrier port visit to their leaders. The idea was floated last summer when Lich met Mattis at the Pentagon.

The two met again in Hanoi on Thursday during Mattis’ first trip to the Southeast Asian nation.

“We recognize that relationships never stay the same. They either get stronger or they get weaker, and America wants a stronger relationship with a stronger Vietnam,” Mattis told Lich.

In a written statement after Mattis’s meeting with Lich, the Vietnamese Defense Ministry said Lich had given Mattis “war artifacts of U.S. military personnel in the war.” It did not elaborate.

The visit also included a meeting with President Tran Dai Quang.

“From postwar legacy issues to what Minister Lich called the positive trajectory of our military-to-military relations, I’m confident we’re on the right trajectory, sir,” Mattis said in his opening remarks at the presidential palace, where he and the president sat side-by-side beneath a large bust of revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh.

Earlier Thursday, Mattis broke from his usual pattern of official business meetings to pay his respects at one of Vietnam’s oldest pagodas, where he spoke at length with a senior monk and remarked on the serene setting. The Tran Quoc Buddhist pagoda stands on a small island at the edge of a lake in Hanoi, a short distance from a concrete marker noting where Sen. John McCain was shot down during a Navy attack mission over the city in 1967. McCain was retrieved from the lake and imprisoned at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.”

As he strolled among tourists at the 6th century pagoda, Mattis said to the monk, “Beautiful. Peaceful. It makes you think more deeply.”

Mattis joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 1969, while the decade-long Vietnam War was ongoing, but did not serve in Vietnam.

His visit happened to come just days before the Vietnamese celebrate Tet, the Lunar New Year.

Next week will mark the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive, in January 1968, when the Communist North launched synchronized, simultaneous attacks on multiple targets in U.S.-backed South Vietnam, including the city of Hue. The offensive was a military failure, but it turned out to be a pivotal point in the war by puncturing U.S. hopes of a swift victory. The war dragged on for another seven years before the U.S. completed its withdrawal.

Mattis noted earlier this week that Vietnam’s proximity to the South China Sea makes the country a key player in disputes with China over territorial claims to islets, shoals and other small land formations in the sea. Vietnam also fought a border war with China in 1979.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration slapped sanctions Wednesday on North Korean financial and business networks in China and Russia as it pushed to cut off revenues for the increasingly isolated nation’s nuclear and missile programs.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control also targeted five North Korean shipping companies and six of its vessels. That’s part of an intensified effort by Washington to interdict ships that help the North evade sanctions.

The sanctions have been tightened significantly in the past year as Kim Jong Un’s government accelerates toward perfecting a nuclear weapon that can threaten the U.S. mainland. While Beijing and Moscow have supported U.N. restrictions, they bristle at Washington imposing unilateral sanctions to bolster the pressure campaign.

The intensification of the U.S.-led campaign is a counterpoint to a thaw in relations between North and South Korea revolving around the North’s participation in next month’s Winter Olympics being hosted by the South. That has eased tensions on the divided peninsula, but the North shows no sign it’s willing to negotiate over its nuclear program.

“The U.S. government is targeting illicit actors in China, Russia, and elsewhere who are working on behalf of North Korean financial networks, and calling for their expulsion from the territories where they reside,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement. Americans are barred from dealing with those who are designated.

Among those blacklisted were 10 representatives in China and Russia of the Korea Ryonbong General Corporation, which is already designated by the United States and the United Nations and is said to support the North’s defense industry. The Treasury Department said the company’s procurements also probably support North Korea’s chemical weapons program.

Half of the individuals are located in the Chinese cities of Dandong, Ji’an, Linjiang and Tumen near the China-North Korea border. Others are based in Russia and Abkhazia, a breakaway province of Georgia. They include, Kim Ho Kyu, said to be a Ryonbong representative and North Korean vice consul in Nakhodka, Russia.

The Treasury Department also designated five individuals it said were linked to North Korean financial networks, and pointedly highlighted that several of them held accounts at Chinese banks.

North Korea conducts most of its trade through its northern neighbor China, and is believed to rely on banks and companies in that country to connect with the international financial system.

The department added to its blacklist two China-based companies, Beijing Chengxing Trading Co. Ltd. and Dandong Jinxiang Trade Co., Ltd. It said that between 2013 and 2017, the two companies cumulatively exported over $68 million worth of goods to North Korea and imported more than $19 million of goods from North Korea.

Also designated were North Korea’s ministry responsible for crude oil and Hana Electronics JVC, one of North Korea’s only electronics companies.

The sanctions imposed on North Korean shipping are the latest in a slew of restrictions the U.S. has declared against North Korean shipping companies. The administration is pressing China, Russia and other countries to prevent vessels from conducting illicit ship-to-ship transfers of oil and other cargo.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that through the agency’s efforts, the U.S. government has improved its ability to interdict shipments into North Korea. He warned that the North was moving “ever closer” to putting Americans at risk and that he believes Kim won’t rest until he’s able to threaten multiple nuclear attacks against the U.S. at the same time.

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KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Uganda’s president says he loves President Donald Trump and that he should be praised for not mincing words.

“I love Trump because he tells Africans frankly,” President Yoweri Museveni said Tuesday, shortly after the U.S. ambassador apologized for Trump’s recent reference to African nations as “shithole countries.”

“I don’t know whether he was misquoted or whatever. But he talks to Africans frankly,” Museveni said. “In the world, you cannot survive if you are weak.”

The Ugandan leader was addressing members of the regional East African Legislative Assembly.

Several African nations have expressed shock and condemnation at Trump’s remark. He has denied using that language while others present says he did.

Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, also called Trump an honest man during his State of the Nation address on Jan 1.

Earlier on Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador Deborah Malac met Uganda’s speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, and described Trump’s controversial remark as “obviously quite disturbing and upsetting.”

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