Kim says he, Moon are on starting line of new Korean history
GOYANG, South Korea (AP) — With a single step over a weathered, cracked slab of concrete, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made history Friday by crossing over the world’s most heavily armed border to greet South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Kim then invited Moon to cross briefly back into the north with him before they returned to the southern side.
Those small steps must be seen in the context of the last year — when the United States, its ally South Korea and the North seemed at times to be on the verge of nuclear war as the North unleashed a torrent of weapons tests — but also in light of the long, destructive history of the rival Koreas, who fought one of the 20th century’s bloodiest conflicts and even today occupy a divided peninsula that’s still technically in a state of war.
“I feel like I’m firing a flare at the starting line in the moment of (the two Koreas) writing a new history in North-South relations, peace and prosperity,” Kim told Moon as they sat at a table, its precise dimension of 2018 millimeters separating them, to begin their closed-door talks. Moon responded that there were high expectations that they produce an agreement that will be a “big gift to the entire Korean nation and every peace loving person in the world.”
Earlier, both leaders smiled broadly as Moon grasped Kim’s hand and led him along a blindingly red carpet into South Korean territory, where school children gave Kim flowers and an honour guard stood at attention for inspection, a military band playing traditional Korean folk songs beloved by both Koreas and the South Korean equivalent of “Hail to the Chief.” It’s the first time a North Korean leader has crossed over to the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone since the Korean War ended in 1953.
Beyond the carefully choreographed surface, however, it’s still not clear whether the leaders can make any progress in talks on the nuclear issue, which has bedeviled U.S. and South Korean officials for decades. North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests last year likely put it on the threshold of becoming a legitimate nuclear power. North Korea claims it has already risen to that level.
Korean summit starts with a handshake, after year of tension
GOYANG, South Korea (AP) — After a year of tensions, the first North-South Korea summit in more than a decade began Friday with a handshake.
Surrounded by bodyguards and other members of his delegation, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un emerged right on cue from a large building on the northern side of the border in the truce village of Panmunjom, walked down a wide flight of stairs and strolled confidently toward South Korean President Moon Jae-in to begin the historic meeting.
Smiling broadly and exchanging greetings, the two shook hands for a long time, exchanging greetings and looking from outward appearances like old friends.
Moon had awaited Kim’s arrival at “Freedom House,” a building on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone. As soon as he saw Kim come out, he walked to meet him at the border so that their handshake would be at the most symbolic of locations, each leader standing on his side of the military demarcation line that separates North from South.
Their hands still clasped, Moon invited the North Korean leader into the South for the first time ever, just one step over a line marked by an ankle-high strip of concrete.
‘The real Bill Cosby’: Comedian convicted of sexual assault
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — After decades of whispers, lawsuits, investigations and close calls — and a multitude of women who lost hope anyone would ever believe their word against that of America’s Dad — Bill Cosby could be headed to prison at age 80 for the remainder of his life.
The comedian was convicted Thursday of drugging and molesting Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia mansion 14 years ago in a verdict women’s advocates called a turning point in the #MeToo movement that proved what Cosby’s accusers had been saying all along — his nice-guy image was a sham.
Lili Bernard, who said Cosby sexually assaulted her before giving her a one-time role on “The Cosby Show” in 1992, became so emotional in the courtroom gallery that she accidentally banged her forehead on the bench in front of her.
“I’m overcome with gratitude,” Bernard, sobbing, said outside the courthouse. “I feel like I have to pinch myself. Am I awake? It’s a miracle.”
The verdict, in the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era, sealed the spectacular late-in-life downfall of an entertainer who broke racial barriers in Hollywood on his way to TV superstardom as sweater-wearing, wisdom-dispensing Dr. Cliff Huxtable.
Investigators: DNA from genealogy site caught serial killer
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — More than three decades after his trail went cold, one of California’s most prolific and elusive serial killers was caught when investigators matched crime-scene DNA with genetic material stored by a relative on an online genealogical site, prosecutors said Thursday.
Authorities have said the DNA tied former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, to most of the 12 killings he is accused of committing between 1976 and 1986 as part of the Golden State Killer case.
Investigators also allege DeAngelo raped more than 50 women during that period.
Authorities declined to name the DNA site used to track the DNA.
Companies such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe charge customers to use their DNA to produce genetic profiles that determine ethnicity and can identify long-lost relatives, among other services. Both companies said Thursday they weren’t involved in the case against DeAngelo.
10 Things to Know for Friday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday:
1. KOREAN LEADERS MAKE HISTORY
With a single step over a weathered, cracked slab of concrete, dictator Kim Jong Un crosses the world’s most heavily armed border to greet his rival, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, for talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
2. SPECTACULAR FALL FOR ‘AMERICA’S DAD’
Bill Cosby could spend his final years in prison after a jury convicts him of drugging and molesting a woman in the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.
Trump’s Cohen comments raise questions about relationship
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Thursday that personal attorney Michael Cohen handles very little of his legal work, but did represent him in the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal,” a rare presidential public reference to the porn star who claims she had sex with the president in 2006.
