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Body language speaks to frosty relations

BRUSSELS — He didn't shove anyone this time, but President Donald Trump's body language during NATO events Wednesday suggested his relationships with key U.S. allies aren't exactly buddy-buddy.

Trump started the day with a tense breakfast meeting with Jens Stoltenberg in which he lectured the NATO leader about member defense spending and complained about a German pipeline deal with Russia. Arms crossed over his chest, Trump gestured at Stoltenberg and repeatedly interrupted the secretary-general as he argued his case.

Their subsequent encounters at NATO headquarters were formal and less strained as they twice shook hands and chatted in front of journalists. But those moments were more perfunctory than Stoltenberg's chattier introductions with other leaders, many of whom Stoltenberg was seeing for the first time that day after he had spent part of the morning hosting Trump.

World leader summits are largely about optics and presenting a united front to the rest of the world. But Trump barreled into his second NATO summit, as he did his first, and with a litany of public complaints about alliance members' "delinquent" defense spending, as well as a German-Russian gas pipeline deal.

Showing unity seemed an afterthought for the "America First" president. And it showed.

During moments that were visible to the press, Trump often separated himself from most of his counterparts, particularly those with whom he has had public disagreements, such as British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canada's Justin Trudeau.

When the leaders strolled out of the gleaming NATO building in Brussels for the traditional family photo in the courtyard, Trump lingered behind and mostly spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

On the dais, he and May chatted as they stood together, but Trump kept his back toward other leaders, including Merkel.

After the group moved inside for talks, Trump again hung back as other heads of state glad-handed around the room. He stayed close to members of his delegation, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, before eventually engaging in a brief round of back-slapping with others, including again May, before taking his seat.

Trump has harshly criticized May, Merkel and Trudeau since taking office and opened Wednesday with another broadside against Merkel, asserting that her country is "totally controlled" and "captive" to Russia as he objected to a deal to bring Russian natural gas directly to Germany.

Merkel pushed back, insisting that Germany makes its own decisions. When the two met later Wednesday, Trump told reporters: "We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor." The comment illustrated how Trump often seeks to avoid conflict with people when he is face to face with them versus the often-harsher rhetoric he uses when he's talking behind their back. Merkel was not present at Trump's breakfast with Stoltenberg.

When it was her turn to address reporters in the room for the meeting with Trump, Merkel made no similar declaration about her relationship with Trump.

The two barely looked at each other during the few minutes journalists were allowed in the room. That was in stark contrast to Trump's subsequent meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. The Frenchman is one of Trump's closest friends on the world stage despite their many areas of disagreement, including Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement and the Paris climate accord, and to impose tariffs on France and other European countries.

Trump and Macron bantered easily during their joint photo op, with Trump calling it "an honor to be with a friend of mine." The two also chatted each other up as Macron walked Trump out of the NATO building at the end of the day.

By evening, arriving at a dinner hosted by the Belgian government at the Art and History Museum at the Cinquantenaire, Trump appeared to be in a more social mood. The president, who doesn't drink alcohol, huddled during the cocktail reception with Stoltenberg for several minutes, before being joined by Merkel for an animated discussion. As her husband spoke again with Erdogan, first lady Melania Trump was greeted warmly by Trudeau.

At last year's NATO summit, tongues wagged after Trump appeared to shove Prime Minister Dusko Markovic of Montenegro to get to the front of the group as leaders entered the alliance's new headquarters building. Markovic later characterized the incident as "a completely harmless event."

Analysis: Pace, structure key with N. Korea diplomacy

WASHINGTON — Now that he has gotten a bitter taste of diplomatic reality in North Korea, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo must focus on the pace and structure of proposed talks if the Trump administration is to make progress toward nuclear disarmament on the Korean peninsula, analysts say.

Pompeo's third visit to Pyongyang led to a seeming disconnect. After he claimed his two days of talks with former spy chief Kim Yong Chol last week were "productive," North Korea's foreign ministry criticized the meetings as a "deeply regrettable" interaction with bullying Americans.

But the divide may not be as deep as it appears, said U.S. diplomats familiar with Pyongyang's negotiating tactics. They said Pompeo can still get formal talks started if he forms a professional, senior-level, dedicated negotiating team to deal with Pyongyang.

Pompeo "didn't fail in Pyongyang any more than President Trump succeeded" in his June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, said Robert Gallucci, who led 1994 talks with North Korea for the Clinton administration.

