US reaffirms its ‘ironclad commitment’ to defend South Korea
President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis spoke Saturday with their South Korean counterparts after the historic meeting between leaders of the two Koreas, and Trump said “things are going very well” as he prepares for an expected summit with the North’s Kim Jong Un.
Mattis and Defense Minister Song Young-moo said they were committed to “a diplomatic resolution that achieves complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” of the North, according to the Pentagon’s chief spokeswoman, Dana W. White. Mattis also reaffirmed “the ironclad U.S. commitment” to defend its ally “using the full spectrum of U.S. capabilities. ”
Trump tweeted Saturday that he had “a long and very good talk” with President Moon Jae-in. He also said he updated Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, about “the ongoing negotiations” for an anticipated summit with Kim, tentatively scheduled for May or early June.
Asylum-seekers in Mexico snub warnings of stern US response
U.S. immigration lawyers are telling Central Americans in a caravan of asylum-seekers that traveled through Mexico to the border with San Diego that they face possible separation from their children and detention for many months. They say they want to prepare them for the worst possible outcome.
“We are the bearers of horrible news,” Los Angeles lawyer Nora Phillips said during a break from legal workshops for the migrants at three Tijuana locations where about 20 lawyers gave free information and advice. “That’s what good attorneys are for.”
The Central Americans, many traveling as families, will test today the Trump administration’s tough rhetoric criticizing the caravan when the migrants begin seeking asylum by turning themselves in to border inspectors at San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing, the nation’s busiest.
President Donald Trump and members of his Cabinet have been tracking the caravan, calling it a threat to the U.S. since it started March 25 in the Mexican city of Tapachula, near the Guatemala border. They have promised a stern, swift response.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the caravan “a deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system,” pledging to send more immigration judges to the border to resolve cases if needed.
Trump says Democrat should quit over VA nomination brouhaha
A furious President Donald Trump on Saturday called for the resignation of the Democratic senator who assembled and released what he called “false” allegations that scuttled the nomination of the White House doctor who’d been in line to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Trump stepped up his criticism of Montana’s Jon Tester, the top Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Committee, in two tweets days after asserting that Tester “has to have a big price to pay” politically in the GOP friendly state for his leading role in Ronny Jackson’s failed VA bid. Tester faces a competitive re-election race this year.
Tester, in a statement, didn’t directly respond to Trump but said he was committed to aiding veterans.
At issue are allegations that Tester has said were brought to his attention by more than 20 military and retired military personnel who’ve worked with Jackson. Tester said not investigating would have been “a dereliction of duty” and said making them public was important for the sake of transparency.
The charges against Jackson raised questions about his prescribing practices and leadership ability, including accusations of drunkenness on the job. Tester’s office collected the allegations, which included a claim that Jackson “got drunk and wrecked a government vehicle” at a Secret Service going-away party.
Boy whose parents fought to keep life support mourned
Alfie Evans, a British toddler with a degenerative brain condition whose parents lost a legal battle to keep him on life support at a Vatican hospital, was mourned with balloons set free in the sky and prayers from the pope after he died Saturday weeks shy of his second birthday.
Kate James and Tom Evans said their son’s death overnight in Liverpool, England, had left them “heartbroken.” Alfie’s condition left him with almost no brain function, and multiple courts ruled that keeping him alive was not in his best interests before doctors removed his ventilator five days ago.
Suspect in killing of Maine sheriff’s deputy now in custody
A man accused of killing a sheriff’s deputy was arrested Saturday outside a remote cabin, ending an intense manhunt in its fourth day in the woods of central Maine.
A law-enforcement team used the slain deputy’s handcuffs to arrest 29-year-old John Williams in a symbolic gesture, Sheriff Dale Lancaster said.
“We can now focus on the important task of respectfully laying our fallen brother to rest. Tonight, the citizens of Somerset County can sleep well and knowing that a dangerous man has been taken off the streets,” the sheriff said.
Williams was wanted in the fatal shooting of Cpl. Eugene Cole early Wednesday after the two had an encounter on a darkened road in Norridgewock.
Land deal will preserve site linked to Lost Colony mystery
Efforts to unravel the mysterious fate of North Carolina’s fabled Lost Colony could benefit after a preservation group took out its first-ever loan to buy a coastal tract where some colonists may have resettled hundreds of years ago.
The 16th century English colonists who vanished after being left in the New World have piqued popular imagination and intrigued historians for centuries. One North Carolina community is even holding a Lost Colony Festival this weekend. The preservation of land linked to their disappearance could enable future researchers to shed new light on the historic riddle.
The 1,000-acre property is so special historically and ecologically that the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust decided to take a risk and borrow $5.3 million for a real-estate deal, said Lee Leidy, attorney and Northeast Region director for the trust. It’s the first time in 26 years that the trust has done so. The trust plans to turn the property over to the state, eventually, preserving it for future study.
“It was a veritable time capsule of important historical events,” Leidy said.
In addition to being the place where historians now believe some of the colonists resettled, the land in rural Bertie County has been home to an Indian village and to the plantation of Gov. Thomas Pollock, who served two stints as governor in the early 1700s. The land, which includes 3.5 miles along Salmon Creek, is important ecologically, with flood plain forests of cypress-gum swamp and bottomland hardwood forest.
Missing Oregon trucker emerges from wilderness after 4 days
LA GRANDE, Ore.
A trucker who was missing for four days in a snow-covered part of Oregon after his GPS mapping device sent him up the wrong road walked 36 miles and emerged safely Saturday from a remote and rugged region of the state.
Jacob Cartwright, 22, showed up near the town of La Grande, where an intensive search involving aircraft had been taking place since he went missing Tuesday.
Cartwright was being evaluated in an emergency room but appeared OK, said nursing supervisor Danita Thamert at Grande Ronde Hospital in La Grande, in eastern Oregon.
Cartwright’s boss, Roy Henry of Little Trees Transportation, said Cartwright was driving a truckload of potato chips but the tractor-trailer got stuck after he took the wrong turn in an area with limited cellphone coverage.