Do Not Miss ? Top 5 Gigs In February 2018
On 5 August 2011, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the formation of the Pyeongchang 2018 Coordination Commission. On 4 October 2011, it was announced that the Organizing Committee for the 2018 Winter Olympics would be headed by Kim Jin-sun. The Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) was launched at its inaugural assembly on 19 October 2011. The first tasks of the organizing committee were putting together a master plan for the Games as well as forming a design for the venues. The IOC Coordination Commission for the 2018 Winter Olympics made their first visit to Pyeongchang in March 2012. By then, construction was already underway on the Olympic Village. In June 2012, construction began on a high-speed rail line that would connect Pyeongchang to Seoul.
Do Not Miss – Top 5 Gigs in February 2018
Due to the state of relations between North and South Korea, concerns were raised over the security of the 2018 Winter Olympics, especially in the wake of tensions over North Korean missile and nuclear tests. On 20 September 2017, South Korean president Moon Jae-in stated that the country would ensure the security of the Games. The next day, Laura Flessel-Colovic, the French Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, stated that France would pull out of the Games if the safety of its delegation could not be guaranteed.
Russia's participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics was affected by the aftermath of its state-sponsored doping program. As a result, the IOC suspended the Russian Olympic Committee in December 2017, although Russian athletes whitelisted by the IOC were allowed to compete neutrally under the OAR (Olympic Athletes from Russia) designation. The official sanctions imposed by the IOC included: the exclusion of Russian government officials from the Games; the use of the Olympic flag and Olympic Anthem in place of the Russian flag and anthem; and the submission of a replacement logo for the OAR uniforms.
By early January 2018, the IOC had banned 43 Russian athletes from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics and all future Olympic Games (as part of the Oswald Commission). Of those athletes, 42 appealed against their bans to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and 28 of the appeals were successful, but eleven of the athletes had their sanctions upheld due to the weight of evidence against them. The IOC found it important to note that CAS Secretary General "insisted that the CAS decision does not mean that these 28 athletes are innocent" and that they would consider an appeal against the court's decision. Hearings for the remaining three athletes were postponed.
January 1, 2018: Kim Jong Un announces in his annual New Years address that North Korea's nuclear forces are "capable of thwarting and countering any nuclear threats from the United States" and says North Korea will mass produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles for deployment. Kim offers to send a delegation to South Korea for the upcoming Olympics and calls for talks with Seoul to discuss the prospects of North Korea's participation.
February 8, 2018: North Korea holds a military parade where it displays a new solid-fuel short-range ballistic missile. Among other missiles, the parade also shows off two different intercontinental ballistic missile designs, the Hwasong-14 and the Hwasong-15, both of which were tested in 2017.
March 6, 2018: South Korean officials report that North Korea "expressed its willingness to begin earnest negotiations with the U.S. to discuss denuclearization issues," as long as its security is guaranteed as part of a five-point agreement that Kim Jong Un and two South Korean envoys reached during their visit to North Korea. The two countries reportedly also agree on a North-South Korean summit at the end of April, establishing a hotline between President Moon and Kim, that North Korea would not conduct missile tests during U.S.-North Korean talks and that North Korea would not use nuclear or conventional weapons against South Korea.
March 8, 2018: South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong briefs senior White House officials and President Trump on the high-level discussions between North Korean and South Korean officials in Pyongyang just days earlier, including the commitments made by Kim Jong Un not to conduct nuclear or ballistic missile test while talks with the United States take place. From the White House lawn following his meeting with Trump, Chung Eui-yong announces that Trump accepted Kim Jong Un's invitation to "meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization." The meeting would be the first between a sitting U.S. President and a North Korean leader. U.S. officials clarified that evening that talks would take place at a place and time to be determined and that "in the meantime all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain."
April 17-18, 2018: U.S. President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meet in their third major summit. According to a White House statement, "President Trump and Prime Minister Abe confirmed their commitment to achieving the permanent and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea. They also reaffirmed that North Korea needs to abandon all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. President Trump and Prime Minister Abe underscored that the global maximum pressure campaign will continue until North Korea denuclearizes."
July 25, 2018: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirms that North Korea is dismantling a missile launch facility and continues to produce fissile material in testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
September 9, 2018: North Korea holds a military parade on the 70th anniversary of its founding but does not display any long-range nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, as it has in many recent parades. Li Zhanshu, a high-ranking official in the Chinese Communist Party, watches the parade with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Li attends as a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
November 15, 2018: Vice President Mike Pence tells NBC that the United States will not require a complete list of nuclear weapons and missile sites from North Korea prior to a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, anticipated in 2019. Pence says "a verifiable plan" to disclose that information must be reached at the summit.
The "NATO Mission Iraq" was formally launched at the Brussels Summit in July 2018, at the request of the Iraqi government and in coordination with the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. It is a non-combat advisory and capacity-building mission that aims to help strengthen Iraqi security institutions and forces so that they themselves can prevent the return of ISIS, fight terrorism and stabilise their country. The mission fully integrates civil and military personnel, and works closely with other international actors on the ground, complementing a broader international effort to help Iraq eradicate terrorism and promote stability. To achieve this, NATO advises relevant Iraqi defence and security officials and professional military education institutions in the greater Baghdad area. Specific areas of focus include: policy and strategy; force generation and development; resource management; Women, Peace and Security; leadership development; and good governance in the security sector.