"Everybody here is engaged in a process in which there really isn't trust," Gallucci added. "So, you have to proceed carefully and you have to give, and get, at the same time."

Part of Pompeo's problem has been inflated expectations of a quick success. Trump helped stoke those expectations by tweeting a day after the summit that North Korea was "no longer a nuclear threat." In reality, a month after the summit, it has done nothing to give up or disable its nuclear arsenal or vast infrastructure.

"Negotiations with North Korea are a grueling process," said Victor Cha, a former National Security Council official responsible for Asia in the George W. Bush administration. "The president's empty boasts don't help."

Another problem is the challenge of dealing with a closed, unpredictable government that speaks its own peculiar diplomatic language.

After Pompeo left Pyongyang, the North Korean foreign ministry issued a statement that suggested a new clash with Washington, saying the U.S. side had shown a "gangster-like demand for denuclearization."

But analysts said the statement clearly left open a door to additional engagement with the Trump administration, restated Pyongyang's known demands and avoided criticizing Trump directly. Indeed, the statement said North Korea continued to "cherish our good faith" in the president, according to 38 North, a web site that focuses on the Korean peninsula.

Pompeo has steadily shifted his rhetoric on what the Trump administration expects from Kim.

Instead of insisting on complete, immediate and verifiable denuclearization without any U.S. concessions in return, Pompeo now acknowledges that any nuclear negotiations — assuming they begin — will be a long, step-by-step process that will require the Trump administration to gradually reward North Korea with some of its demands along the way.

In Pyongyang, for example, Pompeo suggested Kim could count on U.S. security guarantees, which he did not specify. They would likely include drafting a treaty to formally end the Korean War, which ended in 1953 with an armistice that left the two Koreas still technically in a state of war.

Formally ending the conflict might allow the Trump administration to draw down some of the U.S. troops in South Korea, another North Korean demand. Kim also seeks a more normal diplomatic and economic relationship with Washington.

Security guarantees and dismantling North Korea's nuclear arsenal "need to be conducted in parallel ... simultaneously," Pompeo said in Tokyo after he left Pyongyang.

Pompeo also has dropped the longtime U.S. demand for complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization, or CVID. Pompeo now calls for "final, full denuclearization," although the State Department spokeswoman has said it means the same thing.

A key indicator of how the talks are advancing, or not, is how quickly the next meeting takes place, and who participates.

After his trip, Pompeo announced the creation of "working groups" to hold talks with North Korea.

But U.S. experts cautioned that those conducting the process must be of senior rank, such as a special representative, and that Pompeo needs to be a frequent participant to preserve the momentum.

"Pompeo needs to be involved frequently, if not constantly," said Joel S. Wit, a senior fellow at the Stimson Center and former State Department official specializing in the Koreas.

"Flying into Pyongyang, having two days of meetings, and having some staff-level working group just isn't going to cut it," Wit added.

Ironically, the model he and others recommended is the Iran nuclear deal, the 2015 landmark multinational accord that saw Iran dismantle or give up its nuclear infrastructure, and submit to intrusive inspections, in exchange for sanctions relief. Secretary of State John F. Kerry played a major role in the intricate diplomacy that led to the deal.

But the Iran deal is anathema to the Trump administration. In May, Trump defiantly pulled the United States out of the agreement even though U.S. agencies and United Nations monitors agreed Tehran was in full compliance with its terms.

July 12, 2018 Death Notices

Samuel Thomas McCauley- 61, of Coos Bay, passed away July 8, 2018 in Coos Bay. Arrangements are pending with Coos Bay Chapel, 541-267-3131.

Ira L. McAlpine- 85, of Coos Bay died July 6, 2018 in Coos Bay. Services will be announced and held at a later date. Arrangements are pending with Coos Bay Chapel, 541-267-3131. 

July 12, 2018 Funerals

Saturday, July 14

Severn B. Jones- funeral Mass, 11 a.m., at Saint Monica Catholic Church, 357 S. 6th St. in Coos Bay. A reception to follow the Mass.


Facebook faces fine over data privacy scandal

LONDON — Facebook is facing its first financial penalty for allowing the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica to forage through the personal data of millions of unknowing Facebook users.

The social media giant faces a $663,000 fine for failing to protect the personal information of its subscribers following an investigation into the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal by the U.K. Information Commissioner's Office.

