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Trump’s National Security Chief Calls Russian Interference ‘Incontrovertible’

The New York Times + 15 other

MUNICH — Just hours after the Justice Department indicted 13 Russians in what it charged was a broad conspiracy to alter the 2016 election, President Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, accused Moscow of engaging in a campaign of “disinformation, subversion and espionage” that he said Washington would continue to expose. The evidence of a Russian effort to interfere in the election “is now incontrovertible,” General McMaster said at the Munich Security Conference, an annual meeting of European and American diplomats and security experts, including several senior Russian officials. On Friday, just hours before the indictment, the top White House official for cyberissues accused Russia of “the most destructive cyberattack in human history,” against Ukraine last summer. Taken together, the statements appeared to mark a major turn in the administration’s willingness to directly confront the government of President Vladimir V. Putin. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo also attended the Munich conference, and while they did not speak publicly, in private meetings with others here they reiterated similar statements. The comments highlighted a sharp division inside the administration about how to talk about the Russian covert efforts, with only Mr. Trump and a few of his close advisers holding back from acknowledging the Russian role or…

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U.K. Wants Ongoing Defense Cooperation With EU After Brexit

The Wall Street Journal + 8 other

MUNICH, Germany—U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Saturday laid out key areas of security and defense cooperation she hoped to continue with the European Union after Britain leaves the bloc next year. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Mrs. May said Britain and the EU should move quickly to ensure continued common extradition and arrest structures, intelligence and data exchanges after it leaves the bloc, due in March 2019. ... …

Jacob Zuma’s Legacy Is a Weakened South Africa

The New York Times + 9 other

JOHANNESBURG — When President Jacob Zuma of South Africa resigned on Wednesday, he did not yield to South Africa’s voters, courts or opposition parties, but to his own party, the African National Congress. Mr. Zuma once said the party was more important than the nation itself, contending that it would govern South Africa until Jesus returned. And during his nearly nine-year presidency that was marred by scandal, corruption and mismanagement, A.N.C. officials had repeatedly rallied behind him as their leader. In the end, though, his party turned against him, asking him to step down a full year …

Seeing Bounty Abroad, Will North Koreans Change Their Homeland?

The New York Times + 2 other

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — When the North Korean figure skaters Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik took to the ice this week, cheerleaders chanting their names stowed the unified Korean flags they had waved at other events here at the Pyeongchang Olympics and whipped out their national flag. After that unmistakable outburst of patriotic fervor, it was all the more incongruous when the pair began skating to a distinctly Western song: “Day in the Life” by the Beatles, in a cover by Jeff Beck. “I have no clue how they chose it,” said Bruno Marcotte, a prominent French Canadian coach. He worked with the pai…