Rival Koreas start talks meant to set up leaders’ summit

SEOUL, South Korea — Senior officials from the rival Koreas met Monday to set a date and venue for a third summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, part of an effort to breathe new life into resolving the nuclear standoff between Washington and Pyongyang.

The two leaders, who first met in April in a highly publicized summit and then again in May for more informal talks, previously agreed to meet again sometime in the fall in Pyongyang but released no concrete details.

The meeting Monday at a North Korea-controlled building in the border village of Panmunjom comes amid growing worries about whether North Korea will begin abandoning its nuclear weapons, something officials suggested would happen after Kim’s summit with President Donald Trump in June in Singapore.

North Korea is thought to have a growing arsenal of nuclear bombs and long-range missiles and Continue reading “Rival Koreas start talks meant to set up leaders’ summit”

Ige wins Hawaii Democratic governor primary

HONOLULU — Despite a challenging first term marked by both natural and man-made disasters, Hawaii Gov. David Ige won the Democratic primary in his bid for a second term in office Saturday, defeating U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

Ige’s administration fumbled through a false missile alert that sent the state into a panic in January, a major embarrassment for his administration. But the governor’s handling of Kilauea volcano’s latest eruption, which destroyed more than 700 homes and displaced thousands, as well as devastating flooding on Kauai got him back on track and he came out ahead of Hanabusa.

“It’s been a grueling campaign,” Ige said. “It’s truly a heart-warming finish to a very, very challenging and exciting time.”

Ige said he expects to win the general election in November, but he’s not going to take his challenger for granted.

“I will not take anything for granted, we are going Continue reading “Ige wins Hawaii Democratic governor primary”

Former Nevada Sen. Paul Laxalt dies at 96

LAS VEGAS — Paul Laxalt, the son of Basque immigrants who rose to political power as a Nevada governor, U.S. senator and close ally to Ronald Reagan, has died. He was 96.

Laxalt died Monday at a health care facility in Virginia, according to the public relations firm The Ferraro Group.

The conservative Republican had a storied political career, including a brief run for president in 1987. But he described that bid as “the four most miserable months of my life,” and in a 2000 interview with The Associated Press said he was happy to be out of politics.

In the interview that focused on a memoir he wrote, Laxalt said he wasn’t trying to compete with his brother, the late, award-winning author Robert Laxalt, and planned to “hang onto my day work.”

Robert’s writing included “Sweet Promised Land,” his classic story about the Laxalts’ father, a Basque Continue reading “Former Nevada Sen. Paul Laxalt dies at 96”

6 arrested in drone attack on Venezuelan leader

CARACAS, Venezuela — Investigators searched a blackened apartment building Sunday where witnesses described seeing a drone and then hearing a thunderous explosion in what President Nicolas Maduro called an assassination attempt by the embattled nation’s opposition.

Authorities said they have arrested six people suspected in Saturday’s failed attack with two explosives-laden drones.

Opposition leaders decried Maduro for broadly singling out his political opponents for the attack without providing any evidence, and they warned that he may use it to further suppress those critical of his government at a time of a crippling economic and humanitarian crisis.

The government denounced the attack as an attempt to kill not only Maduro but an entire rank of the government’s top leadership that was standing beside him on a platform to celebrate the National Guard’s 81st anniversary.

In a stern message on state television, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said anyone who attacks Venezuela Continue reading “6 arrested in drone attack on Venezuelan leader”

Venezuela official: Explosion was attempted attack on Maduro

Assailants tried to attack Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with drone-like devices armed with explosives that detonated just as the socialist leader was delivering a speech to hundreds of soldiers, the government said Saturday.

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said Maduro was safe and unharmed but that seven people were injured in the apparent attack.

“At exactly 5:41 p.m. in the afternoon several explosions were heard,” Rodriguez said in a live address to the nation minutes after the incident. “The investigation clearly reveals they came from drone-like devices that carried explosives.”

State television showed Maduro celebrating the National Guard’s 81st anniversary right before his speech was abruptly cut short.

“We are going to bet for the good of our country,” Maduro declared triumphantly. “The hour of the economy recovery has come.”

Seconds later Maduro and his wife, Cilia Flores, looked up to the sky and winced after apparently hearing Continue reading “Venezuela official: Explosion was attempted attack on Maduro”

Pence welcomes return of presumed Korean War dead

HONOLULU — In an emotional and solemn ceremony, the remains of dozens of presumed casualties from the Korean War were we escorted by military honor guards onto U.S. soil on Wednesday, 65 years after an armistice ended the conflict and weeks after President Donald Trump received a commitment from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for their return.

The U.S. military believes the bones are those of U.S. servicemen and potentially servicemen from other United Nations member countries who fought alongside the U.S. on behalf of South Korea during the war. What is expected to be an exhaustive analysis and identification process will soon begin.

“Some have called the Korean War the ‘forgotten war.’ But today, we prove these heroes were never forgotten,” Vice President Mike Pence said at a ceremony welcoming the remains, which were flown from South Korea earlier in the day. “Today, Continue reading “Pence welcomes return of presumed Korean War dead”

3D printed gun downloads blocked by federal judge

SEATTLE — U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday to stop the release of blueprints for 3D printers to make plastic guns.

