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Trump brushes off North Korea’s fifth projectile test in three weeks

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President Donald Trump disregarded North Korea’s fifth projectile launch in the last three weeks and seemed to sympathize with the DPRK’s disdain for joint US-South Korea military exercises in a tweet Saturday morning.

Trump called the exercises “ridiculous and expensive,” echoing complaints North Korea has made about the exercises the allies had long conducted to ensure they are both prepared to counter threats — particularly North Korean provocations — in the region.

In his tweets, the president also referred to a letter he received from Kim on Friday that he said contained a “small apology” for the tests of short-range weapons, many of which had the ability to strike South Korea and other allies in the region, like Japan. Many experts believed the tests were Kim’s way of protesting the US-South Korean exercises, and Trump said the North Korean leader admitted to as much in the letter, writing Kim promised him “that this testing would stop when the exercises end.”

Friday evening, Trump praised the letter when speaking to reporters. “He really wrote a beautiful, three-page — I mean, right from top to bottom — a really beautiful letter,” Trump said.

Perhaps because of his approval of the communique, North Korea launched two more projectiles from the east coast city of Hamhung just hours after Trump said he received the letter, the New York Times reported. The newest launch followed a weapons test on Tuesday in which North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles and three other launches in the last few weeks, as well as the unveiling of a new submarine in late July that could be used to launch nuclear weapons.

As Kim apparently admitted in his letter, the launches are a blatant attempt to get Trump’s attention, Vox’s Alex Ward reported:

But the motive is more apparent: North Korea is really angry at Seoul and Washington. A statement from a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Monday afternoon blasted the US and South Korea for holding a long-planned military exercise, although it was scaled down to lower tensions with Kim’s regime.

That clearly hasn’t worked. “Despite our repeated warnings, the United States and South Korean authorities have finally started the joint military exercise targeting the DPRK,” the spokesperson said. “Its aggressive nature can neither be covered up or whitewashed in any manner.”

North Korea is opposed to the exercises because it views them as preparations for war and possibly as harbingers of future attacks. South Korea, on the other hand, sees the exercises as a way to confirm its capabilities, to prepare for its defense against any aggression, and to ready its officers for the eventual transfer of control of the Korean-US combined forces.

South Korea has urged its northern neighbor to stop the tests, but has had little support from Trump, who has has been downplaying the tests as “smaller ones” because they didn’t include an intercontinental ballistic missile or a nuclear weapon. Experts told Ward they believe Trump is hesitant to challenge Kim on the weapons tests because he fears doing so could spoil his relationship with the North Korean leader, and that the president believes North Korea is more likely to agree to stop its nuclear program if his relationship with Kim remains positive. Whether that calculus is correct remains to be seen.

Nuclear negotiations have stalled

The US and North Korea have been deadlocked for months in negotiations over shutting down Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

The US has imposed expansive sanctions on North Korea in response to the country’s development of nuclear warheads. In addition to sanctions on North Korea itself, the US has sanctioned banks and companies in China and Russia for supporting the program.

North Korea wants that to stop, and the US wants North Korea to stop building nuclear weapons. But they’re caught at an impasse — Trump and Kim both want the other to put up their end of the bargain first.

But so far, the delay in talks and the sanctions have had an effect on the region as a whole, Ward notes:

Meanwhile, those sanctions have impeded South Korea from building closer political and economic ties with its neighbor. Put together, North Korea remains under financial strain with no prospects of reversing its fortunes any time soon.

Trump is optimistic the two countries will come to an agreement; he told reporters Friday “I think we’ll have another meeting.”

And his commitment to Kim is strong; Trump has called the North Korean leader a “friend” who has a “great and beautiful vision for his country.” North Korea has been named one of the most repressive countries on earth under Kim and his family’s leadership. Basic freedoms such as expression, religion, and assembly are suppressed and the government operates secret prison camps where political opponents are sent to be forcibly worked, tortured and starved, according to nonprofit group Human Rights Watch.

In siding with Kim over ally South Korea, which has said the exercises are important to maintain combat readiness, Trump appeared to continue a trend of supporting adversaries over allies (and other branches of his administration), from reversing restrictions placed on Chinese tech giant Huawei to joking with Russian leader Vladimir Putin about his country’s meddling in US elections.

While some — including the president — feel Trump’s efforts to cultivate a good relationship with Kim will pay dividends, others fear his cozy relationship with North Korea’s leader could destabilize a vital relationship with South Korea that improves national security.