Prosecutors in New York quickly claimed Trump’s early-morning comments buttress their arguments that not much of the material that the FBI seized from Cohen’s home, office and hotel should be protected by attorney-client privilege. Within two hours of Trump’s interview, the prosecutors submitted papers in court citing Trump’s comments.
Trump’s remarks prompted fresh questions about his relationship with Cohen in the tangle of legal dealings involving the president, his legal fixer and the porn star. And they served as just the latest demonstration of the potential legal risks for Trump when he makes off-the-cuff statements about the case in interviews and on Twitter.
In a call-in interview with “Fox & Friends,” Trump spoke about his relationship with Cohen, saying the lawyer handles “a tiny, tiny little fraction” of his legal work, then added: “like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal he represented me. And, you know, from what I see he did absolutely nothing wrong. There were no campaign funds going into this which would have been a problem.”
Cohen paid Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, $130,000 days before the 2016 election in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump. He now faces a series of legal actions, including an effort from Daniels to invalidate the nondisclosure deal. There’s also a criminal investigation of Cohen in New York, which prompted the recent FBI raid.
Pompeo sworn in as secretary of state, dashes off to Europe
WASHINGTON (AP) — Mike Pompeo took over as America’s top diplomat Thursday after being confirmed by the Senate and sworn in across the street minutes later. The new secretary of state immediately dashed off to Europe in an energetic start befitting the high-stakes issues awaiting him from Iran to North Korea.
The hard-charging former CIA director was confirmed on a 57-42 vote — one of the slimmest margins for the job in recent history. Every past nominee to get a roll call vote since at least the Carter administration received 85 or more yes votes in the Senate, with the exception of Trump’s first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who got 56.
He was sworn in at the Supreme Court by Justice Samuel Alito, a fellow Italian-American, who said he was “proud” to officiate for the occasion. Pompeo, in a statement relayed by the State Department, said he was “delighted” to serve as America’s top diplomat.
“I am completely humbled by the responsibility and looking forward to serving the American people and getting to work right away,” Pompeo said.
Then it was off to Andrews Air Force Base, where a government aircraft was waiting to ferry him to Brussels for meetings at NATO headquarters. State Department staffers, demoralized after a tumultuous first year of President Donald Trump’s administration, gave a round of applause to Pompeo, who responded as he boarded the aircraft with a casual, “Hi, I’m Mike.”
Trump pledges hands off Russia probe, may “change my mind’
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump insisted Thursday he “won’t be involved” in any attempt to interfere with the investigation into Russian election meddling — unless he changes his mind — as a Senate panel moved to safeguard special counsel Robert Mueller from any attempt to fire him.
Trump also laced into James Comey, the FBI director he fired last year, accusing him of lying about Trump’s trip to Moscow in 2013 that has received fresh scrutiny.
The GOP-led Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Mueller-protection measure just hours after Trump, in a television interview, blasted the U.S. Justice Department, which oversees the special counsel’s investigation.
“I am very disappointed in my Justice Department. But because of the fact that it’s going on, and I think you’ll understand this, I have decided that I won’t be involved,” the president said in a telephone interview with “Fox & Friends.”
But then he added: “I may change my mind at some point, because what’s going on is a disgrace.”
Migrant ‘caravan’ gathers on US-Mexico border for final push
MEXICALI, Mexico (AP) — About 170 people in a caravan of Central Americans travelled in tourist buses Thursday for the final leg of their monthlong journey to seek asylum in the United States, despite warnings from the Trump administration that they could be prosecuted, detained and quickly deported.
Men, women and children travelled under Mexican federal police escort on a curvy, mountainous road from the Mexican border city of Mexicali to Tijuana to join up with about 175 others already there.
Lawyers planned free workshops on the U.S. immigration system on Friday and Saturday in Tijuana. Many planned to seek asylum starting Sunday at San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing, the nation’s busiest.
Migrant shelters in Tijuana’s Zona Norte neighbourhood, home to the many of the city’s seedy bars and bordellos, were full. That forced organizers to look elsewhere for temporary housing, said Leonard Olsen of Pueblos Sin Fronteras, a group leading the effort.
Migrants who stayed overnight at a shelter in Mexicali were tired from the long journey and nervous about the possibility of being detained in the U.S. but also knowledgeable about their rights to seek protection from persecution in their home countries, Olsen said. Many Central American asylum seekers say they face death threats by criminal gangs in their homelands.
2 lives converge on a dark road in Maine with deadly results
NORRIDGEWOCK, Maine (AP) — Cpl. Gene Cole was a musician, TV repairman and father. People appreciated his respectful manner and ability to defuse a volatile situation. At 62, the sheriff’s deputy was nearing retirement.
John Williams is a former high school class officer whose life spiraled downward because of drugs, according to friends.
The lives of the two men intersected with deadly results on a darkened road early Wednesday in Norridgewock, Maine, a place where Cole routinely patrolled for more than a decade.
Cole became the first law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty in nearly 30 years in Maine, leaving the community of 3,500 stunned. His former colleagues at the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office say Williams killed him, stole his cruiser and robbed a convenience store. They’ve been searching for him since Cole’s death early Wednesday.
Sheriff Dale Lancaster urged Williams on Thursday to come out of hiding, and the FBI offered $20,000 for information leading to his arrest as dozens of heavily armed officers continued searching for him.