Eight Democratic attorneys general filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the settlement allowing the plans to be made available online. They said the plastic weapons are a boon to terrorists and criminals and threaten public safety.

Democrats are calling on President Donald Trump to reverse an administration decision to allow a Texas company to make blueprints for a 3D-printed gun available online. They say if he doesn’t, “blood will be on his hands.”

Trump said he was “looking into” the issue and consulting with the National Rifle Association.

After a years-long court battle, the State Department in late June settled a case against a Texas company that wants to provide directions that would allow people to computer-print their own guns. The Continue reading “3D printed gun downloads blocked by federal judge”

Rep. John Lewis hospitalized, under ‘routine observation’

Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) has been hospitalized for undisclosed reasons.

Citing a statement from Lewis’ office, WSB-TV reports that the 78-year-old congressman and civil rights icon was “resting comfortably” in a hospital Saturday night for “routine observation.”

The statement says Lewis expects to be released Sunday.

Lewis was expected at an Atlanta event Saturday evening but did not attend.

Lewis played a key role in the civil rights movement and marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965 in Selma, Alabama.

U.S. prelate McCarrick resigns from College of Cardinals

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has accepted U.S. prelate Theodore McCarrick’s offer to resign from the College of Cardinals following allegations of sexual abuse, including one involving an 11-year-old boy, and ordered him to conduct a “life of prayer and penance” in a home to be designated by the pontiff until a church trial is held, the Vatican said Saturday.

Francis acted swiftly after receiving McCarrick’s letter of resignation Friday evening, after recent weeks have brought a spate of allegations that the 88-year-old prelate in the course of his distinguished clerical career had sexually abused both boys and adult seminarians. The revelations posed a test to the pontiff’s recently declared resolve to battle what he called a “culture of cover-up” of similar abuse in the Catholic’s church’s hierarchy.

McCarrick has been removed from public ministry since June 20, pending a full investigation into allegations he fondled a teenager over Continue reading “U.S. prelate McCarrick resigns from College of Cardinals”

Judge: Gag order unlikely against Stormy Daniels’ lawyer

A federal judge said Friday he is unlikely to issue a gag order stopping a lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels from discussing her lawsuit against President Donald Trump with reporters and the public.

U.S. District Judge S. James Otero made the comment during a hearing held a day after the attorney, Michael Avenatti, said he now represents three additional women who had relationships with Trump and were paid "hush money" before the 2016 presidential election.

Otero did not immediately issue a decision on the gag order requested on behalf of Michael Cohen, a longtime personal lawyer for Trump. The motion said Avenatti had been running a "smear campaign" against Cohen.

His lawyer, Brent Blakely, argued that Avenatti’s frequent interviews and near-daily tweets about Trump and Cohen could taint future jurors.

"Like a small-town carnival magician who attempts to confuse the audience with smoke and mirrors, Avenatti attempts to Continue reading “Judge: Gag order unlikely against Stormy Daniels’ lawyer”

White House says North Korea returns remains of U.S. war dead

North Korea on Friday returned the remains of what are believed to be U.S. servicemen killed during the Korean War, the White House said, with a U.S military plane making a rare trip from a U.S. base in South Korea to a coastal city in the North to retrieve the remains.

The handover follows through on a promise Kim Jong Un made to President Donald Trump when the leaders met in June and is the first tangible result from the much-hyped summit.

An Associated Press journalist at Osan Air Base outside of Seoul saw the plane land, and the White House earlier confirmed that a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft containing remains of fallen service members had departed Wonsan, North Korea, on its way to Osan. A formal repatriation ceremony will be held there Aug. 1.

At Osan, U.S. servicemen and a military honor guard Continue reading “White House says North Korea returns remains of U.S. war dead”

Shootings reported at newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland

Multiple people were shot Thursday at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, with a witness saying a single gunman fired into the newsroom.

A reporter at The Capital Gazette tweeted that a single individual shot multiple people. Phil Davis, who covers business and politics for the newspaper, tweeted that the gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.

He added, "There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload."

Anne Arundel County Police Department spokesman Marc Limansky said officers were searching the building where the shooting was reported. He said the situation is "active and ongoing."

On TV reports, people could be seen leaving the building with their hands up, as police officers urged them to depart through a parking lot and officers converged on the building.

A gas Continue reading “Shootings reported at newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland”

Customs and Border Protection head says agency has stopped referring immigrant parents for criminal prosecution

The head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection says he has temporarily stopped referring for criminal prosecution adults who cross the border illegally with children.

Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told reporters in Texas Monday he ordered referrals suspended within hours of President Trump’s executive order last week that stopped the practice of separating families.

He says that the zero tolerance policy remains in effect, but cases cannot be prosecuted because parents cannot be separated from their children.

He says he is working to develop plan to resume illegally entry prosecutions of adults with children.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in Reno, Nevada that federal prosecutors would continue to criminally prosecute adults caught crossing the border.

But Border Patrol agents must refer cases for prosecution.

