Trump: US hasn't been notified about threat to cancel summit

Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ 12:21 PM
Updated: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ 12:21 PM


            President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Amid fresh uncertainty over his planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he is committed to pressing for the country to abandon its nuclear program as part of any meeting.

North Korea threatened earlier in the day to scrap the historic summit between Trump and Kim, saying it has no interest in a "one-sided" affair meant to pressure the North to abandon its nuclear weapons. But Trump appeared to shrug off the warning saying the U.S. hadn't been notified.

"We haven't seen anything, we haven't heard anything," Trump said as he welcomed the president of Uzbekistan to the White House. "We will see what happens."

The warning from North Korea's first vice foreign minister came after the country abruptly canceled a high-level meeting with South Korea to protest U.S.-South Korean military exercises that the North has long claimed are an invasion rehearsal.

Behind the scenes, White House aides tried to soothe South Korean frustrations over the canceled meeting with the North as they continue to plan for the summit, set for June 12 in Singapore, as if nothing had changed. U.S. officials compared the threat to Trump's own warning that he might walk away from the summit if he determines Kim is not serious about abandoning his nuclear program.

The direction from the Oval Office to White House aides and other U.S. national security agencies Wednesday was to downplay the North Korean threats and not "take the bait" by overreacting to the provocation, said a senior U.S. official. The official wasn't authorized to discuss internal conversation publicly and requested anonymity.

National Security Adviser John Bolton told Fox News Radio Wednesday that "we are trying to be both optimistic and realistic at the same time."

Bolton, who was called out by name by the North for saying that the U.S. is seeking an outcome similar to Libya's unilateral nuclear disarmament, said the personal attack raised the question of "whether this really is a sign that that they're not taking our objective of denuclearization seriously."

North Korean first vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan said in a statement carried by state media that "we are no longer interested in a negotiation that will be all about driving us into a corner and making a one-sided demand for us to give up our nukes and this would force us to reconsider whether we would accept the North Korea-U.S. summit meeting."

In its commentaries published through the state-run news agency, North Korea steered clear of criticizing Trump himself and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who last week met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the second time in little more than one month and brought home three American prisoners. That suggested it still wants the summit to go ahead.

But it also took the opportunity to air its own negotiating position and take aim at Bolton, who has suggested that negotiations in 2004 that led to the shipping of nuclear components to the U.S. from Libya under Moammar Gadhafi would be a good model for North Korea as well — although Gadhafi was deposed seven years later following a NATO-led military campaign. The North on Wednesday described that proposal as a "sinister move" to bring about its own collapse.

North Korea may have also been responding to aims for the summit aired by Bolton and Pompeo in Sunday morning talk shows last weekend.

Bolton told ABC that denuclearization means getting rid of all the North's nuclear weapons, dismantling them and taking them to Oakridge, Tennessee, where the U.S. developed its atomic bomb during World War II and retains a nuclear and high-technology research laboratory. Bolton added that North Korea would have to get rid of its uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing facilities, reveal their weapons sites and allow open inspections.

The toughest of North Korea's statements was issued in the name of Kim Kye Gwan, who was a leading negotiator of an aid-for-disarmament deal that collapsed under the G. W. Bush administration at a time when Bolton was serving as undersecretary of state for arms control and North Korea was suspected of secretly seeking to enrich uranium.

The State Department emphasized that North Korea's leader had previously indicated he understood the need and purpose of the U.S. continuing its long-planned exercises with South Korea. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. had not heard anything directly from North or South Korea that would change that.

"We will continue to go ahead and plan the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un," Nauert said.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said earlier Wednesday that preparations for the summit were ongoing despite the cancellation threat and that Trump is hopeful the meeting will still take place.

"If it doesn't, we'll continue the maximum pressure campaign that's been ongoing," she told Fox & Friends.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden said he is concerned that talks are "really being oversimplified" by the White House.

"This is not a like condo deal where two people sit down and hash out a number of outstanding issues and then they say 'Well, some lawyers can write it up,'" he said.