Duyeon Kim, a North Korea expert at the Center for a New American Security think tank in Washington, told Ward it’s possible the administration is “picking their battles to focus on resuming much-needed negotiations for a deal,” but warned, “if they continue to dismiss smaller missiles for long, they’re enabling Pyongyang to strengthen these dangerous weapons and telling South Korea and Americans living there that they don’t matter.”

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11 Exercises to Fix Rounded Shoulders and Sculpt Beautiful Posture

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Modern life takes its toll on our posture when we spend hours sitting and neglect the position of our spine. Poor posture leads to an imbalance in our muscles which means that they can’t support the body properly. Luckily, this can be fixed by doing a set of effective exercises. Moreover, they can help you to reduce back pain, stop headaches, increase energy, and improve circulation and digestion.

Bright Side is ready to help our readers achieve a beautiful and healthy body, and found 11 simple exercises that can be done at home by anyone. At the end we included a small tip, as a bonus for those who enjoy massage.

1. Upper trapezius stretch

It’s better to start from your shoulders first to relax your upper muscles. An upper trapezius stretch is just perfect for this.

Initial position: For this exercise, you can stand or sit on your yoga mat, whatever you like. Keep your head straight.

What to do:

  • Slowly move your right ear toward your right shoulder. When you do this, it’s normal that your left shoulder might lift as well. If it does, bring your head back to the initial position and try to relax your left shoulder.
  • Put your right hand over your head and place it on your left cheekbone. Don’t push your head down with it, it should just lie there. This will stretch your upper trapezius muscles very gently.
  • Calmly breathe and sit in this position for 30 seconds.
  • Slowly remove your hand, come back to the initial position and repeat the same on the other side.

2. Superman

The Superman exercise engages your upper and lower back. It helps you fight lower back pain and prevents a curved spine.

Initial position: Lie face down on your stomach, on your yoga mat.

What to do:

  • Extend your arms and legs. Keep your neck neutral.
  • Keep your torso stationary and lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling. Try forming a “U” shape with your body.
  • Hold the position for 5 seconds, lower your arms and legs, and go back to the initial position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

3. Bridge

The bridge works out glutes and strengthens the lower back, which is important for good posture.

Initial position: Lie on your yoga mat, bend your knees, and place your feet hip-width apart. Place your arms by your sides.

What to do:

  • Engage your buttocks and raise them up, creating a straight line with your body. Your shoulders should be on the floor.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds and slowly lower your body back to the initial position.
  • Repeat 15-20 times. Give yourself a rest for 30 seconds after every 5 reps.

4. Reverse shoulder stretch

This is an effective exercise to stretch your back and shoulder muscles and remove tension and pain in them.

Initial position: Stand on a yoga mat, with your feet wider than your shoulders, place your straightened hands behind you, and lock your palms together.

What to do:

  • Bring your shoulder blades together and start putting your arms up. Try to feel the tension in your spine and shoulder muscles.
  • For more spine stretch bend forward and bring your locked hands up. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds.
  • Slowly return back to the initial position.
  • Repeat 20 times.

5. Foam roller exercise for upper back

A foam roller will help you to relieve pain in your back muscles, fix rounded shoulders, and improve your overall posture.

Initial position: Get a yoga mat and lie on it with your hips apart and your feet on the floor. Place your foam roller right under your upper middle back, in your shoulder blade area.

What to do:

  • Bring your hands behind your head, this will support it. Bring your hips into a bridge pose, and hold your balance, supporting your body with your legs.
  • Inhale, push your body from your heels, and roll on your spine. Stop when the roller reaches the top of your shoulder blades.
  • Exhale and roll back until the roller reaches the bottom if your rib cage.
  • Repeat this for 30-45 seconds.

6. Cat-cow exercise

The cat-cow exercise is perfect for stretching your back, lower spine, and core muscles.

Initial position: Stand on all fours on the yoga mat, place your hands right under your shoulders, and knees and feet hip-width apart. Keep your toes pointing toward your body. Your spine should be natural and straight, no bending or arching.

What to do:

  • Cat position: exhale and engage your abdominal muscles. Arch your spine up toward the ceiling, bringing your head to your chest, aligned with your spine. Hold this for 10 seconds.
  • Cow position: slowly start bringing your stomach toward the floor and try to feel the tension in your lower back. Bring your shoulder blades together. Hold this for 10 seconds and go back to the initial position.
  • Repeat 15 times.

7. Kneeling hip-flexor stretch

The kneeling hip flexor stretch will help to remove tension from your pelvic and lower back muscles.

