Syria's return to Arab League
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in Saudi Arabia to attend the Arab League summit after more than 12 years. The summit is set to take place in the Saudi port city of Jeddah later in the day. The Syrian president arrived there on Thursday at the official invitation of the Saudi king. The Arab League decided to re-admit Syria earlier this month. That followed normalization of ties between Syria and Arab countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The pan-Arab organization suspended Syria’s membership in 2011 when the country was gripped by war that saw foreign-backed militants take parts of Syria. Now, the country’s return to the Arab fold comes after Assad’s government regained control of most of those areas.
Protest against G7
Now, in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, where the G7 summit is taking place, activists have come out on the streets to protest the meeting. The protesters marched through a main street in central Hiroshima, not far from the venue of the G7 summit. They chanted slogans, carrying placards with signs reading “no to nuclear war.” The protesters say the G7 leaders are meeting to prepare for a nuclear war. They are particularly angry at the US for being part of the summit. That’s why the US dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and another Japanese city, Nagasaki, back in 1945. Up to 226,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the bombings.
Korean peninsula tensions
North Korea once again lashes out at the United States and South Korea for their joint military drills around the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang accuses the two allies of ramping up what it calls nuclear blackmail. The North has pledged to respond accordingly to what it described as "war-mongers’ madness". It says Seoul and Washington are seeking to crush the north militarily. That’s why, Pyongyang says, it reserves the right to reinforce its self-defense by developing weapons programs. The US and South Korea have stepped up their war games, including air and sea drills, since March. Pyongyang sees the maneuvers as a rehearsal for invasion. It usually responds to them by test-firing missiles, including intercontinental ballistic ones. The north has unveiled designs for new and smaller nuclear warheads.