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Associated Press writers Matthew Pennington, Jill Colvin, Josh Lederman, and Deb Riechmann contributed to this report.

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Cuban transportation minister: 110 killed in passenger jet crash

Published: Friday, May 18, 2018 @ 11:12 PM
Updated: Saturday, May 19, 2018 @ 4:08 PM

Plane Reportedly Crashed Shortly After Takeoff in Cuba

A Boeing 737 crashed Friday shortly after takeoff from Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba.

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Adel Yzquierdo Rodriguez, Cuba’s transportation minister, told The Associated Press Saturday that 110 people were killed in the crash. Three women survived the crash but are in critical condition.

Rodriguez said 113 people were on board, including 102 Cubans, three tourists, two foreign residents and six crew members who were from Mexico.

The BBC reported Saturday that one of the plane’s black boxes has been found in good condition.

The domestic flight was headed to Holguin and crashed at approximately 12:30 p.m. local time, according to state TV reports.

The plane was rented by Cubana Airlines, WPLG reports.

Friday's crash was Cuba’s third major fatal aviation accident since 2010, the AP reported.

 

 

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Paris knife attack: Chechnya president identifies assailant, friend of suspect detained

Published: Sunday, May 13, 2018 @ 3:15 PM
Updated: Sunday, May 13, 2018 @ 3:15 PM

Paris Knife Attack Leaves 1 Dead, 4 Injured

Update 3:15 p.m EDT Sunday: A jihadist monitoring group says a video released by the Islamic State’s Amaq news agency appears to show the suspected Paris knife attacker pledging allegiance to the group’s leader, according to The Associated Press. The person in the video has their nose and mouth covered. It is not clear if the 2-and-a-half minute video is in fact the attacker.

Earlier, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov identified the alleged attacker as Khazmat Azimov. Azimov was born in the Russian republic of Chechnya, but was a French citizen.

“I consider it necessary to state that all responsibility for the fact that Khazmat Azimov went on the road of crime lies completely with the authorities of France,” Kadyrov said. “He was only born in Chechnya, and his growing up, the formation of his personality, his views and persuasions occurred in French society.”

The suspect killed one person and injured four others. Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the four injured people are out of life-threatening danger, The AP reported.

According to a French judicial official not authorized to speak publicly about the incident told The AP the suspect was on a police watchlist for radicalism.

Update 10:45 a.m. EDT Sunday: The Associated Press reported that the parents of the suspected attacker who killed one person and injured four others are still being questioned, according to a French judicial official. A friend of the assailant has also been taken in for questioning.

The alleged 20 year old attacker was identified by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov as as Khasan Azimov, according to The AP.

Kadyrov said he had been informed the attacker had French citizenship and had a Russian passport until he was 14. 

Interior Ministry spokesman Frederic de Lanouvelle told The Associated Press the alleged attacker had no history of criminal activity or arrests and did not know the victims.

Update 2:49 a.m. EDT Sunday: The attacker who killed a 29-year-old man and hurt four others Saturday in Paris was born in Chechnya but “had French nationality,” The Associated Press reported early Sunday, citing an unnamed judicial official.

The official said the suspect, who was killed by police who responded to the knife attack, was born in 1997, according to the AP.

His parents have been detained for questioning, the official said.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

ORIGINAL STORY: Police responded Saturday evening to reports of a man stabbing people near the Paris Opera.

One person was killed and four others injured in the melee, French authorities said. The suspect targeted the five people, killing one, seriously injuring two and leaving the other two with minor injuries. 

 

The attacker, who has not been identified, died, officials said. The reason for the attack is still unknown. 

The Islamic State group’s news agency said the suspect was a “soldier” and has taken claim for the attack. 

“France is once again paying the price of blood, but will not cede an inch to enemies of freedom,” President Emmanuel Macron said in response to the terror group’s claim.

 

The area has been contained and the situation is under control, according to Paris police.