More than 2,300 children were separated from their families before the order last week that is causing chaos at the border on how to implement it.

Migrant detainees to be housed at 2 bases in Texas

The Trump administration has chosen an Army base and an Air Force base, both in Texas, to house detained migrants swept up in the federal government’s crackdown on illegal immigration, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday.

Mattis said he could not confirm specifics, such as the number of migrants to be sheltered at Fort Bliss and Goodfellow Air Force Base. He spoke to reporters in Alaska alongside Sen. Dan Sullivan, an Alaska Republican.

"We’ll provide whatever support the Department of Homeland Security needs in order to house the people that they have under their custody," Mattis said. "We will work that out week by week, the numbers obviously are dynamic so we will have to stay flexible in our logistics support."

Mattis was in Alaska to visit Fort Greely, where the U.S. military maintains an arsenal of missiles designed to shoot down long-range ballistic missiles. Afterward he was Continue reading “Migrant detainees to be housed at 2 bases in Texas”

Charles Krauthammer, prominent conservative voice, has died

NEW YORK — Charles Krauthammer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and pundit who helped shape and occasionally dissented from the conservative movement as he evolved from "Great Society" Democrat to Iraq War cheerleader to denouncer of Donald Trump, died Thursday.

He was 68.

His death was announced by two organizations that employed him, Fox News Channel and The Washington Post.

Krauthammer had said publicly a year ago he was being treated for a cancerous tumor in his abdomen and earlier this month revealed that he likely had just weeks to live.

"I leave this life with no regrets," Krauthammer wrote in The Washington Post, where his column had run since 1984. "It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended. Continue reading “Charles Krauthammer, prominent conservative voice, has died”

Virginia governor orders probe into juvenile facility

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered state officials to investigate claims made by immigrant teens of severe physical abuse at a juvenile detention facility.

Northam announced the probe in a tweet on Thursday, hours after The Associated Press reported on a half-dozen sworn statements from Latino teens held at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center.

Youths as young as 14 say they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells. Detainees also say the guards stripped them of their clothes and strapped them to chairs with bags placed over their heads.

The governor, a Democrat, said the allegations are disturbing and ordered the state’s secretary of public safety and homeland security to report back to him about conditions inside the facility.

The center’s lawyers deny all abuse allegations.

About 2K minors separated from families

The Trump administration says almost 2,000 children have been separated from their families at the border over a six-week period under a policy cracking down on illegal entry.

The tally is from April 19 through May 31. In early May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Department of Homeland Security officials would refer all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution. He says the children must be separated from their families because they can’t go to jail with them.

The policy has been widely criticized by church groups, politicians and children’s advocates who say it is inhumane.

Homeland Security figures obtained by The Associated Press show that 1,995 minors were separated from 1,940 adults. The figures did not break down the separations by age.

North Korea quiet about summit until day after Kim’s arrival

PYONGYANG, North Korea — With all the international attention focused on Singapore and the historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang must have been buzzing with excitement Sunday, right?

Well, it might have been, if anyone there had known what was going on.

Instead, it was like the center of the storm.

With few sources of information other than the state-run media, gossip and word of mouth, most North Koreans were still largely in the dark about the momentous — and potentially life-changing — events about to take place outside of their isolated nation.

The official media had reported that the two leaders plan to meet, but offered few specifics, including where and when. On Sunday they offered no official word that Kim had left the country and arrived in Singapore, hours before Trump.

It was only Monday morning North Korea time that Continue reading “North Korea quiet about summit until day after Kim’s arrival”

Hospitalized Bush regrets missing annual parade

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — The hospitalization of former President George H.W. Bush caused him to miss out on a Memorial Day parade in Maine that he traditionally attends.

The 93-year-old said in a tweet Monday evening that he regrets missing the event earlier that day in Kennebunkport, down the road from his summer home. He also said he’s "forever grateful not only to those patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice for our Nation — but also the Gold Star families whose heritage is imbued with their honor and heroism."

Bush was taken to a hospital Sunday after he experienced low blood pressure and fatigue. A spokesman said he’d likely be in the hospital for a couple of days for observation. There was no update on his condition Monday.

Residents attending the parade expressed concern for the nation’s 41st president. The event’s grand marshal, Tom Willey, mentioned the president in Continue reading “Hospitalized Bush regrets missing annual parade”

North and South Korean leaders meet again

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met for the second time in a month on Saturday to discuss carrying out the peace commitments they reached in their first summit and Kim’s potential meeting with President Donald Trump, Moon’s office said.

South Korean presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan said Moon will reveal the outcome of his surprise meeting with Kim on Sunday. The presidential Blue House did not immediately provide more details.

The meeting at a border truce village came hours after South Korea expressed relief over revived talks for a summit between Trump and Kim following a whirlwind 24 hours that saw Trump cancel the highly anticipated meeting before saying it’s potentially back on. Trump later tweeted that the summit, if it does happen, will likely take place on June 12 in Singapore as originally planned.

In their first summit in April, Kim and Moon Continue reading “North and South Korean leaders meet again”