The proposed fine announced Wednesday is the maximum possible for the scandal, which first broke in March. While the penalty is small for Facebook, it is a warning shot for companies that now face fines of up to 2 percent of global revenue under European Union data protection regulations rolled out later, in May.

The announcement came after an investigation into Cambridge Analytica, which declared bankruptcy this year following allegations that it used personal information harvested from 87 million Facebook accounts to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election. The data allegedly helped the Trump campaign target political advertising more accurately by giving them insight into what American Facebook users liked and disliked.

The ICO is also conducting a wider probe into the use of data analytics by other political campaigns.

"Fines and prosecutions punish bad actors, but my real goal is to effect change and restore trust and confidence in our democratic system," Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in a statement.

The penalty is a pittance for Facebook, which generates that sum roughly every seven minutes, based on its first-quarter revenue of $11.97 billion. But it would represent the first tangible punishment for the company's privacy scandal, which tarnished its reputation, temporarily pushed down its shares and forced CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress, but otherwise led to few lasting repercussions.

The ICO announced its intention to fine Facebook after its investigation found that the company failed to safeguard users' information and wasn't transparent about how data was harvested by third parties. Facebook will have the chance to respond to the findings before the agency makes a final decision on penalties.

Denham's office also published a progress report on the broader investigation, which includes a recommendation that the British government introduce a statutory code of practice for the use of data in political campaigns.

She called on political parties, online platforms and the public to pause and "reflect on their responsibilities in the era of big data."

"We are at a crossroads," she said. "New technologies that use data analytics to micro-target people give campaign groups the ability to connect with individual voters. But this cannot be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law."

Cambridge Analytica, a London firm financed by wealthy Republican donors, worked for the 2016 Trump campaign and for a while employed Steve Bannon, the CEO of Trump's campaign and later a White House adviser.

Facebook said the company illicitly gained access to personal information of up to 87 million users via an academic intermediary, although the firm said the number was much smaller than that. According to former Cambridge Analytica data scientist Christopher Wylie, the firm aimed to construct psychographic profiles it could use to sway the votes of susceptible individuals.

Cambridge Analytica shut down its business in May.

Dear Abby: Marriage triggers burial questions

DEAR ABBY: My brother-in-law "Charles" has earned the privilege of being buried in a military cemetery. He lost his wife, "Claire," to cancer 10 years ago; she is buried in their plot in the military cemetery with a headstone. Their children are all adults now.

Charles has been seriously dating a divorcee, "Joyce," and they are talking about marriage. Joyce feels that for him to be committed to her in marriage, they should have a plot together. It's our understanding that only one wife is allowed to be buried in the military cemetery. This would mean Claire would have to be exhumed and transferred to another one.

I'm not sure how close Joyce is to her family, but she does have grown children. I suggested they get an outside opinion and a prenuptial agreement before they get married, which both would be agreeable to. What have others done in similar situations? -- CONCERNED IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR CONCERNED: There are different types of military cemeteries in this country, 135 of which are maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration. (None of them are located in your state.) However, there are many state and private military cemeteries nationwide, and their rules may differ from those of the national. Because you didn't mention which category your brother-in-law's cemetery falls under, the best advice I can offer is to contact it and find out what its rules are in circumstances like this.

DEAR ABBY: I tend to be a people pleaser. So when my wife wanted to buy a home for us to raise a family in, I went along with her plan to move to her hometown. I wanted her to be happy, and I was excited about the home-purchasing process.

It's almost two years later, and I regret it. I'm not happy here. I miss my hometown where all my friends and family live. It's a beach town, a throwback to a time when everyone knew everyone and you could walk or bike-ride anywhere. People don't lock their doors, and homes are insulated from the streets and traffic, so kids can play freely outside. To me, it's the perfect town.

But there is no convincing my wife to try giving my hometown a shot as our full-time residence. Despite knowing we will never be able to own a summer house there, that's the "dream" my wife sells to me. I resent her because she got what she wants, and I just have to deal with it. Should I just accept my fate? -- RESENTFUL IN NEW YORK

DEAR RESENTFUL: I am sorry you are unhappy with the decision you made. Your wife may have wanted to move to her hometown because she felt her relatives could help out with your children, which is a plus. However, unless you find the strength to assert yourself, "accepting your fate" is exactly what you may have to do.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.