Initial position: Kneel on a yoga mat, bring your right leg in front of you, and bend it at a 90 degree angle. Your foot is flat on the ground. Support yourself by standing on your left knee that is also bent at 90 degrees.

What to do:

  • Slowly start bringing your right knee forward and brace your core. Engage your glutes and keep bringing your hips forward.
  • Your left knee is already bent at more than 90 degrees. Keep your spine straight, don’t bend it forward or backward.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds to feel the stretch in the muscles then slowly return to the initial position.
  • Repeat 10 times for both sides.

8. Bird dog exercise

Bird dog helps to remove back pain, strengthens the core, and promotes proper posture.

Initial position: Stand on all fours on the yoga mat, your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Your spine should be straight and neutral.

What to do:

  • Raise your right hand and your left leg at the same time, bringing them parallel to the floor.
  • As you do this, lengthen your neck and bring your chin to your chest. Look down at the floor and remain like this for 10 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and then repeat the same exercise with your left hand and right leg.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.

9. Forearm plank

Plank is not only effective at burning fat, but it also helps to strengthen the spine muscles, it prevents back pain, and it helps to improve your posture.

Initial position: Place your forearms on the yoga mat and align your elbows below your shoulders. Your arms should be parallel to your body at about shoulder-width distance.

What to do:

  • You can clasp your hands together for more comfort. Correct your neck and spine by looking at one spot on the floor somewhere about 30 centimeters in front of your hands.
  • Pay attention, so that your head is in line with your back.
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds.

10. T-Spine windmill stretch

The t-spine windmill stretch can help you fight pain and tension in your lower back and trunk. Moreover, it works out your shoulder muscles.

Initial position: Lie on your side on a yoga mat and bend your knees and hips at 90 degrees. Extend and stack your arms together on your right side.

What to do:

  • Raise your left arm up and then place it out to the left, opening your body up. Right now, your shoulder blades should be on the floor and your legs should remain in the same position.
  • Hold it for a couple of seconds and return to your initial position.
  • Do 30 repetitions on each side.

11. Tight shoulder massage

A simple tennis ball can help you to remove pain in your shoulders in different areas and relax them. All you need here is a tennis ball and a wall.

Initial position: Stand next to the wall and face it. Place a tennis ball on the wall and lean on it. Your chest should push the ball inside your shoulder.

What to do:

  • Start making a circular movement around this muscle and try to find a trigger point.
  • Hold a ball on this point until you feel that the tension and pain are gone.
  • Keep doing this until you relax all of your trigger points.
  • Repeat on the other shoulder.

Bonus: Thai massage is amazing for your back and shoulders.

Thai massage is an ancient form of massage that uses stretching and gentle pressure on the body to relieve muscle and joint pain, and balance your body. This massage helps to make muscles more flexible and removes chronic stiffness. For better results in achieving a healthy back and good posture, you can try this type of massage, focusing on your spine muscles.

Exercises can be effective, but it’s also important to pay attention to your posture throughout the day and strive to keep your spine straight. Do you have good posture? Maybe, you have a couple of exercises that help you relieve back and shoulder pain? Let’s share in the comments!

Illustrated by Alena Tsarkova and Marat Nugumanov for BrightSide.me

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8 Top Technology Trends To Watch In China

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This is a preview of 2019 Technology Trends Report in China from Business Insider Intelligence and EqualOcean. Chinese high tech firms have been leading the way in innovation for many technologies, such as 5G. These technologies are either currently undergoing or about to undergo major phases of change.

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Why Iran is attacking oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz

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The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow waterway that lies between Iran and Oman. Dozens of tankers carry oil through the 21-mile-wide passage each day. This flow of oil represents 20 percent of the world’s supply.

Most of the tankers traveling through the Strait of Hormuz are bound for Asia. But an attack on any tanker there, regardless of its destination, can affect the price of oil everywhere. That’s because oil is a globally traded product — a drop in supply from the Persian Gulf can drive up prices from other sources around the world. After two tankers were attacked in June, the price of Brent Crude — oil sourced from the North Sea — jumped by nearly $2 per barrel.


The price of Brent crude, a global benchmark, jumped in response to the attack of two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.

Vox/Danush Parvaneh

The attacks in June weren’t the only incidents in Hormuz in recent months. Several other oil tankers have been seized, attacked, and harassed. These tankers — and this narrow water passage — have become a center of conflict between the US and Iran. It’s a conflict with the potential to escalate in one of the world’s most important oil chokepoints, sending the global economy into a tailspin.

You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube. And if you’re interested in supporting our video journalism, you can become a member of the Vox Video Lab on YouTube.

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