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Nation & World Briefs


Thursday, January 25, 2018
Trump in Davos: threatens Palestinians, reassures Brits

DAVOS, Switzerland — President Donald Trump barreled into a global summit in the Swiss Alps on Thursday, threatening to stop U.S. aid to the Palestinians and dismissing as a “false rumor” the idea that there are tensions in the U.S. relationship with Britain.

Trump’s debut appearance at the glitzy World Economic Forum was hotly anticipated, with longtime attendees of the free-trade-focused event wondering how the “America First” president would fit in.

Crowds clustered around Trump as he entered the modern conference hall, the president telling passers-by that he was bringing a message of “peace and prosperity.”

Trump framed his visit as a sign of positive things happening for the U.S. economy.

“When I decided to come to Davos, I didn’t think in terms of elitist or globalist, I thought in terms of lots of people that want to invest lots of money and they’re all coming back to the United States, they’re coming back to America,” the president told CNBC.

His meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally, was their first since the president announced earlier this month that he would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. embassy there. The declaration delighted Netanyahu and outraged Palestinians, who declared a new U.S.-led peace push dead and refused to meet with Vice President Mike Pence during his recent visit to the Mideast.

NBC’s Holt says he went to North Korea with eyes open

NEW YORK — NBC News anchor Lester Holt learned while going through customs in North Korea that his request to visit the heavily-fortified border with South Korea had been denied, and he was headed to a ski resort instead.

His schedule was not his own, and Holt is only the latest journalist to learn the price of peeking into one of the world’s most restrictive societies. Holt’s first trip to North Korea was timely, with international tensions high and NBC weeks away from broadcasting the Winter Olympics from South Korea. But Holt and NBC also faced criticism for presenting an air-brushed view of the dictatorship.

“I absolutely think the trip was worth it,” the NBC “Nightly News” anchor said. “We talk about this place, we hear the bellicose language from its leader and we hear the reaction from our country. It’s important to get on the ground. You go to a place like North Korea with your eyes wide open.”

Holt’s reports began Saturday and continued after he returned to the U.S. on Tuesday — and there was a marked change in tone after he got home.

Critics like former Fox News commentator Eric Bolling tweeted disgust with Holt’s on-air comment on Monday that he had been treated with respect by the North Koreans. The New York Post, in an editorial, said that “we’re still trying to figure out why NBC ‘Nightly News’ and Lester Holt decided to shill for North Korea’s dictatorship.”

The sex abuse scandal is far from over at Michigan State

LANSING, Mich. — Sports doctor Larry Nassar is on his way to prison for the rest of his life for molesting scores of young female athletes, but the scandal is far from over at Michigan State University as victims, lawmakers and a judge demand to know why he wasn’t stopped years ago.

Some are likening Michigan State to Penn State University, where three senior officials, including the school’s president, were sentenced to jail last year for failing to tell authorities about a sexual abuse allegation involving coach Jerry Sandusky.

Nassar, a 54-year-old former member of Michigan State’s sports medicine staff, has admitted penetrating elite gymnasts and other athletes with his fingers while he was supposedly treating them for injuries.

Some of the more than 150 women and girls who have accused him said they complained to the sports medicine staff, a campus counselor and the women’s gymnastics coach as far back as the late 1990s.

Man waits for shot at freedom 2 years after landmark ruling

BATON ROUGE, La. — A landmark ruling by the nation’s highest court gave Henry Montgomery his first chance at freedom after nearly a half-century behind bars. Two years later, the 71-year-old Louisiana man is still waiting for a parole hearing that could set him free. Thursday is the two-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Montgomery’s favor. The decision enabled roughly 2,000 inmates to argue for release after receiving mandatory life-without-parole sentences as juveniles.

Montgomery was 17 when he killed Charles Hurt, an East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputy, in 1963. He was initially sentenced to death after a jury convicted him. After the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled he didn’t get a fair trial and threw out his murder conviction in 1966, Montgomery was retried, found “guilty without capital punishment” and automatically sentenced to life without parole.

The Supreme Court decided in 2012 that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional “cruel and unusual” punishment.

From Associated Press