Seoul: Koreas agree to hold summit talks at border in April
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean official says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has agreed to hold a landmark summit meeting with South Korea’s president next month and impose a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests if his country holds talks with the United States.
South Korean presidential national security director Chung Eui-yong said the two Koreas agreed to hold their third-ever summit at a tense border village in late April. He also said the leaders will establish a “hotline” communication channel to lower military tensions, and speak together before the planned summit.
Chung led a 10-member South Korean delegation that met with Kim during a two-day visit to Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital. The delegation returned on Tuesday.
UNITED STATES-NORTH KOREA
US defense intel chief wary of NKorea claim NKorea
WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s defense intelligence chief says he’s wary of North Korea’s claim that it’s ready to negotiate on its nuclear program and will halt tests.
The South Korean government has announced North Korea agreed to stop testing nuclear weapons and missiles if it holds talks with the U.S. on denuclearization. The two Koreas also agreed to hold summit talks in late April.
Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that he doesn’t share some lawmakers’ optimism about the latest development.
Ashley said: “We’ll have to see how this plays out.”
The Latest: Trump says ‘possible progress’ in N. Korea talks
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump is citing “possible progress” in talks with North Korea, but says it may also be “false hope.”
Nonetheless, Trump adds that a “serious effort” is being made by all sides.
Trump commented Tuesday on Twitter after the South Korean government announced that North Korea has agreed to halt tests of nuclear weapons and missiles if it holds talks with the United States on denuclearization and establishment of diplomatic relations. South Korea and North Korea have also agreed to hold summit talks in late April.
Trump tweeted: “Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea. For the first time in many years, a serious effort is being made by all parties concerned. The World is watching and waiting! May be false hope, but the U.S. is ready to go hard in either direction!”
Counterterror police lead ex-Russian spy probe
MOSCOW (AP) — British counterterrorism police say they are now leading the investigating into the unexplained illness of a former Russian spy, although it hasn’t been declared a terrorist incident.
The Metropolitan Police says the Counterterrorism Policing Network will lead the investigation because “it has the specialist expertise” to deal with the unusual case.
The force’s counterterrorism chief, Mark Rowley, says the focus is on discovering what caused the sudden illness.
He said “this investigation is at the early stages and any speculation is unhelpful at this time.”
Sergei Skripal and his daughter are in critical condition after collapsing in Salisbury, England, on Sunday.
The Latest: Trump and Trudeau confer on trade, NAFTA
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have discussed trade and NAFTA.
The White House says Tuesday that the leaders spoke on Monday, and that Trump emphasized his commitment to a North American Free Trade Agreement that is fair to all three countries. The agreement signed in 1994 includes the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and is the subject of talks to renegotiate its terms.
The president noted to Trudeau that NAFTA currently leaves the U.S. with a trade deficit.
Trump said Monday that he wouldn’t spare Canada or Mexico from tariffs he plans to slap on steel and aluminum imports. But he held out the possibility of later exempting the countries if they agree to better terms for the U.S. in the NAFTA renegotiation.
WEST VIRGINIA TEACHERS WALKOUT-THE LATEST
The Latest: West Virginia leaders reach deal to end strike
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice says a tentative agreement has been reached to end a nine-day statewide teachers’ strike by giving them the 5 percent raises he negotiated to end their walkout.
He says additional budget cuts by his staff will enable all state workers to also get 5 percent raises.
Senate Republicans confirmed the deal, saying it involves some reduced government.
What’s fresh at McDonald’s? The beef in some burgers
NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald’s is offering fresh beef rather than frozen patties in some burgers at thousands of restaurants, a switch it first announced about a year ago as it works to appeal to customers who want fresher foods.
The fast-food giant, which has relied on frozen beef patties since the 1970s, said it’s launching Quarter Pounders made with fresh beef in about 3,500 restaurants starting Tuesday. It’ll be available in eight cities, including Atlanta, Miami and Salt Lake City, then roll out to most U.S. McDonald’s by May.
McDonald’s says workers will cook up the fresh beef on a grill when the Quarter Pounder and “Signature Crafted” burgers are ordered. The change is the latest by the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company to improve its image as more people shun processed foods.
Probe finds deadly Niger mission lacked proper approval
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials say a military investigation into the attack in Niger that killed four American service members concludes the team didn’t get required senior command approval for their risky mission to capture a high-level Islamic State militant. It doesn’t point to that failure as a cause of the deadly ambush.
Initial information suggested the Army Special Forces team set out to meet local Nigerien leaders, only to be redirected to assist a second unit hunting for a militant, Doundou Chefou, suspected of involvement in the kidnapping of an American aid worker. Officials say it now appears the team sought Chefou from the onset, without outlining that intent to higher-level commanders.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the results of the investigation before they are publicly released.
BILL COSBY-THE LATEST
The Latest: Cosby lawyers fighting to limit witnesses
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Bill Cosby is back in court for the second day of a hearing that will decide whether some of his accusers can testify at his sexual assault retrial.
The 80-year-old comedian is charged with assaulting and molesting a woman at his home outside Philadelphia more than 14 years ago.
Dozens of other women have also stepped forward to accuse Cosby of assault. Prosecutors are asking a judge to allow as many as 19 of them to take the witness stand as they try to show Cosby has a long history of sexual abuse.
The defense is making its arguments Tuesday. Cosby’s lawyers say none of the other women should be allowed to testify because their allegations are old and impossible to defend.
The judge has said he’ll rule at a later time.
The Latest: Russian cargo plane crashes in Syria, 32 killed
BEIRUT (AP) — Russia says a military cargo plane has crashed at the Russian air base in Syria, killing all 32 people onboard.
The Defense Ministry says the An-26, with 26 passengers and six crew members onboard, crashed Tuesday just 500 meters (1,600 feet) from the runway. The military blamed the crash on a technical error.
Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, leases a military base in Syria near the Mediterranean coast.