 

Eyewitnesses shared their account of the incident on social media.

     

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Man donates blood weekly for 60 years, saves lives of 2.4 million babies

Published: Friday, May 11, 2018 @ 5:24 PM

Man Who Donated Blood Weekly for 60 Years Saved Lives of 2.4 Million Babies

An Australian man who has spent most of his life donating blood is retiring.

James Harrison has donated blood nearly every week for 60 years. He’s made 1,100 donations, saving the lives of more than 2.4 million Australian babies, according to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

Known as the “man with the golden arm,” the 81-year-old’s blood is special. It has disease-fighting antibodies that have been used to develop the Anti-D injection, which helps combat Rhesus D Haemolytic Disease, or HDN.

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The illness occurs when a pregnant woman’s blood begins attacking her unborn baby’s blood cells, causing brain damage or death for the baby.

It develops when the mom has rhesus-negative blood and the infant has rhesus-positive blood, inherited from the father. The different antigens cause the mother’s body to harm the baby. 

Although doctors are unsure why Harrison’s blood contains the rare antibody that fights the disease, they believe it’s likely due to a major chest surgery he had that required a blood transfusion when he was 14. 

Harrison became a blood donor after he recovered from the surgery. Once doctors discovered his blood was one-of-a-kind, he began offering blood plasma donations to help more people. 

Now, it’s time for him to retire. Australia doesn’t allow citizens to donate blood past age 81. 

“I hope it’s a record that somebody breaks, because it will mean they are dedicated to the cause,” Harrison said of his feat. He has received numerous awards for his generosity.

Harrison will continue to help health experts by donating his DNA samples for future research.

“Australia owes a big thank you to James Harrison, Australia became the first country in the world to be self-sufficient in the supply of Anti-D, and cases of HDN are rare,” Australian Red Cross Blood Service spokesperson Jemma Falkenmire said. “We encourage the partners and friends of all new mothers to think about donating blood, just one donation helps ensure someone has the chance to be a mother.”

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Egyptian authorities announce what is behind walls of Tutankhamun’s tomb

Published: Monday, May 07, 2018 @ 3:11 PM

Egyptian Authorities Announce What Is Behind Walls Of Tutankhamun’s Tomb

Egyptian officials finally know what lies behind the walls of King Tut’s tomb -- absolutely nothing.

Officials had been confident, 90 percent sure, that there was a hidden room behind the plastered walls of Tutankhamun’s tomb.  Some theorized that it was the Queen Nefertiti’s burial chamber, but now new research shows that there is no chamber, multiple media outlets are reporting.

It all started when archeologist Nicholas Reeves looked at scans that showed what he believed were faint signs of a door beneath the thousands-of-years-old plaster, the BBC reported.

In his paper, “The Burial of Nefertiti,” Reeves wrote that Tutankhamun’s tomb was originally designed for the queen -- who some believe was his mother and that that woman whose bust is known the world over -- and she was simply interred in an undiscovered area of the burial site. 

Not only do some scholars of ancient Egyptian history believe that Nefertiti was Tut’s mother, some go as far as believing that she served as pharaoh after her husband, the Pharaoh Akhenaten -- also known as Amenhotep the IV prior to taking the throne and father to Tutankhamun -- died during his reign. 

Italian researchers from the University of Turin have been scanning Tut’s burial chamber in light of Reeves’ discoveries and they say that their results show that there is no extra chamber, NBC News reported.

“It is maybe a little bit disappointing that there is nothing behind the walls of Tutankhamun’s tomb, but I think on the other hand that this is good science,” Francesco Porcelli told the BBC.

Porcelli said that the team looked at three sets of radar data and cross-checked them to make sure their findings were accurate.

Other scans conducted by scientists from Japan and the United States had proved inclusive, NBC News reported.

The Egyptian government has accepted the latest results as it prepares to open a new museum that will highlight more than 43,200 ancient artifacts, with more than 4,500 coming from Tut. The opening is planned for 2022, NBC News reported.

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