ACROSS OUR NATION
brother to have competency tests
RAVENNA, Ohio (AP) — A 13-year-old Ohio boy charged in Juvenile Court in the shooting death of his 11-year-old brother will be evaluated to determine if he’s competent to stand trial.
The Record-Courier reports a judge in northeast Ohio’s Portage County said Monday the teen’s trial could begin as early as August. He’s charged with aggravated murder for killing his brother at their family’s Streetsboro home in April using a handgun stolen from their grandfather.
Police have said the shooting was premeditated. The teen was evaluated at a behavioral health center four days before the shooting after expressing a desire to hurt himself.
A jury must hear the case because the teen could be ordered to spend some of his sentence in adult prison if the judge classifies him as a serious youthful offender.
Trump retreats from US moral leadership stance
WASHINGTON (AP) — Beaming in the moments after his summit with Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump was asked about North Korea’s history of human rights horrors. “It’s rough,” he allowed. Then he added, “It’s rough in a lot of places, by the way. Not just there.”
Trump’s verbal shrug in Singapore represented a striking change from the way U.S. presidents have viewed their job, a shift from the nation’s asserted stance as the globe’s moral leader in favor of an approach based more on trade-offs with adversaries and allies alike.
Trump, who quickly left for the long journey home after his whirlwind summit with Kim, made clear that his main interest — almost his sole interest — was taking a first step toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. There was no lecturing of Kim over how to treat his own people in a nation that is estimated to have between 80,000 and 120,000 political prisoners and remains one of the world’s most closed and oppressive societies.
Though Trump is far from the first U.S. president to work with an unsavory counterpart to achieve a strategic goal, his decision to broadcast that he tacitly accepts Kim’s history of atrocities was a sharp break from the position of presidents from both parties to set America as the exemplar shining city on a hill for other nations to emulate.
It has been much the same at home.
‘new future’ for North Korea, but path unclear
SINGAPORE (AP) — President Donald Trump wrapped up his five-hour nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with surprisingly warm words and hope for “a bright new future” for Kim’s isolated and impoverished nation. Yet he immediately faced pointed questions at home about whether he got little and gave away much in his push to make a deal with the young autocrat — including an agreement to halt U.S. military exercises with South Korea.
Meeting with staged ceremony on a Singapore island, Trump and Kim signed a joint statement Tuesday agreeing to work toward a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, although the timeline and tactics were left unclear. Trump later promised to end “war games,” with ally South Korea, a concession to Kim that appeared to catch the Pentagon and Seoul government off guard and sowed confusion among Trump’s Republican supporters in Washington.
The head-scratching was a fitting end for a meeting marked by unpredictability. The face to face was unthinkable just months earlier as the two leaders traded insults and nuclear threats. In agreeing to the summit, Trump risked granting Kim his long-sought recognition on the world stage in hopes of ending the North’s nuclear program.
While progress on the nuclear question was murky, the leaders spent the public portions of their five hours together expressing optimism and making a show of their new relationship. Trump declared he and Kim had developed “a very special bond.” He gave Kim a glimpse of the presidential limousine. Kim, for his part, said the leaders had “decided to leave the past behind” and promised, “The world will see a major change.”
Soon, Kim was on a plane headed home, while a clearly ebullient Trump held forth for more than an hour before the press on what he styled as a historic achievement to avert the prospect of nuclear war. Before leaving himself, Trump tossed out pronouncements on U.S. alliances, human rights and the nature of the accord that he and Kim had signed.
approves AT&T-Time Warner merger
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge approved the $85 billion mega-merger of AT&T and Time Warner on Tuesday, potentially ushering in a wave of media consolidation while shaping how much consumers pay for streaming TV and movies.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon green-lit the merger without imposing major conditions as some experts had expected. The Trump Justice Department had sued to block the $85 billion merger, arguing that it would hurt competition in cable and satellite TV and jack up costs to consumers for streaming TV and movies.
Now, the phone and pay-TV giant AT&T will be allowed to absorb the owner of CNN, HBO, the Warner Bros. movie studio, “Game of Thrones,” coveted sports programming and other “must-see” shows. The Justice Department could appeal the ruling, although it said only that it is considering its options.
The ruling could open the floodgates to deal making in the fast-changing worlds of entertainment production and distribution. Major cable, satellite and phone companies are bulking up with purchases of entertainment conglomerates to compete against rivals born on the internet such as Amazon and Google.
Waiting in the wings are potential big-billions deals involving 21st Century Fox and Disney, Verizon and CBS, T-Mobile and Sprint. Comcast and Verizon are also jockeying for position in the new landscape.
Puerto Rico issues new data on Hurricane Maria deaths
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Eight days after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Efrain Perez felt a pain in his chest.
Doctors near his small town sent him to Puerto Rico’s main hospital for emergency surgery for an aortic aneurysm. But when the ambulance pulled into the parking lot in the capital, San Juan, after a more than two-hour drive, a doctor ran out to stop it.
“He said, ‘Don’t bring him in here, I can’t care for him. I don’t have power. I don’t have water. I don’t have an anesthesiologist,'” Perez’s daughter, Nerybelle, recalled.
The 95-year-old Perez died as the ambulance drove him back to southwestern Puerto Rico but he is not included in the island’s official hurricane death toll of 64 people, a figure at the center of a growing legal and political fight over the response to the Category 4 storm that hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017. Facing at least three lawsuits demanding more data on the death toll, Puerto Rico’s government released new information on Tuesday that added detail to the growing consensus that hundreds or even thousands of people died as an indirect result of the storm.
Trump contradicts US military
stance on Korea war games
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement Tuesday that he will suspend U.S. military drills in South Korea appeared to catch the Pentagon and the Seoul government flat-footed, and it contradicted a pillar of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ campaign to make U.S. troops more combat-ready.
During a news conference following his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump pushed his unconventional approach even further by calling annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises “provocative.” He also said he’d like to remove all 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in the South, although he made clear this was an option for the future, not a part of current negotiations.
The U.S. has stationed combat troops in South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 war and has used them in a variety of large-scale drills designed to sharpen skills and test troops’ ability to operate effectively with their South Korean partners.
The next scheduled major exercise, known as Ulchi Freedom Guardian and involving tens of thousands of troops, normally is held in August.
“We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money, unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should,” Trump said in Singapore. “But we’ll be saving a tremendous amount of money. Plus, I think it’s very provocative.” In a later interview with the Voice of America, Trump said the North Koreas were “very happy” about his decision to freeze the exercises “because it is so provocative.”
as leaders halt
tax on companies like Amazon
SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle leaders on Tuesday repealed a tax on large companies such as Amazon and Starbucks after a backlash from businesses, a stark reversal from a month ago when the City Council unanimously approved the effort to combat a growing homelessness crisis.
A divided crowd chanted, jeered and booed at the council meeting, drowning out the leaders as they cast a 7-2 vote. People shouted, “Stop the repeal,” as others unfurled a large red banner that read, “Tax Amazon.” An opposing group held “No tax on jobs” signs.
The vote showed Amazon’s ability to aggressively push back on government taxes, especially in its affluent hometown where it’s the largest employer with more than 45,000 workers and where some have criticized it for helping cultivate a widening income gap that is pricing lower-income employees out of housing.
The tax was proposed as a progressive revenue source aimed at tackling one of the nation’s highest homelessness numbers, a problem that hasn’t eased even as city spending grew.
Businesses and residents demanded more accountability on how Seattle funds homelessness and housing and said the city should take a regional approach to the problem. Many worried that Amazon and others would leave the city as the companies sharply criticized the tax.